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Isaiah 19-20New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

An Oracle concerning Egypt

19 An oracle concerning Egypt.

See, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud
    and comes to Egypt;
the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
    and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,
    and they will fight, one against the other,
    neighbor against neighbor,
    city against city, kingdom against kingdom;
the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out,
    and I will confound their plans;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead
    and the ghosts and the familiar spirits;
I will deliver the Egyptians
    into the hand of a hard master;
a fierce king will rule over them,
    says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts.

The waters of the Nile will be dried up,
    and the river will be parched and dry;
its canals will become foul,
    and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up,
    reeds and rushes will rot away.
There will be bare places by the Nile,
    on the brink of the Nile;
and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up,
    be driven away, and be no more.
Those who fish will mourn;
    all who cast hooks in the Nile will lament,
    and those who spread nets on the water will languish.
The workers in flax will be in despair,
    and the carders and those at the loom will grow pale.
10 Its weavers will be dismayed,
    and all who work for wages will be grieved.

11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish;
    the wise counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
    “I am one of the sages,
    a descendant of ancient kings”?
12 Where now are your sages?
    Let them tell you and make known
    what the Lord of hosts has planned against Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan have become fools,
    and the princes of Memphis are deluded;
those who are the cornerstones of its tribes
    have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has poured into them[a]
    a spirit of confusion;
and they have made Egypt stagger in all its doings
    as a drunkard staggers around in vomit.
15 Neither head nor tail, palm branch or reed,
    will be able to do anything for Egypt.

16 On that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the Lord of hosts raises against them. 17 And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the plan that the Lord of hosts is planning against them.

Egypt, Assyria, and Israel Blessed

18 On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.

19 On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior, and will defend and deliver them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the Lord on that day, and will worship with sacrifice and burnt offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing; they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their supplications and heal them.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

24 On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”

Isaiah Dramatizes the Conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia

20 In the year that the commander-in-chief, who was sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and took it— at that time the Lord had spoken to Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take your sandals off your feet,” and he had done so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,[b] so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians[c] as exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia[d] their hope and of Egypt their boast. In that day the inhabitants of this coastland will say, ‘See, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 19:14 Gk Compare Tg: Heb it
  2. Isaiah 20:3 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  3. Isaiah 20:4 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  4. Isaiah 20:5 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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