Isaiah 19:13

13 The princes of Zoan have been fools; the princes of Memphis are deceived. Her tribal chieftains have led Egypt astray.

Isaiah 19:13 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 19:13

The princes of Zoan are become fools
Or infatuated, in their counsels to Pharaoh, and by giving heed to the magicians and diviners; (See Gill on Isaiah 19:11): the princes of Noph are deceived;
called Moph, in ( Hosea 9:6 ) where our translation renders it Memphis; and so do the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions here; the Arabic version has it Menphis; the Syriac version Mophis; and the Targum Mephes; the city of Memphis is no doubt intended, which was the chief of the first of the nomes or provinces of Egypt, from whence it was called Memphites: it was the metropolis of upper Egypt, and the seat of their kings and princes; it was built by their first king Menes F20, or Mizraim, and had in it the famous temple of Vulcan; it continues to this day, and goes by the name of Alkair, or Grand Cairo: they have also seduced Egypt;
the princes of the above places, being deceived themselves by the diviners and astrologers, deceived the common people that inhabited the nomes and provinces where they dwelt; it being usual with such to follow their superiors in principle and practice: [even they that are] the stay of the tribes thereof;
or, "who are the corner of its tribes" F21; meaning the nomes or provinces of Egypt, especially the Tanitic and Memphitic nomes, whose provinces are mentioned; these are called tribes by the prophet, in the language of the Jews, which land were divided into tribes, as the land of Egypt was divided into nomes; and about this time it was divided into twelve kingdoms, as Israel was into twelve tribes: now, the princes of these tribes and kingdoms, who should have been as cornerstones, to which civil magistrates are compared, see ( Psalms 118:22 ) ( Zechariah 10:4 ) the stay and support of the people, and should have kept them right, these led them wrong, into mistakes and errors.


F20 Ib. (Herodot. l. 2.) c. 99.
F21 (hyjbv tnp) "angulus [vel] tribuum ejus"; so some in Vatablus.

Isaiah 19:13 In-Context

11 The princes of Zoan are complete fools; Pharaoh's wisest advisers give stupid advice! How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the wise, a student of eastern kings."
12 Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you and reveal what the Lord of Hosts has planned against Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan have been fools; the princes of Memphis are deceived. Her tribal chieftains have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has mixed within her a spirit of confusion. [The leaders] have made Egypt stagger in all she does, as a drunkard staggers in his vomit.
15 No head or tail, palm or reed, will be able to do anything for Egypt.