113-118 Isaiah Chapter 18
Message to Ethiopia
In the time of Isaiah Ethiopia was a major power. They ruled Egypt and were a chief rival to Assyria. Judah found themselves caught in the middle of their conflict. It may have made sense for Judah to align itself with Ethiopia against Assyria. “In 715 B.C. an Ethiopian named Shabako gained control of Egypt as the founder of the twenty-fifth dynasty. Ethiopian domination continued until 633 B.C. when a native Egyptian regained the throne.” (Wolf) In that day Ethiopia was a larger nation than today and included the Sudan and Somalia.
The buzzing wings were in reference to the Nile valley which was famous for its many whirring insects. Ethiopia sent their ambassadors to Judah and other nations to form an alliance against Assyria. The Ethiopian ambassadors invited Judah to rebel against Assyria and wanted them to send their ambassadors back to them swiftly with the news of their decision. They wanted Judah to align itself with Ethiopia and Egypt.
The Lord God did not approve of the alliance of Ethiopia and Judah, as the Lord is able to deal with the Assyrians. The Lord can take His rest without the help of the Ethiopians. If the Lord needed to raise an army against the Assyrians He would have raised a banner or sounded a trumpet. God is able to do it and would do it when the proper time comes. It is significant that there is no rebuke of Ethiopia in this chapter. God was not going to judge Ethiopia for its offer of alliance with Judah. Judah had no need to trust in the Ethiopians but only to trust in the Lord God. God is able to prune Assyria Himself and destroy the Assyrian army completely. The Assyrian army will be left to the birds of prey.
Isaiah’s announcement is that the Ethiopians will come to worship the Lord and bring gifts to Him in the place of the Lord at Mount Zion. Instead of the Ethiopians hearing the news of an alliance between them and Judah they will come to Mount Zion and worship the Lord. This may have been fulfilled in the days of Isaiah but it certainly was fulfilled when an Ethiopian came to Jerusalem to worship and was preached to by Phillip. (Acts 8:26-40) From that witness of Phillip, the Ethiopian Church is enduring today.