How Shall We Escape?

Isaiah 20:5-6. “And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?”

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Israel chose her sin; the nation turned from God to worship the idols of the surrounding people. The consequence, of which they were warned many times, was the be conquered and subjugated to Assyria. The could not escape.

The ones they had depended upon for help could not help them. Ethiopia had been their hope, and it fell to Assyria.  Egypt had been the glory of escape, and it fell to Assyria.

This isle  refers to all of Palestine, which also came under the devastating invasion of Assyria.

There are those in America today who are warning of the consequences of our having forsaken God. We will not get to choose the consequences for our sin.  I wonder how many of us listen, but do not hear.

 

Naked and Barefoot

Isaiah 20:3-4. “And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.”

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The Assyrians were not known for their kindness.  They were harsh masters, using shame and belittlement to intimidate their captives.  Isaiah was a walking, talking object lesson of what was to come when Assyria swept down and conquered the land.

Shadowing with Wings

Isaiah 18:1. “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the river of Ethiopia: 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!”

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Chapter 18 is addressed mainly to Ethiopia. There are several ideas about what “shadowing with wings” means, and I’m not going to try to comment on something I don’t fully understand. The most literal translation is  whirring of wings, but the reference is not clear.

The land is clearly described as “beyond, over against, or on the other side of the rivers of Ethiopia”, which identifies it as Ethiopia and the Egyptian Sudan. Regarding wings, it is known that Ethiopia  is one of the homes of the dreaded tsetse fly.  It is located between the White Nile and the Blue Nile.

The sending of ambassadors by the “sea,”in vessels of bulrushes, further locates the country in the area of the Nile, since bulrushes or papyrus grew only on the Nile. The word “sea” is often used to describe any large body of water, including rivers the size of the Nile.

A nation scattered and peeled: Scattered translates as “to stretch out, to prolong; to develop, to be tall. Peeled is from the word “to make smooth or bright.”  This phrase could also read “tall and smooth” or “tall and bronzed.”

Terrible from their beginnings refers to a nation that was very strong and warlike, conquering their foes.

Meted out and trodden down: A nation that measures and defeats its enemies, conquering all.

Whose lands the rivers have spoiled:  The lands have been eroded and washed away, which is particularly true of Ethiopia, the Egyptian Sudan, and regions above the cataracts of the Nile.