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Isaiah 21:17

ESV And the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few, for the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.”
NIV The survivors of the archers, the warriors of Kedar, will be few.' The LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.
NASB and the remainder of the number of bowmen, the warriors of the sons of Kedar, will be few; for the Lord God of Israel has spoken.'
CSB The remaining Kedarite archers will be few in number." For the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.
NLT Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord, the God of Israel, have spoken!'
KJV And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.

What does Isaiah 21:17 mean?

This passage has described the fate of Arabia, in general, and now that of Kedar. The region of Kedar was made up of tribes settled in northern Arabia. They were known as merchants, caravanning traders, and sheep breeders. Some in the region apparently held significant wealth and possessions.

The prophet's oracle has announced that within a year, the greatness of Kedar will come to an end (Isaiah 21:16). This may refer to an invasion of the region by the Assyrians or some other powerful nation. Whatever military power those people had will be reduced to almost nothing. Only a few warriors of Kedar will survive the onslaught. What glory the people possessed will be stripped away by their attackers.

Why will this happen? Isaiah does not break down the geo-political motivations of the Assyrian empire or other regional powers. The prophet simply says that the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken. What God has said He will do, will be done. The Lord God will cause this fate to happen upon the people of Kedar. He may use kings and nations to accomplish His will, but it remains His will that is being carried out.

Judah must trust the Lord to protect and provide for them. Every other attempt at alliance or allegiance with other sources will fail. They need to believe that they need the Lord and that He will take care of them.
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