From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
Either the African Ethiopia, or Arabia Chusea, which lay between Judea and Egypt: here some particular places and people are mentioned, in whom the preceding prophecy would be fulfilled. If these rivers of Ethiopia are such as ran in the midst of the country, and so point at some parts of it, though on the other side of them, then this prophecy might have its accomplishment, at least when the Evangelist Matthew went thither, and preached the Gospel, and very likely the Apostle Paul; as also when the Ethiopian eunuch was converted, who doubtless did what in him lay to promote the interest of Christ in those parts. Ben Melech makes this parallel with and illustrates it by ( Isaiah 18:1 Isaiah 18:7 ) , (See Gill on Isaiah 18:1), (See Gill on Isaiah 18:7); but if these design rivers on the furthermost borders of the country, which divided it from others, then Egypt, which lay beyond it, seems to be intended; and so the prophecy, in connection with the foregoing verse ( Zephaniah 3:9 ) , is the same with ( Isaiah 19:18 ) "in that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan"; of these rivers of Ethiopia, whether in Africa or Arabia Chusea, (See Gill on Isaiah 18:1). The Targum renders it
``beyond the rivers of India:''my suppliants, [even] the daughter of my dispersed:
Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Abarbinel, and Ben Melech, take the words "Atharai Bathpusai" to be the proper name of a nation or family beyond the rivers of Ethiopia F12; whereas they are characters which describe persons there, who should have the pure language turned to them, and call on the name of the Lord; even such, who, being made sensible of sin, and of their danger, would be humble supplicants at the throne of grace, and pray to the Lord for the discovery and application of pardoning grace and mercy to them, agreeably to the prophecy in ( Psalms 68:31 ) "princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God"; that is, in prayer: and these are the sons and daughters of the Almighty, who are scattered abroad in the several parts of the world, and among the rest here; but as they are gathered together by Christ in redemption, so they are found out and reached by efficacious grace in calling, whether Jews or Gentiles. Some think the Jews are here meant, even the elect of God among them, who were dispersed in several nations, and particularly in Egypt and Ethiopia; who were met with by the Gospel, and converted in the first times of it; to these Peter and James direct their epistles: and of whom, being called by grace, it is said, they shall bring mine offering;
themselves as an offering to the Lord, souls and bodies, with all other spiritual sacrifices of prayer, praise, and well doing; and likewise such persons they may be the instruments of the conversion of, called the offering of the Gentiles, ( Romans 15:16 ) .
F12 So Menasseh ben Israel. Spes Israelis, p. 57.