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sendeth [shalach] ambassadors [tsiyr] by the
sea [yam], even in vessels [kaliy] of bulrushes [gome'] upon [paniym] the waters [mayim], saying,
Go [yalak], ye swift [qal] messengers [mal'ak], to a
nation [gowy] scattered [mashak] and peeled [mowrat], to a
people [`am] terrible [yare'] from their beginning hitherto [halaah]; a nation [gowy] meted out [qav-qav] and trodden down [mabuwcah],
whose land ['erets] the rivers [nahar] have spoiled [baza']! KJV-Interlinear
sends envoys by the sea, Even in papyrus vessels on the surface of the waters.
Go, swift messengers, to a nation tall and smooth, To a people feared far and
wide, A powerful and oppressive nation Whose land the rivers divide. NASB
Even though Africa is made up of many nations, here in our passage the continent of Africa being referred to as the lands beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, is being collectively referred to as a nation, or group, or collective of peoples that have very similar attributes. Those common attributes being their penchant for evil. This has nothing to do with color or culture or race or any other human attribute. Evil is the common thread that, in this case, binds them all together as a single group of people.
And this verse describes the activities of the many peoples of Africa, from the perspective of this prophecy.
They are a busy and active group. Ambassadors by the sea is a reference to the huge international trading or commerce activity.
In vessels of bulrushes, refers to light ships, barges, even carts or in our current day would refer to trucks which transport cargo and goods of all types. But back in those days, the ocean and rivers were the predominant means of transportation around the through the continent.
And the message they are commanded is to ‘Go.’
And since there is a means of swift transportation and swift communication, today we have television, internet, phones and such, whereas back then they had messengers who traveled by boat, but were still able to get to even the far reaches of the continent and even beyond that, in a generally quick manner even by their standards.
So, in the end days of history there will still be a means of swift communication and travel, despite the many disasters and obstacles that will exist that one would think would hinder such activity.
And if such communication does exist, then messages and warnings of Gods wrath and the many things that will be happening in the world in that future time, are also able to be delivered or communicated. Which again means that people have no excuse for not knowing what is going on in the world.
To the people or many peoples, that are scattered, or stretched out across a wide and diverse region. Which implies that these many distant regions are nearly simultaneously accessable, or at least easily accessible by whatever means of travel or communication is used.
Peeled, is a reference to a stubborn people that have been peeled or made independent, but in a perverse manner. They are separated from truth and stubborn in their beliefs, and therefore wicked.
Terrible, ‘yare,’ refers to a people that you would be afraid of, a people to fear, who are untrustworthy, and therefore a degenerate and unscrupulous people.
From their beginning, refers to the fundamental nature inherent within their character. They are a lying and brutal and contemptuous people and have been all of their lives.
Meted out, ‘qav-qav,’ means to be fastened or stubborn.
Trodden down, ‘mabuwcah,’ means to trample underfoot, to loath.
This is a people that has taken and never given back. They have no concern for others, but only care for themselves.
The land the rivers have spoiled, refers to the seasonal restoration of the land that comes from the natural flooding and restoration of the land from silt and soil that the rivers bring.
Even nature has a greater respect for the land, than do the people who use the land.
This principle has a broader application than just the abuse of the land, but applies to the abuse of all of life in general. Commerce and activity are more important than the abuse of people.
And as the world in those latter days, will be full of human suffering, most folks will be thinking more of their secular priorities, than human compassion, and certainly not thinking of God or anything that deals with the ‘end of days’ period in which they will be living. Somehow that concept just won’t seem to apply.
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End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.