scattered and peeled
18:2 scattered and peeled. See also Isaiah 18:7. The Hebrew word translated “scattered” is rendered as “tall” in some versions. Its basic meaning seems to be “drawn out” or “stretched out.” It probably here refers to the Cushites as having migrated far away from God’s “dwelling place” (Isaiah 18:4) in Jerusalem. The word for “peeled” is used only in these two verses. Its basic meaning is “obstinate” or “independent-minded,” although many English versions translate it as “smooth.” The emphasis more likely is that the Ethiopians, “terrible from the beginning,” had ventured far away from the other descendants of Ham, going deep into Africa after crossing the Red Sea from southern Arabia. The independent spirit of their father Cush was perhaps exhibited when he named his most eminent son Nimrod, meaning “Let us rebel” (see note on Genesis 10:8).