All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; And when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. Isaiah 18:3
Prophecy Against Cush (Ethiopia)
The land of Cush is Ethiopia. Before it became independent, around 1,000 B.C., it was a part of the Egyptian empire. The two lands are associated in Isaiah 18-20. The prophet announces that even this distant and aggressive nation will one day be humbled, and bring tribute to the Lord Almighty at Mount Zion.
Summary of Isaiah 18-20
These chapters hold Isaiah’s words concerning Egypt, then as throughout the OT era, a world power. Isaiah rejects the efforts of envoys from Cush (the vast area along the upper Nile) to ally with Judah against Assyria, calling on them to return and watch what God does. Then they will acknowledge the Lord’s sovereignty by bringing Him gifts. Isaiah then predicts devastating judgments on Egypt, along the lower Nile. Yet when the judgments fall a change will come. Egypt – and even Assyria – will worship God. But the immediate future, acted out by Isaiah, holds nothing but judgment for the two lands (20:1-6).
18:1 Ethiopia, called Cush in the Bible, was at the southern end of Isaiah’s world. A Cushite dynasty took over Egypt in 715 B.C. and probably sent ambassadors to Jerusalem. Cush may have been a Hebrew term for black African peoples.
18:3 banner: For the use of this word to refer to salvation instead of judgment, see 11:10, 12.
18:7 the place of the name: Note how closely the Lord identifies with Mt. Zion. This was the one place for the true worship of God.
A Prophecy concerning Ethiopia
18 1 Woe to the land shadowed with buzzing wings, Which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, 2 Which sends ambassadors by sea, Even in vessels of reed on the waters, saying, “Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth of skin, To a people terrible from their beginning onward, A nation powerful and treading down, Whose land the rivers divide.” 3 All inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth: When he lifts up a banner on the mountains, you see it; And when he blows a trumpet, you hear it. 4 For so the Lord said to me, “I will take My rest, And I will look from My dwelling place Like clear heat in sunshine, Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.” 5 For before the harvest, when the bud is perfect And the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He will both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks And take away and cut down the branches. 6 They will be left together for the mountain birds of prey And for the beasts of the earth; The birds of prey will summer on them, And all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. 7 In that time a present will be brought to the Lord of hosts From a people tall and smooth of skin, And from a people terrible from their beginning onward, A nation powerful and treading down, Whose land the rivers divide– To the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, To Mount Zion.