New American Standard Bible
Alas, oh land of whirring wings Which lies beyond the rivers of Cush,
King James Bible
Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia:
Darby Bible Translation
Ha! land shadowing with wings, which art beyond the rivers of Cush,
World English Bible
Ah, the land of the rustling of wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia;
Young's Literal Translation
Ho, land shadowed with wings, That is beyond the rivers of Cush,
Isaiah 18:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Woe to the land - (הוי hôy). This word, as has been already remarked (the note at Isaiah 17:12), may be a mere interjection or salutation, and would be appropriately rendered by 'Ho!' Or it may be a word denouncing judgment, or wrath, as it is often used in this prophecy (the note at Isaiah 5:8).
Shadowing with wings - (כנפים צלצל tsı̂letsal kenāpāı̂ym). This is one of the most difficult expressions in the whole chapter; and one to which as yet, probably, no satisfactory meaning has been applied. The Septuagint renders it, Οὐαὶ γῆς πλοὶων πτέρυγες Ouai gēc1;υγες Ouai gēs ploiōn pteruges - 'Ah! wings of the land of ships.' The Chaldee, 'Woe to the land in which they come in ships from a distant country, and whose sails are spread out as an eagle which flies upon its wings.' Grotius renders it, 'The land whose extreme parts are shaded by mountains.' The word rendered, 'shadowed' צלצל tsı̂letsal, occurs only in this place and in Job 41:7, where it is translated 'fish-spears' - but as we know nothing of the "form" of those spears, that place throws no light on the meaning of the word here. The word is derived, evidently, from צלל tsālal, which has three significations:
(1) "To be shady, dark, obscure;" and hence, its derivatives are applied to anything that "makes" a shade or shadow - particularly "shady trees" Job 40:21-22; the shades of night Sol 2:17; Sol 4:6; or anything that produces obscurity, or darkness, as a tree, a rock, a wing, etc.
(2) It means "to tingle," spoken of the ears 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Kings 21:13; "to quiver," spoken of the lips Habakkuk 3:16; and hence, its derivatives are applied to anything that makes a sound by "tinkling" - an instrument of music; a cymbal made of two pieces of metal that are struck together 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 16:42; 1 Chronicles 25:6; 2 Chronicles 5:12; Nehemiah 12:27; Psalm 150:5)
(3) It means "to sink" Exodus 15:10. From the sense of making "a shade," a derivative of the verb צלצל tselâtsâl - the same as used here except the points - is applied to locusts because they appear in such swarms as to obscure the rays of the sun, and produce an extended shade, or shadow, over a land as a cloud does; or because they make a rustling with their wings.
The word used here, therefore, may mean either "shaded, or rustling, or rattling," in the manner of a cymbal or other tinkling instrument. It may be added, that the word may mean a "double shade," being a doubling of the word צל tsêl, a "shade, or shdow," and it has been supposed by some to apply to Ethiopia as lying betwen the tropics, having a "double shadow;" that is, so that the shadow of objects is cast one half of the year on the north side, and the other half on the south. The word 'wings' is applied in the Scriptures to the following things, namely:
(1) The wing of a fowl. This is the literal, and common signification.
(8) "Protection" - as wings are a protection to young birds in their nest (see Psalm 18:8; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 61:4; Psalm 91:4; Matthew 23:37). It has been proposed by some to apply this description to "ships," or the sails of vessels, as if a land was designated which was covered with "sails," or the "wings" of vessels. So the Septuagint, and the Chaldee. But there is no instance in which the word "wings" is so applied in the Scriptures.
2 Kings 19:9
When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "Behold, he has come out to fight against you," he sent messengers again to Hezekiah saying,
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,
When he heard them say concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, "He has come out to fight against you," and when he heard it he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,
Thus says the LORD, "The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: 'Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.'"
"A sword will come upon Egypt, And anguish will be in Ethiopia; When the slain fall in Egypt, They take away her wealth, And her foundations are torn down.
"Ethiopia, Put, Lud, all Arabia, Libya and the people of the land that is in league will fall with them by the sword."
"On that day messengers will go forth from Me in ships to frighten secure Ethiopia; and anguish will be on them as on the day of Egypt; for behold, it comes!"
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