SCRIPTURE READING: Isaiah 18:1-7
釋義: 舊約時代的埃及是由南北兩國組成: 北國在地中海南岸, 尼羅 河下游的地方, 稱為埃及, 即今日的埃及; 南國是尼羅河上游。「古實河」包括了流經現今蘇丹與巴卡、奧亙斯、里比謝比利 (Barka, Awash, Redi Shebeli)的藍、白尼羅河, 及流經現今埃塞俄比亞與索馬利亞的其他河流, 聖經稱為埃提阿伯的古實,涵蓋的面積較現今埃賽塞俄比亞為大。本章以古實稱呼埃及國, 因為在以賽亞時代，埃及是受古實人統治，而這點反映在二十章中，那裡埃及與古實是記載於同一句中。
INSIGHT: Egypt in the Old Testament era was divided into the northern and southern kingdoms: The northern kingdom was the land along the south coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the lower reaches of the Nile known as Egypt, or the present-day Egypt; the southern kingdom was in the upper reaches of the Nile. “The rivers of Cush” include the White and Blue Nile that flow through the present-day Sudan, Barka, Awash, and Redi Shebeli, and the other rivers that flow through present-day Ethiopia and Somalia. Cush, called Ethiopia in the Bible, covered an area larger than today’s Ethiopia. In this chapter, Egypt is called Cush because in Isaiah’s times, Egypt was ruled by the people of Cush; this is reflected in chapter 20 where Egypt and Cush are recorded in the same sentence.
先知重複稱讚古實人高大(2,7), 毫不誇張。主前五世紀希臘的希羅多德(Herodotus)描寫他們為「人中之最高大俊美者」。 即然如此, 這些偉人怎樣也不能與創造偉人的神相比。第四節是以賽亞書最美麗而有力的神諭之一。最重要的是它指出了人間一切的喧嚷混亂,神都在默然觀看,這是對上帝信心的表現。
The prophet praises the people of Cush repeatedly for being tall (2, 7), with no exaggeration at all. In the 5th century BC, Herodotus of Greece described them as “the tallest and most handsome among men”. Despite that, these great people cannot compare to God who creates great people. Verse 4 is one of the most beautiful and powerful oracles in the Book of Isaiah; the most important thing is that it points out that in the midst of all the rowdiness and chaos on earth, God is quietly looking; this mentality is a display of faith in God.
God’s “dwelling”, whether it’s the temple in Jerusalem or in heaven (refer to 6:1), is secure and unshakable. “Clear heat” and “a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest” are very prominent images. The former possesses visual effects – a clear and quiet scorching summer day, undisturbed even by light breezes, analogizing the Almighty’s immutability; His glory is a source of light and peace in this confusing and disturbing world. The second visualization, the dew, is perhaps more tactile; after a day of toiling work in scorching heat, a cool evening breeze refreshes and restores. Likewise, God’s wisdom, through the preaching of his servants and the prophets, gives strength and courage to those in need.
耶和華的奇妙, 就是祂的偉大不單臨到選民, 也期望甚至受責罰的古實人都能認識和經歷。本章預言用首尾呼應的格式, 表達了神這個心願。開始時差遣快行的使者「要到高大光滑的民那裡去。自從開國以來，那民極其可畏，是分地界踐踏人的；他們的地有江河分開」(2), 目的在最後一節: 期望「他們必將禮物奉給萬軍之耶和華，就是奉到錫安山─耶和華安置他名的地方。」(7)
The Lord’s wonderfulness, or His greatness, is not limited to the chosen people. The hope is that even the punished people of Cush could understand and experience it. This chapter employs the echo technique to express God’s desire. At the beginning, swift messengers are sent “to a nation tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide” (2); the purpose is in the last verse – hoping that “At that time tribute will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and
conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts.” (7)
耶穌吩咐信徒要愛敵人如己。這不是一個口號; 這是神的心願。如果神對敵人古實尚且發出接納他們悔改敬拜的呼求, 我們今天可否向「仇敵」伸出友誼的手, 與他們復和? 打電話給他們? 寫張便條或心意卡表達在主裡的接納?
Jesus commands believers to love our enemies as ourselves. This is not a catchphrase; it is God’s desire. If God even accepts the cry of repentance and worship from the people of Cush, his enemy, shouldn’t we extend a hand of friendship to our “enemies”, and make amends with them? Call them? Write a note or a thinking-of-you card to express our acceptance of them in Christ?
每日讀經 by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung