New Defender's Study Bible Notes
18:1 rivers of Ethiopia. These rivers probably were the Nile headwaters with their tributaries. Ethiopia is Cush in the Hebrew, no doubt referring to their ancestor Cush, son of Ham and father of Nimrod (Genesis 10:6,8).
18:1 Ethiopia. The coming Assyrian invasion would extend even into Egypt and Ethiopia. All of these prophecies of invasion and destruction were fulfilled in the period from about 730 B.C. to about 670 B.C.
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).
18:7 present be brought. In the last days, the Ethiopians, at least in part, will turn back to the true God. The Ethiopian eunuch who accepted Christ (Acts 8:26-38) is perhaps a type of their future conversion. There has long been an Ethiopian church, and it may also be significant that there have been multitudes of black Africans (probably descended originally from the Cushite emigrants) who have turned to Christ in modern times.