The Passion Translation
A Prophecy concerning Egypt
19 A prophecy concerning Egypt?[a]
Behold! The Lord Yahweh is riding on a swift-soaring cloud![b]
He is on his way to Egypt!
The god-idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,[c]
and the hearts of the Egyptians will melt within them!
2 “I will stir up civil strife
and cause the Egyptians to fight against one another—
one against the other, neighbor against neighbor,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3 The spirit of the Egyptians will be in panic,
and I will confuse[d] their strategies.
They will seek guidance from their idols
and by the spirits of the dead
and consult with mediums and wizards.
4 I will give over the Egyptians into the hands of a cruel master;[e]
a brutal king will rule over them,” says the sovereign God,
the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies.
5 The Nile delta[f] will dry up
and the riverbed will become parched and dry.
6 Its canals will become stagnant and stink with rotting reeds,
and the streams of Egypt will dry up, from a trickle to nothing.
7 All that is planted by the mouth of the river will dry up,[g]
and the fields along the brooks will wither
and turn to dust blown away by the wind.[h]
8 Fishermen[i] will mourn. All who cast a fishhook into the river
and those who cast their nets will catch nothing.
9 Those who make clothing from combed flax will despair,[j]
and the weavers of linen will be distressed.[k]
10 The pillars of Egypt’s foundations will be shattered
and every worker grieved.[l]
The Wisdom of Egypt Is Foolishness to God
11 The elite of Zoan[m] are nothing but fools,
and the wisest of Pharaoh’s counselors gives foolish advice.
How in the world can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am a brilliant sage and a descendant of the ancient kings”?[n]
12 Where, oh where, are all your sages?[o]
If they’re so wise, let them discover and tell you
what the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies,
has planned for Egypt.
13 Zoan’s elite have become utter fools;
the nobles of Memphis are utterly deceived,
and Egypt has been led astray by her tribal chiefs.[p]
14 The Lord Yahweh has mixed up their minds
and poured into them a distorted spirit
that will make Egypt dizzy and act like a drunk
who staggers around in his own vomit.
15 There is nothing anyone in Egypt can do—
neither head nor tail,[q] nor anyone of high or low position.[r]
16 In that day, the Egyptians will become like women who tremble in fear[s] because the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, shakes his fist[t] at them. 17 The land of Judah will become the dread of the Egyptians. They will quake whenever anybody even mentions it to them, because of what the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, has in store for them!
Divine Grace for Egypt
18 In that day, there will be five[u] Egyptian cities that speak the language of Canaan[v] and swear their allegiance to the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, and one[w] will be called the City of the Sun.[x]
19 In that day, there will be an altar to the Lord Yahweh in the middle of Egypt and a sacred monument to honor him on its border.[y] 20 It will be a sign and a visible reminder in the land of Egypt of the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies. And they will cry out to him when they are oppressed, he will send a mighty deliverer[z] and champion to their rescue![aa]
21 The Lord Yahweh will reveal to them who he really is, and the Egyptians will know him intimately. They will worship him with sacrifices and burnt offerings. They will make vows to the Lord Yahweh, and they will keep them.[ab]
22 The Lord Yahweh will wound the Egyptians, but when they turn back to him, he will heal them. Yes, the Lord Yahweh will listen to their hearts’ cry, and he will heal and restore them.
23 In that day there will be a highway all the way from Egypt to Assyria.[ac] Like long-lost brothers, the Egyptians and the Assyrians will be joined together and they will worship and serve the Lord Yahweh! And in that day, Israel will become the third partner with Egypt and Assyria as a blessing to all the earth. For the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt, my people! Blessed be Assyria, my handiwork! And blessed be Israel, my inheritance!”
- Isaiah 19:1 Egypt is a recognized symbol of the world and its temptations and snares.
- Isaiah 19:1 See Deut. 33:26; Ps. 18:9-11; 68:34; 104:3; Isa. 60:8. Clouds can be a metaphor for God’s sons and daughters in glory.
- Isaiah 19:1 See Heb. 12:26-29.
- Isaiah 19:3 Or “swallow.” The Hebrew homonym can mean either “confuse” or “swallow.”
- Isaiah 19:4 Or “lords of severity”; that is, the king of Assyria.
- Isaiah 19:5 Or “the waters of the sea.” Waters could be viewed as an emblem of life-giving ministries.
- Isaiah 19:7 “All that is planted” could point to the teaching of the Word, sown as seeds into hearts. See Matt. 13:19-23.
- Isaiah 19:7 See Ps. 1:4.
- Isaiah 19:8 Fishermen can be seen as evangelists. See Matt. 4:18-19.
- Isaiah 19:9 Flax was arduously combed to produce linen.
- Isaiah 19:9 Or “become (white) pale.” See Isa. 38:12.
- Isaiah 19:10 The foundations of worldliness (Egypt) will be broken off of our lives. See Ps. 11:3.
- Isaiah 19:11 That is, her leaders. Zoan, one of the oldest cities in the world, is in lower Egypt, known by the Greeks as Tunis. Zoan means “the place of departure” or “depressed, low region.” (See also v. 13.) In the fields of Zoan Moses worked miracles to prove to Pharaoh that God had sent him to demand the release of the Hebrews from their slavery.
- Isaiah 19:11 Or “I am a son of a wise man and a descendent of the (wise) Kedemite kings.”
- Isaiah 19:12 See 1 Cor. 1:18-31.
- Isaiah 19:13 Or “cornerstones,” a metaphor for Egypt’s rulers. Egypt was known for its wisdom, but the wisdom of this world (Egypt) has been found empty and vain. Christ is our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).
- Isaiah 19:15 The head represents leaders; the tail, lying prophets. See Isa. 9:14-15.
- Isaiah 19:15 Or “palm branch or reed,” a metaphor for the “strong or the weak, high or low.”
- Isaiah 19:16 See Heb. 12:26-29.
- Isaiah 19:16 Or “hand.” The hand with its five fingers can be a metaphor for the five-fold ministry (Eph. 4:11).
- Isaiah 19:18 Possibly a figurative number (i.e., the five senses).
- Isaiah 19:18 That is, they will speak the language (Heb. “lip”) of the people of God—a language of hope, not despair; of love, not hatred; a spiritual language of all that is sacred and holy. See Isa. 50:4; Zeph. 3:9. The Hebrew word for Canaan means “to be humbled” or “to bend the knee.” The language of Canaan would be the language of humility.
- Isaiah 19:18 Or “each one.”
- Isaiah 19:18 Most Hebrew manuscripts have “the City of Destruction,” but the Dead Sea scroll 1QIsaa and a few medieval Hebrew manuscripts, along with the Targum and Vulgate, have “the City of the Sun (Hierapolis).” The other four Egyptian cities could be Leontopolis, Daphne, Migdol, and Memphis.
- Isaiah 19:19 There has been conjecture that this pillar (memorial) may be the great pyramid in Egypt and might have been built by Job (Egyptian name Cheops). Job was a grandson of Jacob and a nephew of Joseph, who went into Egypt with the Israelites. He is mentioned in Gen. 46:13 and 1 Chron. 7:1 as Jashub or, in the Masoretic text, Job. Others view this as a future monument built to glorify God.
- Isaiah 19:20 Or “savior.”
- Isaiah 19:20 If God responds to the prayers of the “Egyptians” (worldly people), how much more will he rescue his own people? See James 4:10; 2 Chron. 6:32-33.
- Isaiah 19:21 In response to the plagues (Ex. 7–10), Pharaoh promised to let the children of Israel go but then took back that promise. Isaiah proclaims that this spirit of broken promises will be broken off Egypt.
- Isaiah 19:23 The ancient Assyrian empire would include parts of northern Iraq, northwestern Isran, and southeastern Turkey.