“Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of
It is widely accepted that “woe” should be “ho,” i.e., a call to
listen to what God has to say.
“... shadowing with wings” is understood by some to mean “teeming
with locusts,” but by most others, to speak of Egypt where Israel was
preserved under Jehovah’s wings, while multiplying into a nation.
rivers of Ethiopia (Cush)” are understood by most scholars to be the two
parts of the river, the Blue and the White Nile.
It is to be
noted incidentally that nowhere in Scripture is the Nile designated as
Israel’s border, her southern border being “the river of Egypt,” which is
not the Nile, but the much smaller river that is the eastern border of the
wilderness of Shur, and the southern border of Canaan, and that is marked on
the better Bible maps as The River of Egypt. (Jennings, in his
otherwise excellent commentary, has erroneously taken The River of Egypt
to be the Nile).
“That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the
waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled,
to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and
trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled!” (“...spoiled” is more
accurately translated divides, i.e., “flows through,” Egypt being one
of the lands through which the Nile flows).
of the KJ rendering of this verse is clarified to some extent by other
translations, e.g., “Swift messengers, return to your people (Egypt),”
Moffatt; “Let swift messengers return to you destroying nation (Egypt),
whose land the upper Nile divides,” Taylor.
“... meted out
and trodden down,” is also ambiguous: it means that the Cushites and
Egyptians had attacked and subjugated other nations.
ambassadors were the representatives of Cush, which included part of Egypt;
the “sea” is the Nile; and the “vessels of bulrushes” were boats built of
papyrus; the “swift messengers” were the Cushite and Egyptian ambassadors.
“... scattered and peeled” is a very misleading translation: in other
versions it is correctly rendered tall and smooth: tall and bronzed,
“All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he
lifteth up the ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear
generally taken to refer to God’s gathering the Assyrians together for what
they expected to be their destruction of Jerusalem, but which turned out to
be their own annihilation, for God slew 185,000 of them in one night as they
slept during their siege of Jerusalem,
see Isaiah 37:36. That destruction however, foreshadows the more
terrible cataclysm that will devastate the world in the coming Great
“For the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my
dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the
heat of harvest.”
renderings of this verse are, “From my dwelling-place I will look quietly
down when the heat shimmers in the summer sun, when the dew is heavy at
harvest time,” NEB; “... let your mighty army now advance against the land
of Israel. God will watch quietly from His Temple in Jerusalem - serene as
on a pleasant summer day or a lovely autumn morning during harvest time,”
God is not
perturbed by the schemes and activity of men, for they can do nothing
without His permission or direction. That same equanimity should therefore
characterize us, for we have His assurance “that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose,” Romans 8:28. We would do well to remember what the hymnist has
Why should I
ever careful be,
Since such a
God is mine?
o’er me night and day,
And tells me,
Mine is thine.
“For afore (before) the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape
is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning
hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.”
translation of this verse is, “For before the harvest, when the blossom is
over, and the flower becometh a ripening grape... the spreading branches
will He take away and cut down” ASV; but Taylor gives also the application
of the truth here metaphorically stated, “But before you have begun the
attack, and while your plans are ripening like grapes, He will cut you off
as though with pruning shears. He will snip the spreading tendrils.” This
foretells the Divine destruction which overtook the Assyrians as recorded in
“They shall be left altogether unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the
beasts of the earth: and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the
beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.”
would be left unburied, to be food for the birds and beasts throughout the
summer, the bones still being gnawed by the animals through the winter.
This foreshadows what will be in the coming Great Tribulation as recorded in
Ezekiel 39:4-5, “Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou and all
thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the
ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be
devoured. Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith
the Lord God.”
“In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a
people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible, from their
beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land
the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the
in our study of verse 2, “... scattered and peeled” is a very misleading
translation: in other versions it is correctly rendered tall and smooth:
tall and bronzed, ASV, and refers to the Cushites and Egyptians. “...
meted out and trodden under foot,” is also ambiguous: it was the Cushites
and Egyptians who had subjugated and enslaved other nations. In the
Millennium these former aggressors will be submissive to God’s rule, and
will join all the other nations in going up to Jerusalem to worship Him,