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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Isaiah

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18.1–7 :

An oracle concerning the Ethiopians. The setting, background, and meaning of this passage are not clear. Nubia (Heb “Kush”) is the area south of Egypt, sometimes referred to as Ethiopia. In the late 700 s and early 600 s Egypt was ruled by Ethiopian pharaohs. This ch probably refers to diplomatic and military moves in which these Ethiopian pharaohs play the central role.

1–3 :

Judah sends messengers to the Ethiopians, responding to ambassadors who had been sent to Judah. The Ethiopian ruler of Egypt may have been encouraging a revolt against the Assyrians.

3–6 :

Isaiah encourages the Judeans to send a negative response to the anti‐Assyrian overtures: Judah is safe, since the LORD is calm and confident in (His) habitation, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This passage reflects on the Isaianic notion of the inviolability of Zion. Because the LORD is present in His Temple, Jerusalem will never fall, and therefore the Judeans need not depend on alliances with other nations for their safety. Cf. 1.8–9; 7.2–9; 8.8 .

4–6 :

The imagery describes the defeat of what had seemed a strong and promising empire, probably the Assyrians. Kites, a bird of prey; a better translation might be “vultures” or “carrion eaters,” since the birds will be devouring the corpses littering the hills.

7 :

The defeat of the enemy will lead to worldwide recognition of the God of Mount Zion.

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