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Here, are several burdens brought into one chapter in succession to each other: the burden of the Desert of the Sea; of Dumah, and of Arabia: but all in relation to God's covenant people Israel.
The Desert of the Sea can mean no other than Babylon; and the ruin of it is foretold by way of comforting God's people in their captivity. It is blessed to observe, how beforehand the Lord is for his people, in laying in comforts again a time of tribulation; Elam and Media, that is, Persia and the Medes, were to conquer Babylon; and therefore, when the church in her captivity found that the Medians were come to besiege Babylon, the recollection of this prophecy might give them comfort: for in the ruin of Babylon, would be their deliverance. Daniel 5:31 .
Here the Prophet describes as it should seem, the terrible consternation and alarm, the impious monarch of Babylon would be thrown into, in the memorable night of his destruction. Let the Reader compare what is here said with Daniel 5:30; Daniel 5:30 . And how often in modern times, hath the last hours of notorious sinners been followed with similar alarms in their guilty consciences!
Here by vision, a sketch of that memorable event is given to the Prophet. Though at a distance of time and place so remote; yet the outline of the horrors of Babylon is given to the Prophet, to behold in vision: Chariots and horsemen; the cry of a lion, and a voice proclaiming, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods broken to the ground! These were strong prophetical intimations of the vast ruin and overthrow, which should take place. And the Prophet's seal to the vision is striking, in that he saith, that what he had delivered, was from the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel. Reader! do not overlook, that as this event, here foretold, was exactly fulfilled; so there is a far greater blessing the church is now taught to look for in gospel times, and from existing circumstances, we hope it is not greatly remote, in which Babylon, the mother of harlots, shall fall to rise no more! Rev_17:5; Rev_18:1-2 .
The burden of Dumah is short, but expressive; a watchman is questioned by a man of Mount Seir, a region possessed by the Edomites, the children of Esau, what of the night? he repeats the inquiry, and the watchman gives an answer; though no more is said, either of the cause or of the event, in the inquiry; yet it is a part of scripture, which, may be made abundantly profitable, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost. A man of Seir is a Gentile, a stranger, a foreigner: doth he ask questions concerning the God of Israel? let every faithful watchman be ready to make answer: tell him of the night of sin, and the night of death; tell him of Jesus the hind of the morning! Propose to him all those numberless things, of grace and salvation, which are in the person, blood, and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and see if he will inquire farther; for then surely the work is of the Lord, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working; Isaiah 28:29 .
The Arabians and Dedanims are here brought in for a portion of the calamities now hanging over the countries to be made desolate. It is probable, that the latter were the descendants of Dedan, a son of Abraham, whom Keturah bare him, Genesis 25:3 . And as to Kedar, so often spoken of in the word of God, we are not at a loss to trace the origin to Ishmael. The church in her song, speaks of her corruptions by nature, under the figure of the blackness of Kedar while rejoicing in her comeliness, from the comeliness put upon her, by her Solomon, the Lord Jesus Christ; Song of Solomon 1:5 . All these burdens carry with them the same divine signature, that they are not of the prophet's own mind, but come from the Lord; and are therefore sure and certain.
MY soul! while reading the burdens of others, do not overlook thine own: but if Jesus, that almighty burden bearer, hath removed the guilt and dominion of sin from thee; while thou art praising his name for the unspeakable and unmerited deliverance, thou wilt still remember the wormwood and the gall!
Oh! how galling was the load of sin, and how full of horrors the apprehension of the awful consequences of it, before Jesus was revealed, as taking away sin by the sacrifice of himself! And now, Lord, how blessed is it to see that thou hast borne our sins in thine own body on the tree, when thou didst die, the just for the unjust, to bring sinners unto God! Hence, blessed Jesus, I would now bring thee all my sins, and all my sorrows; for thou hast said, Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee! I know, Lord, that thou wilt kindly and graciously support me, and bear me up under all; and know, Lord, that through thy grace helping me, I shall be more than conqueror in and through all. Jesus will bear me up, and carry me on, and bring me through all that yet belongs to my pilgrimage here below, until he takes me home to his everlasting kingdom, to bear me in the arms of his love forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 21". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26