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A Message to Ethiopia

18 Alas, O land of whirring wings
Which lies beyond the rivers of [a](A)Ethiopia,
Which sends envoys by the sea,
Even in (B)papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.
Go, swift messengers, to a nation [b](C)tall and smooth,
To a people (D)feared [c]far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation
Whose land the rivers divide.
(E)All you inhabitants of the world and dwellers on earth,
As soon as a standard is raised on the mountains, (F)you will see it,
And as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

For thus Yahweh has told me,

“I will look [d]from My (G)dwelling place quietly
Like dazzling heat in the [e](H)sunshine,
Like a cloud of (I)dew in the heat of harvest.”
For (J)before the harvest, as soon as the bud [f]blossoms
And the flower becomes a ripening grape,
Then He will cut off the sprigs with pruning knives
And remove and cut away the spreading branches.
They will be left together for mountain birds (K)of prey,
And for the beasts of the earth;
And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
And all the beasts of the earth will spend harvest time on them.
At that time a gift of homage will be brought to Yahweh of hosts
[g]From a (L)people [h]tall and smooth,
Even from a people feared [i]far and wide,
A powerful and oppressive nation,
Whose land the rivers divide—
To the (M)place of the name of Yahweh of hosts, even Mount Zion.


  1. Isaiah 18:1 Or Cush, cf. Gen 10:6
  2. Isaiah 18:2 Lit drawn out
  3. Isaiah 18:2 Lit from it and beyond
  4. Isaiah 18:4 Lit in
  5. Isaiah 18:4 Lit light
  6. Isaiah 18:5 Lit is finished
  7. Isaiah 18:7 As in DSS and some ancient versions; M.T. implies Consisting of a people
  8. Isaiah 18:7 Lit drawn out
  9. Isaiah 18:7 Lit from it and beyond