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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 19

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-25

The Judgment, on Egypt

A prophecy concerning Egypt, probably belonging to the same period as Isaiah 18, and designed to show the speedy collapse of Egypt’s power, on which a strong political party in Judah in Hezekiah’s reign had placed their hopes (see Intro.). Sargon defeated the Egyptians at Raphia in 720 b.c., and the prophet in Isaiah 19:2-3 may refer to the anarchy and confusion consequent upon that overthrow. At any rate, he shows a remarkable acquaintance both with the country and the people of Egypt.

1-10. The impending calamity of Egypt.

11-15. Its helplessness at the crisis.

16-25. The outcome of the judgment: (a) a state of terror (16, 17); (b) recognition of Jehovah (18-22); (c) followed by a call to share the blessings of God’s chosen people (23-25).

1. Burden] see on Isaiah 13:1. Rideth] cp. Psalms 18:9, Psalms 18:10. The strength of Egypt is broken at Jehovah’s approach.

2. Civil war rages between the petty princes of lower Egypt.

4. The Assyrian monarch Sargon may be the cruel lord in the prophet’s thoughts; he defeated the Egyptians more than once (720, 711, b.c.).

6. RV ’And the rivers shall stink; the streams of Egypt shall be minished and dried up.’

7. RV ’The meadows by the Nile, by the brink of the Nile,’ etc.

8. With the failure of the river the occupation of the fishermen will be gone. Brooks] RV ’Nile.’

9. Networks] RV ’white cloth.’

10. RV ’And her pillars shall be broken in pieces, all they that work for hire shall be grieved in soul.’ Pillars] i.e. the foundations of society (Psalms 11:3), or principal men (Galatians 2:9).

11. Zoan] or Tanis, in the Delta.

12. The first proof of their folly; they cannot foresee the future.

13. A. second proof, by ill-judged counsel they have brought about disaster.

Noph] i.e. Memphis, a chief city of Lower Egypt. Stay] RV ’corner stone’: cp. Zechariah 10:4.

15. Branch] RV ’palm branch’: cp. Zechariah 9:14 the expressions in the v. are figurative of all classes of society.

16. In that day] the Day of God’s judgment.

17. Egypt is filled with terror at the mention of Judah, because of Judah’s God.

18. Five] a small number. Language of Canaan] Hebrew. Swear] i.e. swear allegiance. Shall be called] as deserving the name (Isaiah 1:26).

City of destruction] i.e. Heliopolis, the city of the sun (Irhacheres), but by a slight change in one letter (Irhaheres), the prophet symbolically indicates its fate—the place where the sun was worshipped will be destroyed. Somewhat similarly Beth-El (’house of God’) is written Beth Aven (’house of nought’), Hosea 4:15, and Bosheth (’shame’) stands for Baal (Jeremiah 11:13).

19. There will be visible signs of Egypt’s allegiance to Jehovah. Pillar] or obelisk, such as were common in Egypt; the mark of a holy place.

20-22. Isaiah loots forward to a time when, instead of Egypt exercising an evil influence over the destiny of Judah, Judah shall be the means of spiritual blessing to Egypt.

23-25. The prophet in rapt vision sees the historic and traditional enemies of his nation joined with it in membership of one holy people of God, where all share equal privilege. A like wonderful catholic and missionary spirit is shown in Psalms 87.

Like Isaiah’s other pictures of the ideal future, this prophecy (Isaiah 19:20-25) yet awaits its complete fulfilment. We may, however, trace partial and, as it were, preparatory fulfilments (a) in the influence of the Persian monarchy, which succeeded the Assyrian empire and did much for the spread of monotheism in the world. Cyrus himself, in his proclamations, recognised Jehovah as the God of heaven (Ezra 1:2); (b) the Jewish exiles in Egypt acted as leaven, and under the Ptolemies the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. Thus, in a wonderful manner was the way prepared for the extension of the gospel of Christ, and the bringing of the nations to the knowledge of the true God.

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 19". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/isaiah-19.html. 1909.
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