In our study of Isaiah chapter eighteen, we will look at God's promise of delivering Jerusalem from the attack of the Assyrians. We will look at the fact that God told Isaiah to reject the offered help of others and to simply trust in Him.
"Woe to the land of whirring wings along the rivers of Cush," NIV translation
Isaiah begins by addressing this prophecy to the land that is known today as Ethiopia. This had been the southern part of the kingdom of Egypt but they were split apart. Even today, the country is known for its birds.
"which sends envoys by sea in papyrus boats over the water. Go, swift messengers, 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." NIV translation
Although the land of Egypt is considered to be a very poor nation today, at this time, they were considered a great nation. The Assyrian army had invaded the land of Judah because Hezekiah had rebelled against their idolatry. They invaded the villages of Judah. Since the Assyrians were also an enemy of Cush, they went to Jerusalem to offer an alliance in the fight against the Assyrians. They were sent back without an alliance because of the promise that we are about to see.
"All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it." NIV translation
A banner speaks of a symbol that lets people know who is at a given location. In this case, the banner refers to the very presence of God acting on behalf of His people. We see that the entire world was going to know that Jerusalem was spared by the very hand of God.