God’s Message to Egypt
19 A message[a] about Egypt: Look, the Lord is coming on a fast cloud. He will enter Egypt, and all the false gods of Egypt will shake with fear. Egypt’s courage will melt away like hot wax.
2 The Lord says, “I will cause the Egyptians to fight against themselves. Men will fight their brothers. Neighbors will be against neighbors. Cities will be against cities. Kingdoms will be against kingdoms.[b] 3 The Egyptians will be afraid and confused. They will ask their false gods and wise men what they should do. They will ask their wizards and magicians, but I will ruin their plans.” 4 The Lord God All-Powerful says, “I will give Egypt to a hard master. A powerful king will rule over the people.”
5 The water in the Nile River will dry up and disappear. 6 All the rivers will smell very bad.[c] The canals in Egypt will be dry, and the water will be gone. All the water plants will rot. 7 All the plants along the riverbanks will die and blow away. Even the plants at the widest part of the river will dry up, blow away, and disappear.
8 The fishermen, all those who catch fish from the Nile River, will become sad and they will cry. They depend on the Nile River for their food, but it will be dry. 9 Those who make cloth from flax, who weave it into linen, will all be sad. 10 Those who weave cloth will be broken, and those who work for money will be depressed.
11 The leaders of the city of Zoan[d] are fools. Pharaoh’s “wise advisors” give bad advice. They say they are wise. They say they are from the old family of the kings, but they are not as smart as they think. 12 Egypt, where are your wise men? They should learn what the Lord All-Powerful has planned for Egypt. They should be the ones to tell you what will happen.
13 The leaders of Zoan have been fooled. The leaders of Noph[e] have believed lies, so they lead Egypt the wrong way. 14 The Lord confused them, so they wander around and lead Egypt the wrong way. Everything they do is wrong. They are like drunks rolling in their vomit. 15 There is nothing the leaders can do. (They are “the heads and the tails.” They are “the tops and the stalks of plants.”[f])
16 At that time the Egyptians will be like frightened women. They will be afraid of the Lord All-Powerful, because he will raise his arm to punish the people. 17 The land of Judah brings fear to everyone in Egypt. Anyone in Egypt who hears the name Judah will be afraid. This will happen because the Lord All-Powerful has planned terrible things to happen to Egypt. 18 At that time there will be five cities in Egypt where people speak Hebrew.[g] One of these cities will be named “Destruction City.”[h] The people in these cities will promise to follow the Lord All-Powerful.
19 At that time there will be an altar for the Lord in the middle of Egypt. At the border of Egypt there will be a monument to show honor to the Lord. 20 This will be a sign to show that the Lord All-Powerful does amazing things. Any time the people cry for help from the Lord, he will send help. He will send someone to save and defend the people—to rescue the people from those who hurt them.
21 At that time the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and they really will know the Lord. They will serve him and give him many sacrifices. They will make promises[i] to the Lord, and they will do what they promise. 22 The Lord will punish the Egyptians, but then he will heal them, and they will come back to him. The Lord will listen to their prayers and heal them.
23 At that time there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Then the Assyrians will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians will go to Assyria. Egypt will work with Assyria.[j] 24 Then Israel, Assyria, and Egypt will join together and control the land. This will be a blessing for the land. 25 The Lord All-Powerful will bless these countries. He will say, “Egypt, you are my people. Assyria, I made you. Israel, I own you. You are all blessed!”
- Isaiah 19:1 message Or “burden.”
- Isaiah 19:2 Kingdoms will be against kingdoms Or “States will be against states.” This means Egyptians will fight other Egyptians.
- Isaiah 19:6 smell very bad In Hebrew this is like a name for the Nile River.
- Isaiah 19:11 Zoan A city in Egypt. Also in verse 13.
- Isaiah 19:13 Noph Or “Memphis,” a city in Egypt.
- Isaiah 19:15 the heads and … stalks of plants See Isa. 9:14-15.
- Isaiah 19:18 Hebrew Literally, “the language of Canaan.”
- Isaiah 19:18 Destruction City This is a wordplay on the name meaning “Sun City,” which is also called On or Heliopolis.
- Isaiah 19:21 promises A special kind of promise to God. See Lev. 22:18-24.
- Isaiah 19:23 Egypt will work with Assyria Or “Egypt will serve Assyria.”