Isa 18: "A picture of an ambassage of friendship and alliance
coming to Jerusalem from Tirhakah, the Ethiopian king of Egypt. Yet everything
about succeeding prophecies suggests Egyptian undependability and deceit, and
even hostility. Isaiah gives no encouragement at all to the repeated eager
efforts of the faithless statesmen in Jerusalem to make a firm defensive
alliance against the tide of Assyrian expansion" (WIsa 223). Cp idea, Joel
WHIRRING WINGS: "The significance of the qualifying
phrase 'buzzing wings' is uncertain. Some suggest that the designation points to
Cush as a land with many insects. Another possibility is that it refers to the
swiftness with which this land's messengers travel" (NET notes).
"A strange [wd] which might ref to the buzzing of the flying
insects or the whirring of wings or even the reverberation of cymbals. In fact,
it is almost the same as the local name for the tsetse fly, and is perhaps
chosen to suggest the hornet which Moses used as a sym for the might of the
Pharaohs... There is evidence, too, that the ancient sym for Ethiopia was the
sun's disc with a prominent pair of wings" (WIsa 223).
RIVERS OF CUSH: The several branches of the Nile delta.
CUSH: Or Ethiopia. Used with ref to the ruling Egyptian
dynasty, for Tirhakah (Isa 37:9) and his predecessors were a Cushite family from
the extreme south.
PAPYRUS BOATS: "Gomeh" = papyrus -- ie Exo 2:3; Job
8:11; 9:26; Isa 35:7. Such reed boats are still in use in Lake Tana in Ethiopia
-- the source of the Blue Nile. Similar boats were used by Thor Heyerdahl in the
"Ra" expedition (Tes 48:391). Or poss, simply the papyrus sails of the Egyptian
skiffs. Perhaps the "papyrus" suggests "paper" promises of the ambassadors --
ie, trivial, flimsy, undependable. "Thus, gently, the prophet's later slurs
against Egyptian undependability are anticipated (Isa 30:5,7; 31:3)" (WIsa
TALL AND SMOOTH-SKINNED: "Scattered and peeled" (KJV).
"Tall and smooth" (RSV, ASV, WEB). "Strange and harsh" (LXX). "Drawn out and
polished" (Roth). "Tall and of glossy skin" (JPS). "Tall, smooth-skinned": "The
precise meaning of the qualifying terms is uncertain... Lexicographers theorize
that it here refers to people who 'stretch out,' as it were, or are tall (as
BDB, HAL). The second term is a participle from 'to pull out [hair]'... to
'become bald' or 'be wiped clean'. Lexicographers theorize that the word here
refs to people with bare, or smooth, skin (BDB, HAL). These proposed meanings,
which are based on etymological speculation, must be regarded as tentative" (NET
But... do these phrases describe the Egyptians? Or the people
to whom their ambassadors go -- ie the people of Israel? HAW suggests: "dragged
away and plucked off (their Land), or (poss) flayed" (cp Isa 50:6), and calls
this "a picture of people destined to face desperate hardship when the invader
takes multitudes of them off into captivity in a far-off land" (WIsa
TALL: Or "scattered", or "dragged away": the Jewish
dispersion (ie Deu 29:28; Luk 19:44; Mat 23:38), this time at the hand of the
WHOSE LAND IS DIVIDED BY RIVERS: The land of Egypt is
divided by the branches of the Nile delta. But... the land of Israel/Judah has
been "divided" by the rivers of the mighty army of the king of Assyria (Isa
17:12-14; cp Isa 8:7,8)!
BANNER... TRUMPET: Usually, to call to war, but in this
to call the nations to celebrate the peace achieved by God's awesome overthrow
of Sennacherib's host (2Ch 32:23).
BANNER: Christ in Isa 11:10.
TRUMPET: // Joel 2:15; Psa 81:3. Sounds of Jubilee,
when Israelites return to claim their own Land!
I WILL REMAIN QUIET: But only until... See Isa
MY DWELLING PLACE: The Temple mount at Jerusalem, which
will remain inviolate from the Assyrian hordes.
LIKE SHIMMERING HEAT IN THE SUNSHINE: "As the light of
mid-day heat" (LXX). The Glory of the Lord, the pillar of cloud and fire, which
protected Israel coming out of Egypt (Exo 14:20). Heat = the devouring fire used
by the Angel to destroy the Assyrian army (Isa 30:30).
LIKE A CLOUD OF DEW IN THE HEAT OF HARVEST: A
phenomenon in Israel: a cloud of dew hovering over the grain in the early
morning. Implying coolness before the heat of the day; refreshing (Baly 45). Cp
general idea, Pro 25:13; 2Sa 23:4; Psa 72:6.
"By common consent, 'they' are the Assyrian plunderers
suddenly brought low in Judea. The grim figure of vultures and wild beasts
gorging themselves on mounds of carcases is ghoulish enough. But the details are
impressive. The siege of Jerusalem took place at Passover (Isa 31:5; 26:20;
33:20; 29:1). Here is an indication that through the summer and into the winter
the wild creatures would still be foraging for their food among the piles of the
dead. 185,000 -- no less! (Isa 37:36)" (WIsa 225). Cp generally Eze 38:20;
39:17; Rev 19:17,21.
The captives brought back to Judah (Isa 49:8...; 60:6,7;
66:20), bringing gifts with them (2Ch 32:23).