Summary of passage: Isaiah 21: Isaiah prophesizes against Babylon, saying Elam and Media (allies of the Assyrians) will attack, Babylon will fall, and all of its images of its gods will be destroyed. Isaiah sympathizes with their destruction. Edom and Arabia will fall as well to the Assyrians.
Here’s the best map I could find of Elam. I like it because it also has Media on there and you can tell that it would be easy for them to join with Assyria and attack Babylon.
Dumah is in the northern part of Edom and Seir is referring to Mount Seir, also in Edom. In the dark hour there is a respite then another dark hour. Assyria is the invader. Historical Note: Kedar falls to Sargon II shortly after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC.
Map of Kedar (Arabia) and you can see Phoenicia as well, where Tyre is located:
Isaiah 22: Jerusalem will suffer the same fate at the hands of the Babylonians. The Lord has a day of tumult, trampling, and terror in store for Jerusalem. Because they did not ask Him for help, all of their preparations will be useless. The Lord will remove Shebna, a steward in charge of the palace or a chief assistant for King Hezekiah, from office because he is mocking God by building a tomb, essentially saying I will not be exiled to Babylon when in fact He will. He personifies Jerusalem’s self-interest by building a magnificent tomb for himself. The Lord replaces Shebna with Eliakim son of Hilkiah because he is God’s servant. In this Eliakim prophesizes the Messiah when God gives him the key to the house of David as mentioned in Revelation 3:7. Eliakim’s family will be blessed as well, a secure peg. This could also mean all will depend on Jesus and hang on him.
Interpretation taken from: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/2322.htm
Isaiah 23: Tyre will be destroyed, left without house or harbor. Tyre, north of Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, was a huge shipping and trade center during Isaiah’s time. Tyre was part of Phoenicia. It had two parts: a city on the coast and a city that sat on a nearby island. The coastal city was conquered by both the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The island city was not conquered until Alexander the Great conquered it in 332 BC, using methods never before thought of which was part of his genius as a military conquerer. Egypt will be in anguish at Tyre’s fall. The Lord planned Tyre’s fall, to humble it. The merchants and traders prospered because of their skill and because of God’s blessings. Cyprus, an island nation still in existence but under Tyre’s control during Isaiah’s time, will not be spared. The Babylonians (who will be brought down) and the Assyrians have made the land a desert and a ruin. For 70 years Tyre will be forgotten but at the end of 70 years, Tyre will be remembered and will return to its glory (symbolized by the prostitute) but its riches will be for the Lord’s purposes.
I got help in understanding this here: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/2323.htm
Tyre and Cyprus have a huge amount of history just on their own. You could spend hours learning about their role in ancient times.
12) Babylon: Elam and Media attack, Babylon falls, all the images of its gods lie shattered on the ground
Edom: First one attack, then a respite, then another attack all by Assyria
Arabia: all the pomp of Kedar will end with few survivors
Tyre: Assyria conquers Tyre as well, destroying the city and leaving no houses or harbor (Tyre was a huge center of trade in Isaiah’s day)
13) A day of tumult, trampling and terror by bows and chariots, battering down of walls, crying out to the mountains, Elam and Kir (probably allies with Babylonians at the time) invade, the defenses of Judah are stripped away. This is the prophesy of the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Jerusalem made all of these preparations for the attack except for the one that mattered: turning to God for help.
14a) Personal Question. My answer: The cruel enemies of Judah will be destroyed and judged by God. Jerusalem, God’s people, will also be judged because they did not turn to Him for help. Yet through the example of Eliakim, God always has something better in store for His people, be it Earthly or unearthly.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Knowing there is hope when life seems hopeless. God has a plan even though we cannot see it and cannot know it.
Conclusions: I get the message of gloom and doom, but I refuse to live my short life chastising myself for all of my shortcomings and being afraid of the future. I try to live as much as possible in the present moment, enjoying my husband, kids, and family and the rest of my blessings, helping others along the way and striving to know God better on a personal level.
We are incredibly lucky to be living in a relatively peaceful time unlike Israel and Judah in Isaiah’s time and we also have Jesus. This gives us the luxury of enjoying our Earthly life, being secure in the Lord if we have Jesus, and doing as much as possible for Him while we are here without the fear and trepidation wars and uncertainty bring. That’s not to say we don’t have our problems (our nation that is) but on an individual level, we can live life secure from war and secure in Him. I know my eternal destiny and if I keep that in the forefront of my mind, I should have nothing else to fear in this world.
I’m a fairly positive person and Question 14 sets me off. It’s so hard for me to grasp war in general and its atrocities because I have not lived it so it’s hard for me to picture how I would react, but I can’t imagine I wouldn’t turn to God in those desperate times. So extrapolating the people of Jerusalem’s mindset is hard so its impact on my life would be little to none. All I can do is try to bring it to my world and in my world I have hope and faith in God when life sucks.
Maybe I’m missing the point here so any help would be appreciated.