Compare Translations for Isaiah 18:2

  • Isaiah 18:2 (ASV) that sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus upon the waters, [saying], Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people terrible from their beginning onward, a nation that meteth out and treadeth down, whose land the rivers divide!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (BBE) Which sends its representatives by the sea, even in ships of papyrus on the waters. Go back quickly, O representatives, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people causing fear through all their history; a strong nation, crushing down its haters, whose land is cut through by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (CEB) that sends messengers by sea, reed vessels on the water. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and clean-shaven, to a people feared near and far, a nation barbaric and oppressive, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (CEBA) that sends messengers by sea, reed vessels on the water. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and clean-shaven, to a people feared near and far, a nation barbaric and oppressive, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (CJB) they send ambassadors by sea, across the water in papyrus-reed boats! Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and bronzed, to a people feared far and near, to a strong and conquering nation whose land is divided by rivers!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (CSB) sends envoys by sea, in reed vessels on the waters. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared near and far, a powerful nation with a strange language, whose land is divided by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (DBY) that sendest ambassadors over the sea, and in vessels of papyrus upon the waters, [saying,] Go, swift messengers, to a nation scattered and ravaged, to a people terrible from their existence and thenceforth; to a nation of continued waiting and of treading down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (ESV) which sends ambassadors by the sea, in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (GNT) From that land ambassadors come down the Nile in boats made of reeds. Go back home, swift messengers! Take a message back to your land divided by rivers, to your strong and powerful nation, to your tall and smooth-skinned people, who are feared all over the world.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (GNTA) From that land ambassadors come down the Nile in boats made of reeds. Go back home, swift messengers! Take a message back to your land divided by rivers, to your strong and powerful nation, to your tall and smooth-skinned people, who are feared all over the world.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (GW) It sends messengers by sea in boats made of reeds [skimming] over the surface of the water. Go, swift messengers, to a tall and smooth-skinned people, a people [who are] feared far and near, a strong and aggressive nation, whose land is divided by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (HNV) that sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus on the waters, [saying], Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (JUB) He who sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, <em>saying</em>, Go, ye swift messengers, to the people scattered and peeled, to the people full of fears from their beginning, and until now, <em>a</em> people tired of waiting and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (KJV) 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 !

  • Isaiah 18:2 (KJVA) 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 !

  • Isaiah 18:2 (LEB) that sends messengers by the sea and in vessels of papyrus on [the] surface of [the] waters! Go, swift messengers, to a {tall} and {smooth} nation, to a people feared {near and far}, a {mighty, mighty} and trampling nation, whose land rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (MSG) Shipping emissaries all over the world, down rivers and across seas. Go, swift messengers, go to this people tall and handsome, This people held in respect everywhere, this people mighty and merciless, from the land crisscrossed with rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NAS) Which sends envoys by the sea, Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters. Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, To a people feared far and wide, A powerful and oppressive nation Whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NCV) That land sends messengers across the sea; they go on the water in boats made of reeds. Go, quick messengers, to a people who are tall and smooth-skinned, who are feared everywhere. They are a powerful nation that defeats other nations. Their land is divided by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NIRV) Its people send messengers on the Nile River. They travel over the water in papyrus boats. Messengers, hurry back home! Go back to your people, who are tall and have smooth skin. Everyone is afraid of them. They are warriors. Their language is different from ours. Their land is divided up by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NIV) which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NKJV) Which sends ambassadors by sea, Even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying, "Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, To a people terrible from their beginning onward, A nation powerful and treading down, Whose land the rivers divide."

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NLT) and ambassadors are sent in fast boats down the Nile. Go home, swift messengers! Take a message to your land divided by rivers, to your tall, smooth-skinned people, who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NRS) sending ambassadors by the Nile in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (NRSA) sending ambassadors by the Nile in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Yeshayah 18:2 (OJB) That sendeth envoys by the yam, even in vessels of gomeh (papyrus) upon the mayim, saying, Go, ye swift malachim, to a Goy (nation) tall and smooth of skin, to an Am Norah far away on the other side; a Goy powerful and treading down, whose land the neharim (rivers) divide!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (RHE) That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, and in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters. Go, ye swift angels, to a nation rent and torn in pieces: to a terrible people, after which there is no other: to a nation expecting and trodden underfoot, whose land the rivers have spoiled.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (RSV) which sends ambassadors by the Nile, in vessels of papyrus upon the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (RSVA) which sends ambassadors by the Nile, in vessels of papyrus upon the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (TMB) 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!"

  • Isaiah 18:2 (TMBA) 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!"

  • Isaiah 18:2 (TNIV) which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (WBT) That sendeth embassadors 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 measured by line and trodden down, whose land the rivers have laid waste.

  • Isaiah 18:2 (WEB) that sends ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of papyrus on the waters, [saying], Go, you swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, to a people awesome from their beginning onward, a nation that measures out and treads down, whose land the rivers divide!

  • Isaiah 18:2 (WYC) that sendeth messengers by the sea, and in vessels of papyrus on waters. Go, ye messengers, to the folk drawn up and rent; to a fearedful people, after which is none other; to the folk abiding and defouled, whose land the floods have ravished; to the hill of the name of the Lord of hosts, to the hill of Zion. (that sendeth messengers by the sea, and in papyrus vessels upon the waters. Go, ye messengers, to a tall and smooth-skinned nation; to a people feared above all others; to a nation lying in wait, and defiled, whose land the rivers have made subject.)

  • Isaiah 18:2 (YLT) That is sending by sea ambassadors, Even with implements of reed on the face of the waters, -- Go, ye light messengers, Unto a nation drawn out and peeled, Unto a people fearful from its beginning and onwards, A nation meeting out by line, and treading down, Whose land floods have spoiled.

Commentaries For Isaiah 18

  • Chapter 18

    God's care for his people; and the increase of the church.

    - This chapter is one of the most obscure in Scripture, though more of it probably was understood by those for whose use it was first intended, than by us now. Swift messengers are sent by water to a nation marked by Providence, and measured out, trodden under foot. God's people are trampled on; but whoever thinks to swallow them up, finds they are cast down, yet not deserted, not destroyed. All the dwellers on earth must watch the motions of the Divine Providence, and wait upon the directions of the Divine will. God gives assurance to his prophet, and by him to be given to his people. Zion is his rest for ever, and he will look after it. He will suit to their case the comforts and refreshments he provides for them; they will be acceptable, because seasonable. He will reckon with his and their enemies; and as God's people are protected at all seasons of the year, so their enemies are exposed at all seasons. A tribute of praise should be brought to God from all this. What is offered to God, must be offered in the way he has appointed; and we may expect him to meet us where he records his name. Thus shall the nations of the earth be convinced that Jehovah is the God, and Israel is his people, and shall unite in presenting spiritual sacrifices to his glory. Happy are those who take warning by his judgment on others, and hasten to join him and his people. Whatever land or people may be intended, we are here taught not to think that God takes no care of his church, and has no respect to the affairs of men, because he permits the wicked to triumph for a season. He has wise reasons for so doing, which we cannot now understand, but which will appear at the great day of his coming, when he will bring every work into judgment, and reward every man according to his works.

  • CHAPTER 18

    Isaiah 18:1-7 .

    Isaiah announces the overthrow of Sennacherib's hosts and desires the Ethiopian ambassadors, now in Jerusalem, to bring word of it to their own nation; and he calls on the whole world to witness the event ( Isaiah 18:3 ). As Isaiah 17:12-14 announced the presence of the foe, so Isaiah 18:1-7 foretells his overthrow.

    1. Woe--The heading in English Version, "God will destroy the Ethiopians," is a mistake arising from the wrong rendering "Woe," whereas the Hebrew does not express a threat, but is an appeal calling attention ( Isaiah 55:1 , Zechariah 2:6 ): "Ho." He is not speaking against but to the Ethiopians, calling on them to hear his prophetical announcement as to the destruction of their enemies.
    shadowing with wings--rather, "land of the winged bark"; that is, "barks with wing-like sails, answering to vessels of bulrushes" in Isaiah 18:2 ; the word "rivers," in the parallelism, also favors it; so the Septuagint and Chaldee [EWALD]. "Land of the clanging sound of wings," that is, armies, as in Isaiah 8:8 ; the rendering "bark," or "ship," is rather dubious [MAURER]. The armies referred to are those of Tirhakah, advancing to meet the Assyrians ( Isaiah 37:9 ). In English Version, "shadowing" means protecting--stretching out its wings to defend a feeble people, namely, the Hebrews [VITRINGA]. The Hebrew for "wings" is the same as for the idol Cneph, which was represented in temple sculptures with wings ( Psalms 91:4 ).
    beyond--Meroe, the island between the "rivers" Nile and Astaboras is meant, famed for its commerce, and perhaps the seat of the Ethiopian government, hence addressed here as representing the whole empire: remains of temples are still found, and the name of "Tirhakah" in the inscriptions. This island region was probably the chief part of Queen Candace's kingdom ( Acts 8:27 ). For "beyond" others translate less literally "which borderest on."
    Ethiopia--literally, "Cush." HORSLEY is probably right that the ultimate and fullest reference of the prophecy is to the restoration of the Jews in the Holy Land through the instrumentality of some distant people skilled in navigation ( Isaiah 18:2 , Isaiah 60:9 Isaiah 60:10 , Psalms 45:15 , 68:31 , Zephaniah 3:10 ). Phoenician voyagers coasting along would speak of all Western remote lands as "beyond" the Nile's mouths. "Cush," too, has a wide sense, being applied not only to Ethiopia, but Arabia-Deserta and Felix, and along the Persian Gulf, as far as the Tigris ( Genesis 2:13 ).

    2. ambassadors--messengers sent to Jerusalem at the time that negotiations passed between Tirhakah and Hezekiah against the expected attack of Sennacherib ( Isaiah 37:9 ).
    by . . . sea--on the Nile ( Isaiah 19:5 ): as what follows proves.
    vessels of bulrushes--light canoes, formed of papyrus, daubed over with pitch: so the "ark" in which Moses was exposed ( Exodus 2:3 ).
    Go--Isaiah tells them to take back the tidings of what God is about to do ( Isaiah 18:4 ) against the common enemy of both Judah and Ethiopia.
    scattered and peeled--rather, "strong and energetic" [MAURER]. The Hebrew for "strong" is literally, "drawn out" (Margin; Psalms 36:10 , Ecclesiastes 2:3 ). "Energetic," literally, "sharp" ( Habakkuk 1:8 , Margin; the verb means to "sharpen" a sword, Ezekiel 21:15 Ezekiel 21:16 ); also "polished." As HERODOTUS (3:20,114) characterizes the Ethiopians as "the tallest and fairest of men," G. V. SMITH translates, "tall and comely"; literally, "extended" ( Isaiah 45:14 , "men of stature") and polished (the Ethiopians had "smooth, glossy skins"). In English Version the reference is to the Jews, scattered outcasts, and loaded with indignity (literally, "having their hair torn off," HORSLEY).
    terrible--the Ethiopians famed for warlike prowess [ROSENMULLER]. The Jews who, because of God's plague, made others to fear the like ( Deuteronomy 28:37 ). Rather, "awfully remarkable" [HORSLEY]. God puts the "terror" of His people into the surrounding nations at the first ( Exodus 23:27 , Joshua 2:9 ); so it shall be again in the latter days ( Zechariah 12:2 Zechariah 12:3 ).
    from . . . beginning hitherto--so English Version rightly. But GESENIUS, "to the terrible nation (of upper Egypt) and further beyond" (to the Ethiopians, properly so called).
    meted out--Hebrew, "of line." The measuring-line was used in destroying buildings ( Isaiah 34:11 , 2 Kings 21:13 , Lamentations 2:8 ). Hence, actively, it means here "a people meting out,--an all-destroying people"; which suits the context better than "meted," passively [MAURER]. HORSLEY, understanding it of the Jews, translates it, "Expecting, expecting (in a continual attitude of expectation of Messiah) and trampled under foot"; a graphic picture of them. Most translate, of strength, strength (from a root, to brace the sinews), that is, a most powerful people.
    trodden down--true of the Jews. But MAURER translates it actively, a people "treading under foot" all its enemies, that is, victorious ( Isaiah 14:25 ), namely, the Ethiopians.
    spoiled--"cut up." The Nile is formed by the junction of many streams in Abyssinia, the Atbara, the Astapus or Blue river (between which two rivers Meroe, the "Ethiopia" here meant, lies), and the Astaboras or White river; these streams wash down the soil along their banks in the "land" of Upper Egypt and deposit it on that of Lower Egypt. G. V. SMITH translates it, "Divide." HORSLEY takes it figuratively of the conquering armies which have often "spoiled" Judea,

    3. see ye . . . hear ye--rather, "ye shall see . . . shall hear." Call to the whole earth to be witnesses of what Jehovah ("He") is about to do. He will "lift up an ensign," calling the Assyrian motley hosts together ( Isaiah 5:26 ) on "the mountains" round Jerusalem, to their own destruction. This (the eighteenth chapter) declares the coming overthrow of those armies whose presence is announced in Isaiah 17:12 Isaiah 17:13 . The same motive, which led Hezekiah to seek aid from Egypt, led him to accept gladly the Ethiopian Tirhakah's aid ( Isaiah 36:6 , 37:9 ). Ethiopia, Egypt, and Judea were probably leagued together against the common enemy, 713 B.C. See notes on the twenty-second chapter, where a difference of tone (as referring to a different period) as to Ethiopia is observable. HORSLEY takes the "ensign" to be the cross, and the "trumpet" the Gospel trumpet, which shall be sounded more loudly in the last days.

    4. take . . . rest . . . consider--I will calmly look on and not interpose, while all seems to promise success to the enemy; when figuratively, the sun's heat" and "the night dews" ripen their "harvest"; but "before" it reaches its maturity I will destroy it ( Isaiah 18:5 , Ecclesiastes 8:11 Ecclesiastes 8:12 ).
    like a clear heat--rather, "at the time of the clear (serene) heat" [MAURER].
    upon herbs--answering to "harvest" in the parallel clause. MAURER translates, "in the sunlight" ( Job 31:26 , 37:21 , Habakkuk 3:4 ).
    like . . . dew--rather, "at the time of the dew cloud." God's "silence" is mistaken by the ungodly for consent; His delay in taking vengeance for forgetfulness ( Psalms 50:21 ); so it shall be before the vengeance which in the last day shall usher in the restoration of the Jews ( Isaiah 34:1-8 , 57:11 , end of the verse, 2 Peter 3:3-10 ).

    5. For--rather, "But."
    perfect--perfected. When the enemy's plans are on the verge of completion.
    sour grape . . . flower--rather, "when the flower shall become the ripening grape" [MAURER].
    sprigs--the shoots with the grapes on them. God will not only disconcert their present plans, but prevent them forming any future ones. HORSLEY takes the "harvest" and vintage here as referring to purifying judgments which cause the excision of the ungodly from the earth, and the placing of the faithful in a state of peace on the earth: not the last judgment ( John 15:2 , Revelation 14:15-20 ).

    6. birds . . . beasts--transition from the image "sprigs," "branches," to the thing meant: the Assyrian soldiers and leaders shall be the prey of birds and beasts, the whole year through, "winter" and "summer," so numerous shall be their carcasses. HORSLEY translates the Hebrew which is singular: "upon it," not "upon them"; the "it" refers to God's "dwelling-place" ( Isaiah 18:4 ) in the Holy Land, which Antichrist ("the bird of prey" with the "beasts," his rebel hosts) is to possess himself of, and where he is to perish.

    7. present . . . people scattered and peeled--For the right rendering, paid to Jehovah by so mighty a nation. The Ethiopians, wonderstruck at such an interposition of Jehovah in behalf of His people, shall send gifts to Jerusalem in His honor ( Isaiah 16:1 , Psalms 68:31 , 72:10 ). Thus translate: "a present . . . from a people." Or translate, as English Version; "the present" will mean "the people" of Ethiopia converted to God ( Romans 15:16 ). HORSLEY takes the people converted to Jehovah, as the Jews in the latter days.
    place of the name--where Jehovah peculiarly manifests His glory; Acts 2:10 and Acts 8:27 show how worshippers came up to Jerusalem from Egypt" and "Ethiopia." Frumentius, an Egyptian, in the fourth century, converted Abyssinia to Christianity; and a Christian church, under an abuna or bishop, still flourishes there. The full accomplishment is probably still future.