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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 18

 

 

Verses 1-7

Isaiah 18. Isaiah Discourages the Schemes of Ethiopia.—This chapter is probably connected with the policy of the Egyptian alliance so frequently denounced by Isaiah in 29-31. Here the negotiations seem to be in the initial stage, and the courteous language of Isaiah agrees best with the view that at present he did not regard the alliance as within the range of practical politics. The land of Ethiopia is described, with special reference to the swarms of flies. Its rivers are the Blue and White Nile. Ambassadors have been sent to Jerusalem, apparently to induce the Jews to throw off the Assyrian yoke and assure them of support. They have come down the Nile, here called the sea (Isaiah 19:5*), in light boats of papyrus (Exodus 2:3). These were very swift, and could be carried along the bank where the river was not navigable. EV, by inserting "saying" in Isaiah 18:2, gives a wrong sense, as if Ethiopia addressed the following words to the ambassadors, sending them to the various parts of the empire. They are rather the words spoken to them by Isaiah, bidding them return from Jerusalem to their own land. They are described as tall and with polished skins, a people of great military strength, trampling other nations beneath its feet, and inhabiting a land intersected by numerous rivers, unlike Judah, which was so poor in streams. The whole world is bidden observe the signal given for the overthrow of Assyria, since not Ethiopia alone but many other peoples are deeply concerned in her fate. Through a special revelation Isaiah has learnt the explanation of Yahweh's conduct and his knowledge of His future action. Unlike the busy, intriguing nations, whose action all ends in nothing, Yahweh waits quietly till the time is ripe, when He intervenes with effect. The heat and cloud ripen the harvest, and they also fitly symbolise the stillness in which Yahweh bides His time. He waits because Assyria has still His work to do, and only when that is accomplished does He cut her down. Just when the plans of Assyria are on the eve of accomplishment Yahweh brings them to nothing. Ravenous beasts and birds will prey on the corpses of the Assyrian soldiers. Then the Ethiopians will send a present to Zion for Yahweh.

Isaiah 18:2. that meteth out and treadeth down: render, probably, "a people of strength and treading down."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 18:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/isaiah-18.html. 1919.

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