God in defence of his church and punishing her enemies, will destroy
the Ethiopians, ver. 1 - 6.
An access thereby shall be to the church, ver. 7.
1: The lord - Either Ethiopia beyond Egypt; or of Egypt.
Wings - The title of wings is given, in scripture, to divers things
which have some kind of resemblance to wings, as to the battlements of
an house or temple, to an army, and to the sails of a ship, as this word
is here commonly understood. And shadowing with wings is nothing else
but overspread or filled with them. Which title may be given either to
Ethiopia or Egypt, in regard of the great numbers either of their
armies, or of their ships or vessels sailing upon the sea or rivers.
Besides - Situated on both sides of the Nile. Rivers - Called
rivers, in the plural number, either for its greatness, or for
the many rivulets that run into it, or for the various streams into
which it is divided.
2: Sendeth - That at this time are sending ambassadors, to strengthen
themselves with alliances. Bulrushes - Both the Egyptians and
Ethiopians, used boats of rushes or reeds, which were more convenient
for them than those of wood, because they were both cheaper and swifter,
and lighter for carriage from place to place. These seem to be the words
of the prophet, who having pronounced a woe against the land hitherto
described, here continues his speech, and gives a commission from God to
these messengers, to go to this nation scattered, &c. Then he calls
to all nations to be witnesses of the message sent, ver.(3), and then
the message follows in the succeeding verses. Messengers - Whom I have
appointed for this work, and tell them what I am about to do with them.
Scattered - Not by banishment but in their habitations. Which agrees well
to the Ethiopians, for the manner of their habitation, which is more
scattered than that of other people. Peeled - Having their hair plucked
off. This is metaphorically used in scripture, for some great calamity,
whereby men are stripped of all their comforts. And this title may be
given to them prophetically, to signify their approaching destruction.
Terrible - Such were the Egyptians, and Ethiopians, as appears both
from sacred and profane histories. Meted - Meted out as it were with
lines to destruction. Trodden - By Divine sentence, and to be trodden
down by their enemies. The rivers - Which may be understood of the
Assyrians or Babylonians breaking in upon them like a river, and
destroying their land and people.
3: When - When God shall gather together the nations, as it were by
the lifting up of an ensign, or by the sound of a trumpet, to execute
his judgments upon this people.
4: Rest - I will not bestir myself, to help this people. God is said
in scripture to rest, or sit still, when he doth not work on the
behalf of a person or people. Dwelling - place - In heaven, the place where
God dwells. Harvest - The sense is, that God would look upon them with
as uncomfortable an influence as the sun with a clear heat upon the
herbs, which are scorched and killed by it; and as a cloud of the
dew, which brings dew or rain, in the heat of harvest, when it is
unwelcome and hurtful.
5: For - Before they receive the end of their hopes. When - When
the bud or flower is turned into a grape, which gives hopes of good
vintage. He - The Lord. The branches - Instead of gathering the grapes,
shall cut down the tree, and throw it into the fire.
6: Thy - The branches being cut down and thrown upon the ground, with
the unripe grapes upon them. Left - They shall lie upon the earth, so that
either birds or beasts may shelter themselves with them, or feed on them,
both summer and winter.
7: In that time - At or after that time, when the judgment shall be
compleatly executed. A people - The people of whom I am speaking shall
present themselves, and their sacrifices, to the true God.