The Prophecy Against Egypt ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’hayu 19:11-25

In my last post, we examined The Prophecy Against Egypt ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 19:1-10. In this post, we continue to explore The Prophecy Against Egypt ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 19:11-25.

As we pick up the passage in verse 11, Adonai-Tzva’ot is still speaking.

11 The princes of Tzo‘an are utter fools, Pharaoh’s wisest counselors give stupid advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I’m a sage, descended from kings of old.”

Tzo’an was a famous city (also known as Tanis), formerly a capital of Egypt. It is mentioned in this verse because it was the residence of Pharaoh’s wisest advisers. Egypt was known as a center of wisdom in the ancient Near East. This prophecy mocks their wisdom.

12 Where are they, then, those sages of yours? Let them tell you, so all can know what Adonai-Tzva’ot has planned against Egypt!

The ignorance of the wise men of Egypt is revealed by their ignorance of God’s plans for their country. That sounds vaguely familiar.

13 The princes of Tzo‘an have been fooled, the princes of Nof (Memphis) have been duped, Egypt’s clan chiefs have led her astray. 14 Adonai has mixed up their minds with a spirit that distorts judgment, so they make Egypt stagger in whatever she does, like a drunk staggering in his vomit.

Egyptian leaders and wise men are pictured as drunk, in a state of heightened confusion. The image of a drunkard staggering and passing out, representing the demise of God’s enemies, frequently occurs in the Prophets.

15 Nobody in Egypt will find work to do – neither head nor tail, neither [tall] palm frond nor [lowly] reed.

The expression neither head nor tail, tall palm nor lowly reed points to a totality of verse 14. Nothing can protect Egypt against God’s devastating judgment. True to this prophecy, to this day, the Egyptian economy remains unstable.

16 On that day, Egypt will be like women trembling with fear because Adonai-Tzva’ot is shaking his fist at them.

On that day points to a future but unspecified time. It was an insult to say that Egypt’s troops will be like women (Jeremiah 50:37; 51:30). {Ladies remember the culture at the time.}

17 Just mentioning the land of Y’hudah to the Egyptians will throw them into panic; they will be afraid because of what Adonai-Tzva’ot has planned for them.

Egypt was always militarily superior to Y’hudah, so Y’hudah was tempted to depend on Egypt for military support, but this verse envisions Egypt fearing Y’hudah, a shameful reversal for this proud nation. That was certainly true in the Six-Day War in 1967.

18 On that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Kena‘an and swear loyalty to Adonai-Tzva’ot; one of them will be called the City of Destruction.

While Hebrew settlements were known from the postexilic period on, it is more likely that this verse refers to a conversion of at least some Egyptians to God. The five cities cannot be identified and may be a symbolic number for “a few.” But the City of Destruction (also known as the City of the Sun) is well known. It was Heliopolis, closely associated with the worship of the sun god. That the worship of Adonai would be taken up in this city is a sign of a radical transformation.

19 On that day, there will be an altar to Adonai in the middle of the land of Egypt, as well as a standing-stone for Adonai at its border.

As a sign of an Egyptian conversion to the worship of the true God, there will be an altar set up in the center of the land and a memorial pillar at the border. The land will be dedicated to the worship of the true God.

20 It will be a sign and witness to Adonai-Tzva’ot in the land of Egypt; so that when they cry out to Adonai for help because of the oppressors, He will send them a savior to defend and rescue them.

The language of this verse is reminiscent of that in the book of Judges. Here, however, sending someone to rescue a repentant nation from an oppressor describes the situation in future Egypt.

21 Adonai will make himself known to Egypt; on that day; the Egyptians will know Adonai. They will worship him with sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to Adonai and keep them.

After the days of confusion and confounding, there will come a time when Egypt will acknowledge the sovereignty and reality of the Lord, for God’s plan is to include Egypt in the millennial kingdom.

22 Yet Adonai will strike Egypt, both striking and healing, so they will return to Adonai. He will listen to their prayers, and he will heal them.

Egypt‘s conversion will be after that country experiences God’s judgment; healing will follow striking.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Ashur. Ashur will come to Egypt and Egypt to Ashur, and Egypt will worship with Ashur.

The highway is a favorite metaphor in Yesha’yahu for the removal of alienation and separation (11:16; 33:8; 35:8; 40:3; 49:11; 62:10). Ashur and Egypt had been enemies for many years, but this fantastic passage envisions a time when travel will be free and easy between them, and they will be united in the worship of God.

24 On that day Isra’el will be a third partner with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing here on earth;

Isra’el was a land bridge between Egypt and Ashur. Both of these nations had tried to control Isra’el to get a foothold against the other. Here Isra’el is added to Ashur and Egypt in an intimate relationship of love and worship of the Lord.

25 for Adonai-Tzva’ot has blessed him: “Blessed be Egypt my people, Ashur the work of my hands and Isra’el my heritage.” ~ Isaiah 19:11-25 (CJB)

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for on that day to be fulfilled in my lifetime. Come, Lord quickly.

In my next post, we continue to explore A Further Prophecy Against Ashdod, Egypt, and Cush in Yesha’yahu 20:1-6.

Click here for the PDF version.

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