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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 18

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-7

Chapter 18

Now in chapter 18, there are those that see the United States in chapter 18, but it is rather far-fetched and I am sorry that my mind can't stretch that far. I cannot see the United States in chapter 18.

Woe to the land shadowing with wings ( Isaiah 18:1 ),

And they point out that on the top of the American flag there's an eagle with wings. So "shadowing with wings."

which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia ( Isaiah 18:1 ):

And, of course, we are beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.

That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, in vessels ( Isaiah 18:2 )

And, of course, the only way our ambassadors could travel to the other lands prior to the aircraft and so forth were by boats. But it does say, "vessels of bulrushes," and I don't know of any ambassador that ever went out in a reed boat made of bulrushes.

Now as I say, people can see and I can't, but people do see the United States in it. What it is basically dealing with is Ethiopia itself, which was making... , which had sent ambassadors to Jerusalem to the king to make a confederacy with them against Assyria. In other words, Assyria was conquering and these Ethiopian ambassadors, big, tall dark skinned, handsome men, were there trying to get Judah to join with them in a confederacy to withstand this invasion from Assyria. And Isaiah was counseling against the confederacy. Not to make a covenant with them, for God was going to watch over them and take care of them and don't get involved in a treaty, mutual defense pact with these Ethiopians. So, "Woe to the land."

God is pronouncing the woe that is going to come upon Ethiopia that sends the ambassadors by the sea. They came in these boats down the Nile River from Ethiopia and the boats of bulrushes were light so that when they get to the rapids and all, they could carry them and then put them in. And they came from Ethiopia in these boats of bulrushes to Israel or to Judah, the Southern Kingdom and sought then to make this covenant.

saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation that is scattered and peeled, to a people that is awesome from their beginning hitherto; a nation that is meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have cut through! All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches ( Isaiah 18:2-5 ).

So Isaiah is saying we don't need to make the covenant with these people. God is going to take care of them. He's going to cut them down before they're able to really fully develop. And so here is the prediction of Assyria's destruction by God.

They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them ( Isaiah 18:6 ).

In other words, the vultures will eat the carcasses during the summertime but there are so many, by the time winter is come, even the animals the coyotes and all will be eating the bones of them even through the wintertime.

In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people awesome from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have cut through, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, mount Zion ( Isaiah 18:7 ).

So the prediction of Assyria's destruction by the hand of God and no need to join hands with the Ethiopians in a mutual defense pact because God is our defense and God will take care of us. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 18". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-18.html. 2014.
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