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Book of Isaiah
This chapter contains prophecies of different calamities that would come upon Egypt in a short time, and of the conversion of many of them to Christ in Gospel times (last day). The calamities are many; and the Lord's coming unto them, which their gods cannot stop, nor stand before, nor save them, and at which the hearts of the Egyptians are depressed. There are civil wars which lead to their not knowing what to do, which sends them to idols and wizards, all in vain. They will be subject to a cruel lord, their rivers and waters dry up, so that the reeds wither and fishes die.
An over-all bewilderment comes over them, because of the Hand of the Lord; and because of the Lord's people, the Jews, who were a terror to them. This is followed by the prophecy of their being converted in last days, which is indicated by their speaking the language of Canaan, and vowing to the Lord, and by their erecting an altar and a pillar to the Lord, which would be a sign and witness to Him; and by their crying to Him, and by His sending them a Great Saviour, by His being known unto them, by their offering sacrifice to Him, and by His smiting and healing them. The chapter concludes with a prophecy of harmony, agreement and fellowship that shall be between Jew and Gentile, between Egypt, Assyria and Israel; and that the blessing of God would be upon them all.
THEME: The burden of Egypt . . . through gloom to glory.
Chapters 13 through 23 of Isaiah contain eleven judgments against nations that surrounded the nation Israel. The burden of Egypt is the sixth burden. Egypt is definitely one nation we would expect to find on this list of judgments.
I think that this is one of the best Passages that illustrate the accuracy of God’s Holy Word. Without any doubt, fulfilled prophecy is absolute proof that the Bible IS True and that it IS the Word of God. No other nation figures more noticeably on the pages of Scripture than Egypt does in its relationship to Israel. Egypt has a longer history than any other nation mentioned in Scripture, including Israel. The fact is, that it was in the land of Egypt that the nation of Israel was born. Seventy souls from the family of Jacob journeyed there (Ex.1:5), and four hundred and thirty years later (Ex.12:40-41), they left Egypt with at least a million and a half people. Egypt was an old nation at that time. Its history has continued right down to the present day. It exists today and plays a prominent part in world events. And it holds a glorious future predicted in this chapter. This chapter contains all the features which enter into the history of the nation . . . its past, present and future.
Egypt became important early in Scripture when Abraham ran away to Egypt and got in trouble (Gen.12:11-13). Later Joseph was sold into Egypt (Gen.37:27-28), and during a famine Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt with their families (Gen.43). It was in Egypt that Israel became a great nation as slaves in the brickyards.
Later on, after the children of Israel returned to the Promised Land, two of their kings, Ahaz and Hezekiah, made an alliance with Egypt and found that she was not at all reliable.
During the time period between Malachi and Matthew, Israel suffered terribly at the hand of Egypt. When the Lord Jesus was born, He was taken down into Egypt (Mat.2:13-19). The Gospel of Jesus Christ made many converts in Egypt during the first three centuries of the Christian era. In our day, Egypt has been a thorn in the side of Israel.
Fulfilled Prophecy Concerning Egypt (19:1-15)
Isaiah 19:1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. (KJV)
The burden of Egypt . . . the prophecy concerning Egypt is a very grievous one, declaring many calamities that would come upon them. Israel placed great confidence in the Egyptians as their allies . . . because of this, in order to break this confidence, it was necessary they should be aware of the destruction that was coming upon them, which is the plan of this prophecy.
Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud . . . meaning the speed with which He came. He would come quickly, as light clouds move swiftly. The Lord rideth . . . as a general in the Head of His army, or as a Judge riding the circuit to execute judgment. Upon a swift cloud . . . which means that the judgment shall come quickly, unexpectedly and unescapably. Clouds are very unusual in Egypt, so the appearance of a cloud was a kind of spectacle, and a prediction of some grievous calamity.
And shall come into Egypt . . . not by Sennacherib king of Assyria, and his army, whom he would send to invade it, as some think; but rather by Cambyses and Ochus, kings of Persia; although it seems that what is here foretold would be done, was done, NOT by means of any foreign power, but by the Lord Himself.
And the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence; or tremble before him . . . these idols were many, the chief of them were Osiris and Isis, Apis, Serapis, Vulcan, Bubastis, etc., and too, some of them were living creatures, such as bulls, cats, dogs, oxen, sheep, etc. who might move and tremble, in a literal sense; and some were graven images, made with hands. Shall be moved at his presence or shall be moved from their seats . . . from their former reputation.
The heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it . . . they shall lose all their strength and courage, for which they had been famous before. The heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it; like wax before the fire . . . even the bravest among them, their soldiers, their army, their officers and generals; which were the heart of the people and their defense, and who used to fight for them and protect them, now would be discouraged.
*****The idolatry of Egypt is the main reason for God's condemnation on the nation. In the Book of Ezekiel, God states that every idol would disappear from Egypt (Eze.6:4; 14:3; 30:13; 37:23). Possibly there were no other people who were ever given over to idolatry more than the Egyptians, with the possible exception of Babylon, which was the fountainhead of idolatry. Consider what the apostle Paul said: Romans 1:21-23 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. (KJV)
Egypt had originally worshiped ONE God; but they gradually fell back into the worst kind of idolatry where every creature under heaven was worshiped: bulls, frogs, the scarab (a bug), fish, and all kinds of birds. When Moses was ready to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt, God had to carry on warfare, in which God, through Moses, brought down the plagues on Egypt (Ex.7:20; 8:6, 17, 24; 9:6, 10, 23; 10:13, 22; 12:29). The Lord came down hard on all forms of idolatry in Egypt . . . from the sun in the heavens and the River Nile, to frogs and lice in the land. Each and every plague was directed against one of the gods or idols of Egypt.
Isaiah 19:2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. (KJV)
And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians . . . civil war! The Lord would mix and confuse the people, where they would fall upon and destroy one another. This shows that the calamities of Egypt would be brought upon them, not by means of a foreign invasion, but by internal quarrels, and other means, which the Lord sent in judgment among them.
And they shall fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbour . . . and destroy one another.
City against city . . . of which there were many cities in Egypt.
And kingdom against kingdom . . . although all Egypt was then one kingdom, and under one king, it was not very many years after this, that it was divided into twelve several kingdoms, between whom there were many and cruel wars, as is related by the historians of those times, and particularly by Herodotus and Diodorus.
Isaiah 19:3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. (KJV)
And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof . . . this does not mean the spirit of valor and courage, that was stated before, but of wisdom, prudence and understanding; the wisdom of Egypt, in which Moses is said to be brought up (Acts 7:22), and was famous for all over the world. It seems that Egypt was the mother and mistress of liberal arts and sciences; but now was like a river full of water, that was about to be emptied, and drained dry.
And I will destroy the counsels thereof . . . or swallow them up, so that they shall no longer be seen, or take effect. This explains what is before meant by the spirit of Egypt, and which is further enlarged on in verse 11.
And they shall seek to the idols . . . with which the land of Egypt abounded, mainly Osiris, Isis, Apis, Latona, and others.
And to the charmers . . . that used incantations and spells; magicians and conjurers, that whispered and muttered; charmers are classified with sorcery or witchcraft: (Lev.19:31; 20:6, 27; Deut.18:11; 1 Sam.28:8; 1 Chron.10:13; 2 Chron.33:6; Isa.8:19; 19:3; 29:4).
*****The proud nation of Egypt had advanced its civilization much further than other nations. There is not a nation today that does not owe much to the civilization of Egypt. There came a time when Egypt turned to idols and finally in desperation resorted to witchcraft. In the time of Moses, the magicians who were called in could actually duplicate some of the miracles that Moses did (Ex.7:11-12, 22; 8:7, 18). The time came when they no longer could match what Moses did, but what they had done, reveals that they actually had satanic powers. The spirit of Egypt shall fail. The time came when Egypt was brought down to a very low level.
Isaiah 19:4 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
And the Egyptians will I give over into the hands of a cruel lord . . . not Sennacherib king of Assyria, nor Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon (Jer.46:25), but either of the twelve tyrants that rose up in Egypt, or else Psammiticus, the father of Pharaohnecho, that slew Josiah (2 Ki.23:29-30); and who conquered the other eleven tyrants, and ruled alone, for fifty four years.
And a fierce king shall rule over them . . . it is reported of Psammiticus, that he gave such offence to his subjects, that two hundred thousand of his soldiers left him, and went into Ethiopia. One interprets this of the Persian emperors, into whose hands Egypt fell, as Cambyses and Ochus; and who, according to historians, were very cruel princes. That there might be no doubt of the sure and certain accomplishment of this prophecy, it is added,
Saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts . . . of the armies above and below; and who does what He so pleases among the kings and kingdoms of the Earth.
*****This cruel lord cannot be identified from history, since Egypt was attacked and subdued by a many invaders who eventually reduced the nation to poverty.
Isaiah 19:5 And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. (KJV)
And the waters shall fail from the sea . . . which may be either, #1. Symbolically, of the taking away of their power or commerce, or #2. literally, as may be gathered from the following words and verses. The Nile River, when it had a full stream, and free course, poured forth a vast quantity of waters by its seven famous mouths into the sea . . . so when it dried up, which is expressed in the next clause, those waters truly did fail from the sea.
And the river shall be wasted and dried up . . . the Nile River, which was not only very useful for their trade and navigation, but also because the fruitfulness of the country depended on it. For the need of rain in the land of Egypt, was supplied by the overflow of this river, at certain times, which brought and left such a slime upon the earth, which made it extremely fertile. So . . . when the drying up of this river was either caused by some great drought, which God in judgment sent; or by the practices of some of their princes with this river, by which it was greatly impaired, its usefulness was greatly reduced.
Isaiah 19:6 And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. (KJV)
And they shall turn the rivers far away . . . the Nile River, called rivers, the plural for the singular, because of the abundance of water in it; or its seven streams, with other streams, derived from it. The rivers (the small streams by which the waters of Nile were conveyed and distributed into several parts of the land) shall be turned far away, when the greater Nile River, which fed them, was dried up.
And the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up . . . the Nile River and its streams were the defense of the land of Egypt, as well as making the land fruitful, for these made it less accessible to a foreign enemy.
The reeds and flags shall wither . . . these plants grew in and near the brooks, and were much more plentiful than the grass, corn and trees. These are mentioned to show the great usefulness they were to the people who made boats, ships, mats for bedding and nets for fishing. They were also used as paper to write on, and were a main product with the Egyptians (Isa.18:2).
Isaiah 19:7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more. (KJV)
The paper reeds . . . which by a needle, or other sharp, pointed instrument, were divided into thin and/or broad leaves, which were dried and fitted, were used at that time for writing, as our paper is; and so was a very good product.
By the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks . . . these plants were also sown in more dry and unfruitful places. There were paper manufactures in different cities of Egypt. The trade and consumption of this product was incredible. When the withering and drying up of these paper reeds are threatened, there was a great calamity upon the nation. Everything sown by the brooks shall wither and die.
Isaiah 19:8 The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish. (KJV)
The fishers also shall mourn . . . because there will be no fish to catch, the waters of the river being dried up . . . they shall have no fish to sell, and nothing to support themselves and families. Fish was a common food they lived on (Num.11:5), not only because of the great plenty there usually was, but because they killed and ate but very few living creatures, because of a superstitious regard to them.
And all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament . . . this describes one sort of fishermen, and way of catching fishes, with the angle and hook, and the following clause describes another kind.
And they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish . . . they would be discouraged and exhausted for lack of trade, with fear and grief. Because they could catch few or no fish, by which trade they made their living. This was really a great plague to the people, whose common diet was fish, because out of superstitious conceits they killed and ate but few living creatures, as appears from historic writers.
*****Fishing was another great industry in Egypt, since the Nile River abounded in fish. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, they really did miss the fish they had eaten in Egypt (Num.11:5), because there were no fish in the wilderness. God gave them flesh to eat when He sent them quail (Ex.16:13; Num.11:31-32; Ps.105:40); but it seems they were not satisfied. They much preferred the fish in Egypt. The fish have disappeared, and to this day fishing is not one of the industries along the Nile. God said that the fishermen would mourn and lament, because they wouldn't catch anything. This prophecy was literally fulfilled.
Isaiah 19:9 Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded. (KJV)
Moreover they that work in fine flax . . . flax makes fine linen, which was one of their best products (1 Ki.10:28; Eze.27:7; Pro.7:16). They made fine linen cloth and yarn, which made the clothing worn by the Egyptians, and was a major product of the country, but now they would have no flax to work with, because all that was sown by the sides of the brooks (vs.7), was withered and gone. There was no linen cloth or yarn to sell, and therefore they were in great confusion and distress.
And they that weave networks shall be confounded . . . because they would have no sale for their nets, the fishermen had no use for nets since the rivers were dried up. The word for networks means holes, because nets are made with holes large enough to let the water through, and yet small enough to hold the fishes that they may not get out.
Isaiah 19:10 And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish. (KJV)
And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof . . . meaning either the persons that work in flax or in making nets; who would be disappointed in their plans and expectations when bringing them to a good market, since there will be no buyers for their product. The word for purposes means foundations (Ps.11:3), and may mean dams and banks, that are made to keep in the water, which shall be broken down, and be of no service.
All that make sluices and ponds for fish . . . all that make ponds, shall lose their hopes; for the fishes in them shall die for want of water. The entire fishing industry was to disappear. This has been literally fulfilled. Egypt's wealth, as already said, practically consists in her river, because of its volume here called a sea. All of that has disappeared.
Isaiah 19:11 Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? (KJV)
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools . . . Zoanwas a chief city, in which the king and his court often resided. Zoan was a very ancient city of Egypt, it was built within seven years of Hebron in the land of Judah (Num.13:22). It was the Lord that did those miracles, through Moses and Aaron, before Pharaoh and his people, in order to force him to let Israel go (Ps.78:12). The princes of this place, although they had substantial education, acted foolishly in flattering their sovereign, as afterwards mentioned, and in seducing him to do things destructive to his kingdom and subjects.
The counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish . . . the men whose private council was considered very wise, really valued and was truly confided in . . . yet the advice they gave Pharaoh was such as made them look more like brutal beasts than men.
How say ye unto Pharaoh . . . the then reigning ruler, for Pharaoh was a name common to all the kings of Egypt. Some think that king Cethon is meant, said to be a very foolish king: others think Psammiticus.
I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings? . . . this king thought wisdom was hereditary and natural to him. This vain opinion of himself was cherished by the flatteries of the so-called wise counsellors, even though he undid himself and his people by his stupidity. He ridicules the pride of the Egyptians, who used to make great boasts of the antiquity of their nation, and especially of their kings, who, as they pretended, had reigned successively for over ten thousand years. The royal line of the pharaohs intermarried so much, and actually brother married sister, which produced offspring who were morons.
*****When ungodly men escape danger, they think they are secure . . . but evil pursues sinners, and will quickly overtake them, except they repent (turn around and go the other way). The Egyptians will be given over into the hand of one who shall rule them with precision, as was shortly after fulfilled. The Egyptians were renowned for wisdom and science; yet the Lord would give them over to their own stubborn schemes, and let them quarrel, until their land would be brought by their fighting, to become an object of contempt and pity.
Egypt was noted for its wisdom, but here its wise men and counselors were deceived and foolish. True wisdom comes only from God. We must ask Him for wisdom to guide our decisions, or we will also be just as uncertain and misdirected as the Egyptians. Any time that you are confused about anything in your life, ask the Lord for wisdom to deal with it. He will answer you. Simply trust Him!
Isaiah 19:12 Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. (KJV)
Where are they? where are thy wise men? . . . the magicians, soothsayers, diviners and astrologers, who pretended, by their magic art and skill in astrology, to foretell things to come. This is addressed to the king of Egypt, who always had these people around him.
And let them tell thee now, and let them know what the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt . . . let them tell you what is on God's Heart, the things He has decided . . . all the calamities and punishments that He will shortly inflict upon the Egyptians, of which He has given notice by His prophets. They could NOT do that!
Isaiah 19:13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof. (KJV)
The princes of Zoan are become fools . . . the rulers are obsessed with their counsels, and they take the advice of the satanic magicians and diviners (vs.11).
The princes of Noph are deceived . . . called Moph (Hos.9:6). Noph (Jer.2:16; 44:1) is Memphis of today.
They have also seduced Egypt . . . the princes of the above places, were deceived by the diviners and astrologers (witchcraft), and the rulers then deceived the common people that inhabited the provinces where they dwelt. It is usual for the people to follow their rulers in principle and practice.
Even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof . . . who are the corner of its tribes . . . meaning the nomes or provinces of Egypt. A nome was an administrative division of ancient Egypt.
These are called tribes by the prophet, in the language of the Jews, which land was divided into tribes, as the land of Egypt was divided into nomes. It was about this time that Egypt was divided into twelve kingdoms, as Israel was into twelve tribes. The princes of these tribes and kingdoms should have been as cornerstones (Ps.118:22), to which civil magistrates are compared. They should have been the stay and support of the people, and should have kept them on right roads, but instead they led them terribly wrong, into bad mistakes and errors.
Isaiah 19:14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit. (KJV)
The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof . . . a spirit of error, this He mixed in a cup for them, and poured it out, and gave them it to drink. Their obsession and desire of wisdom in their counsels were from the LORD; who because of the vain boasting of their wisdom in righteous judgment, gave them up to judicial blindness, folly and madness. Hath poured out or given them to drink as appears from their drunkenness, expressed in the end of the verse; which also suits with the Scripture phrase whereby a cup indicates God's judgments (Isa.51:17, 22; Jer.25:15, 17; 51:7; Eze.23:31-33; Zec.12:2).
And they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof . . . both in religious and civil affairs, leading them into deep superstition and idolatry, to which they had been long addicted. Some think this refers to the twelve oppressors, who disagreeing among themselves, were activated by a perverse spirit, which greatly confused the people. In every work thereof . . . in all their plans and undertakings.
As a drunken man staggereth in his vomit . . . those who are so drunk, that he reels to and fro and vomits up his drink. This is a vivid picture of the decline of Egypt to a base kingdom.
Isaiah 19:15 Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do. (KJV)
Neither shall there be any work for Egypt . . . no trade, no business to carry on because their rivers were dried up. There was no flax to work with, and fine linen was a main product of Egypt; no fish to catch, no rushes to make paper from. It was not in the power of their hands to deliver themselves from the Assyrians that would come against them; and they would be deprived of wisdom and counsel, and be at their wits' end, not knowing what to do.
Which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do . . . high or low, strong or weak, all ranks and orders of men shall have nothing to do . . . for all shall be weak and discouraged, and void of right counsel. The head and branch most likely means the king and his nobles; and the tail and rush mean the common people (Isa.9:14). The Egyptians shall have no king to reign, no prince, no noble, no governor nor ruler. And the magicians, astrologers and stargazers of Egypt, who, with all their bragging knowledge and wisdom, would not be able to foresee nor prevent the evil coming upon them.
*****This verse clearly states that there would be the failure of industry and commerce. They would die, and poverty and wretchedness would overtake the nation. Isaiah predicted that there will be failure because of false religion, failure of material resources, and failure of spiritual power. When these disappeared, the prophecy that Egypt would become a base kingdom was fulfilled. All we have to do is to look at Cairo today to see this confirmed.
Unfulfilled Prophecy (19:16-25)
Isaiah 19:16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it. (KJV)
In that day shall Egypt be like unto women . . . in that day places this portion of prophecy in the future. Egypt will be afraid like women; that will be their condition when they go into the Great Tribulation Period. All shall be weak and feeble, fearful and timid, even their military force, and their princes and nobles shall lack wisdom.
And it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it . . . which the Lord may be said to do . . . when the LORD lifts up His rod, and holds it over a people, and threatens them with ruin and destruction. Some think there is a reference to Moses's shaking his rod over the Red sea when the Egyptians were drowned, in which the hand or power of the Lord was so visibly seen, and which now might be called to mind (Ex.14:16).
Isaiah 19:17 And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it. (KJV)
And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt . . . not because of war breaking out between them, for they were in alliance with each other at this time . . . but because of what Egypt would hear had happened in the land of Judea, by the invasion of Sennacherib's army, which had taken and laid them waste (2 Chron.32). The reports put them in a panic, fearing that they would be next to fall, because of their alliance with them, and closeness to them. The word used for terror means dancing . . . not through joy, but fear (Ps.107:27).
Every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself . . . a general confusion shall seize the Egyptians; they shall be afraid and fear (vs.16), which will be evidence of a universal decay and a warning of utter ruin. They shall fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, they shall conclude that He has decided against Egypt as well as Judah.
Because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it . . . because God is now about to execute His appointed judgment against it, against Egypt.
*****God renders sinners afraid of those whom they have despised and oppressed. The Lord of hosts will make the workers of iniquity a terror to themselves, and to each other; and everything around them a terror to them. Judgment begins at the house of God. Consider the following:
#1. How easily God can make those a terror to themselves that have been not only secure, but a terror to all about them. It is simply by the shaking of His Hand over them, or laying it upon some of their neighbors, and the bravest hearts tremble immediately.
#2. How wise it is for us to fear God, when all that He has to do is just shake His Hand over us. It indeed would be wise, to humble ourselves under His Mighty Hand when it does threatens us, especially when we see His counsel is decided against us; for NO one can change His decision!
Isaiah 19:18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction. (KJV)
In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt . . . this opens a scene of mercy, a prophecy of good things to the Egyptians in the last day; for this is not to be understood of the that time. The former calamities would come upon them . . . but sometime after that; Egypt, spiritual or mystical, or the anti-Christian jurisdiction (Rev.11:8). In that day . . . means after that time (Isa.4:2; 18:7). In the times of the Gospel, which was often noted in the prophets by this expression. Five cities . . . a large number of their chief cities, a certain number being put for an uncertain amount.
Speak the language of Canaan . . . profess the Jewish religion, agree with them with the same mind; which fitly means by speaking the same language, because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Mat.12:34). As a result, the changing and purifying of a people's lips is used to mean the change of their hearts and lives (Zep.3:9), and praising God with one mouth, to state their unity or consent in the faith (Rom.15:6).
And swear to the LORD of hosts . . . not by Him, but to Him, which sometimes is put for the whole of religious worship (Deut.6:13), and means bowing and submitting to Him (Isa.45:23; Rom.14:11), it is swearing allegiance to Him, owning Him to be their Lord, King, and Lawgiver, and a resolution to obey Him in all His commands and ordinances (Ps.119:106).
One shall be called the city of destruction . . . not one of the five cities before mentioned, because all those believe with the heart unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Rom.10:10). One . . . not one of the five, for they are supposed to be saved, but one city, or another city, a sixth city. As various cities shall be converted and saved, so some other cities shall continue in their impenitency, and be destroyed. This entire section looks toward the Day of the Lord for a complete fulfillment.
Isaiah 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. (KJV)
In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt . . . Josephus and other Jewish writers think this was fulfilled when Onias, the son of Simeon the just, fled into Egypt, and obtained leave of Ptolemy king of Egypt, and Queen Cleopatra, to build a temple and an altar there, like those at Jerusalem, in order to draw the Jews there, which was about six hundred years after this prophecy. They did build both a temple and an altar in the nome of Heliopolis, about twenty three miles from the city of Memphis, and which continued three hundred and forty three years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onias
But . . . the altar mentioned here is NOT a material altar, but a symbolic and spiritual one, and is none other than Christ Jesus, who is the Altar that sanctifies every gift, and upon which the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise being offered up are acceptable to God (Heb.13:15). This altar means a public profession of Christ, and a setting up of His worship; it is used in reference to the patriarchs, who, wherever they came, set up an altar to the Lord, and worshipped Him. An altar for God's worship . . . NOT a Levitical altar, but a spiritual and evangelical altar, as appears from this, because the Levitical altar was confined to ONE place (Deut.12:13-14). The altar here is put for the worship of God, in many places (Jn.4:21-24).
And a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord . . . in a similar way that the patriarchs used to do, and it means not only that in the middle of the land, but on the borders of it. The Gospel should be embraced and professed everywhere, and it means that here would be placed ministers of the Gospel, who are like pillars to hold up and support the doctrines of it, and persons converted should be pillars in the house of God, that would never go out (Gal.2:9; Rev.2:12). A pillar is a monument of TRUE religion. Here also Isaiah refers to the ancient custom of erecting pillars to God (Gen.12:7; 28:18; 31:13, 45; 35:14, 20; Josh.22:10; 24:26-27). At the border thereof or in the midst of it (vs.1). The meaning is, there shall be evidences of their Godliness in all places.
Isaiah 19:20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. (KJV)
And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt . . . and it, means the pillar before mentioned. A sign of the fulfilment of prophecy to their generations. A witness that the Lord was believed in, professed and worshipped there.
For they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors . . . being deeply troubled by finding the weakness of their rulers and their idols, they shall turn unto the TRUE God. People in the last day shall be awakened and convinced, and have a guilty conscience, and finally see they were tempted by the devil, and ensnared into a wicked world (Rev.Ch.7; 14:1, 3).
And he shall send them a Saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them . . . this is none other than Christ, whom God sent in the fulness of time (Gal.4:4) to be the Saviour of lost sinners. Christ Jesus (Messiah) is indeed a Great One. He IS the Great God and our Saviour (Tit.2:13), who is the Son of God (Jn.3:16), the true God and eternal life (1 Jn.5:20). Jesus has all the perfections of deity in Him (Heb.7:11); He is the Creator of all things (Jn.1:3); and has great and sufficient abilities to save sinners to the uttermost (Heb.7:25).
*****An altar to the Lord (vs.19) has been interpreted by some cults as the pyramid, which is neither an altar nor a pillar, but a horrific mausoleum for burying their kings and queens. What will be a sign? What will be an ensign? I believe that it is the cross of Christ, which shall one day replace the crescent to which Egypt will look.
Isaiah 19:21 And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it. (KJV)
And the LORD shall be known to Egypt . . . . the means of knowing Him would be granted to the Egyptians; which was partly through the Bible being translated into the Greek language, at the request of Ptolemy king of Egypt, which was then understood in that country, which was a long time before the Coming of Christ (Lk.2:1-7), and mainly through the Gospel being brought there by the Evangelist Mark and others, where many of them were brought to a spiritual and fervent knowledge of Christ.
And the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day . . . they would own and acknowledge Him, profess faith in Him, hope of happiness by Him, love Him, and be subject to Him, His Gospel and His ordinances.
And shall do sacrifice and oblation . . . oblation is an offering, not sacrifice and bloody offering that were ordered by the ceremonial law, since those would be now revoked; but instead the spiritual sacrifices of prayer, praise and good works, and of the presentation of themselves, as a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice to God their reasonable service (Rom.12:1).
Yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it . . . they would promise to serve the LORD (Ecc.5:4). This is to be understood not of legal vows, such as the vows of the Nazarite (Num.6:21; Judg.13:5), or any other, but a spiritual vow, one of loving praise and thanksgiving (Ps.50:14; Heb.13:15; 1 Pet.2:5).
Isaiah 19:22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. (KJV)
And the LORD shall smite Egypt . . . by one affliction or another, which shall awaken them to see their sin and duty; or smite their consciences with the error of sin, through the ministry of the Word by His Spirit.
He shall smite and heal it . . . as the LORD smites, He shall heal, by an application of His pardoning grace and mercy, by the sprinkling the blood of Christ (1 Pet.1:2) on their wounded consciences, and by pouring in the oil and wine of divine love into the wounds made by sin (Lk.10:34).
And they shall return even to the LORD . . . by faith and repentance to His worship, by obedience to His will, and they shall then cleave to Him.
And he shall be entreated of them, and he shall heal them . . . when they are wounded by a sense of sin, which pricked to the heart, they shall cry unto Him, and plead for His pardoning grace and mercy. When the abundant and amazing grace of God is applied to them, it shall heal; for healing diseases and forgiving iniquities are one and the same (Ps.103:3-6). SIN is a horrible disease of mankind!
*****Egypt has a glorious future to look forward to. She will enter and enjoy the Kingdom with Israel. It may not look like this could be possible in the present hour, but the LORD says it shall happen! Only God can do this, and He will do this in the last day.
Isaiah 19:23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. (KJV)
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria . . . this means that there would be peace between them, all hatred and hostilities would cease, free trade and commerce with each other would be opened, and nothing would hinder unity with one another. Some think this had some show of accomplishment in the times of Psammiticus; but I think it refers to Gospel times, and to the Christian communion between one nation and another, that receive the Gospel, although before they were cruel enemies, as the Egyptians and Assyrians were. I believe that this shall happen in the last day. This highway will not be for soldiers and armies but for those going to Jerusalem to serve Christ the King (Isa.35:8-10).
And the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria . . . this expresses the harmony and unity between them, such as was among the first Christians.
And the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians . . . they both shall serve the Lord with one accord and consent and unite in prayer to Him. They who were once cruel enemies one to another, and to God and His people, shall now be reconciled and united together in the service of God, and love to His church. Shall serve the Lord, who is easily understood from verses 21 & 25.
Isaiah 19:24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: (KJV)
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria . . . there shall be a triple alliance between them. Jews and Gentiles shall be made one, the middle wall of partition being broken down (Eph.2:14). Israel (the Jews), shall be the third, or the Mediator between Egypt and Assyria, or the means of uniting the Gentiles together, since the Gospel of peace was to go out from them (Rev.7). Perhaps there may be an reference to the situation of the land of Israel between Egypt and Assyria.The third . . . the third party in that sacred league, whereby all of them give themselves over to the One and Only True God.
Even a blessing in the midst of the land . . . or of the whole world, being the way of transmitting the blessings of God’s amazing grace to the several nations of the world. The Messiah, who descended from the Jews (Mat.1:1-16), in whom ALL nations are blessed (Gen.12:2-3), and the Gospel being sent out from the Jews unto all nations, which publishes the blessings of grace by Christ, and is the means of the knowledge, application and possession of them.
Isaiah 19:25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. (KJV)
Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless . . . not only Israel, but also Egypt and Assyria, ALL His chosen ones, be they Jews or Gentiles.
Saying, blessed be Egypt my people . . . all who are the Lord's people are blessed, for He is the Covenant God (Gen.17:19; Dan.9:4). His blessing is upon them, including eternal life, they are blessed with all the blessings of the covenant, including all the spiritual blessings which are in Christ Jesus. They are secure in His love, and may depend upon His power and protection; all are happy here on this Earth, and will be so forever more.
And Assyria the work of my hands . . . not as creatures only, but new creatures (2 Cor.5:17; Gal.6:15; Eph.4:22-24; Col.3:9-10; Tit.3:5), having the good work of grace wrought in their hearts, of which God alone is the Author; and therefore are called His workmanship (Eph.2:10), and who certainly blessed, because by this work of grace, they are the chosen of God, and precious to Him. He will never forsake those whom He formed for Himself.
And Israel mine inheritance . . . Israel also was chosen by Him to be so, and given to Christ as such; and who must be happy because, as they are the Lord's inheritance, portion and peculiar treasure Ex.19:5; Ps.135:4), so He has provided an inheritance for them, incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away, reserved in heaven for Him (1 Pet.1:1-5). http://www.hisservants.org/israel_h_s.htm
*****A tremendous blessing is yet to come to Egypt, a despised and debased nation. All of Isaiah Chapter 19 has a Great Tribulation and Millennial fulfillment, as proven from many predictions that have never been fulfilled and will not be fulfilled until Christ comes again.
In the last day . . . there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border (Isa.19:19). The altar and pillar have been wrongly interpreted to mean a great pyramid. The word pyramid is NOT found in the King James Version of the Bible! There is NO pyramid mentioned anywhere in the Bible and certainly there are NO Biblical grounds to say that the altar and pillar is a pyramid!
Proof that the Altar and Pillar Was Not the Great Pyramid:
- In that day . . . the last day, the altar is to be a place of sacrifice, a sign and a witness to the Lord, not before then (Isa.19:19).
- The word altar, all throughout Scripture means a place of sacrifice. This is the only meaning it has in the 378 times it is used. It is never used in the sense of a pillar or a monument of any kind.
- NO altar built to God was to be of hewn stone, and if a tool was used on one it was polluted. This would disqualify ANY and ALL the pyramids of Egypt as an altar to God (Ex.20:24-26).
- The word pillar is used 47 times in Scripture and is NEVER used as an altar . . . the altar and the pillar are TWO separate things, NOT one as some wrongly think.
- The altar of Isa.19:19, was to be in the midst (center) of Egypt and the pillar was to be at the border (boundary; coast) of Egypt, which CLEARLY proves TWO different things, not one. Egyptians and Assyrians are to serve with Israel in that day (Isa.19:23-25), so there could also be an altar in Assyria as well as in Jerusalem and Egypt. So, a pyramid could NOT be the altar AND the pillar.
- All sound doctrine must be proved by two or three scriptures (Deut.17:6-7; 19:15; Mat.18:16; 2 Cor.13:1). To make the altar and the pillar (or either one) the great pyramid, there must be TWO Scriptural proofs . . . and there is NONE anywhere!
- It was only the pillar that was to be a sign and a witness as proven by the word ‘it’ (Isa.19:20). The altar was to be used as all other altars (a place of sacrifice), and the pillar was to be a witness in the same sense as all other pillars . . . to remember some event, NOT to contain the writing of the plan of God in stone for men to make guesses about. What was the pillar to be a sign and a witness of? Literally, Egypt was under the hand of a cruel lord and a fierce king (Isa.19:4), in confusion and calamity (Isa.19:6-17). They then cried unto the Lord because of their oppressors, and He sent them a Saviour, a Great One, who delivered them (Isa.19:20). THAT is the event for which the pillar will be set up in the last day at the border of Egypt, nothing else. It will be a monument honoring their deliverance.
- When this is done . . . the altar is established in the middle of Egypt and the pillar at the border . . . then the Egyptians shall know the Lord, and shall sacrifice and offer oblation on the altar in her midst; and they shall vow a vow, and perform it (Isa.19:21-25). Let us remember that the pillar was to be set up to the Lord and unto the Lord (Isa.19:19-20), and NOT to men. This was NOT the purpose of a pyramid. The pyramid was built totally to be used as a king's tomb without any thought whatsoever of Almighty God!
Commentaries on Old Testament Books
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
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ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page
ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page
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Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Vision of the Dispersion . . . Isaiah Ch.58 . . Isaiah Ch59 . . Isaiah Ch.60 . . Isaiah Ch.61 . . Isaiah Ch.62 . . Isaiah Ch.63 . . Isaiah Ch.64 . . Isaiah Ch.65 . . Isaiah Ch.66 . . Home Page