TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
NEVI'IM
PROPHETS
KETUVIM
WRITINGS

Isaiah 21

1The “Desert of the Sea” Pronouncement. Like the gales That race through the Negev, It comes from the desert, The terrible land.

אמַשָּׂא מִדְבַּר־יָם כְּסוּפוֹת בַּנֶּגֶב לַחֲלֹף מִמִּדְבָּר בָּא מֵאֶרֶץ נוֹרָאָה׃

2A harsh prophecy Has been announced to me: “The betrayer is betraying, The ravager ravaging. Advance, Elam! Lay siege, Media! I have put an end To all her sighing.”

בחָזוּת קָשָׁה הֻגַּד־לִי הַבּוֹגֵד בּוֹגֵד וְהַשּׁוֹדֵד שׁוֹדֵד עֲלִי עֵילָם צוּרִי מָדַי כָּל־אַנְחָתָה הִשְׁבַּתִּי׃

3Therefore my loins Are seized with trembling; I am gripped by pangs Like a woman in travail, Too anguished to hear, Too frightened to see.

געַל־כֵּן מָלְאוּ מָתְנַי חַלְחָלָה צִירִים אֲחָזוּנִי כְּצִירֵי יוֹלֵדָה נַעֲוֵיתִי מִשְּׁמֹעַ נִבְהַלְתִּי מֵרְאוֹת׃

4My mind is confused, I shudder in panic. My night of pleasure He has turned to terror:

דתָּעָה לְבָבִי פַּלָּצוּת בִּעֲתָתְנִי אֵת נֶשֶׁף חִשְׁקִי שָׂם לִי לַחֲרָדָה׃

5“Set the table!” To “Let the watchman watch!” “Eat and drink!” To “Up, officers! Grease the shields!”

a-ROKH ha-shul-KHAN tza-FOH ha-tza-FEET a-KHOL sha-TOH KU-mu ha-sa-REEM mish-KHU ma-GAYN

העָרֹךְ הַשֻּׁלְחָן צָפֹה הַצָּפִית אָכוֹל שָׁתֹה קוּמוּ הַשָּׂרִים מִשְׁחוּ מָגֵן׃

21:5   Eat and drink

Yeshayahu relays another prophecy directed towards Babylon. Since their country is protected by watchmen, its nobles eat, oblivious to the danger that approaches. Their dining, however, is interrupted with the call to battle. The fulfillment of Yeshayahu‘s prophecy is described in Sefer Daniel 5, which depicts the capture of Babylon as its inhabitants are engaged in revelry at Belshazzar’s feast. To Yehuda, which looks for allies against the Assyrian threat, Yeshayahu reiterates that Babylon’s time is also limited. The surest guarantee of safety is trust in Hashem alone.

6For thus my Lord said to me: “Go, set up a sentry; Let him announce what he sees.

וכִּי כֹה אָמַר אֵלַי אֲדֹנָי לֵךְ הַעֲמֵד הַמְצַפֶּה אֲשֶׁר יִרְאֶה יַגִּיד׃

7He will see mounted men, Horsemen in pairs— Riders on asses, Riders on camels— And he will listen closely, Most attentively.”

זוְרָאָה רֶכֶב צֶמֶד פָּרָשִׁים רֶכֶב חֲמוֹר רֶכֶב גָּמָל וְהִקְשִׁיב קֶשֶׁב רַב־קָשֶׁב׃

8And [like] a lion he called out: “On my Lord's lookout I stand Ever by day, And at my post I watch Every night.

חוַיִּקְרָא אַרְיֵה עַל־מִצְפֶּה אֲדֹנָי אָנֹכִי עֹמֵד תָּמִיד יוֹמָם וְעַל־מִשְׁמַרְתִּי אָנֹכִי נִצָּב כָּל־הַלֵּילוֹת׃

9And there they come, mounted men— Horsemen in pairs!” Then he spoke up and said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon, And all the images of her gods Have crashed to the ground!”

טוְהִנֵּה־זֶה בָא רֶכֶב אִישׁ צֶמֶד פָּרָשִׁים וַיַּעַן וַיֹּאמֶר נָפְלָה נָפְלָה בָּבֶל וְכָל־פְּסִילֵי אֱלֹהֶיהָ שִׁבַּר לָאָרֶץ׃

10My threshing, the product of my threshing floor: What I have heard from the lord of Hosts, The God of Yisrael— That I have told to you.

ימְדֻשָׁתִי וּבֶן־גָּרְנִי אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתִּי מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִגַּדְתִּי לָכֶם׃

11The “Dumah” Pronouncement. A call comes to me from Seir: “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?”

יאמַשָּׂא דּוּמָה אֵלַי קֹרֵא מִשֵּׂעִיר שֹׁמֵר מַה־מִלַּיְלָה שֹׁמֵר מַה־מִלֵּיל׃

12The watchman replied, “Morning came, and so did night. If you would inquire, inquire. Come back again.”

יבאָמַר שֹׁמֵר אָתָה בֹקֶר וְגַם־לָיְלָה אִם־תִּבְעָיוּן בְּעָיוּ שֻׁבוּ אֵתָיוּ׃

13The “In the Steppe” Pronouncement. In the scrub, in the steppe, you will lodge, O caravans of the Dedanites!

יגמַשָּׂא בַּעְרָב בַּיַּעַר בַּעְרַב תָּלִינוּ אֹרְחוֹת דְּדָנִים׃

14Meet the thirsty with water, You who dwell in the land of Tema; Greet the fugitive with bread.

ידלִקְרַאת צָמֵא הֵתָיוּ מָיִם יֹשְׁבֵי אֶרֶץ תֵּימָא בְּלַחְמוֹ קִדְּמוּ נֹדֵד׃

15For they have fled before swords: Before the whetted sword, Before the bow that was drawn, Before the stress of war.

טוכִּי־מִפְּנֵי חֲרָבוֹת נָדָדוּ מִפְּנֵי חֶרֶב נְטוּשָׁה וּמִפְּנֵי קֶשֶׁת דְּרוּכָה וּמִפְּנֵי כֹּבֶד מִלְחָמָה׃

16For thus my Lord has said to me: “In another year, fixed like the years of a hired laborer, all the multitude of Kedar shall vanish;

טזכִּי־כֹה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי אֵלָי בְּעוֹד שָׁנָה כִּשְׁנֵי שָׂכִיר וְכָלָה כָּל־כְּבוֹד קֵדָר׃

17the remaining bows of Kedar's warriors shall be few in number; for Hashem, the God of Yisrael, has spoken.

יזוּשְׁאָר מִסְפַּר־קֶשֶׁת גִּבּוֹרֵי בְנֵי־קֵדָר יִמְעָטוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל דִּבֵּר׃