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Oracle of Judgment on Cush

18 Ah! land of the whirring of wings,
    which is beyond the rivers of Cush,
that sends messengers by the sea
    and in vessels of papyrus on the surface of the waters!
Go, swift messengers, to a tall[a] and smooth[b] nation,
    to a people feared near and far,[c]
a mighty, mighty[d] and trampling[e] nation,
    whose land rivers divide.
All you inhabitants of the world
    and dwellers of the earth,
when a signal is raised on the[f] mountains, you must look,
    and when a trumpet is blown,[g] you must listen!

For Yahweh said this to me:

“I will be quiet,
    and I will look from my dwelling place
like clear heat because of light,[h]
    like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
For before the harvest, when the blossom is complete[i]
    and a blossom becomes ripening fruit,
and one cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks,
    and one removes, tears away the tendrils.
They shall all be left[j] for birds[k] of prey of the mountains
    and for the animals[l] of the earth.
And the birds[m] of prey will pass the summer on it,
    and every animal of the earth will winter on it.

At that time, a gift[n] will be brought to Yahweh of hosts

from a tall[o] and smooth[p] people,
    and from a people feared near and far,
a mighty, mighty and trampling nation,
    whose land the rivers divide,
to the place of the name of Yahweh of hosts,
    the mountain of Zion.


  1. Isaiah 18:2 Literally “stretched out”
  2. Isaiah 18:2 Literally “peeled,” “wiped clean,” or “hairless”
  3. Isaiah 18:2 Literally “from this and beyond”
  4. Isaiah 18:2 Perhaps this is a gibberish phrase in Hebrew, qaw-qaw
  5. Isaiah 18:2 Meaning uncertain
  6. Isaiah 18:3 Literally “as a raising of a signal”
  7. Isaiah 18:3 Literally “as a blowing of a trumpet”
  8. Isaiah 18:4 The meaning of this phrase is uncertain; perhaps the “light” is sunlight
  9. Isaiah 18:5 Literally “as a completion of a blossom”
  10. Isaiah 18:6 Literally “be left together”
  11. Isaiah 18:6 Hebrew “bird”
  12. Isaiah 18:6 Hebrew “animal”
  13. Isaiah 18:6 Hebrew “bird”
  14. Isaiah 18:7 Perhaps tribute is meant
  15. Isaiah 18:7 Literally “stretched out”
  16. Isaiah 18:7 Literally “peeled,” “wiped clean,” or “hairless”