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A Prophecy About Cush

18 Woe to the land of the whirring wings, along the rivers of Cush.[a]

They send ambassadors by sea, in papyrus boats on the water.

Go, you swift messengers,
to a tall people with smooth, dark skin,[b]
to a nation feared far and near,
a nation powerful and conquering,[c]
from a land divided by rivers!

All you inhabitants of the world,
and you who dwell on the earth,
look for a signal flag raised on the mountains!
Listen for the blast of the ram’s horn!
For the Lord has said to me,
“I will look on quietly from my dwelling place,
like the shimmering heat of the sun,
like the rising mist at harvest time.”
For before the harvest,
after the blossom has fallen
and the flower has turned into ripening grapes,
the Lord will cut off the new shoots with pruning hooks,
and he will cut down and remove the longer vines.
They will all be left for the scavenging birds in the mountains
and for the wild animals in the countryside.
The scavenging birds will feed on them all summer,
and wild animals will feed on them all winter.
At that time people will give gifts to the Lord of Armies.
These gifts will come from a tall people with smooth, dark skin,
a nation feared far and near,
a nation powerful and conquering,
from a land divided by rivers.
They will bring their gifts to Mount Zion,
the place where the Lord of Armies has put his name.


  1. Isaiah 18:1 Cush is the ancient name for the territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile. Called Ethiopia in Roman times, it included most of present-day Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia.
  2. Isaiah 18:2 Literally polished skin
  3. Isaiah 18:2 Or a powerful nation with a strange language. The last two lines of the verse are difficult.