Isaiah 19

Concerning Egypt

1 An oracle about Egypt. Look! The LORD is riding upon a swift cloud, and is coming to Egypt. Egypt's idols will tremble before God; the Egyptians' hearts will melt within them.
2 I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian, and they will fight, one against another, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3 Egypt's spirit will fail from within; I will frustrate their plans. They will consult the idols and spirits and ghosts and fortune-tellers.
4 I will hand Egypt over to a harsh master; a strong king will rule them, says the LORD God of heavenly forces.
5 The waters of the sea will dry up; the river will be parched and bare.
6 The rivers will stink; the streams will shrink and dry; reeds and rushes will decay.
7 Grass around the Nile, the grass at the mouth of the Nile, and all the sown land of the Nile will dry up, blow away, and be no more.
8 Those who fish will lament; all who cast fishhooks in the Nile will mourn, and those who spread nets on the water will pine away.
9 Workers with flax will be dismayed; carders and weavers will grow pale.
10 Makers of cloth will be crushed; all who earn money will become distressed.
11 The officials of Tanis are fools; the wisest of Pharaoh's counselors give stupid advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I'm a wise person, one of the ancient kings"?
12 Where now are your wise ones? Let them tell you, let them inform you what the LORD of heavenly forces has planned concerning Egypt.
13 The officials of Tanis have become fools; the princes of Memphis are deluded; the tribal chiefs have led Egypt astray.
14 The LORD has poured into them a spirit of confusion. They will make Egypt stumble in everything it does, just as a drunk stumbles in his vomit.
15 Neither head nor tail, palm branch nor reed will be able to do anything for Egypt.

Bless God’s people

16 On that day, the Egyptians will be like women and will tremble with terror before the hand that the LORD of heavenly forces will raise against them.
17 Judah's land will become what the Egyptians dread; whenever anyone mentions it, they will be terrified because of the plans that the LORD of heavenly forces is making against them.
18 On that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear loyalty to the LORD of heavenly forces. One of them will be called "the city of the sun."
19 On that day, there will be an altar to the LORD within the land of Egypt, and a standing stone for the LORD at its border.
20 It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of heavenly forces in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of oppressors, God will send them a savior and defender to rescue them.
21 The LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians; the Egyptians will know the LORD on that day. They will worship with sacrifices and offerings, making solemn promises to the LORD and fulfilling them.
22 The LORD will strike Egypt; striking and then healing. They will return to the LORD, who will hear their pleas and heal them.
23 On that day, there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will come to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
24 On that day, Israel will be the third along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing at the center of the world.
25 The LORD of heavenly forces will pronounce this blessing: Bless Egypt my people, and Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.

Isaiah 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Judgments upon Egypt. (1-17) Its deliverance, and the conversion of the people. (18-25)

Verses 1-17 God shall come into Egypt with his judgments. He will raise up the causes of their destruction from among themselves. When ungodly men escape danger, they are apt to think themselves secure; but evil pursues sinners, and will speedily overtake them, except they repent. The Egyptians will be given over into the hand of one who shall rule them with rigour, as was shortly after fulfilled. The Egyptians were renowned for wisdom and science; yet the Lord would give them up to their own perverse schemes, and to quarrel, till their land would be brought by their contests to become an object of contempt and pity. He renders sinners afraid of those whom they have despised and oppressed; and the Lord of hosts will make the workers of iniquity a terror to themselves, and to each other; and every object around a terror to them.

Verses 18-25 The words, "In that day," do not always refer to the passage just before. At a time which was to come, the Egyptians shall speak the holy language, the Scripture language; not only understand it, but use it. Converting grace, by changing the heart, changes the language; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So many Jews shall come to Egypt, that they shall soon fill five cities. Where the sun was worshipped, a place infamous for idolatry, even there shall be a wonderful reformation. Christ, the great Altar, who sanctifies every gift, shall be owned, and the gospel sacrifices of prayer and praise shall be offered up. Let the broken-hearted and afflicted, whom the Lord has wounded, and thus taught to return to, and call upon him, take courage; for He will heal their souls, and turn their sorrowing supplications into joyful praises. The Gentile nations shall not only unite with each other in the gospel fold under Christ, the great Shepherd, but they shall all be united with the Jews. They shall be owned together by him; they shall all share in one and the same blessing. Meeting at the same throne of grace, and serving with each other in the same business of religion, should end all disputes, and unite the hearts of believers to each other in holy love.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. DSS (1QIsaa)
  • [b]. DSS (1QIsaa), Tg, Vulg; Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains prophecies of various calamities that should come upon Egypt in a short time, and of the conversion of many of them to Christ in Gospel times. The calamities are many; the Lord's coming unto them, which their gods cannot prevent, nor stand before, nor save them, and at which the hearts of the Egyptians are dispirited, Isa 19:1 civil wars among themselves, Isa 19:2 want of counsel, which sends them to idols and wizards, but in vain, Isa 19:3 subjection to a cruel lord, Isa 19:4 drying up of their rivers and waters, so that the paper reeds wither, and fishes die; and hence no business for fishermen, nor for workers in flax, or weavers of nets, Isa 19:5-10,15 the stupidity of their princes and wise counsellors, given up by the Lord to a perverse spirit, so that they concerted wrong measures, and deceived the people, Isa 19:11-14 a general consternation among them, because of the hand and counsel of the Lord; and because of the Lord's people, the Jews, who were a terror to them, Isa 19:16,17 and then follows the prophecy of their conversion in later times, which is signified by their speaking the language of Canaan, and swearing to the Lord, Isa 19:18 by their erecting an altar, and a pillar to the Lord, which should be a sign and witness to him; and by their crying to him, and his sending them a Saviour, and a great one, Isa 19:19,20 by his being known unto them, by their offering sacrifice to him, and by his smiting and healing them Isa 19:21,22 and the chapter is concluded with a prophecy of that harmony, and agreement, and fellowship, that shall be between Jew and Gentile, between Egypt, Assyria, and Israel; and that the blessing of God should be upon them all, Isa 19:23-25.

Isaiah 19 Commentaries

Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible