Isaiah 19: A
prophecy against Egypt
The Downfall of Egypt proclaimed
Judah's Power, Egypt's weakness
Recap and outcome – the Three Peoples revealing God
Comment: The prophecy that follows initially
brings recollections of the state of Egypt in the days of Moses,
a country full of gods and idol worship. As the headings above
show, the first part declares the downfall of Egypt that will
come about through civil strife and failure of the occult [v.1-3],
an Invader [v.4], and a drought that will mean the Nile that fed
the nation's fishermen and farmers will dry up [v.5-10], thus
devastating their economy. As so often when God intervenes, all
the wisdom of man is shown to be foolish and helpless [v.11-16].
In what appears to be subsequent to this, Judah will be given
a new powerful role that will dominate Egypt [v.17-21] but then
the Lord will elevate Egypt, Assyria and Judah, all having a relationship
with Him and revealing Him to the rest of the world [v.22-25].
It would appear that this is again a last-days prophecy, a prophecy
that starts off with Egypt being humiliated but then raised up
with two other peoples to glorify God.]
ONE: 1-16: The Downfall of Egypt proclaimed
God comes against idolatry
(Egypt's idolatry should
fear before God) A
prophecy against Egypt:
the Lord rides on a swift cloud
and is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with
Civil war will erupt, their idols will fall & an Invader come
(God will cause civil
war in Egypt) ‘I
will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian –
brother will fight against brother,
neighbour against neighbour,
city against city,
kingdom against kingdom.
of their idolatry will come to nothing) The
Egyptians will lose heart,
and I will bring their plans to nothing;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
the mediums and the spiritists.
(Egypt will be handed
over to an invader) I
will hand the Egyptians over
to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,'
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
A drought will devastate their economy
(The Nile [that they
worship] will suffer) The
waters of the river will dry up,
and the river bed will be parched and
canals will stink;
the streams of Egypt will dwindle and
The reeds and rushes will wither,
the plants along the Nile,
at the mouth of the river.
Every sown field along the Nile
will become parched, will blow away and
be no more.
the fishermen will anguish) The
fishermen will groan and lament,
all who cast hooks into the Nile;
those who throw nets on the water
will pine away.
nearby crop-lands will suffer) Those
who work with combed flax will despair,
the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
(Those who rely on them
will suffer) The
workers in cloth will be dejected,
and all the wage earners will be sick
All their leaders will be helpless to stop it
(Pharaoh's wise men will
be shown to be fools) The
officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
the wise counsellors of Pharaoh give senseless
How can you say to Pharaoh,
‘I am one of the wise men,
a disciple of the ancient kings'?
(The ‘wise men' will
be shown up) Where
are your wise men now?
Let them show you and make known
what the Lord Almighty
has planned against Egypt.
leaders are no help) The
officials of Zoan have become fools,
the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples
have led Egypt astray.
will all be in confusion) The
Lord has poured into them
a spirit of dizziness;
they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
(There is no one who
can help) There
is nothing Egypt can do – head or tail, palm branch or reed.
(The nation will become
that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder
with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against
TWO: v.17-21: Judah's Power, Egypt's weakness
by contrast, will be strong) And
the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone
to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what
the Lord Almighty is planning against them.
(Hebrew language will
come to Egypt) In
that day five cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan
and swear allegiance to the Lord Almighty. One of them will be
called the City of the Sun.
of the Lord will come to Egypt) In
that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt,
and a monument to the Lord at its border.
(The Lord will provide
a saviour when they cry to Him) It
will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of
Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors,
he will send them a saviour and defender, and he will rescue them.
(The Lord will establish
relationship with them) So
the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that
day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices
and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep
THREE: v.22-25: Recap and outcome – the Three Peoples revealing
followed by healing, will come, to turn them to the Lord) The
Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and
heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to
their pleas and heal them.
(New communications will
mean God is known in the region) In
there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will
go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians
will worship together.
(Three peoples will share
the Lord with the world) In
Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing
on the earth.
(For the Lord will bless
the three of them) The
Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people,
Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.'
to Chapter 20