The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst
A spirit of error, as the Targum, Septuagint, and Arabic versions; or of giddiness, as the Vulgate Latin: this he mingled in a cup for them, and poured it out, and gave them it to drink; and an intoxicating cup it was, such as men are made drunk with; to which the allusion is, as the last clause of the verse shows; so that the infatuation and want of wisdom in their counsels were from the Lord; who, because of the vain boasts of their wisdom in righteous judgment, gave them up to judicial blindness, stupidity, and folly: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof;
both in religious and civil affairs, leading them into superstition and idolatry, to which they were of old inclined and addicted, and forming such schemes and projects, and putting them upon such works, as were very detrimental to the nation. Some think this refers to the twelve tyrants, who disagreeing among themselves, being actuated by a perverse spirit, greatly distracted the people; though rather it may refer to the times of Necho, and to his project in cutting a canal for the bringing of the Nile to the Red sea before mentioned, in which he lost several thousands of men without accomplishing it; and of his predecessor, in besieging Ashdod twenty nine years ere he took it F23: as a drunken [man] staggereth in his vomit;
who is so very drunk, that his head is quite giddy, and cannot walk upright, but staggers as he goes, and vomits as he staggers, and falls down, and is rolled in it, as the Targum; just like such a man were the princes and governors of the Egyptian provinces.
F23 Herodot. l. 2. c. 157, 158.