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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 18

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

ISAIAH - CHAPTER 18

AN ORACLE CONCERNING ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia (or Egypt) and Assyria were the two great powers of Western Asia in the days of Isaiah. Egypt and Ethiopia were united under Tirhaka, whose exploits are recorded in the Egyptian monuments, and who (according to 2 Kings 19:9) fought against Sennacherib. It appears that Judah was constantly leaning on one or the other of these contending powers. According to Isaiah 36:9, Rabshakeh specifically reproached Hezekiah for relying on Egypt. As chapter 17 announced the presence of the Assyrian, chapter 18 prophesies his overthrow.

Verse 1-7:

1. The attention of Ethiopia (and of the whole earth) is called to a great catastrophe that is imminent, (Verse 1-2; comp. Psalms 49:1; Micah 1:2).

a. Recognizing the intentions of Assyria, Egypt has sent out her ambassadors to gather as much help as possible in facing the armies of Assyria; she well knows that more than the land of Judah is at stake, (Verse 1-2; Genesis 10:8-9; 2 Chronicles 12:2-4; 2 Chronicles 14:9; 2 Chronicles 16:8).

b. This prophecy is presented by Isaiah to the ambassadors who were in Jerusalem at the time; they were to return to Egypt with the assurance that God would put a stop to the proud Assyrian on the mountains of Israel.

c. When an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, the whole earth is to stop, look and listen, (Verse 3; comp. Isaiah 5:26; Jeremiah 50:2; Isaiah 26:11).

2. The prophet recognizes the fact that the battle is the Lord’s; but, He is in no hurry, (Verse 4).

a. He is still - waiting and watching from his dwelling-place, (Isaiah 26:21; Hosea 5:15).

b. He dwells in light so brilliant that mortal man dare not draw near, (2 Samuel 23:3-4; Habakkuk 3:3-4).

c. Unto Judah He is as the dew in the heat of harvest -refreshing and life-preserving, (Isaiah 26:19; Proverbs 19:12; Hosea 14:5).

3. Here the intent of the Assyrian is likened unto a vineyard from which a bountiful harvest is expected, (Verse 5).

a. God will permit the enemy to pursue his purpose until he is confident that the victory is in his hands; that is when he will be ripe for destruction!

b. In a marvelous and miraculous way, the Lord will then so move, in His providence, that all the earth can see that HE ALONE IS GOD!

c. He will so "prune" and "cut down" the far-reaching branches of Sennacherib’s army as to make him abandon the field.

4. So terrible will be the loss from the army of Assyria that the ravenous birds and beasts will have a year-long feast upon their carcasses, (Verse 6; comp. Jeremiah 7:33; Ezekiel 32:2-6; Ezekiel 39:17-20).

a. It is possible that this is intended to have a two-fold interpretation and fulfillment - one near; the other far off.

b. There is a great similarity here to the battle that is to be fought in connection with our Lord’s return to reign, (Revelation 19:17-18).

5. In verse 7 the Egyptians (Ethiopians) are pictured as bringing to the Lord of hosts a present - to the place of His memorial name, on Mt Zion, (Isaiah 45:14; Psalms 68:31; Zephaniah 3:10; Acts 8:27-38).

a. This surely looks forward to the coming Day of the Lord (millennium) in which Egypt will submit herself to the lordship of Jesus Christ and serve Him with gladness, (tech. Isaiah 14:16-18).

b. They will assist in the return of the once-holy people who, because of their sin, had been scattered to the ends of the earth, (Isaiah 14:1; Isaiah 43:6; Isaiah 49:22; Isaiah 60:4-5; etc.).

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Isaiah 18". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/isaiah-18.html. 1985.
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