Commentary for Isaiah 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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Isaiah 18

  • Marlo
    Before geopolitics, only present day Tunisia was known as Africa. The land mass south of Lybia was known as AEthiopia by the Greeks. There were scores of ethnic tribes allied under the main and most powerful family called Ethiopia, Cush, or Nubia. The key is "whose land the rivers have spoiled" does not reflect the modern day borders of Israel, but that of ancient Nubia.
  • Marlo
    This passage could very well be pointing to the time of the European powers trek into West Africa starting around 1492. This contact came as a result of the fall of Constantinople, and Europe needing to find an alternate trade route. The Arabs had direct contact with the Western Empires of Africa as it pertains to trade. Hence the first contact were by the Portugese.
  • Linda
    Now, if we narrow our lens, Isiah is probably talking about the great salt lake, bka the Dead Sea, which is bordered by Jordan, Israel and the West Bank; and the Wadi Arabah area, which was repeatedly flood by the Mediterranean Sea. But he is not talking about any part of Africa, as some has suggested. He said across the sea from Ethiopia.
  • Linda
    It's not any part of Africa, as some suggest. It's says across the sea. Africa has no seas running through it. The seas are the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean and Black Sea. You have to rule out the Red Sea, because Asia, too, is resource rich. That means it's Europe. As history tells us, much of Europe had precious little. That's one of the reasons why they left it. Some argue the main reason.
    check the ancient maps of the ancient world and you will know the real part of Africa reffered to in this verse as Ethiopia.
  • George W Kinerson

    ethiopia being fringe of civilization in Isaiah's time. Isaiah was talking about a nation beyond civilization, beyond an ocean, beyond an ocean doesn't fit any nation in Africa. Isaiah used the word Ethiopia explaining beyond civilization and then adds beyond a sea. A strong people from their beginning, and whole world sees and hears everything they do, surely could be America.
  • Titus mutua
    its well to share the word
  • Ray
    Syria capitivity. Scattered the tribes across the caucasus mountains to europe, america, canada Scattered and peeled. Divided by rivers
  • David Nyok
    I think Isaiah was meaning South Sudan not America as some people think it is America that Isaiah.18,talk about,truly America is the super power but it is not what Isaiah talk about,let think spiritually.
  • Sammy G Kirika
    The land is Kenya which is south of source of River Nile and with Mount Kenya which the Queen of Sheba told King Solomon that her empire extended to.The God of High Mountains and Forests is the real Heavenly Father who our ancestors prayed to, rendered acceptable sacrifices and who the world knew were worshiping true God who answered their prayers immediately after their worship.

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Bible Trivia

Isaiah pronounces woe on a place beyond which country?
  • Israel
  • Babylon
  • Ethiopia
  • Egypt