Isaiah 18

A Prophecy Against Cush

1 Woe to the land of whirring wings[a]along the rivers of Cush,[b]
2 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.
3 All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it.
4 This is what the LORD says to me: “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place, like shimmering heat in the sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives, and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter.
7 At that time gifts will be brought to the LORD Almighty from a people tall and smooth-skinned, from a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers— the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the LORD Almighty.

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 23

  • 1. Isaiah 5:8
  • 2. S Genesis 10:6; S Psalms 68:31; S Ezekiel 29:10; Isaiah 20:3-5; Eze 30:4-5,9; Zephaniah 2:12; Zephaniah 3:10
  • 3. Obadiah 1:1
  • 4. Exodus 2:3; Job 9:26
  • 5. S Genesis 41:14
  • 6. S Genesis 10:8-9; S 2 Chronicles 12:3
  • 7. ver 7
  • 8. S Psalms 33:8
  • 9. S Psalms 60:4; Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 13:2; Isaiah 31:9; Jeremiah 4:21
  • 10. S Joshua 6:20; S Judges 3:27
  • 11. Isaiah 62:1; Isaiah 64:12
  • 12. Isaiah 26:21; Hosea 5:15; Micah 1:3
  • 13. S Judges 5:31; S Psalms 18:12; Habakkuk 3:4
  • 14. 2 Samuel 1:21; S Psalms 133:3; Isaiah 26:19; Hosea 14:5
  • 15. S Isaiah 10:33
  • 16. Isaiah 17:10-11; Ezekiel 17:6
  • 17. S Isaiah 8:8
  • 18. Isaiah 37:36; Isaiah 56:9; Jeremiah 7:33; Ezekiel 32:4; Ezekiel 39:17
  • 19. S 2 Chronicles 9:24; S Isaiah 60:7
  • 20. S Genesis 41:14
  • 21. Habakkuk 1:7
  • 22. ver 2
  • 23. Psalms 68:31

Footnotes 2

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

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