Isaiah 18:1
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Ah, land of whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of Cush,

King James Bible
Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

American Standard Version
Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia;

Douay-Rheims Bible
WOE to the land, the winged cymbal, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia,

English Revised Version
Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:

Webster's Bible Translation
Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Cush:

Isaiah 18:1 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Third turn: "In that day will his fortified cities be like the ruins of the forest and of the mountain top, which they cleared before the sons of Israel: and there arises a waste place. For thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not thought of the Rock of thy stronghold, therefore thou plantedst charming plantations, and didst set them with strange vines. In the day that thou plantedst, thou didst make a fence; and with the morning dawn thou madest thy sowing to blossom: a harvest heap in the day of deep wounds and deadly sorrow of heart." The statement in Isaiah 17:3, "The fortress of Ephraim is abolished," is repeated in Isaiah 17:9 in a more descriptive manner. The fate of the strongly fortified cities of Ephraim would be the same as that of the old Canaanitish castles, which were still to be discerned in their antiquated remains, either in the depths of forests or high up on the mountains. The word ‛azubâh, which the early translators quite misunderstood, signifies, both here and in Isaiah 6:12, desolate places that have gone to ruin. They also misunderstood והאמיר הסהרשׁ. The Septuagint renders it, by a bold conjecture, οἱ Αμοῤῥηαῖοι καὶ οὶ Εὐαῖοι; but this is at once proved to be false by the inversion of the names of the two peoples, which was very properly thought to be necessary. האמיר undoubtedly signifies the top of a tree, which is quite unsuitable here. But as even this meaning points back to אמר, extollere, efferre (see at Psalm 94:4), it may also mean the mountain-top. The name hâ'emori (the Amorites: those who dwell high up in the mountains) proves the possibility of this; and the prophet had this name in his mind, and was guided by it in his choice of a word. The subject of עזבוּ is self-evident. And the reason why only the ruins in forests and on mountains are mentioned is, that other places, which were situated on the different lines of traffic, merely changed their inhabitants when the land was taken by Israel. The reason why the fate of Ephraim's fortified castles was the same as that of the Amoritish castles, which were then lying in ruins, was that Ephraim, as stated in Isaiah 17:10, had turned away from its true rocky stronghold, namely from Jehovah. It was a consequence of this estrangement from God, that Ephraim planted נעמנים נטעי, plantations of the nature of pleasant things, or pleasant plantations (compare on Psalm 78:49, and Ewald, 287, ab), i.e., cultivated all kinds of sensual accompaniments to its worship, in accordance with its heathen propensities; and sowed, or rather (as zemōrâh is the layer of a vine) "set," this garden-ground, to which the suffix ennu refers, with strange grapes, by forming an alliance with a zâr (a stranger), namely the king of Damascus. On the very day of the planting, Ephraim fenced it carefully (this is the meaning of the pilpel, sigsēg from שׂוּג equals סוּג, not "to raise," as no such verb as שׂוּג equals שׂגה, סגא, can be shown to exist), that is to say, he ensured the perpetuity of these sensuous modes of worship as a state religion, with all the shrewdness of a Jeroboam (see Amos 7:13). And the very next morning he had brought into blossom what he had sown: the foreign layer had shot up like a hot-house plant, i.e., the alliance had speedily grown into a hearty agreement, and had already produced one blossom at any rate, viz., the plan of a joint attack upon Judah. But this plantation, which was so flattering and promising for Israel, and which had succeeded so rapidly, and to all appearance so happily, was a harvest heap for the day of the judgment. Nearly all modern expositors have taken nēd as the third person (after the form mēth, Ges. 72, Anm. 1), and render it "the harvest flees;" but the third person of נוּד would be נד, like the participle in Genesis 4:12; whereas the meaning cumulus (a heap), which it has elsewhere as a substantive, is quite appropriate, and the statement of the prophet resembles that of the apostle in Romans 2:5. The day of the judgment is called "the day of נחלה" (or, according to another reading, נחלה), not, however, as equivalent to nachal, a stream (Luzzatto, in giorno di fiumana), as in Psalm 124:4 (the tone upon the last syllable proves this), nor in the sense of "in the day of possession," as Rosenmller and others suppose, since this necessarily gives to נד the former objectionable and (by the side of קציר) improbable verbal sense; but as the feminine of nachleh, written briefly for maccâh nachlâh (Jeremiah 14:17), i.e., inasmuch as it inflicts grievous and mortal wounds. Ephraim's plantation is a harvest heap for that day (compare kâtzir, the harvest of punishment, in Hosea 6:11 and Jeremiah 51:33); and the hope set upon this plantation is changed into אנוּשׁ כּאב, a desperate and incurable heartfelt sorrow (Jeremiah 30:15). The organic connection between Isaiah 17:12-14, which follow, and the oracle concerning Damascus and Israel, has also been either entirely misunderstood, or not thoroughly appreciated. The connection is the following: As the prophet sets before himself the manner in which the sin of Ephraim is punished by Asshur, as the latter sweeps over the Holy Land, the promise which already began to dawn in the second turn bursts completely through: the world-power is the instrument of punishment in the hands of Jehovah, but not for ever.

Isaiah 18:1 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A.M. cir.

3290. B.C. cir

woe. Bp. Lowth renders, after Bochart, 'Ho! to the land of the winged cymbal;' which he thinks is a periphrasis for the Egyptian sistrum; and consequently, that Egypt, 'which borders on the rivers of Cush,' is the country to which the prophecy is addressed. If we translate 'shadowing with wings,' it may allude to the multitude of its vessels, whose sails may be represented under the notion of wings.

the land

Isaiah 20:3-6 And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder on Egypt and on Ethiopia...

Isaiah 30:2,3 That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh...

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen...


Ruth 2:12 The LORD recompense your work, and a full reward be given you of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you are come to trust.

Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of your wings,

Psalm 36:7 How excellent is your loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me: for my soul trusts in you: yes, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge...

Psalm 61:4 I will abide in your tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of your wings. Selah.

Psalm 63:7 Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings will I rejoice.

Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you...


2 Kings 19:9 And when he heard say of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, Behold, he is come out to fight against you: he sent messengers again to Hezekiah...

Ezekiel 30:4,5 And the sword shall come on Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt...

Zephaniah 2:12 You Ethiopians also, you shall be slain by my sword.

Zephaniah 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring my offering.

Cross References
2 Kings 19:9
Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "Behold, he has set out to fight against you." So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying,

Isaiah 20:3
Then the LORD said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,

Isaiah 37:9
Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "He has set out to fight against you." And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

Isaiah 45:14
Thus says the LORD: "The wealth of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over to you and be yours; they shall follow you; they shall come over in chains and bow down to you. They will plead with you, saying: 'Surely God is in you, and there is no other, no god besides him.'"

Ezekiel 30:4
A sword shall come upon Egypt, and anguish shall be in Cush, when the slain fall in Egypt, and her wealth is carried away, and her foundations are torn down.

Ezekiel 30:5
Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.

Ezekiel 30:9
"On that day messengers shall go out from me in ships to terrify the unsuspecting people of Cush, and anguish shall come upon them on the day of Egypt's doom; for, behold, it comes!

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