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THE PROPHET ISAIAH
IS18:1 Woe! to that land of the buzzing insects
718 Land of the buzzing insects: Or, KJV: land shadowing with wings; JPS: deep shadow of wings; NJB: whirling locust; LXX: wings of the
land of ships. Likely a reference to Ethiopia.
IS18:2 The one sending ambassadors 720
by the sea in reed boats 721
on the surface of the waters! “Go, all of you speedy messengers, 722
to a nation picked and polished, 723
to a people of horror throughout their history 724
– a nation powerful and subjugating, 725
whose territory is cut by rivers.” 726
719 Land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: Or, NJB: Cush; JPS: Nubia.
[Isaiah 20:3; Ezekiel 30:4; Zephaniah 3:10] The name “Ethiopia” means “Land of Burnt Faces: and in Hebrew is called KUWSH [Cush = black]. It is located south of Egypt and includes the upper Nile. Cush is first mentioned in the context
of the location of Eden. [Genesis 2:13] Cush was one of the sons of Noah’s son Ham. [Genesis 10:6] Moses married a Cushite. [Numbers 21:1]. The county still goes by the Greek name in the LXX – AITHIOPIAS [Ethiopia]. A famous convert came from that
land. [Acts 8:27] 720 Ambassadors: Or, LXX: messengers; JPS: swift messengers. The LXX Greek is APOSTELLON [apostles]. 721
By the sea in reed boats: Or, KJV: vessels of bulrushes; RHM: vessels of paper-reed; LXX: paper letters. The LXX Greek is EPISTOLAS BIBLINAS. “Reed” may also be “papyrus. The “sea” may primarily include the Nile. Such boats
were used throughout Egypt and Ethiopia as well as some isolated peoples in South America. 722 Speedy messengers:
The LXX Greek uses ANGELOI. 723 Picked and polished: Or, LXX: strange and harsh; NJB: tall and bronzed;
RHM: drawn out and polished [footnote: as by scouring]; JPS: thrust forth and away [footnote: Hebrew uncertain]; KJV: scattered and peeled. Possibly referring to a people tall and beardless. 724 Horror throughout their history: Or, KJV: a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; JPS: of gibber and chatter; RHM: terrible from their beginning and onwards; NJB: feared far and near. 725 Powerful and subjugating: Or, NJB: mighty and masterful; RHM: mighty and subduing; KJV: meted out and trodden down. 726 Whose territory is cut by rivers: Or, KJV: whose land the rivers have spoiled; JPS: cut off by streams; RHM: whose land rivers have cut
through; NJB: criss-crossed with rivers.
IS18:3 All you inhabitants of the land
727 Inhabitants of the land: Or, NJB: all you who inhabit the world; RHM: inhabitants of the world; JPS: who live in the world. The Hebrew
is TEBEL [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #8398, habitable part]. 728 Dwelling on earth: Or, JPS: inhabit the earth; RHM: dwell in the earth; NJB: people the earth. The Hebrew is ‘ERETS [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #776, whole earth]. 729 Signal is raised: Or, RHM: lifted up an ensign; JPS: flag is waved. The LXX Greek is SEMEION – see Matthew 24:3.
IS18:4 For YeHoWaH said this to me: “I remain quietly undisturbed. 731
I will observe from the fixed place of My dwelling 732
– like scorching heat with its light, 733
like a cloud of dew during the heat of harvest-time. 734
730 Horn: Or, LXX: trumpet; JPS: ram’s horn. The Hebrew is SHOPHAR [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #7782]. 731 I remain quietly undisturbed: Or, KJV: take my rest; NJB: I will sit here quietly looking down; RHM: I must be quiet; JPS: I rest
calm and confident. 732 Observe from the fixed place of My dwelling: Or, RHM: I must look on in my fixed place
of abode; KJV: my dwelling place; YNG: my settled place. [Isaiah 66:1] 733 Scorching heat with its light: Or,
KJV: like clear heat upon herbs; NJB: burning heat in the daytime; RHM: a bright heat on the light; JPS: scorching heat upon sprouts. [2 Samuel 23:4]
IS18:5 For before the harvest – when budding has occurred, and the blossom produces
a ripe grape – then someone will cut off the branches with pruning-hooks. He will take away the pruning and throw it out. 735
734 Cloud of dew during the heat of harvest-time: Or, JPS: rain-cloud in the heat of reaping time; NJB: dewy mist in the heat of harvest. The two phrases describe God’s presence as He looks on at these world events.
Both figures of speech suggest something of an invisible presence, observing what humankind is doing.
IS18:6 They will all be abandoned to the vultures 736
of the mountains, and to the wild beasts of the earth. Then the vulture will make a summer nest among the twigs, 737
and every wild beast of the earth will winter among them.
735 Pruning and throw it out: The analogies suggest an examination resulting in pruning. Compare John 15:1-10. Compare Isaiah 17:11. 736 Vultures: That is, a raptor. Or, bird of prey, fowls, ravenous birds, kites,
birds of the sky. The Hebrew is ‘AYIT [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance #5861, a swooper]. 737
Among the twigs: That is, what ever is left over from the destruction is used by birds as nest materials.
IS18:7 “At that time a gift
738 Gift: Or, tribute, present. [2 Chronicles 32:23] The “gift”
is that of the powerful nation which God will use for His own purposes. 739 Place of the Name: Compare Deuteronomy
12:11; 14:23; 16:2, 6, 11; 26:2; Nehemiah 1:9.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
©2000 All Rights Reserved