Which 'land' or country is the author referring to in Isaiah chapter 18?

Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which [is] beyond the rivers 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! All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. For so 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. For afore 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. They shall be left together 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. 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 mount Zion.

Isaiah 18:1-7 KJV https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/isa/18/1/s_697001

  • I will say, the difference in translation of verses 2 and 7 from KJV to newer such as ESV is quite large.
    – Joshua
    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:52
  • Please have a look here. Based on scripture Is 18: 1-2, we know the country being referred to is in Africa. In verse 7, it then talk of a nation whose land is divided by rivers. Nigeria is a country divided by two rivers (Niger and Benue) in a Y shape
    – Damilola
    Oct 25, 2020 at 13:34

4 Answers 4



Cush is a grandson of Noah, from his son,Ham.

The New International Version translates the verse as follows : "Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush," and not beyond the rivers. Cush in the scripture refers to Ethiopia, note the King James Version :"Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:" other translations "Cush".


The prophesy in Isaiah says that Assyria invaded Egypt and took control of it from Cush/Ethiopia, this happened in the 8th century B.C.E

3 And the Lord said, “Even as My servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot three years as a sign and token against Egypt and Cush, 4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they will be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and Egypt their boast. 6 So the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, such is our hope, where we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and we, how shall we escape?’”(NASB)


It is describing Beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, River Omo flowing to Lake Turkana. It can never be Egypt, Egypt's name was predominately known wide and large. There was no point of describing it as 'beyond the rivers of Cush" By the way there people were not Tall and Dark as described in Zephania 8:13. The people beyond the Rivers of Cush from Israel point of view,beyond river Omo was Kenya and Juba Land. Turkana Community, Juba, The Pokot, by the way they are feared far and wide, they are very tall. Kenya and Juba is in the promises and they will bring gifts to the Lord in Zion God's Dwelling Place Kindly review

Evans Krop

  • Hi Evans! Welcome to Hermeneutics.SE. You might take the tour if you have not already, to get an idea of what constitutes a thorough answer. Thank you. Nov 22, 2018 at 9:04

It is possibly discussing Egypt. Adam Clarke's commentary provides some insight.

"This chapter contains a very obscure prophecy; possibly designed to give the Jews, and perhaps the Egyptians, whose country is supposed to be meant, Isaiah 18:1, Isaiah 18:2, and with whom many Jews resided, an indignation of God's interposition in favor of Sion, Isaiah 18:3, Isaiah 18:4; and of his counsels in regard to the destruction of their common enemy, Sennacherib, whose vast army, just as he thought his projects ripe, and ready to be crowned with success, Isaiah 18:5, should become a prey to the beasts of the field, and to the fowls of heaven, Isaiah 18:6; and that Egypt should be grateful to God for the deliverance vouchsafed her, Isaiah 18:7."

Source: here

His points on verse 7 highlight some background.

"The present "A gift" - The Egyptians were in alliance with the kingdom of Judah, and were fellow-sufferers with the Jews under the invasion of their common enemy Sennacherib; and so were very nearly interested in the great and miraculous deliverance of that kingdom, by the destruction of the Assyrian army. Upon which wonderful event it is said, 2 Chronicles 32:23, that "many brought gifts unto Jehovah to Jerusalem, and presents to Hezekiah king of Judah; so that he was magnified of all nations from henceforth." It is not to be doubted, that among these the Egyptians distinguished themselves in their acknowledgments on this occasion." Same source as above.

Young's Literal Translation of Isa. 18:1-2,

"Ho, land shadowed [with] wings, That [is] beyond the rivers of Cush, 2 That is sending by sea ambassadors, Even with implements of reed on the face of the waters, -- Go, ye light messengers, Unto a nation drawn out and peeled, Unto a people fearful from its beginning and onwards, A nation meeting out by line, and treading down, Whose land floods have spoiled."

Implements of reed... papyrus paper; land floods have spoiled... possibly the flooding of the Nile.


YHVH Not talking about Egypt or Turkana nor Yudah...YHVH is specifically pointing out the highly religious Tall Strong White South African Boer Christians that fled the Catholic persecution or Calvinist protestants that left Europe to South Africa in 1662 to live free from catholic rules and practice the Christian Creationist believe...

We are the only nation in the world still today thst made a Covenant with YHVH that when He delivers our enemy into our hand that we will build a church in rememberance of this DAY 7 Dec 1838 to commemorate the help from YHVH to defeat the enemy and commemorate this day till the end of time and Judgement Day..no other country or nation has ever done it or will ever do it as they are not true and strong Christian believers.....and we white Boers Christians are murdered and oppressed by Marxist antiChrist movements and political parties in South Africa and around the world because of our Christian connection to our Father Abbah Elohim YAHWEH and His Son Yahushua Christ and the Holy Spirit....go and look up civil war in South Africa...and also Farmlands by Lauren Southern.....also Plaasmoorde by Katy Hopkins....also see White South african History

u will see.. "to a people tall and smooth-skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech, whose land is divided by rivers....go and see how many rivers devide South Africa....many many rivers and big rivers and very long ones too

Means that it is the White Christian Afrikaner Boer which is tall and strong with smooth skin being oppressed and hated by the world because of our Strong Christian believe and close roots to YHVH our Saviour.

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    Mar 4, 2019 at 4:27

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