Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 18

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-7

Prophecy against Ethiopia.

v. 1. Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, the land of Cush in the upper reaches of the Nile, the land of whirring wings, where tropical insects are found in great numbers,

v. 2. that sendeth ambassadors by the sea, traversing the waters of that far country, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, light and fleet boats made of the papyrus-reed, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, rather, extended far and polished, gleaming, or shining, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto, a handsome, ruling, and victorious people, one of great hidden beauty and power; a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled, literally, "a nation of line, line," and treading under foot, under the command of Ethiopic kings, whose rule often bordered upon oppression, and whose land was carried down the Nile in the annual inundations. This entire powerful nation is stirred up by the messengers of the kings, full of excitement on account of the danger of the Assyrian invasion.

v. 3. All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye, always on the lookout for important happenings, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains, really, with an impersonal subject, when one does this, when this happens; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. The signals for the combat having been given, all the people concerned should be watching, for something of great moment will happen.

v. 4. For so the Lord said unto me, I will take My rest, and I will consider in My dwelling-place, calmly looking on, apparently without the intention of interfering, like a clear heat upon herbs, while it is pleasantly warm in the sunlight, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest, while the plants, refreshed by the heavy dew of the harvest season, grow to maturity. It seems that the Lord is letting things go on as they please, that He is not actively interested in the affairs of the world; but it only seems so to such as do not know Him.

v. 5. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, after the blossom has withered, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, while the fruit is slowly maturing, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks and take away and cut down the branches. Then the Lord would overthrow their present plans and prevent them from forming any future ones.

v. 6. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, the birds of prey feeding on their carcasses, and to the beasts of the earth, to the foxes, hyenas, and jackals; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them, finding abundance of food the year around on the field of battle.

v. 7. In that time, in the Messianic period, shall the present, namely, a tribute or sacrificial gift, be brought unto the Lord of hosts, the true God, of a people scattered and peeled and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto, Cf v. 2; 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, the Church of Jesus Christ. In the very midst of a prophecy describing the punishment meted out by God we have this Messianic promise. The Christian Church gained a foothold in Ethiopia and Abyssinia at a very early date and flourished there for many centuries.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Isaiah 18". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/isaiah-18.html. 1921-23.
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