Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 21:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar "The mighty bowmen of the sons of Kedar" - Sagittariorum fortium, Vulg.; transposing the two words, and reading קשה גבורי gibborey kesheth ; which seems to be right. The strong men of the bow, the most excellent archers.

For the Lord - hath spoken it "For Jehovah hath spoken it" - The prophetic Carmina of Marcius, foretelling the battle of Cannae, lib. 25:12, conclude with the same kind of solemn form: Nam mihi ita Jupiter fatus est; "Thus hath Jupiter spoken to me." Observe that the word נאם naam, to pronounce, to declare, is the solemn word appropriated to the delivering of prophecies: "Behold, I am against the prophets, saith (נאם naam, pronounceth) Jehovah, who use their tongues, נאם וינאמו vaiyinamu neum, and solemnly pronounce, He hath pronounced it;" Jeremiah 23:31. What God says shall most assuredly come to pass; he cannot be deceived.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And the residue of the number - That is, those who shall be left in the invasion. Or perhaps it may be read, ‹There shall be a renmant of the number of bowmen; the mighty people of Kedar shall be diminished.‘

Of archers - Hebrew, ‹Of the bow;‘ that is, of those who use bows in war. The bow was the common instrument in hunting and in war among the ancients.

Shall be diminished - Hebrew, ‹Shall be made small;‘ they shall be reduced to a very small number. We cannot indeed determine the precise historical event to which this refers, but the whole connection and circumstances seem to make it probable that it referred to the invasion by the Assyrian when he went up against Judah, or when he was on his way to Egypt.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Arabians lived in tents, and kept cattle. A destroying army shall be brought upon them, and make them an easy prey. We know not what straits we may be brought into before we die. Those may know the want of necessary food who now eat bread to the full. Neither the skill of archers, nor the courage of mighty men, can protect from the judgments of God. That is poor glory, which will thus quickly come to nothing. Thus hath the Lord said to me; and no word of his shall fall to the ground. We may be sure the Strength of Israel will not lie. Happy are those only whose riches and glory are out of the reach of invaders; all other prosperity will speedily pass away.