Message to Ethiopia

Woe, land of whirring wings

Which lies beyond the rivers of [a]Cush,

Which sends messengers by the sea,

Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.

Go, swift messengers, to a nation [b]tall and smooth,

To a people feared [c]far and wide,

A powerful and oppressive nation

Whose land the rivers divide.

All you who inhabit the world, and live on earth,

As soon as a flag is raised on the mountains, you will see it,

And as soon as the trumpet is blown, you will hear it.

For this is what the Lord has told me:

“I will quietly look [d]from My dwelling place

Like dazzling heat in the [e]sunshine,

Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

For before the harvest, as soon as the bud [f]blossoms

And the flower becomes a ripening grape,

He will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,

And remove and tear away the spreading branches.

They will be left together for mountain birds of prey,

And for the animals of the earth;

And the birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,

And all the animals of the earth will spend harvest time on them.

At that time a gift of tribute will be brought to the Lord of armies

[g]From a people [h]tall and smooth,

From a people feared [i]far and wide,

A powerful and oppressive nation,

Whose land the rivers divide—

To the place of the name of the Lord of armies, to Mount Zion.


  1. Isaiah 18:1 Or Ethiopia
  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 Some ancient versions and DSS; MT implies Consisting of a people
  8. Isaiah 18:7 Lit drawn out
  9. Isaiah 18:7 Lit from it and beyond