Isaiah 18 Commentary

Alliance with Ethiopia refused (18:1-7)

Along the upper reaches of the Nile River was the country known as Ethiopia (RSV), Sudan (GNB) or Cush (NIV). It was a land of tall smooth-skinned people, but also a land plagued by swarms of buzzing insects. From this country a group of government representatives came to visit Judah, travelling down the Nile and across to Jerusalem. They apparently hoped to gain Hezekiah’s cooperation in an attack against Assyria. Isaiah sends them back as he had done the Philistine representatives earlier (18:1-2; cf. 14:28- 32).

Judah’s need is to trust in God, not in foreign alliances. Even if the Assyrian army reaches the mountains of Judah and signals for the final attack on Jerusalem, the Judeans must keep trusting in God. God has been quietly watching the Assyrians’ advance and at the right time he will cut them down, as a farmer cuts down the ripened grain. Birds will feed on the corpses of the dead soldiers (3-6). A group of Ethiopian representatives will then come to Jerusalem again, this time to thank God for his defeat of the Assyrians (7).

Privacy Policy