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The Gospel To Israel
Book 1

Isaiah 19:1 - 21:17


The three prophecies in chapters 18, 19 and 20 form a trilogy.

Chapter 18 Like chapter 1,  the introduction to the whole, it is without any special heading,  treats in language of  the sublimest pathos of  Ethiopia.
Chapter 19 Treats in a calmer and more descriptive tone of  Egypt.
Chapter 20 Treats of  both Egypt and Ethiopia in the style of  historic prose.

The kingdom to which all three prophecies refer is one and the same - the Egypt-Ethiopian kingdom;  but

Chapter 18 Refers to the Ruling nation
Chapter 19 Treats of the Conquered nation
Chapter 20 Embraces both together

The reason why such particular attention is given to Egypt in the prophecy,  is that no nation on earth was so mixed up with the history of  the kingdom of  God,  from the patriarchal times downwards,  as Egypt was.
And because Israel,  as the law plainly enjoined upon it,  was never to forget that it had been sheltered for a long time in Egypt,  and there had grown into a great nation,  and had received many benefits;  whenever prophecy has to speak concerning Egypt,  it is quite as earnest in its promises as it is in its threats.

And thus chapter 19 of  Isaiah falls into two distinct halves

19:1-15 a threatening one
19:18-25 a promising one
while between the judgment and the salvation (in vv. 16 and 17) there stands the alarm,  forming as it were a connecting bridge between the two.

And just in proportion as the coil of  punishments is unfolded on the one hand by the prophet,  the promise is also unfolded in just as many stages on the other;  and moving on in ever new grooves,  rises at length to such a height,  that it breaks not only through the limits of  contemporaneous history,  but even through those of  the Old Testament itself,  and speaks in the spiritual language of  the world-embracing love of  the New Testament.

The Oracle concerning Egypt
Isaiah 19:1-17

Isaiah 19:1-4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1)  The “Egypt” Pronouncement.   The oracle of the cup of cursing to give to Egypt to drink.
Mounted on a swift cloud,
The Lord will come to Egypt;
  To take vengeance on Egypt;
Egypt’s idols shall tremble before Him,
And the heart of the Egyptians shall sink within them.
(2)  “I will incite Egyptian against Egyptian:
They shall war with each other,
Every man with his fellow,
City with city
And kingdom with kingdom. And (district) law against law (district).  
(3)  Egypt shall be drained of Spirit, Be troubled within them; Melt in their bowels
And I will confound its plans;   Their wise men will I destroy:
So they will consult the idols and the shades   Magicians, and of the diviners and of the necromancers.
And the ghosts and the familiar
And them that speak out of the earth, and (ventriloquists) them that have in them a divining spirit.  
(4)  And I will place the Egyptians
At the mercy of a harsh master,
And a ruthless king shall rule them”
- declares the Sovereign, the Lord of Hosts.

From the NKJV

(1)  The burden against Egypt.
Behold, the LORD rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.
(2)  "I will set Egyptians against Egyptians; everyone will fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.  (3)  The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst;
I will destroy their counsel, and they will consult the idols and the charmers, the mediums and the sorcerers.  (4)  And the Egyptians I will give into the hand of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,"  says the Lord, the LORD of hosts.

The oracle opens with a short introduction,  condensing the whole of  the substance of the first half into a few weighty words - an art in which Isaiah peculiarly excelled. In this the name of  Egypt,  the land without an equal,  occurs no less than three times.

Jehovah rides upon clouds when He is about to reveal Himself in His judicial majesty (Ps 18:11);  and in this instance He rides upon a light cloud,  because it will take place rapidly.  The word kal signifies both light and swift,  because what is light moves swiftly;  and even a light cloud,  which is light because it is thin,  is comparatively `aab (OT:5645),  i.e.,  literally  denseopaque,  or  obscure.

The idols of Egypt shake (nuwa` (OT:5128), as in Isa 6:4; 7:2),  because Jehovah comes over them to judgment (cf., Ex 12:12; Jer 46:25; Ezek 30:13): they must shake, for they are to be thrown down; and their shaking for fear is a shaking to their fall.

Exodus 12:12
For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 
Jeremiah 46:25
The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says: "Behold, I will bring punishment on Amon of  No, and Pharaoh and Egypt, with their gods and their kings — Pharaoh and those who trust in him.    (NKJV)
Ezekiel 30:13
Thus says the Lord GOD:  "I will also destroy the idols,  and cause the images to cease from Noph;  there shall no longer be princes from the land of Egypt;  I will put fear in the land of Egypt.    (NKJV)
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Vav apodosis in wŞnaa`uw (OT:5128) together the cause and effect,  as in Isa 6:7. - In what judgments the judgment will be fulfilled,  is now declared by the majestic Judge Himself.

Civil war will rage in Egypt.
The people once so shrewd are now at their wits' end.
Their spirit is quite poured out (naabŞqaah (OT:1238).

Then  (and this is also part of  the judgment)  they turn for help,  in counsel and action,  where no help is to be found,  viz.,  to their "nothings" of  gods,  and the manifold demoniacal arts,  of which Egypt could boast of  being the primary seat.  On the names of  the practicers of  the black art, see Isa 8:19.

But all this is of  no avail:  Jehovah gives them up to be ruled over by a hard-hearted and cruel king.
The prophecy does not relate to a foreign conqueror,  so as to lead us to think of  Sargon (Knobel) or Cambyses (Luzzatto),  but to a native despot.
In comparing the prophecy with the fulfillment,  we must bear in mind that verse 2 relates to the national revolution that broke out in Sais,  and resulted in the overthrow of  the Ethiopian rule.

Kingdom against kingdom
This exactly suits those twelve small kingdoms into which Egypt was split up after the overthrow of  the Ethiopian dynasty in the year 695,  until Psammetichus, the dodekarch of  Sais,  succeeded in the year 670 in comprehending these twelve states once more under a single monarchy. 

The hand of a cruel master
This very Psammetichus (and the royal house of  Psammetichus generally)  is the hard ruler,  the reckless despot.

He succeeded in gaining the battle at Momemphis,  by which he established himself  in the monarchy,  through having first of  all strengthened himself with mercenary troops from Ionia,  Caria,  and Greece.  From his time downwards,  the true Egyptian character was destroyed by the mixture of  foreign elements.

The Egyptian nation very soon came to feel how oppressive this new dynasty was,  when Necho (616-597),  the son and successor of  Psammetichus,  renewed the project of  Ramses-Miamun,  to construct a Suez canal,  and tore away 120,000 of  the natives of  the land from their homes,  sending them to wear out their lives in forced labor of  the most wearisome kind.

A revolt on the part of  the native troops,  who had been sent against the rising Cyrene,  and driven back into the desert,  led to the overthrow of  Hophra,  the grandson of  Necho (570),  and put an end to the hateful government of  the family of  Psammetichus.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 19:5-10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  Water shall fail from the seas,
Rivers dry up and be parched,
(6)  Channels turn foul as they ebb,
And the Egyptians shall drink the water that is by the sea, but the river shall fail, and dried up  
And Egypt’s canals run dry. And every reservoir (gathering) of water shall be dried up,  
Reed and rush shall decay,   Not come up
(7)  And the Nile papyrus by the
And everything sown by the Nile
Shall wither, blow away, and vanish.
And all the green herbage round
about the river
(8)  The fishermen shall lament;   Be dismayed (lit. desolated),
All who cast lines in the Nile shall mourn,
And those who spread nets on the water shall languish.
And the anglers shall mourn.  
(9)  The flax workers, too, shall be dismayed.
Both carders and weavers chagrined.
And them that make (work at) fine linen.  
(10)  Her foundations shall be
And they that work at them shall be
in pain,
And the place where they drank the waters thereof shall be trodden down
And all who make dams shall be despondent. All that make beer shall be grieved,
and pained in their souls.

From the NKJV

(5)   The waters will fail from the sea, and the river will be wasted and dried up.  (6)  The rivers will turn foul; the brooks of defense will be emptied and dried up;  the reeds and rushes will wither.  (7)  The papyrus reeds by the River, by the mouth of the River, and everything sown by the River, will wither, be driven away, and be no more.  (8)  The fishermen also will mourn; all those will lament who cast hooks into the River, and they will languish who spread nets on the waters.  (9)  Moreover those who work in fine flax and those who weave fine fabric will be ashamed;  (10)  and its foundations will be broken. All who make wages will be troubled of soul.

The prophet then proceeds to foretell another misfortune that was coming upon Egypt:  the Nile dries up,  and with this the fertility of  the land disappears.

In verse 5 the Nile is called yâm (a sea),  just as Homer calls it Oceanus,  which,  as Diodorus observes,  was the name given by the natives to the river (Egypt. oham).

The White Nile is called bahr el-abyad (the White Sea),
the Blue Nile  bahr el-azrak,
and the combined waters  bahr en-Nil,  or,  in the language of  the Besharîn,  as here in Isaiah, yaam.
And in the account of the creation, in Genesis 1,  yammim  is the collective name for great seas and rivers.

But the Nile itself  is more like an inland sea than a river,  from the point at which the great bodies of  water brought down by the Blue Nile and the White Nile,  which rises a few weeks later,  flow together;  partly on account of  its great breadth,  and partly also because of  its remaining stagnant throughout the dry season.  It is not till the tropical rains commence that the swelling river begins to flow more rapidly,  and the yâm becomes an nâhâr.

The rivers will turn foul
he'ezniychuw (OT:2186),  probably from zaanach (OT:2186)
"to have an offensive smell; to be rancid, or putrid."
It means  'the rivers shall become putrid-or have an offensive smell;'  that is,  shall become stagnant, and send forth unwholesome "miasmata" producing sickness,  as stagnant waters often do.
The Vulgate renders it,  'And the rivers shall fail.'
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The fishermen will mourn
In this verse,  and the two following,  the prophet describes the calamities that would come upon various classes of  the inhabitants,  as the consequence of  the failing of the waters of the Nile.
The first class which he mentions are the fishermen.  Egypt is mentioned (Num 11:5), as producing great quantities of fish. 'We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely.'
'The Nile,'  says Diodorus (i.),  'abounds with incredible numbers of all sorts of fish.'
Herodotus (ii. 93) says that large quantities of fish were produced in the Nile: '
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Fine Flax
Egypt was celebrated anciently for producing flax in large quantities,  and of a superior quality.
The fine linen of Egypt which was manufactured from this is celebrated in Scripture (Prov 7:16; Ezek 27:7). The Egyptians had early carried the art of manufacturing linen to a great degree of perfection.

Proverbs 7:16
Have spread my bed with tapestry, colored coverings of Egyptian linen.     (NKJV)
Ezekiel 27:7
Fine embroidered linen from Egypt was what you spread for your sail;     (NKJV)
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The 10-fold Desolation  of  Egypt

1. (verse 5) Waters shall fail from the sea
2. (verse 5) The Nile will be wasted and dried up
3. (verse 6) Rivers shall be diverted
4. (verse 6) Irrigation shall end
5. (verse 6) Reeds and rushes shall wither
6. (verse 7) Papyrus reeds and every other growing thing shall wither
7. (verse 8) Fishing industry shall end
8. (verse 9) Flax works will close
9. (verse 9) Weaving shall cease
10. (verse 10) Fisheries shall close
(Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, Lawrenceville, GA)

Isaiah 19:11-13
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(11)  Utter fools are the nobles of
The sagest of Pharaoh’s advisers   The wise men who gave Pharaoh misleading counsel.
[Have made] absurd predictions. Their counsel shall be turned into folly:  
How can you say to Pharaoh,    
“I am a scion of sages, We are sons of wise men,  
A scion of Kedemite kings?” Sons of ancient kings?  
(12)  Where, indeed, are your sages? Wise men?  
Let them tell you, let them discover
What the Lord of Hosts has planned against Egypt.
(13)  The nobles of Tanis have been fools,
The nobles of Memphis deluded; Lifted up with pride,  
Egypt has been led astray
By the chiefs of her tribes.
  Have gone astray;

From the NKJV

(11)  Surely the princes of Zoan are fools; Pharaoh's wise counselors give foolish counsel. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?"   (12)  Where are they?  Where are your wise men?  Let them tell you now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts has purposed against Egypt.  (13)  The princes of Zoan have become fools; the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also deluded Egypt,  those who are the mainstay of its tribes.

The prophet now dwells upon the punishment which falls upon the pillars of  the land,  and describes it in verses 11-13.

Zoan is the Tanis of  primeval times (Num 13:22),  which was situated on one of the arms through which the Nile flows into the sea (viz., the ostium Taniticum),  and was the home from which two dynasties sprang.

Noph  (per aphaer. = Menoph,  contracted into Moph in Hos 9:6)  is Memphis,  probably the seat of  the Pharaohs in the time of  Joseph,  and raised by Psammetichus into the metropolis of  the whole kingdom.

Consequently princes of  Zoan and Memphis are princes of  the chief cities of  the land, and of the supposed primeval pedigree; probably priest-princes, since the wisdom of the Egyptian priest was of  world-wide renown  (Herod. ii. 77, 260),  and the oldest kings of  Egypt sprang from the priestly caste.  Even in the time of  Hezekiah,  when the military caste had long become the ruling one,  the priests once more succeeded in raising one of  their own number,  namely Sethos,  to the throne of  Sais. 

These magnates of  Egypt,  with their wisdom,  would be turned into fools by the history of  Egypt of  the immediate future;  and (this is the meaning of the sarcastic "how can ye say") they would no longer trust themselves to boast of  their hereditary priestly wisdom,  or their royal descent,  when giving counsel to Pharaoh.

Isaiah 19:14, 15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(14)  The Lord has mixed within her
A spirit of distortion,
Of error,  
Which shall lead Egypt astray in all
her undertakings
As a vomiting drunkard goes astray;
(15)  Nothing shall be achieved in
There shall be no work to the Egyptians, And the Egyptians shall have no king to reign,
By either head or tail,   Nor head, nor leader, nor ruler nor tyrant.
Palm branch or reed Or beginning or end.  

From the NKJV

(14)  The LORD has mingled a perverse spirit in her midst; and they have caused Egypt to err in all her work, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.  (15)  Neither will there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, palm branch or bulrush, may do.

The spirit that God pours out  (as it also said elsewhere)  is not only a spirit of salvation,  but also a spirit of judgment.

The whole nation was reeling to and fro, and unsettled in their counsels, as a man is who is so intoxicated as to reel and to vomit.  Nothing could more strikingly express,  first,  the "fact"  of their perverted counsels and plans,  and secondly,  God's deep abhorrence of  the course which they were pursuing.

Head or tail
High or low;  strong or weak:  those in office and those out of office.
All shall be dispirited and confounded.
Rosenmüller understands by the head here,  the "political" orders of  the nation,
and by the tail the "sacerdotal" ranks.
But the meaning more probably is,  the highest and the lowest ranks - all the politicians,  and priests,  and princes,  on the one hand,  as the prophet had just stated;  and all the artificers,  fishermen, etc.,  on the other,  as he had stated (Isa 19:8-10).

This verse, therefore,  is a  "summing up"  of all he had said about the calamities that were coming upon them.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 19:16, 17
From the Tanakh
(16)  In that day, the Egyptians shall be like women, trembling and terrified because the Lord of Hosts will raise His hand against them.  (17)  And the land of Judah shall also be the dread of the Egyptians; they shall quake whenever anybody mentions it to them, because of what the Lord of Hosts are planning against them.

From the NKJV

(16)  In that day Egypt will be like women, and will be afraid and fear because of the waving of the hand of  the LORD of hosts, which He waves over it.  (17)  And the land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt; everyone who makes mention of it will be afraid in himself,  because of the counsel of the LORD of  hosts which He has determined against it.

In that day
The day when this burden should be fulfilled  (not “the day of the Lord”).

The result of  all these plagues,  which were coming upon Egypt,  would be fear of  Jehovah and of  the people of  Jehovah.

The waving (tenuphâh) of  the hand  points back to the foregoing judgments,  which have fallen upon Egypt blow after blow.  These humiliations make the Egyptians as soft and timid as women.  And the sacred soil of  Judah,  which Egypt has so often made the scene of  war,  throws them into giddiness,  into agitation at the sight of  terrors,  whenever it is mentioned.  The author of  the plagues is well known to them,  their faith in the idols is shaken,  and the desire arises in their heart to avert fresh plagues by presents to Jehovah.

The land of Judah will be a terror
The threatening hand of  God will be held out and shaken over Egypt,  from the side of Judea;  through which the Assyrians will march to invade it.  It signifies that kind of terror that drives one to his wit's end,  that causes him to reel like a drunken man,  to be giddy through astonishment.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

This prophecy was fulfilled in the seventh century B.C.,  when the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal conquered Egypt.  Egypt's demise would be accompanied by economic disaster caused by the drying up of  the Nile and by a complete breakdown in leadership
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)


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Isaiah 19:18
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(18)  In that day, there shall be several towns Five cities in Egypt
In the land of Egypt speaking the language of
Canaan and swearing loyalty
To the Lord of Hosts; one shall be called Town of
One city shall be called the city of Asedec.

From the NKJV

(18)  In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear by the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of  Destruction.

At first there is only slavish fear;  but there is the beginning of  a turn to something better.
Five cities are very few for Egypt,  which was completely covered with cities;  but this is simply a fragmentary commencement of  Egypt's future and complete conversion.  The description given of  them,  as beginning to speak the language of  Canaan,  i.e.,  the sacred language of  the worship of  Jehovah (comp. Zeph 3:9), and to give themselves up to Jehovah with vows made on oath,  is simply a periphrastic announcement of  the conversion of the five cities.

Zephaniah 3:9-10
For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.  (10)  From beyond the rivers of  Ethiopia My worshipers, the daughter of My dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.

Five cities
These were probably


City of  Destruction
The word Heliopolis,  "City of the Sun,"  has here been deliberately altered,  in a play on words,  to read city of destruction.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

One of these five will be called 'Ir ha-Heres.
But what does 'Ir ha-Heres mean?
The Septuagint has changed it into po'lis asede'k, equivalent to 'Ir hazzedek (city of righteousness),  possibly in honor of  the temple in the Heliopolitan nomos,  which was founded under Ptolemaeus Philometor about 160 BC,  during the Syrian reign of terror,  by Onias IV, son of  the high priest Onias III,  who emigrated to Egypt.
'Ir ha-cheres would mean  "city of the sun",   as the Talmud in the leading passage concerning the Onias temple (in b. Menahoth 110 a) thinks that even the received reading may be understood in accordance with Job 9:7,  and says  "it is a description of the sun."
"Sun-city"  was really the name of  one of  the most celebrated of  the old Egyptian cities,  viz.,  Heliopolis,  the city of  the sun god Ra,  which was situated to the north-east of  Memphis,  and is called On in other passages of the Old Testament. Ezekiel (Ezek 30:17  "The young men of Aven") alters this into Aven,  for the purpose of  branding the idolatry of  the city.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Onias,  who had fled,  in disappointment at not getting the high-priesthood,  into Egypt,  and rose to high rank under Ptolemy Philometer,  read  'city of the sun'  [hacherec (OT:2775)] - i.e., On, or Heliopolis:  he persuaded Ptolemy Philometer (149 BC) to let him build a temple in the prefecture (nome) of  Heliopolis,  on the ground that it would induce Jews to reside there,  and that the very site was foretold by Isaiah 600 years before.  So 16 manuscripts also read. So Vulgate reads.
The Chaldaic reads, 'One of them shall be called The city, the house of the sun which is doomed to be destroyed.'
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 19:19, 20
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(19)  In that day, there shall be an altar to the Lord inside
the land of Egypt and a pillar to the Lord at its border.
(20)  They shall serve as a symbol and reminder of the
Lord of Hosts in the land of Egypt, so that when [the Egyptians] cry out to the Lord against oppressors,
He will send them a savior and champion to deliver them. He shall judge and save them.

From the NKJV

(19)  In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border.  (20)  And it will be for a sign and for a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the LORD because of the oppressors, and He will send them a Savior and a Mighty One, and He will deliver them.

This temple,  which was altogether unlike the temple of  Jerusalem in its outward appearance,  being built in the form of  a castle,  and which stood for more than two hundred years  (from 160 BC to A.D. 71 AD,  when it was closed by command of  Vespasian),  was splendidly furnished and much frequented;  but the recognition of  it was strongly contested both in Palestine and Egypt.  It was really situated  "in the midst of the land of Egypt."  But it is out of the question to seek in this temple for the fulfillment of  the prophecy of  Isaiah,  from the simple fact that it was by Jews and for Jews that it was erected.  And where,  in that case, would the obelisk be,  which,  as Isaiah prophesies,  was to stand on the border of  Egypt,  i.e.,  on the side towards the desert and Canaan?

The Altar was to be  "a sign" ('oth) that there were worshippers of  Jehovah in Egypt
The Obelisk was to be  "a witness" ('eed) that Jehovah had proved Himself,  to Egypt's salvation,  to be the God of  the gods of  Egypt

And now,  if they who erected this place of  worship and this monument cried to Jehovah,  He would show Himself ready to help them;  and they would no longer cry in vain,  as they had formerly done to their own idols (verse 3).

Consequently it is the approaching conversion of  the native Egyptians that is here spoken of.
The fact that from the Grecian epoch Judaism became a power in Egypt is certainly not unconnected with this.  But we should be able to trace this connection more closely,  if we had any information as to the extent to which Judaism had then spread among the natives,  which we do know to have been by no means small.

The therapeutae described by Philo,  which were spread through all the nomoi of  Egypt,  were of  a mixed Egypt-Jewish character (vid. Philo, Opp. ii. p. 474, ed. Mangey).

It was a victory on the part of  the religion of  Jehovah,  that Egypt was covered with Jewish synagogues and coenobia even in the age before Christ.  And Alexandra was the place where the law of  Jehovah was translated into Greek*,  and thus made accessible to the heathen world,  and where the religion of  Jehovah created for itself those forms of  language and thought,  under which it was to become,  as Christianity,  the religion of the world.

* We know this translation as the Septuagint (LXX). And it is from this translation that Jesus quoted the Old Testament scriptures during his earthly ministry.

And after the introduction of  Christianity into the world,  there were more than one mazzebah (obelisk) that were met with on the way from Palestine to Egypt,  even by the end of the first century,  and more than one mizbeach (altar) found in the heart of  Egypt itself.  The importance of  Alexandria and of  the monasticism and anachoretism of  the peninsula of  Sinai and also of  Egypt,  in connection with the history of  the spread of  Christianity,  is very well known.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 19:21, 22
From the Tanakh
(21)  For the Lord will make Himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians shall acknowledge the Lord in that day, and they shall serve [Him] with sacrifice and oblation and shall make vows to the Lord and fulfill them.  (22)  The Lord will first afflict and then heal the Egyptians; when they turn back to the Lord, He will respond to their entreaties and heal them.

From the NKJV

(21)  Then the LORD will be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day, and will make sacrifice and offering; yes, they will make a vow to the LORD and perform it.  (22)  And the LORD will strike Egypt, He will strike and heal it; they will return to the LORD, and He will be entreated by them and heal them.

From that small commencement of  five cities,  and a solitary altar,  and one solitary obelisk,  it has now come to this:  Jehovah extends the knowledge of  Himself to the whole of  Egypt  (nowda` (OT:3045),  reflective,  and throughout all Egypt there arises the knowledge of  God,  which soon shows itself in acts of  worship.
Egypt,  though converted,  is still sinful;  but Jehovah smites it,  "smiting and healing" (nâgoph verâpho'),  so that in the act of  smiting the intention of  healing prevails;  and healing follows the smiting,  since the chastisement of  Jehovah leads it to repentance.  Thus Egypt is now under the same plan of  salvation as Israel.

Isaiah 19:23
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(23)  In that day, there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians shall join with the Egyptians and Egyptians with the Assyrians,  
and then the Egyptians together with the Assyrians shall serve [the Lord] Egyptians serve the Assyrians

From the NKJV

(23)  In 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 serve with the Assyrians.

In that day - the glorious future,  the day of  the Lord.  Not the same as verse 11.

Asshur,  as we already know from chapter 18,  is equally humbled;  so that now the two great powers,  which have hitherto only met as enemies,  meet in the worship of  Jehovah, which unites them together.

Shall server with - `aabŞduw (OT:5647)  is used in the sense of  worship, as in verse 21.
Friendly inter relation is established between Egypt and Assyria by the fact that both nations are now converted to Jehovah. The road of communication runs through Canaan.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 19:24, 25
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(24)  In that day, Israel shall be a third partner with Egypt and Assyria as a blessing j on earth;  (25)  for the Lord
of Hosts will bless them, saying,
Blessed in the land which the Lord of hosts has blessed,  
“Blessed be My people Egypt, My handiwork Assyria, and My very own   I have brought forth out of Egypt.
Israel.” Israel mine inheritance. I carried them into exile to Assyria because of Sinning before Me.

From the NKJV

(24)  In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria — a blessing in the midst of the land,  (25)  whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, "Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance."

Thus is the way prepared for the highest point of  all.
Israel is added to the covenant between Egypt and Asshur,  so that it becomes a tripartite covenant in which Israel forms the  "third part".

Israel has now reached the great end of  its calling -
to be a blessing in  "the midst of the earth"
(b'kereb Ha’aretz, in the whole circuit of the earth),
all nations being here represented by Egypt and Assyria.

If  Israel relied upon Egypt,  it deceived itself,  and was deceived;  and if  it relied on Assyria,  it only became the slave of  Assyria,  and had Egypt for a foe.  Thus Israel was in a most painful vise between the two great powers of  the earth,  the western and the eastern powers.
But how will all this be altered now!  Egypt and Assyria become one in Jehovah,  and Israel the third in the covenant.
Israel is lo longer the only nation of  God,  the creation of  God,  the heir of God;  but all this applies to Egypt and Assyria now,  as well as to Israel.

To give full expression to this,  Israel's three titles of  honor are mixed together,  and each of  the three nations receives one of  the choice names - nachali, "my inheritance,"  being reserved for Israel,  as pointing back to its earliest history.  This essential equalization of  the heathen nations and Israel is no degradation to the latter.  For although from this time forward there is to be no essential difference between the nations in their relation to God,  it is still the God of  Israel who obtains this universal recognition,  and the nation of  Israel that has become,  according to the promise,  the medium of  blessing to the world.

Thus has the second half of  the prophecy ascended step by step from salvation to salvation,
as the first descended step by step from judgment to judgment.
The culminating point in verse 25 answers to the lowest point in verse 15.
Every step in the ascending half is indicated by the expression  "in that day."
Six times do we find this signpost to the future within the limits of verses 16-25.

1. (verse 16) In that day - Egypt will be afraid and fear
2. (verse 18) In that day - 5 cities in Egypt will serve the Lord
3. (verse 19) In that day - There will be an altar and pillar to the Lord in Egypt
4. (verse 21) In that day - The Egyptians will know the Lord
5. (verse 23) In that day - Egypt and Assyria will serve the Lord together
6. (verse 24) In that day - Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will serve the Lord together
This expression is almost as characteristic of  Isaiah as the corresponding expression,  "Behold, the days come" (hinneh yâmim bâ'im), is of  Jeremiah (compare, for example, Isa 7:18-25). And it is more particularly in the promising or Messianic portions of  the prophecy that it is so favorite an introduction (Isa 11:10-11; 12:1).

The two halves of  the prophecy are like the two wings of  a bird. And it is only through its second half that the prophecy becomes the significant center of  the Ethiopic and Egyptian trilogy.  For chapter 19 predicts the saving effect that will be produced upon Egypt by the destruction of  Assyria.  And Isa 19:23 ff. announces what will become of  Assyria.  Assyria will also pass through judgment to salvation.

Acts 15:6-17

Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.  And when there had been much dispute,  Peter rose up and said to them:
"Men and brethren,  you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.  So God,  who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit,  just as He did to us,  and made no distinction between us and them,  purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore,  why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of  the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of  the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."
Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.  And after they had become silent,  James answered,  saying,
"Men and brethren,  listen to me:  Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of  them a people for His name.   And with this the words of the prophets agree,  just as it is written:
'After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of  David, which has fallen down;
I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up;  so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD,
even all the Gentiles who are called by My name,
says the LORD who does all these things.' "


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Isaiah 20:1
From the Tanakh
(1)  It was the year that the Tartan a came to Ashdod – being sent by King Sargon of Assyria – and attacked Ashdod and took it.

From the NKJV

(1)  In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it,

tar'tan;  Assyr. tartanu and turtanu)
The title or official designation of  the commander in chief of  the Assyrian army (2 Kings 18:17; the NIV translates the term as "supreme commander").
Archaeology has shown conclusively that the expression "tartan" is not a proper name.

2 Kings 18:17
The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.     (NIV)
(From The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

Never once named by classic writers,  and in Scripture only here.
The monuments show that he was the son of  Shalmaneser,  and the father of  Sennacherib.

Sent him
This expedition is mentioned on the monument found at Khorsabad.
A usurper,  called  “Javan,”  or  “the Greek,”  had been put on the throne of  Ashdod by Hezekiah in the place of   “Akimit.”

Although the name of Sargon is mentioned anywhere else in the Old Testament;  but it may now be accepted as an established result of  the researches which have been made,  that Sargon was the successor of Shalmanassar,  and that Shalmaneser (Shalman, Hos 10:14),  Sargon,  Sennacherib, and Esarhaddon,  are the names of  the four Assyrian kings who were mixed up with the closing history of  the kingdoms of  Israel and Judah.  It was Longperrier who was the first to establish the identity of  the monarch who built the palaces at Khorsabad,  which form the north-eastern corner of  ancient Nineveh,  with the Sargon of  the Bible. We are now acquainted with a considerable number of  brick,  harem,  votive-table,  and other inscriptions that bear the name of  this king,  and contain all kinds of testimony concerning him.

It was he,  not Shalmanassar,  who took Samaria after a three years' siege;  and in the annalistic inscription he boasts of  having conquered the city,  and removed the house of  Omri to Assyria.  Oppert is right in calling attention to the fact,  that in 2 Kings 18:10 the conquest is not attributed to Shalmanassar himself,  but to the army.  Shalmanassar died in front of  Samaria;  and Sargon not only put himself at the head of the army,  but seized upon the throne,  in which he succeeded in establishing himself,  after a contest of  several years' duration with the legitimate heirs and their party.  He was therefore a usurper.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This Sargon,  the founder of  a new Assyrian dynasty,  who reigned from 721-702 (according to Oppert),  and for whom there is at all events plenty of  room between 721-20 and the commencement of Sennacherib's reign,  first of  all blockaded Tyre for five years after the fall of  Samaria,  or rather brought to an end the siege of  Tyre which had been begun by Shalmanassar (Josephus. Ant. ix. 14, 2),  though whether it was to a successful end or not is quite uncertain.  He then pursued with all the greater energy his plan for following up the conquest of  Samaria with the subjugation of  Egypt,  which was constantly threatening the possessions of  Assyria in western Asia,  either by instigation or support.

The attack upon Ashdod was simply a means to this end.  As the Philistines were led to join Egypt,  not only by their situation,  but probably by kinship of  tribe as well,  the conquest of  Ashdod - a fortress so strong,  that,  according to Herodotus (ii. 157),  Psammetichus besieged it for twenty-nine years - was an indispensable preliminary to the expedition against Egypt.  When Alexander the Great marched against Egypt,  he had to do the same with Gaza.

How long Tartan required is not to be gathered from verse 1.  But if he conquered it as quickly as Alexander conquered Gaza - in five months - it is impossible to understand why the following prophecy should defer for three years the subjugation of  Ethiopia and Egypt.  The words,  "and fought against Ashdod, and took it,"  must therefore be taken as anticipatory and parenthetical.

Isaiah 20:2
From the Tanakh From the Targum
 (2)  Previously, the Lord had spoken to
Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, untie the sackcloth
from your loins
Bind sackcloth on loins
 and take your sandals off your feet,” which he had
done, going naked and barefoot.

From the NKJV

(2)  at the same time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and remove the sackcloth from your body, and take your sandals off your feet." And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

It was not after the conquest of  Ashdod,  but in the year in which the siege commenced,  that Isaiah received the admonition.

We see from this that Isaiah was clothed in the same manner as

Elijah (2 Kings 1:8, 2)   "He was a man with a garment of hair and with a leather belt around his waist."
John the Baptist (Matt 3:4)   "John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist"
for  sak  is a coarse linen or hairy overcoat of  a dark color,  such as was worn by mourners,  either next to the skin  ('al-habbâsâr)  or over the tunic,  in either case being fastened by a girdle on account of  its want of  shape,  for which reason the verb  châgar  is the word commonly used to signify the putting on of  such a garment.

With the great importance attached to the clothing in the East,  where the feelings upon this point are peculiarly sensitive and modest,  a person was looked upon as stripped and naked if  he had only taken off  his upper garment.  What Isaiah was directed to do,  therefore,  was simply opposed to common custom,  and not to moral decency.  He was to lay aside the dress of  a mourner and preacher of  repentance,  and to have nothing on but his tunic  (cetoneth);  and in this,  as well as barefooted,  he was to show himself in public.

This was the costume of  a man

who had been robbed and disgraced,
or else of  a beggar or prisoner of  war.

Isaiah 20:3, 4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
 (3)  And now the Lord said,    
 “It is a sign and a portent for Egypt
and Nubia.
For signs and wonders  
Just as My servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years,    
(4)  so shall the king of Assyria   Egyptians and Ethiopians;
drive off the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Nubia, young and old, naked and    
barefoot and with bared buttocks – to the shame of Egypt!   Torn garments

From the NKJV

(3)   Then the LORD said,  "Just as My servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder against Egypt and Ethiopia,   (4)  so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

It is not till Isaiah has carried out the divine instructions,  that he learns the reason for this command to strip himself,  and the length of  time that he is to continue so stripped.

The expression "has walked" (ca'asher hâlac) stands here at the commencement of  the symbolical action,  but it is introduced as if  with a retrospective glance at its duration for three years,  unless indeed the  preterite hâlac  stands here,  as it frequently does,  to express what has already commenced,  and is still continuing and customary.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

To the shame of Egypt
It shall be a disgrace to them to be subdued,  and to be carried captive in so humiliating a manner.
It is remarked by Belzoni (`Operations and Recent Discoveries in Egypt and Nubia'),  that in the figures on the remains of their temples,  prisoners are often represented as naked,  or only in aprons,  with disheveled hair,  and with their hands chained.
He also remarks,  that on a "bas-relief,"  on the recently-discovered graves of the kings of  Thebes,  a multitude of  "Egyptian and Ethiopian prisoners"  are represented - showing that Egypt and Ethiopia were sometimes "allied,"  alike in mutual defense and in bondage
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 20:5, 6
From the Tanakh
(5)  And they shall be dismayed and chagrined because of Nubia their hope and Egypt their boast.  (6)  In that day, the dwellers of this coastland shall say, ‘If this could happen to those we looked to, to whom we fled for help and rescue from the king of Assyria, how can we ourselves escape?”

From the NKJV

(5)   Then they shall be afraid and ashamed of  Ethiopia their expectation and Egypt their glory.   (6)  And the inhabitant of this territory will say in that day, 'Surely such is our expectation, wherever we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and how shall we escape?'"

But if  Egypt and Ethiopia are thus shamefully humbled,  what kinds of  impression will this make upon those who rely upon the great power that is supposed to be both unapproachable and invincible?

This territory
haa'iy (OT:339),  which signifies both an island and a coast-land,  is used as the name of  Philistia (Zeph 2:5), and as the name of  Phoenicia (Isa 23:2,6);  and for this reason Knobel and others understand it here as denoting Philistia with the inclusion of  Phoenicia.
But as the Assyrians had already attacked both Phoenicians and Philistines at the time when they marched against Egypt,  there can be no doubt that Isaiah had chiefly the Judaeans in his mind.  This was the interpretation given by Jerome ("Judah trusted in the Egyptians, and Egypt will be destroyed"),  and Ewald,  Drechsler,  Luzzatto,  and Meier have adopted it.
The expressions are the same as those in which a little further on we find Isaiah reproving the Egyptian tendencies of  Judah's policy.  At the same time,  by  "the inhabitant of this coast-land"  we are not to understand Judah exclusively,  but the inhabitants of  Palestine generally,  with whom Judah was mixed up to its shame,  because it had denied its character as the nation of  Jehovah in a manner so thoroughly opposed to its theocratic standing.

Unfortunately, we know very little concerning the Assyrian campaigns in Egypt.
But we may infer from Nah 3:8-10,  according to which the Egyptian Thebes had fallen  (for it is held up before Nineveh as the mirror of its own fate),  that after the conquest of  Ashdod Egypt was also overcome by Sargon's army.

Nahum 3:8-10
Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her?
The river was her defense, the waters her wall.
Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength; Put and Libya were among her allies.
Yet she was taken captive and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces at the head of every street.
Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains.     (NIV)

In the grand inscription found in the halls of  the palace at Khorsabad,  Sargon boasts of  a successful battle that he had fought with Pharaoh Sebech at Raphia,  and in consequence of  which the latter became tributary to him.  Still further on he relates that he had dethroned the rebellious king of  Ashdod,  and appointed another in his place,  but that the people removed him,  and chose another king;  after which he marched with his army against Ashdod,  and when the king fled from him into Egypt,  he besieged Ashdod,  and took it.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This conquest Sargon ascribes to himself  in person,  so that apparently we must think of  that conquest which was carried out by Tartan;  and in that case the words,  "he fought against it," etc.,  need not be taken as anticipatory.  It is quite sufficient,  that the monuments seem to intimate that the conquest of  Samaria and Ashdod was followed by the subjugation of  the Egypt-Ethiopian kingdom.

But inasmuch as Judah,  trusting in the reed of  Egypt,  fell away from Assyria under Hezekiah,  and Sennacherib had to make war upon Egypt again,  to all appearance the Assyrians never had much cause to congratulate themselves upon their possession of  Egypt,  and that for reasons that are not difficult to discover.  At the time appointed by the prophecy,  Egypt came under the Assyrian yoke,  from which Psammetichus first delivered it;  but,  as the constant wars between Assyria and Egypt clearly show,  it never patiently submitted to that yoke for any length of time.

The confidence which Judah placed in Egypt turned out most disastrously for Judah itself,  just as Isaiah predicted here.  But the catastrophe that occurred in front of  Jerusalem did not put an end to Assyria,  nor did the campaigns of  Sargon and Sennacherib bring Egypt to an end.  And,  on the other hand,  the triumphs of  Jehovah and of  the prophecy concerning Assyria were not the means of  Egypt's conversion.  In all these respects the fulfillment showed that there was an element of  human hope in the prophecy,  which made the distant appear to be close at hand.  And this element it eliminated.  For the fulfillment of a prophecy is divine,  but the prophecy itself is both divine and human.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


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Assuming,  what indeed seems impossible to modern critics - namely,  that a prophet's insight into futurity might stretch over hundreds of years - the Massa contains within itself and round about itself the strongest proofs of  its genuineness.

Within itself:
for both the thoughts themselves, and the manner in which they are expressed, are so thoroughly Isaiah's, even in the most minute points, that it is impossible to conceive of any prophecy in a form more truly his own.
Round about itself:
inasmuch as the four massa's (Isa 21:1-11-13-17, and 22),  are so intertwined the one with the other as to form a tetralogy,  not only through their emblematical titles and their visionary bearing,  but also in many ways through the contexts themselves.

The designation of  the prophet as a  "watchman"  is common to the first and second Massa's;
and in the fourth,  Jerusalem is called the valley of  vision,  because the watchtower was there,  from which the prophet surveyed the future fate of  Babylon,  Edom, and Arabia.
And just as in the first,  Elam and Madai march against Babylon;  so in the fourth (Isa 22:6)  Kir and Elam march against Jerusalem.
The form of expression is also strikingly similar in both instances (compare Isa 22:6-7, with ch. 21:7).

The Oracle concerning the Wilderness of the Sea
Isaiah 19:1-17

Isaiah 21:1, 2
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1)  Like the gales That race through
the Negev,
  Like the water of the sea which sweep along in the whirlwinds do they come
It comes from the desert,   By the way of the south;
The terrible land.   The land wherein terrible things were wrought.
(2)  A harsh prophecy So a fearful and a grievous vision  
Has been announced to me:
“The betrayer is betraying,
He that is treacherous deals treacherously, Oppressors are oppressed
The ravager ravaging. The transgressor transgresses. Spoilers are spoiled.
Advance, Elam!
Lay siege, Media!
The ambassadors of the Persians
come against me:
I have put an end
To all her sighing.”
Now will I groan and comfort myself. I have sighed for them that were

From the NKJV

(1)  The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea.  As whirlwinds in the South pass through,  so it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.  (2)  A distressing vision is declared to me; the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the plunderer plunders.
Go up, O Elam!
Besiege, O Media!
All its sighing I have made to cease.

Just as the massâ Bâbel (the Burden of  Babel) rests upon a prophecy against Asshur,  which forms,  as it were,  a pedestal to it,  and cannot be supposed to have been placed there by any one but Isaiah himself;  so that massa midbar-yâm rests,  as it were,  upon the pillars of  its genuineness,  and announces itself  velut de tripode as Isaiah's. This also applies to the heading.  We have already noticed,  in connection with Isa 15:1,  how closely the headings fit in to the prophecies themselves.  Isaiah is fond of  symbolical names (Isa 29:1; 30:7).  And midbar-yâm  (desert of the sea)  is a name of this kind applied to Babylon and the neighborhood.

The continent on which Babylon stood was a midbâr,  a great plain running to the south into Arabia desert;  and so intersected by the Euphrates as well as by marshes and lakes,  that it floated,  as it were,  in the sea.  The low-lying land on the Lower Euphrates had been wrested,  as it were,  from the sea;  for before Semiramis constructed the dams,  the Euphrates used to overflow the whole just like a sea (pelagi'zein, Herod. i. 184).   Abydenus even says,  that at first the whole of  it was covered with water,  and was called thalassa (Euseb. praep. ix. 41).  We may learn from Isa 14:23,  why it was that the prophet made use of  this symbolical name.  The origin and natural features of  Babylon are made into ominous prognostics of  its ultimate fate.  The true interpretation is found in Jeremiah (Jer 51:13; 50:38).

Jeremiah 51:13
You who live by many waters and are rich in treasures, your end has come, the time for you to be cut off.   (NIV)
Jeremiah 50:38
A drought on her waters!  They will dry up.
For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror.   (NIV)

The power which first brings destruction upon the city of  the world,  is a hostile army composed of  several nations.

Whirlwinds in the south
Are storms which have their starting-point in the south, and therefore come to Babylon from Arabia desert; and like all winds that come from boundless steppes,  they are always violent.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Zechariah 9:14
"And YAHWEH shall appear over them,
And his arrow shall go forth as the lightning;
And the Lord YAHWEH shall sound the trumpet;
And shall march in the whirlwinds of the south."

Treacherous dealer deals treacherously
Referring to the military stratagem employed by Cyrus in taking Babylon.
Vatablus translates  '(There is, or will be) a treacherous dealer (the Medo-Persian invader), to the treacherous dealer' (Babylon).
Babylon is repaid in her own coin. (Isa 33:1; Hab 2:8)
The Hebrew is habogeed bogeed, vehashodeed shodeed:  'the treacherous dealer treacherous dealer, the spoiler spoiler!'
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 33:1
Woe to you, O destroyer, you who have not been destroyed!
Woe to you, O traitor, you who have not been betrayed!
When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.   (NIV)
Habakkuk 2:8
Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people shall plunder you, because of men's blood and the violence of the land and the city, and of all who dwell in it.    (NKJV)

Isaiah 21:3, 4
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(3)  Therefore my loins
Are seized with trembling;
I am gripped by pangs
Like a woman in travail,
Too anguished to hear, I dealt wrongfully that I might not hear;  
Too frightened to see. I hasted that I might not see.  
(4)  My mind is confused, My heart wanders and transgression (baptizes), overwhelms me;  
I shudder in panic.   Distress and terrors have taken hold of them;
My night of pleasure
He has turned to terror:
My soul is occupied with fear.  

From the NKJV

(3)  Therefore my loins are filled with pain; pangs have taken hold of me, like the pangs of a woman in labor.  I was distressed when I heard it;  I was dismayed when I saw it.  (4)  My heart wavered, fearfulness frightened me; the night for which I longed He turned into fear for me.

Here again,  as in the case of  the prophecy concerning Moab,  what the prophet has given to him to see does not pass without exciting his feelings of  humanity,  but works upon him like a horrible dream.

The prophet does not describe in detail what he saw;  but the violent agitation produced by the impression leads us to conclude how horrible it must have been.

Chalchâlâh  is the contortion produced by cramp.

tzirim  is the word properly applied to the pains of childbirth.

na'avâh  means to bend,  or bow one's self,  and is also used to denote a convulsive utterance of  pain.

tâ'âh  denotes a feverish and irregular beating of the pulse.

The darkness of  evening and night,  which the prophet loved so much (cheeshek,  a desire arising from inclination,  and always longed for,  either that he might give himself  up to contemplation,  or that he might rest from outward and inward labor,  had been changed into quaking by the horrible vision.  It is quite impossible to imagine,  as Umbreit suggests,  that nesheph chishki  (the darkness of my pleasure)  refers to the nocturnal feast during which Babylon was stormed  (Herod. i. 191, and Xenophon, Cyrop. vii. 23).

Isaiah 21:5
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(5)  “Set the table!” Eat, drink: arise, ye princes,  
To “Let the watchman watch!”
“Eat and drink!”
To “Up, officers! Grease d the
And prepare your shields. Bright your weapons.

From the NKJV

(5)  Prepare the table, set a watchman in the tower, eat and drink.
Arise, you princes, anoint the shield!

This is not a scene from the hostile camp,  where they are strengthening themselves for an attack upon Babylon:  for the express allusion to the covering of  the table is intended to create the impression of  confident and careless good living;  and the exclamation  "anoint the shield"  (cf., Jer 51:11  "Make the arrows bright!  Gather the shields!") presupposes that they have first of  all to prepare themselves for battle,  and therefore that they have been taken by surprise.

What the prophet sees,  therefore,  is a banquet in Babylon

They content themselves with this one precautionary measure,  and give themselves up with all the greater recklessness to their night's debauch (cf., Isa 22:13).  The prophet mentions this,  because it is by the watch that the cry,  "Rise up, ye princes," etc.,  is addressed to the feasters.

The shield-leather was generally oiled,  to make it shine and protect it from wet,  and,  more than all,  to cause the strokes it might receive to glide off.  The infatuated self-confidence of  the chief men of  Babylon was proved by the fact that they had to be aroused.  They fancied that they were hidden behind the walls and waters of  the city,  and therefore they had not even got their weapons ready for use.

Isaiah 21:6, 7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(6)  For thus my Lord said to me:
“Go, set up a sentry;
Station a watchman for thyself,  
Let him announce what he sees.
(7)  He will see mounted men,
And I saw two mounted horsemen, A cavalcade (or, chariot) of men,
Horsemen in pairs   With them a pair of horsemen,
Riders on asses,   One riding on an ass,
Riders on camels –   And one riding on a camel.
And he will listen closely,
Most attentively.”
  And behold great armies coming.

From the NKJV

(6)  For thus has the Lord said to me:  "Go, set a watchman,  let him declare what he sees."
(7)  And he saw a chariot with a pair of horsemen, a chariot of donkeys, and a chariot of camels, and he listened earnestly with great care.

The prophecy is continued with the conjunction  "for"  (ci).
The tacit link in the train of  thought is this:
they act thus in Babylon,  because the destruction of  Babylon is determined.

The form in which this thought is embodied is the following:
the prophet receives instruction in the vision to set a watchman upon the watchtower,  who was to look out and see what more took place.

In other cases it is the prophet himself  who stands upon the watch-tower (v. 11; Hab 2:1 "I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts");  but here in the vision a distinction is made between the prophet and the person whom he stations upon the watch-tower (specula).
The prophet divides himself,  as it were,  into two persons.  He now sees through the medium of  a spy,  just as Zechariah sees by means of  the angel speaking in him;  with this difference,  however,  that here the spy is the instrument employed by the prophet.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

He saw a chariot
A cavalcade  (a body of riders,  namely),  some riding in pairs on horses  (literally, a pair of horsemen, i.e., two abreast),  others riding on donkeys,  others on camel

The Persians used donkeys and camels for war  (Strabo, xv. 2, sec. 14; Herodotus, iv. 129) (Maurer). Horsley translates,  'one drawn in a car, with a pair of riders, drawn by a donkey, drawn by a camel:'
Cyrus is the man;  the car drawn by a camel and donkey yoked together,  and driven by two postillions,  one on each,  is the joint army of  Medes and Persians under their respective leaders.  He thinks the more ancient military cars were driven by men riding on the beasts that drew them
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)  

Isaiah 21:8
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(8)  And [like] a lion he called out: Hearken with great attention, The sound of armies with war chariots proceedeth from a lion; upon the watch tower before the Lord do I stand continually
“On my Lord’s lookout I stand And call thou Urias to the
watchtower: the Lord has spoken.
Ever by day, and at my post I watch
every night.

From the NKJV

(8)  Then he cried, "A lion, my Lord!
I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime;  I have sat at my post every night.

At length the procession has vanished;  he sees nothing and hears nothing,  and is seized with impatience.
He loses all his patience,  and growls as if  he were a lion,  with the same dull,  angry sound,  the same long,  deep breath out of  full lungs,  complaining to God that he has to stand so long at his post without seeing anything,  except that inexplicable procession that has now vanished away.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

This is the speech of  the watchman, and is addressed,  not to Yahweh,  but to him that appointed him.  It is designed to show the  "diligence"  with which he had attended to the object for which he was appointed.  He had been unceasing in his observation;  and the result was,  that now at length he saw the enemy approach like a lion,  and it was certain that Babylon now must fall.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Meaning,  Darius who overcame Babylon.
(from Geneva Notes, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Isaiah 21:9
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(9)  And there they come, mounted
men –
He comes riding in a chariot Cavalcade of men
Horsemen in pairs!”   And with them a pair of horsemen;
Then he spoke up and said,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon,
  Babylon has fallen, and is also about to fall,
And all the images of her gods
Have crashed to the ground!”

From the NKJV

(9)  And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!"
Then he answered and said,  "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of  her gods He has broken to the ground."

It is now clear enough where the long procession went to when it disappeared.
It entered Babylon,  made itself master of  the city,  and established itself  there.
And now,  after a long interval,  there appears a smaller cavalcade,  which has to carry the tidings of  victory somewhere;  and the spy hears them cry out in triumph,  "Fallen, fallen is Babylon!"

In Rev 18:1-2,  the same words form the shout of  triumph raised by the angel,  the antitype being more majestic than the type, whilst upon the higher ground of  the New Testament everything moves on in spiritual relations,  all that is merely national having lost its power.

Revelations 18:2-3
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."    (NIV)

Still even here the spiritual inwardness of  the affair is so far expressed,  that it is Jehovah who dashes to the ground;  and even the heathen conquerors are obliged to confess that the fall of  Babylon and its pesilim (compare Jer 51:47,52) is the work of  Jehovah Himself.

Jeremiah 51:47 & 52
For the time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon; her whole land will be disgraced
and her slain will all lie fallen within her.
But days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will punish her idols, and throughout her land
the wounded will groan."    (NIV)

What is here only hinted at from afar - namely,  that Cyrus would act as the anointed of  Jehovah - is expanded in the second part (ch. 40-66)  for the consolation of the captives.

Isaiah 21:10
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(10)  My threshing, the product of
my threshing floor:
Hear, ye that are left, and ye that are
in pain
Kings who are skilful in waging war shall come against her to plunder her, (Husbandman skilful, threshing)
What I have heard from the Lord of
Hosts, the God of Israel –
That I have told to you.

From the NKJV

(10)  Oh, my threshing and the grain of my floor!
That which I have heard from the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, I have declared to you.

The night vision related and recorded by the prophet,  a prelude to the revelations contained in ch. 40-60,  was also intended for the consolation of  Israel,  which had already much to suffer,  when Babylon was still Assyrian,  but would have to suffer far more from it when it should become Chaldean.

Threshing (duush)
A figure used to represent crushing oppression in Isa 41:15; and judicial visitation in Jer 51:33;  and again,  as in the present instance,  chastising plagues,  in which wrath and good intention are mingled together.

Isaiah 41:15
"See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.    (NIV)
Jeremiah 51:33
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
"The Daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come."     (NIV)

Israel,  placed as it was under the tyrannical supremacy of  the imperial power,  is called the medusshâh  (the threshing) of  Jehovah - in other words,  the corn threshed by Him;
also His "child of the threshing-floor,"  inasmuch as it was laid in the floor,  in the bosom as it were of  the threshing-place,  to come out threshed.

This floor,  in which Jehovah makes a judicial separation of  grains and husks in Israel,  was their captivity. Babylon is the instrument of  the threshing wrath of  God.
But love also takes part in the threshing,  and restrains the wrath.  This is what the prophet has learned in the vision  - a consolatory figure for the threshing-corn in the floor, i.e.,  for Israel,  which was now subject to the power of  the world,  and had been mowed off  its own field and carried captive into Babylonia.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


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The Oracle concerning Dumah
Isaiah 21:11, 12

Isaiah 21:11
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(11)  The “Dumah”  Pronouncement. The Vision of Idumaea. The oracle of the cup of cursing
A call comes to me from Seir: Guard ye the bulwarks. Interpret unto them the prophecy
“Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?”
  O prophet, interpret unto them what is about to come.

From the NKJV

(11)  The burden against Dumah.
He calls to me out of Seir,
"Watchman, what of the night?
Watchman, what of the night?"

A tribe and region of Ishmael in Arabia,  now called Dumah the Stony,  situated on the confines of Arabia and the Syrian desert - a part put for the whole of  Edom.

The principal mountain in Idumea,  south of the Dead Sea,  in Arabia.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

This oracle consists of  a question, addressed to the prophet from Seir,  and of the prophet's reply.
Seir is the mountainous country to the south of  Palestine,  of which Edom took possession after the expulsion of  the Horites.

What of the night?
How far is it in the night?
The Hebrew is shomer mah-millayelah? Shomer ma-milleyl?
How far gone is the night?  How far gone the night?

This is Edom’s inquiry.  Duumâh is deep,  utter silence,  and therefore the land of  the dead.
It is turned into an emblem of  the future fate of Edom,  by the removal of  the - sound from the beginning of  the word to the end.  It becomes a land of  deathlike stillness,  deathlike sleep,  and deathlike darkness.

Luther translates the participle:  "they cry".
For the rest,  however,  we have deviated from Luther's excellent translation,  for the purpose of  giving to some extent the significant change from milayŞlaah (OT:3915) and mileeyl (OT:3915).
The more winged form of  the second question is expressive of  heightened,  anxious urgency and haste.  The wish is to hear that it is very late in the night,  and that it will soon be past.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Just as a sick man longs for a sleepless night to come to an end,  and is constantly asking what time it is,  so do they inquire of  the prophet out of  Edom,  whether the night of  tribulation will not be soon over.  We are not to understand,  however,  that messengers were really sent out of  Edom to Isaiah;  the process was purely a pneumatically one.  The prophet stands there in Jerusalem,  in the midst of  the benighted world of  nations,  like a sentry upon the watch tower;  he understands the anxious inquiries of  the nations afar off,  and answers them according to the word of  Jehovah,  which is the plan and chronological measure of  the history of  the nations,  and the key to its interpretation.  What,  then,  is the prophet's reply?
He lets the inquirer  "see through a glass darkly."

The Edomites as well as the Jews were subdued by the Babylonians. They inquire of the prophet how long their subjection is to last:
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 21:12
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(12)  The watchman replied, I watch in the morning and the night: There is a reward for the righteous,
“Morning came, and so did night.   And punishment (or vengeance) for the wicked;
If you would inquire, inquire.   If ye will repent, repent
Come back again.” Dwell by me. While ye can repent.

From the NKJV

(12)  The watchman said,  'The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire;
Return! Come back!"

And the history was quite in accordance with such an answer.

The Assyrian period of  judgment was followed Chaldean,
and the Chaldean by the Persian,
and the Persian by the Grecian,
and the Grecian by the Roman.

Again and again there was a glimmer of  morning dawn for Edom (and what a glimmer in the Herodian age!),  but it was swallowed up directly by another night,  until Edom became an utter Duumâh,  and disappeared from the history of  the nations.  The prophet does not see to the utmost end of  these Edomite’s nights,  but he has also no consolation for Edom.

It is altogether different with Edom from what it is with Israel,  the nocturnal portion of  whose history has a morning dawn,  according to promise,  as its irrevocable close.  The prophet therefore sends the inquirers home.  Would they ask any further questions,  they might do so,  might turn and come.

In  shuubuu  (turn back)  there lies a significant though ambiguous hint.
It is only in the case of  their turning,  coming, i.e.,  coming back converted,  that the prophet has any consolatory answer for them.  So long as they are not so,  there is suspended over their future an interminable night,  to the prophet as much as to themselves. 

The way to salvation for every other people is just the same as for Israel - namely,  the way of repentance.


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The Oracle concerning Arabia
Isaiah 21:13-17

Isaiah 21:13-15
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(13)  The “In the Steppe” Pronouncement.   The oracle of the cup of cursing given to the Arabians to drink
In the scrub, in the steppe, you will lodge, Thou mayest lodge in the forest (of Arabia) in the evening,  
O caravans of the Dedanites! Or in the way of Daedan.  
(14)  Meet the thirsty with water, Ye that dwell in the country of Thaeman, bring water to meet him  
You who dwell in the land of Tema;   The south
Greet the fugitive with bread.   Prepare ye of that which ye are eating for the fugitives.
(15)  For thy have fled before swords: Because of the multitude of the slain,  
Before the whetted sword, Because of the multitude of them that lose their way  
Before the bow that was drawn, Because of the multitude of swords
and bent bows,
Before the stress of war. That have fallen in war. The grievousness of war.

From the NKJV

(13)  The burden against Arabia.
In the forest in Arabia you will lodge, O you traveling companies of Dedanites.
(14)  O inhabitants of the land of Tema, bring water to him who is thirsty;  with their bread they met him who fled.   (15)  For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the distress of war.

The heading ba`Şraab masaa',  when pointed as we have it,  signifies "oracle against Arabia."
But why not massâ 'Arâb, since massâ  (burden)  is followed by a simple genitive in the other three headings?  Or again,  is this the only heading in the tetralogy that is not symbolical?
We must assume that the Beth by which this is distinguished is introduced for the express purpose of rendering it symbolical,  and that the prophet pointed it first of all baa`ereb (OT:6153),  but had at the same time ba`Şraab in his mind.  The earlier translators (LXX, Targum, Syriac, Vulgate, American Revised.) read the second ba`Şraab like the first.

The oracle commences with an evening scene,  even without our altering the second ba`Şrab.
And the Massa (Burden) has a symbolical title founded upon this evening scene.

Evening darkness is settling upon Arabia,  and the morning-land is becoming an evening-land.
'Arab,  written with pathach,  is Arabia;  and ya'ar here is the solitary barren desert,  as distinguished from the cultivated land with its cities and villages.

The meaning of  the passage before us we therefore take to be this:  the trading caravans of  the Dedanians,  that mixed tribe of  Cushites and Abrahamides  dwelling in the neighborhood of  the Edomite’s,  when on their way from east to west,  possibly to Tyre,  would be obliged to encamp in the wilderness,  being driven out of  the caravan road in consequence of  the war that was spreading from north to south.
They are driven back with fright towards the south-east as far as Tema.

In the forest
baya`ar (OT:3293).) The word ya`ar (OT:3293)  'forest'  usually denotes a grove,  a collection of  trees.  But it may mean here,  any place of  refuge from a pursuing foe;  a region of  thick underwood;  an uncultivated,  inaccessible place,  where they would be concealed from an invading enemy.

Descendants of  "Dedan."  There are two men of this name mentioned in the Old Testament

The son of Raamah, the son of Cush
Raamah's descendants settled near the Persian Gulf.
The son of Jokshan, the son of Abraham by Keturah
Jokshan's descendants settled in Arabia Petrea

Tema was one of  the sons of  Ishmael,  and is supposed to have populated the city of  Thema in Arabia.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

But even here in the land of  Tema they do not feel themselves safe.  The inhabitants of  Tema are obliged to bring them water and bread  ("its bread," lachmo, referring to noodeed:  the bread necessary in order to save them),  into the hiding-places in which they have concealed themselves.

"How humiliating,"  as Drechsler well observes,  "to be obliged to practice their hospitality,  the pride of  Arabian customs,  in so restricted a manner,  and with such unbecoming secrecy!"
But it could not possibly be done in any other way,  since the weapons of  the foe were driving them incessantly before them,  and the war itself  was rolling incessantly forward like an overwhelming colossus.

Isaiah 21:16, 17
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(16)  For thus my Lord has said to me: “In another year,
fixed like the years of a hired laborer, all the multitude of Kedar shall vanish;  (17)  the remaining bows of Kedar’s warriors shall be few in number;
for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken. For by the Memra of the Lord God of Israel is it so decreed.

From the NKJV

(16)  For thus the LORD has said to me: "Within a year, according to the year of a hired man, all the glory of Kedar will fail;   (17)  and the remainder of the number of archers, the mighty men of the people of Kedar, will be diminished; for the LORD God of  Israel has spoken it."

Within a year
What has been said before was figurative.  Here the prophet speaks without a metaphor,  and fixes the time when this should be accomplished.  It is not usual for the prophets to designate the exact  "time"  of  the fulfillment of their prophecies in this manner.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The name Kedar is here the collective name of  the Arabic tribes generally.
In the stricter sense,  Kedar,  like Nebaioth,  which is associated with it,  as a nomadic tribe of  Ishmaelites,  which wandered as far as the Elanitic Gulf.  Within the space of  a year,  measured as exactly as is generally the case where employers and laborers are concerned,  Kedar's freedom,  military strength,  numbers,  and wealth  (all these together constituting its glory),  would all have disappeared.
Nothing but a small remnant would be left of the heroic sons of  Kedar and their bows.

They are numbered here by their bows  (in distinction from the numbering by heads),  showing that the righting men are referred to.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The period of  the fulfillment of  the prophecy keeps us still within the Assyrian era.
In Herodotus (2, 141),  Sennacherib is actually called  "king of Arabians and Assyrians"  (compare Josephus, Ant. x. 1, 4);  and both Sargon and Sennacherib,  in their annalistic inscriptions,  take credit to themselves for the subjugation of  Arabian tribes.
But in the Chaldean era Jeremiah predicted the same things against Kedar (ch. 49) as against Edom;
and Jer 49:30-31 was evidently written with a retrospective allusion to this oracle of  Isaiah.
When the period fixed by Isaiah for the fulfillment arrived,  a second period grew out of it,  and one still more remote,  inasmuch as a second empire,  viz.,  the Chaldean,  grew out of  the Assyrian,  and inaugurated a second period of  judgment for the nations.

Jeremiah 49:30
"Flee, get far away! Dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Hazor!" says the LORD.
"For Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has taken counsel against you, and has conceived a plan against you.    (NKJV)

After a short glimmer of morning,  the night set in a second time upon Edom,  and a second time upon Arabia.


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Isaiah 19:1 - 21:17 - from the Amplified Version

19:1  THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Egypt: Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the hearts of the Egyptians will melt within them.
(2)   And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, every one against his brother and every one against his neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
(3)   And the spirit of the Egyptians within them will become exhausted and emptied out and will fail, and I will destroy their counsel and confound their plans; and they will seek counsel from the idols and the sorcerers, and from those having familiar spirits (the mediums) and the wizards.
(4)   And I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard and cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them, says the Lord, the Lord of hosts.
(5)   And the waters shall fail from the Nile, and the river shall be wasted and become dry.
(6)   And the rivers shall become foul, the streams and canals of Egypt shall be diminished and dried up, the reeds and the rushes shall wither and rot away.
(7)   The meadows by the Nile, by the brink of the Nile, and all the sown fields of the Nile shall become dry, be blown away, and be no more.
(8)   The fishermen will lament, and all who cast a hook into the Nile will mourn; and they who spread nets upon the waters will languish.
(9)   Moreover, they who work with combed flax and they who weave white [cotton] cloth will be confounded and in despair.
(10) [Those who are] the pillars and foundations of Egypt will be crushed, and all those who work for hire or who build dams will be grieved.
(11)  The princes of Zoan [ancient capital of the Pharaohs] are utterly foolish; the counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become witless (stupid). How can you say to Pharaoh, I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings?
(12)  Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you now [if they are so wise], and let them make known what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt [if they can].
(13)  The princes of Zoan have become fools, and the princes of Memphis are confused and deceived; those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has mingled a spirit of perverseness, error, and confusion within her; [her leaders] have caused Egypt to stagger in all her doings, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.
(15)  Neither can any work [done singly or by concerted action] accomplish anything for Egypt, whether by head or tail, palm branch or rush [high or low].
(16)  In that day will the Egyptians be like women [timid and helpless]; and they will tremble and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts that He shakes over them.
(17)  And the land of Judah [allied to Assyria] shall become a terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom mention of it is made will be afraid and everyone who mentions it--to him will they turn in fear, because of the purpose of the Lord of hosts which He purposes against Egypt.
(18 ) In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of [the Hebrews of] Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. one of them will be called the City of the Sun or Destruction.
(19)  In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border.
(20)  And it will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry to the Lord because of oppressors, and He will send them a savior, even a mighty one, and he will deliver them. [Judg 2:18; 3:9,15.]
(21)  And the Lord will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know (have knowledge of, be acquainted with, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord in that day and will worship with sacrifices of animal and vegetable offerings; they will vow a vow to the Lord and perform it.
(22)  And the Lord shall smite Egypt, smiting and healing it; and they will return to the Lord, and He will listen to their entreaties and heal them.
(23)  In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship [the Lord] with the Assyrians.
(24)  In that day Israel shall be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria [in a Messianic league], 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.

20:1  IN THE year that the Tartan [Assyrian commander in chief] came to Ashdod in Philistia, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, he fought against Ashdod and took it.
(2)   At that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, Go, loose the sackcloth from off your loins and take your shoes off your feet. And he had done so, walking around stripped [to his loincloth] and barefoot.
(3)   And the Lord said, As My servant Isaiah has walked [comparatively] naked and barefoot for three years, as a sign and forewarning concerning Egypt and concerning Cush (Ethiopia),
(4)   So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Ethiopian exiles, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with buttocks uncovered--to the shame of Egypt.
(5)   And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and expectation and Egypt their glory and boast.
(6)   And the inhabitants of this coastland [the Israelites and their neighbors] will say in that day, See! This is what comes to those in whom we trusted and hoped, to whom we fled for help to deliver us from the king of Assyria! But we, how shall we escape [captivity and exile]?

21:1  THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning the Desert of the Sea [which was Babylon after great dams were raised to control the waters of the Euphrates River which overflowed it like a sea--and would do so again]: As whirlwinds in the South (the Negev) sweep through, so it [the judgment of God by hostile armies] comes from the desert, from a terrible land.
(2)   A hard and grievous vision is declared to me: the treacherous dealer deals treacherously, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All the sighing [caused by Babylon's ruthless oppressions] I will cause to cease [says the Lord]. [Isa 11:11; 13:17.]
(3)   Therefore are my [Isaiah's] loins filled with anguish, pangs have seized me like the pangs of a woman in childbirth; I am bent and pained so that I cannot hear, I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
(4)   My mind reels and wanders, horror terrifies me. [In my mind's eye I am at the feast of Belshazzar. I see the defilement of the golden vessels taken from God's temple, I watch the handwriting appear on the wall--I know that Babylon's great king is to be slain.] The twilight I looked forward to with pleasure has been turned into fear and trembling for me. [Dan 5.]
(5)   They prepare the table, they spread the rugs, [and having] set the watchers [the revelers take no other precaution], they eat, and they drink. Arise, you princes, and oil your shields [for your deadly foe is at the gates]!
(6)   For thus has the Lord said to me: Go, set [yourself as] a watchman, let him declare what he sees.
7 And when he sees a troop, horsemen in pairs, a troop of donkeys, and a troop of camels, he shall listen diligently, very diligently.
(8)   And [the watchman] cried like a lion, O Lord, I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my station every night.
(9)   And see! Here comes a troop of men and chariots, horsemen in pairs! And he [the watchman] tells [what it foretells]: Babylon has fallen, has fallen! And all the graven images of her gods lie shattered on the ground [in my vision]!
(10)  O you my threshed and winnowed ones [my own people the Jews, who must be trodden down by Babylon], that which I have heard from the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have [joyfully] announced to you [Babylon is to fall]!
(11)  The mournful, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Dumah (Edom): one calls to me from Seir (Edom), Watchman, what of the night? [How far is it spent? How long till morning?] Guardian, what of the night?
(12)  The watchman said, the morning comes, but also the night. [Another time, if Edom earnestly wishes to know] if you will inquire [of me], inquire; return, come again.
(13)  The mournful, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Arabia: In the forests and thickets of Arabia you shall lodge, O you caravans of Dedanites [from northern Arabia].
(14)  To the thirsty [Dedanites] bring water, O inhabitants of the land of Tema [in Arabia]; meet the fugitive with bread [suitable] for him.
(15)  For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war [the press of battle].
(16)  For the Lord has said this to me, within a year, according to the years of a hireling [who will work no longer than was agreed], all the glory of Kedar [an Arabian tribe] will fail.
(17)  And the remainder of the number of archers and their bows, the mighty men of the sons of Kedar, will be diminished and few; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken it.

(End of  Lesson 9)




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