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Isa 18:1 Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which [is] beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:
Ver. 1. Woe to the land. ] To Ethiopia, described here, (1.) By the shady mountains wherewith it is surrounded; (2.) By the rivers wherewith it is watered. a
Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. ] Or, Which is along by the rivers, even Ethiopia, which also may be said to be "beyond the rivers," i.e., beyond the seven streams of Nile in respect of Jerusalem.
Isa 18:2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, [saying], Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!
Ver. 2. That sendeth ambassadors by the sea. ] Heralds to defy the Assyrian, and to bid him battle, to their own ruin.
Even in the vessels of bulrushes. ] Or, In paper barques well pitched. a These were much in use among the Ethiopians and Egyptians, both for expedition and also for safety against rocks, shallows, and falls of rivers.
Go, ye swift messengers. ] Tirhaka’s words to his heralds. See 2 Kings 19:9 .
To a nation scattered and peeled, ] i.e., To the Assyrians, whose great forces are at this time scattered up and down in several countries, and therefore with more ease and safety to be set upon. Thus the Ethiopian pleaseth himself in the conceit of an easy conquest, but was quickly confuted; the Jews who trusted unto him were disappointed, and Sennacherib more enraged against Jerusalem.
To a people terrible. ] The mauls hammers of mankind; but I shall chastise them. Thus he triumpheth before the victory, having already devoured Assyria in his hopes.
A nation meted out and trodden down. ] Or rather meeting out and treading down. Or shortly to be meted out to conculcation or destruction.
Whose land the rivers have spoiled. ] Or, The floods - inundations of enemies - shall spoil; or, Whose land the rivers - the Ethiopians who live by the rivers Isa 18:1 - do despise. For this chapter is not more short than dark, and diversely rendered and sensed.
a Iunceae fiscellae picatae. - Vide Plin., lib. vi. cap. 22.
Isa 18:3 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.
Ver. 3. All the inhabitants of the world, see ye. ] Or, Ye shall see when he lifteth up a banner on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, ye shall hear - i.e., ye shall shortly see the Assyrians returning from the conquest of the Ethiopian with glory and great joy; but what will the Lord do the while?
Isa 18:4 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.
Ver. 4. I will take my rest, I will consider. ] He will sit and bethink himself, as it were, how he may best bestow his poor people. The Assyrian shall go on with his great design for a while, and none shall interrupt him; but the Church meanwhile shall not be unprovided for.
Like a clear heat upon herbs. ] Or, After rain which makes herbs and plants suddenly to sprout and shoot up amain. God will not only look upon his people, but refresh them in troubles.
Isa 18:5 For afore 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.
Ver. 5. For afore the harvest. ] Or, Vintage.
When the bud is perfect, &c. ] When the Assyrian, fleshed with his former victory, maketh full account that all is his own, God shall make his hopes to hop headless. He shall slaughter his forces, as Isa 18:6 branches and sprigs, great and small.
Isa 18:6 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.
Ver. 6. They shall be left together. ] They, that is, the Assyrians slain by the angel. as Psa 79:2 Isa 37:36
The fowls shall summer upon them. ] Both birds and beasts of prey shall have enough to feed upon the whole year about.
Isa 18:7 In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the LORD of hosts, the mount Zion.
Ver. 7. In that time. ] When the Assyrians are thus slain.
Shall the present be brought, ] sc., By the Jews, who shall consecrate a considerable part of the spoils of the Assyrians, according to Numbers 31:28 ; Numbers 31:47 ; Numbers 31:50 ; Numbers 31:54 . Thankfulness for public deliverances is still due to the Most High: "Bring presents unto him that ought to be feared." Psa 76:11
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 18". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13