Isaiah 18

Listen to Isaiah 18

An Oracle Concerning Cush

1 Ah, land of 1whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of 2Cush,[a]
2 which 3sends ambassadors by the sea, in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, 4tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation 5mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide.
3 All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when 6a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear!
4 For thus the LORD said to me: "I will quietly look 7from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."
5 8For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away.
6 9They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.
7 10At that time tribute will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people 11tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide,to 12Mount Zion, the place of the 13name of the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 18 Commentary

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.

Cross References 13

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


This chapter is a prophecy of the desolation of a land or country, described by the wings with which it was shaded, and by the rivers by which it was situated, Isa 18:1 by its messengers and message to another nation, which is also described, Isa 18:2 all the nations of the world are called upon to observe the judgment about to be inflicted on it, Isa 18:3 and a promise is made, that at the same time God will take up his rest and dwelling among his own people, and refresh and protect them, Isa 18:4 and the time, and manner, and nature of the destruction of the people before threatened, are metaphorically expressed, Isa 18:5,6 and the issue of all will be the glory of God, since these people will be brought, in after times, as a present to him in Mount Zion, Isa 18:7.

Isaiah 18 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.