April 23rd

Isaiah 18-22

  • 18:1-7—In the midst of a string of prophecies condemning other nations, this one indicates that God is going to bless his people through the nation of Ethiopia. It’s not clear what event this might be referring to, but we do know that there is a strong connection between Ethiopia and Israel. There’s been a large Jewish community in Ethiopia since ancient times and the nation is one of the oldest Christian states in the world, and one of the only sub-Saharan African nations that adopted Christianity before the arrival of Europeans. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church even claims to possess the Ark of the Covenant, saying that the Ethiopian emperor Menelik I (who they claim was the son of King Solomon) brought it with him when he returned from visiting his father.
  • 19:1-15 – This is the prophecy against Egypt, who was the nation that enslaved Israel.
  • 19:16-25 – These sections elaborate on what’s going to happen and let them know that they will be turned to the Lord.
  • 20:1-6 – Yes, you read that right. Isaiah walked around naked and barefoot. This was to represent the humiliation Israel’s enemies would feel upon defeat. Next time you see somebody naked in public, instead of thinking “there goes a crazy person”, maybe you should think “I wonder why God told them to do that”
  • 21:1-17 – These are prophecies against Babylon, Dumah, and Tema. Though Dumah and Tema are fairly unknown, Babylon would soon overthrow the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • 22:1 – “Valley of vision” refers to Jerusalem. There is irony in this title because Jerusalem had always been referred to as on top of a mountain – which was both physical and figurative.
  • 22:1-14 – This prophecy is aimed at Judah. God saved them from Assyria’s attacks and they felt they were home-free so they began celebrating instead of mourning their sins like God called them to do.
  • 22:14-25 – Shebna was an officer for King Hezekiah but his sin was so great that he was demoted. This is an indictment on him.

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