Isaiah chapter 18 seems to be a more generalized oracle and opens with speaking about Cush (Ethiopia). As we moved down through Isaiah 18 the prophet speaks of a land divided by rivers. This seems to tie this oracle to Egypt since Chapter 19 is an oracle against Egypt. Modern commentaries however want to tie this chapter to the previous oracle against Demascus. The connection to the previous chapter may be to the Hebrew word הוֹי (Woe) that occurred previously in Isaiah 17:12 which may suggest that this is a second הוֹי. It is interesting that Isaiah 18:1-7 does not specifically declare a judgment against Cush. Isaiah 18:1-7 is a very short chapter and may simply be a transitional chapter to move us away from the north and direct our attention now to the south, to Egypt. The end of Isaiah 18:1-7 describes the glory of Mount Zion and how the peoples will look towards her to bring their gifts unto God. We note that the Lord God Almighty is the One who is ultimately in control and these things reveal to us how the Lord is always drawing people, all peoples to Him and the place where He has established His name!
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
א הוֹי אֶרֶץ צִלְצַל כְּנָפָיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ:
Isaiah 18:1 states, “Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia: (הוֹי אֶרֶץ צִלְצַל כְּנָפָיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ)” As mentioned earlier, the word הוֹי does seem to connect this section to the end of Isaiah 17:12-14 since Isaiah 17:12 uses the same word. Isaiah speaks of אֶרֶץ צִלְצַל כְּנָפָיִם “land shadowing wings.” The question is what exactly is Isaiah talking about concerning the shadowing wings? The Septuagint translation describes this as πλοίων πτέρυγες ἐπέκεινα ποταμῶν Αἰθιοπίας “wings of a land of ships.”
The TgJ writes “the land which is beyond the rivers of India, to which they come in ships from a far country, whose sails are spread as an eagle flieth with its wings.” Based upon these translations, אֶרֶץ צִלְצַל כְּנָפָיִם “land of shadowing wings” is a reference to sea bearing ships. An interesting comparison is to the frequency in which this word צִלְצַל is used. It appears to be used only twice in the Tanakh in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:42 and Isaiah 18:1.
ספר דברים פרק כח
מב כָּל-עֵצְךָ וּפְרִי אַדְמָתֶךָ יְיָרֵשׁ הַצְּלָצַל:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:42
28:42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
Based upon the Torah perspective, the word הַצְּלָצַל is a reference to the whirring wings of the locust. So, this draws in the imagery of the plague of locus according to Exodus, and the judgment of God. Note that this is a strange description of a land that is far away. Another way of thinking of this is how the word צל means “shadow” which is repeated twice צִלְצַל, so we have this idea of the “shadow of the wings” like how the kjv translates. The Psalmist describes God’s people as being in the shadow of His wings. (see Tehillim / Psalms 17:8, 36:8, 57:2, 63:8) An interesting perspective, John Oswalt says that at the equator there is a double shadow, sometimes on the north and sometimes to the south of the equatorial line. Both of these ancient texts, the LXX and the TgJ identify this as the ships of India. The greatest likelihood may be to ships according to the text. The idea is that these ships may go up the rivers in Cush, which is consistent with Isaiah 18:2 which speaks of the ships and rivers. Cush is literally the land along the Nile south of Egypt.
Cush is part of today what is called Ethiopia and has been used as a metaphor for the ends of the earth. This may be its particular usage here as a very far away place. We note that Isaiah 18:1 writes לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ “for the rivers of Cush” where rivers is written in the construct state, may be a reference to that major river the Nile. The MSS states מֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ “lying beyond the rivers of Cush” is a strange way of describing Cush, since Cush is the narrow strip of land along both sides of the Nile river, but this may be consistent with the idea of its usage as a far away place. We note again that Cush is the region of the upper Nile, south of Egypt, corresponding roughly to modern Ethiopia and the ancient region would have included Sudan and other nations, and was associated sometimes with the Sabeans of Sheba of Arabia. The Tanakh contains up to 60 references to Ethiopia, Cush, or Sheba (כּוּשׁ, cush), and the New Testament contains one (i.e. the eunuch official reading Isaiah in Acts 8:26-28).
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ב הַשֹּׁלֵחַ בַּיָּם צִירִים וּבִכְלֵי-גֹמֶא עַל-פְנֵי-מַיִם לְכוּ | מַלְאָכִים קַלִּים אֶל-גּוֹי מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט אֶל-עַם נוֹרָא מִן-הוּא וָהָלְאָה גּוֹי קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה אֲשֶׁר-בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ:
Isaiah 18:2 states, “That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in vessels of bulrushes upon the waters, (הַשֹּׁלֵחַ בַּיָּם צִירִים וּבִכְלֵי-גֹמֶא עַל-פְנֵי-מַיִם) saying, Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; (לְכוּ | מַלְאָכִים קַלִּים אֶל-גּוֹי מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט אֶל-עַם נוֹרָא מִן-הוּא) a nation meted out and trodden down, whose land the rivers have spoiled! (וָהָלְאָה גּוֹי קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה אֲשֶׁר-בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ)” Isaiah writes that Cush sends messengers (הַשֹּׁלֵחַ בַּיָּם צִירִים) and in vessels of papyrus (וּבִכְלֵי-גֹמֶא) which supports the interpretation from the LXX on sending them up the river. The reason that this must refer to the Nile river is that it would be treacherous to travel on the open sea in such a flimsy boat. It is a bit unclear to whom the remainder of the verse is referring to, לְכוּ | מַלְאָכִים קַלִּים אֶל-גּוֹי מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט אֶל-עַם נוֹרָא מִן-הוּא וָהָלְאָה גּוֹי קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה אֲשֶׁר-בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ “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!” This could be a reference to Israel. We note that Isaiah has been speaking against trusting in foreign strength as opposed to trusting in the Lord God in heaven, and Isaiah continues to do so according to Isaiah 19:1-15, 20:4-6, and 30:1-5. Some say this is a reference to the Assyrians, others say to the Medes. The idea however is that one day the nations will bring gifts to the Lord according to Isaiah 2:1-4 and 18:7. We note how the LXX and TgJ translate these verses.
The LXX states ὁ ἀποστέλλων ἐν θαλάσσῃ ὅμηρα καὶ ἐπιστολὰς βυβλίνας ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος “the one who sends hostages by sea and message on papyrus over the water.” The TgJ states, “That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in ships on the face of the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, unto a people oppressed and plundered, unto a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come: a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled.” With these descriptions it is difficult to say that this was Egypt. The LXX writing the sending of letters on papyrus reminds us of letters of warning just as Isaiah has been writing to his own people and to the foreign nations. What these things speak to is how the Lord God in heaven is warning the people of the world, to be aware that He is the one who brings destruction, and He is the one who brings peace and life, if they would only turn from their wicked ways and seek Him! Note that regardless of how mighty and great a nation or people are, it is the Lord who has given this, and proper respect should be recognized as who is the source / origin of our wealth. (See Parashat Ekev, specifically Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18)
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ג כָּל-יֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל וְשֹׁכְנֵי אָרֶץ כִּנְשֹֹא-נֵס הָרִים תִּרְאוּ וְכִתְקֹעַ שׁוֹפָר תִּשְׁמָעוּ:
Isaiah 18:3 states, “All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, (כָּל-יֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל וְשֹׁכְנֵי אָרֶץ) see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye. (כִּנְשֹֹא-נֵס הָרִים תִּרְאוּ וְכִתְקֹעַ שׁוֹפָר תִּשְׁמָעוּ)” Here we are given examples of how messages are delivered through the use of signaling tools, such as the flag or ensign on the mountain top, and the trumpet blow. These things are meant to call the nation to attention, to warn of invading armies or of victory. Within this context, coupled with Isaiah 18:4, this is a message from God through the hand of Isaiah that we are to recognize how the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel is Lord over all! The interesting thing is that often we do not see how the Lord God is working in our lives, but after the fact, when we consider the events of our lives, we can see how the Lord has orchestrated things according to His will and for His glory in our lives. There are a number of Torah based examples of raising the standard, one such example is found in Bamidbar / Numbers 21 and the fiery serpent where the Lord tells Moshe according to 21:8, וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה עֲשֵׂ֤ה לְךָ֙ שָׂרָ֔ף וְשִׂ֥ים אֹת֖וֹ עַל־נֵ֑ס וְהָיָה֙ כָּל־הַנָּשׁ֔וּךְ וְרָאָ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ וָחָֽי׃ “Make a fiery serpent and put it on a standard. If anyone is bitten and looks at it, he shall live.” Again, we see how the people, their hearts were not right before God and so they complained concerning their long journey around Edom. They had to exercise faith in order to live by simply looking at the image that was set upon a standard (the fiery serpent on the pole). Again, this is the concept, that one must believe by faith that what God has said is true. This idea of one being lifted up is a parallel to John 3:1-18 and Yeshua, how all men would be drawn to him through his being lifted up. The parallel is to believe what God has done on our behalf, and we will be healed!
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ד כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אֶשְׁקֳוטָה [אֶשְׁקֳטָה] וְאַבִּיטָה בִמְכוֹנִי כְּחֹם צַח עֲלֵי-אוֹר כְּעָב טַל בְּחֹם קָצִיר:
Isaiah 18:4 states, “For so the LORD said unto me, be quiet and look in my dwelling place like a clear heat because of the light, (כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אֶשְׁקֳוטָה [אֶשְׁקֳטָה] וְאַבִּיטָה בִמְכוֹנִי) and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. (כְּחֹם צַח עֲלֵי-אוֹר כְּעָב טַל בְּחֹם קָצִיר)” Note the differences in translation comparing the LXX and the TgJ.
The LXX interpretes אֶשְׁקֳוטָה [אֶשְׁקֳטָה] וְאַבִּיטָה בִמְכוֹנִי כְּחֹם צַח עֲלֵי-אוֹר “be quiet and look in my dwelling place like a clear heat because of the light” saying, Ἀσφάλεια ἔσται ἐν τῇ ἐμῇ πόλει ὡς φῶς καύματος μεσημβρίας “security in the city like the light of the midday heat.” A little strange how the KJV translates as “I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs.” Note how the Lord will bring a time of restoration, which is something this verse appears to be suggesting. Note the love of God for His people, which is found in this restorative act. We note the heat of the day that can be quite overwhelming, the idea of the Lord God bringing help is found in כְּעָב טַל בְּחֹם קָצִיר “like a cloud of dew during harvest” which provides imagery of a time of reprieve from the heat. Note based upon this text, even the most seemingly insignificant thing, God’s hand is involved!
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ה כִּי-לִפְנֵי קָצִיר כְּתָם-פֶּרַח וּבֹסֶר גֹּמֵל יִהְיֶה נִצָּה וְכָרַת הַזַּלְזַלִּים בַּמַּזְמֵרוֹת וְאֶת-הַנְּטִישׁוֹת הֵסִיר הֵתַז:
Isaiah 18:5 states, “For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, (כִּי-לִפְנֵי קָצִיר כְּתָם-פֶּרַח וּבֹסֶר גֹּמֵל יִהְיֶה נִצָּה) he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. (וְכָרַת הַזַּלְזַלִּים בַּמַּזְמֵרוֹת וְאֶת-הַנְּטִישׁוֹת הֵסִיר הֵתַז)” Isaiah speaks of harvest time but of a premature harvest, kind of like a pruning process could be suggested by 18:5. This verse reminds us of what is written in Ezekiel 18:1-4.
ספר יחזקאל פרק יח
א וַיְהִי דְבַר-יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר: ב מַה-לָּכֶם אַתֶּם מֹשְׁלִים אֶת-הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה עַל-אַדְמַת יִשְֹרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אָבוֹת יֹאכְלוּ בֹסֶר וְשִׁנֵּי הַבָּנִים תִּקְהֶינָה: ג חַי-אָנִי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה אִם-יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עוֹד מְשֹׁל הַמָּשָׁל הַזֶּה בְּיִשְֹרָאֵל: ד הֵן כָּל-הַנְּפָשׁוֹת לִי הֵנָּה כְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאָב וּכְנֶפֶשׁ הַבֵּן לִי-הֵנָּה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַחֹטֵאת הִיא תָמוּת:
18:1 The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, 18:2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? 18:3 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (KJV)
The idea here is that by eating a sour grape it causes the mouth to pucker which is said to be setting the teeth on edge. The meaning of the parable is that the children suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions. Notice how the Lord God says that this parable is not just for Israel, but for all peoples! We note how a farmer prunes back the vine so that the vine will produce more fruit. The same process is indicated here by the parents, not just guiding and directing their children, but also working on themselves to remain faithful to the Lord God Almighty in heaven! The major purpose is for the preservation of generations to come. As we teach our children the Torah (instruction) of God, they will likewise teach their children and so forth. This has historical significance in demonstrating these things as being true, if we do not watch carefully to walk in God’s holy and righteous ways, to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah Yeshua, the outcome is what we are reading here, certain destruction.
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ו יֵעָזְבוּ יַחְדָּו לְעֵיט הָרִים וּלְבֶהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ וְקָץ עָלָיו הָעַיִט וְכָל-בֶּהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ עָלָיו תֶּחֱרָף:
Isaiah 18:6 states, “They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: (יֵעָזְבוּ יַחְדָּו לְעֵיט הָרִים וּלְבֶהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ) and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. (וְקָץ עָלָיו הָעַיִט וְכָל-בֶּהֱמַת הָאָרֶץ עָלָיו תֶּחֱרָף)” Based upon the restoration of Zion according to Isaiah 18:4 this may be a reference to the fall of the invading armies and so the birds and beasts of the field will feast on them. These things remind us of Ezekiel 39:11:16.
ספר יחזקאל פרק לט: יא-טז
יא וְהָיָ֣ה בַיּ֣וֹם הַה֡וּא אֶתֵּ֣ן לְגוֹג֩׀ מְקֽוֹם־שָׁ֨ם קֶ֜בֶר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל גֵּ֤י הָעֹֽבְרִים֙ קִדְמַ֣ת הַיָּ֔ם וְחֹסֶ֥מֶת הִ֖יא אֶת־הָעֹֽבְרִ֑ים וְקָ֣בְרוּ שָׁ֗ם אֶת־גּוֹג֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־הֲמוֹנֹ֔ה וְקָ֣רְא֔וּ גֵּ֖יא הֲמ֥וֹן גּֽוֹג׃ יב וּקְבָרוּם֙ בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לְמַ֖עַן טַהֵ֣ר אֶת־הָאָ֑רֶץ שִׁבְעָ֖ה חֳדָשִֽׁים׃ יג וְקָֽבְרוּ֙ כָּל־עַ֣ם הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהָיָ֥ה לָהֶ֖ם לְשֵׁ֑ם י֚וֹם הִכָּ֣בְדִ֔י נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִֽה׃ יד וְאַנְשֵׁ֨י תָמִ֤יד יַבְדִּ֙ילוּ֙ עֹבְרִ֣ים בָּאָ֔רֶץ מְקַבְּרִ֣ים אֶת־הָעֹבְרִ֗ים אֶת־הַנּוֹתָרִ֛ים עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הָאָ֖רֶץ לְטַֽהֲרָ֑הּ מִקְצֵ֥ה שִׁבְעָֽה־חֳדָשִׁ֖ים יַחְקֹֽרוּ׃ טו וְעָבְר֤וּ הָעֹֽבְרִים֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וְרָאָה֙ עֶ֣צֶם אָדָ֔ם וּבָנָ֥ה אֶצְל֖וֹ צִיּ֑וּן עַ֣ד קָבְר֤וּ אֹתוֹ֙ הַֽמְקַבְּרִ֔ים אֶל־גֵּ֖יא הֲמ֥וֹן גּֽוֹג׃ טז וְגַ֥ם שֶׁם־עִ֛יר הֲמוֹנָ֖ה וְטִהֲר֥וּ הָאָֽרֶץ׃
39:11 “And it will come about on that day that I shall give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off the passers-by. So they will bury Gog there with all his multitude, and they will call it the valley of Hamon-gog. 39:12 “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 39:13 “Even all the people of the land will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,” declares the Lord God. 39:14 “And they will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months they will make a search. 39:15 “And as those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog. 39:16 “And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land.”’ (NASB)
Note how Isaiah 18:6 reminds us of the battle in the last days of the destruction of the Great army and the picture of the birds of the air and beasts of the field feasting upon the carcuses. Note that this is a picture of the situation that occurred for Sennacherib when he withdrew and the army buried 185,000 men who were struck down by the Lord. We note that Hezekiah’s reign (726-697 BC) overlapped the reigns of Assyrian kings Shalmaneser V, Sargon II, and Sennacherib. According to 2 Kings 19:35 we are told that 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were killed by an angel that night and Sennacherib returned to Nineveh. He was later killed by his own sons. His youngest son, Esarhaddon, succeeded him as king of Assyria.
ספר ישעיה פרק יח
ז בָּעֵת הַהִיא יוּבַל-שַׁי לַיהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עַם מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט וּמֵעַם נוָֹרא מִן-הוּא וָהָלְאָה גּוֹי | קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה אֲשֶׁר בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ אֶל-מְקוֹם שֵׁם-יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת הַר-צִיּוֹן:
Isaiah 18:7 states, “In that time shall the present be brought unto the LORD of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, (בָּעֵת הַהִיא יוּבַל-שַׁי לַיהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עַם מְמֻשָּׁךְ וּמוֹרָט) 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. (וּמֵעַם נוָֹרא מִן-הוּא וָהָלְאָה גּוֹי | קַו-קָו וּמְבוּסָה אֲשֶׁר בָּזְאוּ נְהָרִים אַרְצוֹ אֶל-מְקוֹם שֵׁם-יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת הַר-צִיּוֹן)” Chapter 18 concludes with Israel and Judah, a nation that is trodden under foot, returning to bring tribute to the Lord God Almighty on mount Zion. This draws us back again to Isaiah 2:1-4 of the Lord God, mightiest over all, King over all, and Lord over all, where the nations will stream (flow) to His holy mountain. It is interesting when comparing the Greek text, we read the following:
The TgJ writes “At that time shall one bring an offering unto the Lord of hosts, to a people oppressed and spoiled, to a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come, a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled, unto the place which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts, whose Shekinah is in the mountain of Zion.” We note that the Lord presents Himself as a place of refuge for those who are in need of a resting place; He is the God who gives peace and life! In the Greek text, we observe the transliteration of the word צבאות as σαβαωθ. When we look at the frequency of occurrence in the LXX, it is interesting that this transliteration happens mostly only in the book of Isaiah. And more precisely, this occurs more in Isaiah 1-39 as opposed to Isaiah 40-66. We also note that this word occurs as the phrase κυρίῳ σαβαωθ “the Lord of hosts.” The Books of the Kingdoms or Books of Reigns (Koine Greek: Βíβλοι Βασιλειῶν) are the names that four books of the Hebrew Bible are given in the Septuagint. 1 and 2 Kingdoms are equivalent to 1 and 2 Samuel, and 3 and 4 Kingdoms are equivalent to 1 and 2 Kings in most modern English versions. In these books we also find the word σαβαωθ occurs in the phrase τῷ κυρίῳ θεῷ σαβαωθ “the Lord God of hosts” adding Theo θεῷ God.
Generally speaking, when there is a transliterated Hebrew word into another language, there is either something that is difficult to translate or there is something special that the translators are trying to point out to us. The phrase “Lord of Hosts” draws with it an image of war, power and strength. Is it possible by transliterating צבאות as σαβαωθ would the emphasis be more upon the Lord God being a place of refuge, as opposed to a God who brings war? Note the reasons why these events are happening, due to unrepentant sin, the Lord God in heaven brings nations to make war, to destroy the wicked with the wicked. This could also be representative to single out the might and power of God that the nations are recognizing where all the world’s peoples will come to Jerusalem bearing homage to her God, who is truly mightiest in all the world (Isaiah 2:1-4). Some commentators like John Oswalt claim that the name “Lord of Hosts” is Deuteronomic and therefore too late for Isaiah and is a later addition. A simple search for this phrase turns up many references all throughout the Tanakh, and therefore such claims hold very little weight, and only add to doubt in God’s holy word! This phrase “Lord of Hosts” is a significant theological concept, and this is what is being draw out by transliterating צבאות as σαβαωθ to emphasize this aspect of the Lord God of Israel. The reason the nations stream or flow to Jerusalem according to Isaiah 2:1-4, is because of the character of God who is righteous, holy, merciful, and loving, all powerful but yet tender and kind giving peace, He is judge and deliverer, and we are told His mercies are forever towards His people! All peoples are drawn to this place because there is none like Him! (Isaiah 40:25) The greatest example of the love of God to the world is in His sending His son Yeshua to die for our sins! This is the One in whom we are to follow, walking in His footsteps for the glory of the Lord God Almighty our Father in heaven!
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and is therefore a very valuable resource to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק יח:א-ז
א יֵי אַרעָא דְאָתַן לַה בִספִינָן מֵאְרַע רַחִיקָא וְקִלעֵיהֹון פְרִיסִין כְנִשרָא דְטָאֵיס בְכַנפֹוהִי דְמֵעֵבַר לְנַהְרֵי הֹודוּ׃ ב דִמשַלַח בְיַמָא אִזגַדִין וּבִדגֹוגִין עַל אַפֵי מַיָא אִיזִילוּ אִזגַדִין קַלִילִין לְוָת עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא לְוָת עַמָא דְיִתַקַף מִבְכֵין וּלהַלאָה עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא דְבַזוּ עַמְמַיָא אַרעֵיה׃ ג כָל דְיָתְבִין בְתֵבֵל וּדשָרַן בְאַרעָא כְמִזקַף אָת עַל טוּרַיָא תִחזֹון אָתָא וּכמִתקַע שֹופָרָא תִשמְעוּן פוּרקָן׃ ד אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר יוי לִי אְנִיַח לְעַמִי יִשׂרָאֵל וְאַשקֵיט לְהֹון וְאַתְרעִי מִמְדֹור קֻדשִי לְאֵטָבָא לְהֹון בִרכָן וְנַחָמָן אַיתִי לְהֹון בִפרִיַע כִשחֵין פְצִיַח עַל שְמַש כַעְנַן טַל בִשחֵין חְצָד׃ ה אְרֵי עַד לָא יִמטֵי זְמָן חְצָדָא אִילָנָא לְאַפרָחָא וְבֻסרָא מִינֵיה סְמָדַר וִיקַטֵיל שִלטֹונֵי עַמְמַיָא בְחַרבָא וְיָת תַקִיפַיָא יַעדֵי וְיַעבַר׃ ו יִשתַבקוּן כַחדָא לְעֹופָא דְטוּרַיָא וְלִבעִירָא דְאַרעָא בְקֵיטָא יְהֵי שָרֵי עְלֹוהִי עַל כָל עֹופָא דִשמַיָא וְכָל בְעִירָא דְאַרעָא עְלֹוהִי יַעבְדוּן סִתוָא׃ ז בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא יַיתֹונֵיה בְתֻקרְבָא לִקדָם יוי צְבָאֹות לְעַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא וּלעַמָא דְיִתַקַף מִבְכֵין וּלהַלאָה עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא דְבַזוּ עַמְמַיָא אַרעֵיה לֵאַתרָא דְאִתקְרִי שְמָא יוי צְבָאֹות דִי שְכִינְתֵיה בְטוּרָא דְצִיֹון׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 18:1-7
18:1 Ho! the land which is beyond the rivers of India, to which they come in ships from a far country, whose sails are spread as an eagle flieth with its wings. 18:2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in ships on the face of the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, unto a people oppressed and plundered, unto a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come: a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled. 18:3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, when the standard is lifted up on the mountains, ye shall see the standard, and the trumpet shall sound, ye shall hear of redemption. 18:4 For thus hath the Lord said unto me: I will give rest to my people, yea, I will make them to rest, and I will delight in my holy habitation to do them good: blessings and consolations I will bring upon them quickly, when the heat is intense through the heat of the sun, then I will be to them a cloud of dew as in the heat of harvest. 18:5 Before the time of harvest cometh the tree is ready to bud, and the unripe grape bursts forth into a flower: He shall slay the rulers of the nations with the sword, and their mighty ones He shall remove, and cause to pass away. 18:6 They shall be left together unto the fowl of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: all the fowls of the heavens shall dwell upon them in the summer, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. 18:7 At that time shall one bring an offering unto the Lord of hosts, to a people oppressed and spoiled, to a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come, a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled, unto the place which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts, whose Shekinah is in the mountain of Zion. (TgJ)
It is interesting that the English translation, taken from “C. W. H. Pauli, translation The Chaldee Paraphrase on the Prophet Isaiah (London: London Society’s House, 1871), Isaiah 18:1” translates of the land beyond the rivers of India. The Aramaic text actually states דְמֵעֵבַר לְנַהְרֵי הֹודוּ “beyond rivers of hodu” where hodu הֹודוּ is a “geographical location” but is unspecific. This word is used only twice in the TgJ and the other place is Zephaniah 3:10. This reveals to us how there is always some form of translator license going on regardless of who is translating the text from the original language. In this case Isaiah 18:1 states, מֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ “beyond the rivers of Cush” and so even Jonathan in the TgJ chose to use a different word as opposed to what the MSS source text actually states. What this reveals to us is how important it is for us to look at the original languages, learn them, or at least be able to navigate them with lexicons to help understand in a greater way what the English translations are saying!
The TgJ translates Isaiah 18:1 in the following way saying, א יֵי אַרעָא דְאָתַן לַה בִספִינָן מֵאְרַע רַחִיקָא וְקִלעֵיהֹון פְרִיסִין כְנִשרָא דְטָאֵיס בְכַנפֹוהִי דְמֵעֵבַר לְנַהְרֵי הֹודוּ׃ 18:1 Ho! the land which is beyond the rivers of India, to which they come in ships from a far country, whose sails are spread as an eagle flieth with its wings. (TgJ) The Targum translates Isaiah as referring to the ships that sail and their wings are the sails of the ships that take people across the sea. Rashi states the following concerning this verse:
Rashi on Isaiah 18.1 Part 1
הוי ארץ צלצל כנפים. ת”י דאתן לה בספינון מארעא רחיקא וקלעיהון פריסן כנשרא דטאיס בכנפוהי, אני אומר לפי שהן שרוין במזרח והארץ חמה העופות נאספים שם והיא מצולצלת בכנפי עופות ונבואה זו על אוכלוסי גוג ומגוג כענין שנא’ (ביחזקאל ל״ח:ה׳) פרס כוש ופוט אתם:
Woe to the land shaded by wings Jonathan renders: to which they come in ships from a distant land, and their sails are spread out like an eagle that flies with its wings. I say, however, that because they live in the east, and the land is hot, birds assemble there, and it is shaded by the birds’ wings. Now this prophecy concerns the armies of Gog and Magog, as the matter is stated in Ezekiel (38:5) “Persia, Cush, and Put with them.”
Rashi describes this text as a reference to the prophecy concerning the armies of Gog and Magog because of Ezekiel 38:5 (פָּרַ֛ס כּ֥וּשׁ וּפ֖וּט אִתָּ֑ם כֻּלָּ֖ם מָגֵ֥ן וְכוֹבָֽע׃). The prophecy concerning the Gog and Magog War is described in Ezekiel 38 and 39. According to the text Gog and Magog describe a massive army gathering against Israel as these surrounding nations are drawn by God by a hook in the jaw to make war.
Gog and Magog (גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג) appear in the Hebrew Bible in Ezekiel 38, Gog is an individual and Magog is his land; in Genesis 10, Magog is a man an ancestor of a nation. The Gog prophecy is meant to be fulfilled at the approach of what is called the “end of days,” but not necessarily the end of the world. Jewish eschatology views Gog and Magog as enemies to be defeated by the Messiah, which would usher in the age of the Messiah. Christianity’s interpretation is more starkly apocalyptic: making Gog and Magog, here indicating nations rather than individuals, allies of Satan against God at the end of the millennium, as described in the Book of Revelation. Performing a search in the rabbinic literature there are 162 sources mentioning God and Magog. The rabbis speak of Gog and Magog as leaders of the enemy destined to attack the faithful in the Messianic age, e.g. Talmud Bavli Avoda Zāra 3b which says “they march against the Lord and against His Anointed,” along with the Talmud Bavli Berākoth 7b and the Targum Jerussalem on Bamidbar / Numbers 11:26 which states, “Eldad and Medad prophesied that, in the end of the days, Gog and Magog will come up against Jerusalem with their army, and will fall by the hand of king Messiah.” The Apocalypse of Baruch from the pseudepigrapha 70:7-10 speaks in similar terms. The Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 12:2 states, “From the plain meaning of the words of the prophets we understand that at the beginning of the days of the Messiah there will be the War of Gog and Magog….Before the War of Gog and Magog, a prophet will arise to correct Israel and prepare their hearts. Direct them to G-d., as it says, ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah’” Notice how there is a messianic connection to this text based upon the rabbinic interpretations of Isaiah 18.
Talmud Bavli Berakhot 7b:11
And Rabbi Yoḥanan said other aggadic statements in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: The existence of wayward children in a person’s home is more troublesome than the war of Gog and Magog, the ultimate…While concerning the war of Gog and Magog, which is alluded to in the second chapter of Psalms, it is written: “Why are the nations in an uproar? And why do the peoples speak for naught?…Yet in this chapter describing the war of Gog and Magog “how numerous are my enemies” is not written, as it is not as difficult as raising a wayward son like Absalom.
Radak on Psalms 2:12 Part 5
And there are some who interpret this Psalm of Gog and Magog, and the anointed one is King Messiah: and so our teachers of blessed memory have interpreted (Babli, Berakhoth 7b). And the Psalm can be explained in this way, but the better is that David uttered it concerning himself, as we have interpreted.
Mishnah Megillah 3:5
For we have a tradition that the resurrection will occur on Pesach and the war of Gog and Magog, on Succoth.]
Midrash Tanchuma, Shemot / Exodus 1:7
Degeneracy in a man’s house is considered far more grievous than the war between Gog and Magog. The final struggle preceding the Messianic age….For with reference to the war between Gog and Magog it is written: Why are the nations in an uproar? , but not: O Lord, how many are mine adversaries become.
We note just a brief review of the rabbinic literature, notice the messianic expectations that are found within these brief contents. The Talmud Bavli Bereakhot 7b connects Isaiah 18 to Tehillim / Psalms 2 and the nations raging. Midrash Tanchuma writes that Gog and Magog is a war preceding the Messianic age. The point is the idea that Isaiah 18:1, מֵעֵבֶר לְנַהֲרֵי-כוּשׁ “beyond the rivers of Cush” is a reference to distant land, and this is likely the reason why the TgJ translated as rivers of India, as being a location far away. These nations which are far away, is the same language that is used through Isaiah 1-17 in relation to God bringing a big and powerful nation against those who refuse to repent and turn from their sins, and forget both God’s word and the Lord God who delivered them from the land of bondage and sin (Egypt). The point is that regardless where on earth man may be, the Lord God Almighty is Lord over all!
Ibn Ezra goes on to interpret Isaiah 18:1 saying the following:
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 18.1 Part 2
צלצל כנפים. כפול מצל, שהיא ארץ רחבה:
צלצל Shadowing. Reduplication of צל shadow. A shady land is identical with a wide land.
It is interesting how Ibn Ezra comes to a similar conclusion, recognizing that the word צלצל is a repeat for the word צל which means “shadow” and has this connection to the “shadow of the wings” mentioned frequently in the Psalms and is an interesting interpretation.
Isaiah continues according to the TgJ saying, ב דִמשַלַח בְיַמָא אִזגַדִין וּבִדגֹוגִין עַל אַפֵי מַיָא אִיזִילוּ אִזגַדִין קַלִילִין לְוָת עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא לְוָת עַמָא דְיִתַקַף מִבְכֵין וּלהַלאָה עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא דְבַזוּ עַמְמַיָא אַרעֵיה׃ 18:2 That sendeth ambassadors by the sea, even in ships on the face of the waters, saying, Go, ye swift messengers, unto a people oppressed and plundered, unto a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come: a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled. ג כָל דְיָתְבִין בְתֵבֵל וּדשָרַן בְאַרעָא כְמִזקַף אָת עַל טוּרַיָא תִחזֹון אָתָא וּכמִתקַע שֹופָרָא תִשמְעוּן פוּרקָן׃ 18:3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, when the standard is lifted up on the mountains, ye shall see the standard, and the trumpet shall sound, ye shall hear of redemption. (TgJ) The TgJ draws on a redemption theme speaking to the standard and the trumpet in which one both sees and hears the redemption of the Lord. Rambam wrote in his Mishneh Torah, Repentance 3:4 that “if one does a mitzvah (command) he has tilted the whole world to the side of innocence and caused redemption and rescue as it says the righteous are the foundation of the world.” We also note that the Talmud describes the individual as an entire world, and so one interpretation may be that one command leads to another, and another, etc and so the one who determines himself to walk after God’s holy ways, the Lord has redeemed him in his desire to honor God. Rashi writes the following saying:
Rashi on Isaiah 18.3 Part 1
כל יושבי תבל וגו’. אינכם צריכים לשלוח צירים על כך כי כנשוא נס הרים תראו בהקבץ הגליות וכתקוע שופר תשמעו:
All inhabitants of the world, etc. You need not send messengers for this, for when a standard of the mountains is raised, you shall see the ingathering of the exiles, and when a shofar is sounded you shall hear.
Rashi interprets using the TgJ saying the standard on the mountains and the shofar blow brings redemption by the ingathering of the exiles. These things speak to the mysteries of the standard and the shofar which bring the redemption of God. The first uses of the “standard” in the Bible are found in Shemot / Exodus 17:15 and Bamidbar / Numbers 21:8-9.
Shemot / Exodus 17:15
17:15 And Moses built an altar, and named it The LORD is My Banner; (NASB, וַיִּ֥בֶן מֹשֶׁ֖ה מִזְבֵּ֑חַ וַיִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ יְהוָ֥ה׀ נִסִּֽי׃)
Bamidbar / Numbers 21:8-9
21:8 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall live.” 21:9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (NASB, ח וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה עֲשֵׂ֤ה לְךָ֙ שָׂרָ֔ף וְשִׂ֥ים אֹת֖וֹ עַל־נֵ֑ס וְהָיָה֙ כָּל־הַנָּשׁ֔וּךְ וְרָאָ֥ה אֹת֖וֹ וָחָֽי׃ ט וַיַּ֤עַשׂ מֹשֶׁה֙ נְחַ֣שׁ נְחֹ֔שֶׁת וַיְשִׂמֵ֖הוּ עַל־הַנֵּ֑ס וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־נָשַׁ֤ךְ הַנָּחָשׁ֙ אֶת־אִ֔ישׁ וְהִבִּ֛יט אֶל־נְחַ֥שׁ הַנְּחֹ֖שֶׁת וָחָֽי׃)
Is it fascinating how the first occurrence in the Hebrew bible of the word נס “standard” is here in Shemot / Exodus 17:15 which refers to HaShem being our standard? The second and third occurrences in the Hebrew bible are from Bamidbar / Numbers 21:8-9 and the fiery serpent which was lifted up to save those who were bitten by the serpent. It is interesting how the Hebrew bible writes וְהִבִּ֛יט אֶל־נְחַ֥שׁ הַנְּחֹ֖שֶׁת וָחָֽי “and when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived” not that this is not simply “looking at” that which is lifted up, but looking to, looking upon, these have a deeper theological construct. “Looking to something,” draws on the idea of seeking help, this is deeper than simply “looking at” which has the connotation of being very superficial. Here in the passages from Numbers, speak to what Yeshua was inferring according to John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. (NASB) We look “to” Yeshua, we do not simply look “at” him. There are significant differences here in one’s approach to faith in the One whom God had sent to save us from our sins! Read further on these in the previous Torah portions on this topic:
We also note the first occurrence of the word shofar is found in Shemot / Exodus 19:16, 19:19, and 20:18.
Shemot / Exodus 19:16
19:16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. (NASB, וַיְהִי֩ בַיּ֨וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֜י בִּֽהְיֹ֣ת הַבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְהִי֩ קֹלֹ֨ת וּבְרָקִ֜ים וְעָנָ֤ן כָּבֵד֙ עַל־הָהָ֔ר וְקֹ֥ל שֹׁפָ֖ר חָזָ֣ק מְאֹ֑ד וַיֶּחֱרַ֥ד כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃)
Shemot / Exodus 19:19
19:19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. (NASB, וַיְהִי֙ ק֣וֹל הַשּׁוֹפָ֔ר הוֹלֵ֖ךְ וְחָזֵ֣ק מְאֹ֑ד מֹשֶׁ֣ה יְדַבֵּ֔ר וְהָאֱלֹהִ֖ים יַעֲנֶ֥נּוּ בְקֽוֹל׃)
Shemot / Exodus 20:18
20:18 And all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. (NASB, וְכָל־הָעָם֩ רֹאִ֨ים אֶת־הַקּוֹלֹ֜ת וְאֶת־הַלַּפִּידִ֗ם וְאֵת֙ ק֣וֹל הַשֹּׁפָ֔ר וְאֶת־הָהָ֖ר עָשֵׁ֑ן וַיַּ֤רְא הָעָם֙ וַיָּנֻ֔עוּ וַיַּֽעַמְד֖וּ מֵֽרָחֹֽק׃)
The first time we read about the Shofar (שֹׁפָ֖ר) blast in the Bible was at the point in which Israel arrived at the mountain of Sinai. The Shofar is commonly recognized as a ram’s horn. In Shemot / Exodus 19, the Lord instructed the people to sanctify themselves for on the third day the Lord would descend upon the mountain, and when this happens the blast of a Shofar would sound before them. In Vayikra / Leviticus and Bamidbar / Numbers we read about the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah, “the Day of Blowing”). The day is more accurately referred to as a “sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts.” It is written, “The first day of the seventh month shall be a sacred holiday to you when you may not do any mundane labor. It shall be a day of Teruah “blowing” for you“ (Bamidbar / Numbers 29:1). The Hebrew word, again, used here is Teruah (תְּרוּעָ֖ה) which translates as “blowing” or “to blow.” In addition to this, according to Vayikra / Leviticus, the Shofar is also blown during the Jubilee (Yovel) and to be blown on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This day came ten days after the Feast of Trumpets. Here, specifically, the Lord commanded the blowing of a ram’s horn (שֹׁפָ֖ר). The word Shofar and Jubilee are sometimes used in a combination called the “Horn of Jubilee (keren ha’yovel).” At other times in scripture, the word Jubilee is synonymous with the Shofar and is considered the same. These things speak to the mystery of the shofar blasts and its connection to the redemption of God.
The word shofar שופר is mentioned 72 times in the Tanakh. It is taken from a kosher animal (ram) however the horn of the cow is excluded because of the sin of the people at Sinai in Parashat Ki Tisa. The people worshiped the golden calf and so the cow is not a source for shofar. The Chazal (Sages) in the rabbinic literature tell us that on Rosh Hashanah, when the Lord hears the call of the Shofar, He rises from His throne of justice and sits on His throne of mercy and judges the personal accounts of each man and woman. This time of judgment is called the Shofar blast of remembrance (zich’ron teruah), as God is reminded of His covenant with Israel. Because of the shofar’s first mention in Exodus at Sinai we are reminded of the revelation of the Torah and the giving of the Instruction of God on Mount Sinai (Matan Torah), which is celebrated on Shavuot (Pentecost). The Israelites declared to the Lord, “We shall do and we shall hear!” In addition to this, the intonation in the shofar blasts, the rising and falling symbolizes the binding of dark forces, and releasing the God’s people from their bondage. This is called the Shofar of redemption. This is how TgJ is using the imagery of the blast of the shofar. Because of these things, the Shofar symbolizes the children of Israel being redeemed from the land of Egypt. This great Shofar will be blown on the Day of the Lord in the end of days when He finally delivers all of God’s people from all the earth where they may be found; as it is written, “So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet [Shofar] will be blown” (Isaiah 27;13).
The use of the banner נס and shofar שופר in the Tanakh represent repentance and forgiveness as a central theme surrounding these words, the power of God, the feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, deliverance from Egypt and bondage to sin, etc. Ultimately all of these things will be fulfilled in the last great shofar blast when Yeshua returns. Then he will pour out His judgment on all flesh, but upon his people he will show mercy and grace. Paul wrote “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27). “Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice, and Israel be glad” (Tehillim / Psalm 14:7).
Isaiah continues saying according to the TgJ, ד אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר יוי לִי אְנִיַח לְעַמִי יִשׂרָאֵל וְאַשקֵיט לְהֹון וְאַתְרעִי מִמְדֹור קֻדשִי לְאֵטָבָא לְהֹון בִרכָן וְנַחָמָן אַיתִי לְהֹון בִפרִיַע כִשחֵין פְצִיַח עַל שְמַש כַעְנַן טַל בִשחֵין חְצָד׃ 18:4 For thus hath the Lord said unto me: I will give rest to my people, yea, I will make them to rest, and I will delight in my holy habitation to do them good: blessings and consolations I will bring upon them quickly, when the heat is intense through the heat of the sun, then I will be to them a cloud of dew as in the heat of harvest. (TgJ) The Lord God Almighty is a God of peace, who gives rest to His people, those who have faith and walk in faithfulness before him! Remember Isaiah 18:4 states, “For so the LORD said unto me, be quiet and look in my dwelling place like a clear heat because of the light, (כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי אֶשְׁקֳוטָה [אֶשְׁקֳטָה] וְאַבִּיטָה בִמְכוֹנִי) and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. (כְּחֹם צַח עֲלֵי-אוֹר כְּעָב טַל בְּחֹם קָצִיר)” Ibn Ezra focuses upon this act of mercy, of giving rest in the midst of the heat from the MSS.
Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 18.4 Part 5
צח עלי אור. אחר הגשם כמו יפיץ ענן אורו (איוב ל”ז י”א), כי השמש הנקרא אור גם כן הירח, כי כן כתוב לעושה אורים גדולים (תהלים קל”ו ז’), הם סבת הגשם במאמר השם:
עלי אור After rain. Comp. ענן אורו the cloud of his rain (Job 37:11). The sun is also called אור, the moon too,—comp. אורים גדולים great luminaries (Ps. 136:7)—because they are the cause of the rain, but of course only at the will of the Almighty.
Ibn Ezra points out how the great luminaries, the sun and the moon are both described with the Hebrew word אור meaning “light” and that the reason for the giving of the rain, which is the mercy of God upon His people, is due to the heat of the great luminary, the sun. The sun and the heat of the day create dryness, which is a lack of moisture, and is often due to a lack of rain for a period of time which leads to the vegetation drying out. Looking up the biblical connections to dryness leads to many search results from both the MSS and the LXX, the following is a short list from a few Hebrew and Greek lexicons.
חֹרֶב n.m. dryness, drought, heat — 1. dryness. 2. drought. 3. parching heat (of sun); of fever.
בּוּשָׁה II n.f. dryness—הֶעֱטִיתָ עָלָיו בּוּשָׁה you covered him with dryness Ps 89:46.
DCH (V 7, p 113) Hebrew Alignment חֹ֫רֶב—dryness, drought; heat; devastation, waste (3): Jdg 6:37, 39, 40 יַבָּשָׁה—dry land; mainland (1): Esd B 19:11 יָבֵשׁ 1—dried, dry (1): Nah…
see צִיָּה dry land, dryness.
ξηρασία The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Septuagint (2×), xērasia, n.c., dryness. 6×
ξηρότης An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon (2×) (p 539)
ξηρότης, ητος, ἡ, (ξηρός) dryness, Plat., Xen.: ἡξ. τῶν νεῶν the dryness, I. e. soundness, of their timbers, Thuc.
καύσων The Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Septuagint (2×)
17; Eze 17:10; 19:12; Hos 12:1; 13:15; Jon 4:8 חֹ֫רֶב—dryness, drought; heat; devastation, waste (1): Ge 31:40 שָׁרָב—heat of the sun; dryness, aridness (1): Is 49:10 English Gloss burning heat…
We note how καύσων is used as dryness, heat, devastation, waste throughout the biblical text. Lamentations 5:9 for example has the prophet speaking of famine and the desert:
We note here that word חרב and the desert (המדבר) suggests that ῥομφαίας should probably been translated as dryness. Regardless of the word that is used here, the sword also has connections to the devastation and dryness, or heat of battle and destruction being laid waste to the nations upon whom the Lord brings judgment. The point being drawn out is to the source of all things, the Lord God Almighty in heaven, and how important it is to seek Him and His ways, and live the example that Yeshua laid down for us, to love and have mercy on others, and to walk in God’s ways of truth and justice for His glory!
Isaiah continues according to the TgJ saying, ה אְרֵי עַד לָא יִמטֵי זְמָן חְצָדָא אִילָנָא לְאַפרָחָא וְבֻסרָא מִינֵיה סְמָדַר וִיקַטֵיל שִלטֹונֵי עַמְמַיָא בְחַרבָא וְיָת תַקִיפַיָא יַעדֵי וְיַעבַר׃ 18:5 Before the time of harvest cometh the tree is ready to bud, and the unripe grape bursts forth into a flower: He shall slay the rulers of the nations with the sword, and their mighty ones He shall remove, and cause to pass away. ו יִשתַבקוּן כַחדָא לְעֹופָא דְטוּרַיָא וְלִבעִירָא דְאַרעָא בְקֵיטָא יְהֵי שָרֵי עְלֹוהִי עַל כָל עֹופָא דִשמַיָא וְכָל בְעִירָא דְאַרעָא עְלֹוהִי יַעבְדוּן סִתוָא׃ 18:6 They shall be left together unto the fowl of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth: all the fowls of the heavens shall dwell upon them in the summer, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. ז בְעִידָנָא הַהוּא יַיתֹונֵיה בְתֻקרְבָא לִקדָם יוי צְבָאֹות לְעַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא וּלעַמָא דְיִתַקַף מִבְכֵין וּלהַלאָה עַמָא אְנִיסָא וּבזִיזָא דְבַזוּ עַמְמַיָא אַרעֵיה לֵאַתרָא דְאִתקְרִי שְמָא יוי צְבָאֹות דִי שְכִינְתֵיה בְטוּרָא דְצִיֹון׃ 18:7 At that time shall one bring an offering unto the Lord of hosts, to a people oppressed and spoiled, to a people that was mighty in times past, and shall be so in time to come, a people oppressed and robbed, whose land the nations have spoiled, unto the place which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts, whose Shekinah is in the mountain of Zion. (TgJ) The Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 98A states, “Said R. Hama bar Hanina, ‘The son of David will come only when the rule over Israel by the least of the kingdoms will come to an end, as it is said, ‘He shall both cut off the springs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches’ (Is. 18:5), and further: ‘In that time shall the present be brought to the Lord of hosts of a people that is scattered and peeled’ (Is. 18:7).’” The rabbis suggest that these things happen (Isaiah 18:7) to a people who are scattered and peeled, meaning their pride has been humbled. Note again how this continues to be a consistent theme through Isaiah. Derashot HaRan 7.42 has the following to state concerning this verse:
Derashot HaRan 7.42
ולפי הנמצא לרז”ל במדרשים יש להם דעת אחרת. והוא שזאת ההבטחה לא תתחיל רק אחרי ביאת הגואל. ויבטיחנו כי אע”פ שתפסק מלכות ממשפחתו בזמן הזה. אחר ביאת המשיח לא תפסק מזרעו לעולם. ויהיה עד כי יבא שילה כמו בזמן שיבא שילה. וזה מוזכר בבראשית רבה ובילמדנו, אמרו שם לא יסור שבט מיהודה זה כסא מלכות שנא’ כסאך אלהים עולם ועד. ומחוקק מבין רגליו כשיבא אותו שכתוב בו ברגלים תרמסנה עטרת גאות וגו’. עד כי יבא שילה כשיבא מי שהמלכות שלו. ולו יקהת עמים כשיבא מי שמקהה שיני כל אומות העולם. שנא’ ישימו יד על פה ואזניהם תחרשנה. הנה מוכח מדבריהם שזו ההבטחה אינה מתחלת רק אחרי ביאת הגואל. וכן דרשו עוד לא יסור שבט מיהודה זה משיח בן דוד שהוא עתיד לרדוף את המלכיות שנא’ תרועם בשבט ברזל. ומחוקק מבין רגליו אלו יושבי יעבץ. עד כי יבא שילה. שעתידין כל אומות העולם להביא דורון למשיח בן דוד שנא’ בעת ההיא יובל שי לה’ צבאות.
And our sages have yet another view in the Midrashim, namely, that this assurance materializes only after the coming of the redeemer, the assurance being that even though the kingdom may cease from his tribe for a certain period, after the Messiah comes it will never cease from his seed. “Until Shiloh shall come” is understood, in this context, as “when Shiloh shall come.” This is mentioned in Genesis Rabbah (99:10) and in Yelamdeinu, viz.: “‘The staff shall not depart from Judah’ — this is the throne of kingdom, as it is written (Psalms 45:7): ‘Your throne, O G-d, is for ever and ever.’ ‘And the scepter from between his feet’ — when there comes the one of whom it is written (Isaiah 28:3): ‘The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under feet.’ ‘Until Shiloh shall come’ — when there comes the one to whom the kingdom belongs. ‘And his is the blunting of the peoples’ — when there comes the one who blunts the teeth of all the nations of the world, as it is written (Micah 7:16): ‘They shall lay their hands on their mouths, their ears shall be deaf.” It is clear from their words that the assurance does not take effect until after the coming of the redeemer. And they expounded similarly (Genesis Rabbah 97): “‘The staff shall not depart from Judah’ — this is Messiah, the son of David, who is destined to subjugate the kingdoms, as it is written (Psalms 2:9): ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron.’ ‘And the scepter from between his feet’ — these are the inhabitants of Yavetz. ‘Until Shiloh shall come’ — all the peoples of the world are destined to bring a gift to Messiah, the son of David, as it is written (Isaiah 18:7): ‘In that time a present shall be brought to the L-rd of hosts.'”
The rabbinic interpretation is that these things may be taken from Midrash that these things happen when the Redeemer, the King Messiah comes. The Messianic expectation draws with the dominion and the power of God to subjugate the nations and it will be in this time that the nations will bring gifts to the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem on the mountain of Zion. We note this theme of humbling and listening to the Lord God in heaven. The Torah describes the priesthood as being holy, and the person who conducts himself without integrity, he profanes the name of God. We note the context of the people of Israel, as all being a nation of priests as holy unto the Lord.
ספר ויקרא פרק כא
ו קְדֹשִׁ֤ים יִהְיוּ֙ לֵאלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם וְלֹ֣א יְחַלְּל֔וּ שֵׁ֖ם אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֑ם כִּי֩ אֶת־אִשֵּׁ֨י יְהוָ֜ה לֶ֧חֶם אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֛ם הֵ֥ם מַקְרִיבִ֖ם וְהָ֥יוּ קֹֽדֶשׁ׃
Vayikra / Leviticus 21:6
21:6 ‘They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God, for they present the offerings by fire to the LORD, the bread of their God; so they shall be holy. (NASB)
When a person who is a child of God conducts his or herself without integrity, he or she profane the name of God. This word for profane (יְחַלְּל֔וּ) means to make “common and ordinary” and the word קְדֹשִׁ֤ים means to be set apart and special. When a person who declares he is a believer in the God of Israel and in His Messiah Yeshua behaves like those who do not know the Lord, who behaves common and ordinary, he makes God look common and ordinary too. This damages the reputation of God. An unbeliever who steals, deceives, lies, perjures and swindles there is nothing remarkable about his life. When a believer does these same things, he disgraces the faith and gives opportunity for unbelievers to say, “You see? He is just like us. I knew there was no substance to his God or his religion.” Similarly note the sages understood the commandment, “You shall not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him” (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:13) to be a prohibition against dishonest business transactions. As disciples of Yeshua obedient to God’s Torah, we need to strive for scrupulous honesty, especially in matters of business and in matters of faith! We note the weightiness of what it means to protect the name of God. The name of God stands for far more than just being a name, it stands for the very essence for who He is representing history, power, glory, and truth. In Judaism, anything that causes the name of God to be disrespected, or violation of the mitzvot (Commandments) are referred to as profaning the name of God. This is obvious as we are called to be a peculiar people, holy, and a treasured people unto God, and by this we are called to sanctify the name of God, to glorify His holy name, etc. Note what Paul wrote saying, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord” (Colossians 3:17) and what Yeshua write in Matthew 5:6, “Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” The idea is that the name of God is profaned when we disobey or cause someone else to disobey. This is what the psalmist states according to Tehillim / Psalms 86:8-12.
ספר תהילים פרק פו
ח אֵין-כָּמוֹךָ בָאֱלֹהִים | אֲדֹנָי וְאֵין כְּמַעֲשֶֹיךָ: ט כָּל-גּוֹיִם | אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתָ יָבוֹאוּ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ אֲדֹנָי וִיכַבְּדוּ לִשְׁמֶךָ: י כִּי-גָדוֹל אַתָּה וְעֹשֵֹה נִפְלָאוֹת אַתָּה אֱלֹהִים לְבַדֶּךָ: יא הוֹרֵנִי יְהֹוָה דַּרְכֶּךָ אֲהַלֵּךְ בַּאֲמִתֶּךָ יַחֵד לְבָבִי לְיִרְאָה שְׁמֶךָ: יב אוֹדְךָ | אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהַי בְּכָל-לְבָבִי וַאֲכַבְּדָה שִׁמְךָ לְעוֹלָם::
Tehillim / Psalms 86:8-12
86:8 Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. 86:9 All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. 86:10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. 86:12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. (KJV)
These things describe the holiness and greatness of God and the psalmists desire to be taught in the ways of God, in holiness, righteousness, justice, and truth. It was because Israel and the nations refused to listen to the Lord God Almighty that these things were brought upon them. The rabbis say ultimately all the peoples of the world are destined to bring a gift to Messiah, the son of David, as it is written in Isaiah 18:7. The nations will recognize how the hand of God is involved in all of these things and ultimately give honor and glory to where it belongs! We who are called to faith in the Messiah and the Eternal God of Israel, we are called to do these things, to bring honor and glory to His holy Name by walking in His ways of holiness, righteousness, justice, and truth!