Isaiah 18 Tall and smooth skinned


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Isaiah 18:1 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.

a. Isaiah 18:1 Or of locusts
b. Isaiah 18:1 That is, the upper Nile region

The commentaries say this is an "obscure" chapter. This is from

Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: In the days of Isaiah, Ethiopia was a major world power, ruling Egypt and a chief rival to Assyria. Since Judah was caught in the middle between this conflict, it might make sense for Judah to align herself with Ethiopia against Assyria.
“In 715 B.C. an Ethiopian named Shabako gained control of Egypt as founder of the twenty-fifth dynasty. Ethiopian domination continued until 633 B.C. when a native Egyptian regained the throne.” (Wolf)​
“The term designates a much larger area than present-day Ethiopia – an area including the Sudan and Somalia.” (Grogan)​

The LORD said to me, “I will take My rest”: The LORD God rejects the alliance with Ethiopia, because He is more than able to deal with the Assyrians Himself. He can take His rest without the help of the Ethiopians. If God wanted to muster an army against Assyria, He would have raised a banner or sounded a trumpet. He is fully able to do it and would do it when the time is right.​
Significantly, there is no rebuke or judgment against Ethiopia announced in this chapter. It wasn’t as if God was going to judge Ethiopia for their offer of an alliance. Perhaps the idea is that it is a well-intentioned but unnecessary offer. Instead, Judah was to trust in the LORD!​
He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut the branches: God can “prune” Assyria all by Himself. He will destroy the Assyrian army so completely that they will be left together for the mountain birds of prey.​

Since this is "obscure" I went to the easy English site.

Cush was a country that today forms part of southern Egypt and northern Sudan.
  • ‘Clouds of insects’ is one possible translation of a very rare Hebrew form of words. Or the words may refer to the sails of small boats on the rivers. Either translation could correctly refer to the land of Cush.
The people in Cush have sent messengers to invite Judah to join in a force against Assyria. But Isaiah’s message told them to return home. Military unions will never be sufficient. God’s people should trust the Lord alone for success.
‘Smooth skins’ refers to the fact that the men of Cush shaved their faces. Many other people from the east did not shave (see Genesis 41:14).​
People used high places, for example the tops of mountains, to send important news quickly and over vast distances. But in this verse ‘sign’ and ‘alarm’ give a picture in words. The meaning is ‘a clear message that everybody can understand’.
The Lord remains calm. What is about to happen between nations does not affect him in any way. But when he sees that the time is right, he will suddenly act. Then nothing can stop him. Nobody can stop him.
The Lord will use some nation’s army to destroy the huge forces of Cush. He, and not some political leader, is in control of the events of history.
It appears the Ethopians ["Cush"ians.... giggle] wanted to form an alliance with Judah against the Babylonians [Iraq], Moabites [Jordan] and Damascus [Syria].

OK.... here's what I think these seven verses mean..... God doesn't need human assistance.

Even today.... should God decide to intervene..... people wouldn't be able to stop him.

It occurs to me that the only reason this is not called World War I is that humans didn't consider the "world" inhabitable..... the earth was still flat and humans were still rather concentrated. I mean.... look at the map.... there were major players wiping out humans left and right.... and God was just watching....kind of like my friend's brother who use to play war games with his toy soldiers. I watched him pick up big clumps of earth, crush them into a "bomb" and then throw [not toss or place.... throw] them at an opposing army.... like an meteor.... wiping out the soldiers.....


A map makes it easy to see.....


Does that put things in perspective? Those smooth skinned people would have come a long way to help.... and God didn't need their help at all... He was watching.... from a high place.... keeping an eye on the battle....forming his "meteor".....