Isaiah 11:15

15 And the LORD will utterly destroy[a] 1the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over 2the River with his scorching breath,[b] and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.

Isaiah 11:15 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 11:15

And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the
Egyptian sea
Which Kimchi and Abarbinel interpret of the Egyptian river Sichor, or the Nile; others of a bay of the Egyptian sea, so called because in the form of a tongue; the destroying of it designs the drying of it up, so that people might pass over it dry shod; the allusion is to the drying up of the Red Sea, when the Israelites came out of Egypt, and passed through it, as on dry land; and it intends the destruction of Egypt itself, not literally by the Romans, in the times of Augustus Caesar, as Jerom thinks, who interprets the "strong wind", in the following clause, of them; but figuratively, the destruction of Rome, which is spiritually called Egypt, ( Revelation 11:8 ) and the utter destruction of it, by an anathema, and with a curse, from the Lord himself; as the word (Myrxh) here used signifies; and which will take place upon the battle at Armageddon, ( Revelation 16:16 Revelation 16:19 ) which has its name from the word in the text: and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river;
in allusion to Moses's stretching out his hand over the Red sea, and the Lord's causing it to go back with a strong east wind, ( Exodus 14:21 ) . Some understand this of the river Nile as before, and that because of what follows; but Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it of the river Euphrates, which is commonly understood in Scripture when "the river", without any explication, is made mention of; and so the Targum,

``and the Lord shall dry up the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and shall lift up the stroke of his strength upon Euphrates, by the word of his prophets;''
and this designs the destruction of the Turks, or the Ottoman empire, which is signified by the drying up of the river Euphrates, ( Revelation 16:12 ) where it is thought by some there is an allusion to the words here: and shall smite it in the seven streams;
which have made some think the river Nile is meant, because that had its seven streams, or gates, as Juvenal calls F15 them, or mouths, by which the sea issued into it; which are called F16 the Canopic or Heracleotic, the Bolbitine or Bolbitic, the Sebennitic, the Phatnitic, the Mendesian, the Tanitic or Saitic, and the Pelusian or Bubastic, from the cities Canopus and Heracleum, Bolbitine, Sebennytus, Phatnus, Mendes, Tanis or Sais, Pelusium, and Bubastus, built on the shore of these entrances; but it may be observed, that the river Euphrates was drained by seven ditches or rivulets by Cyrus, when Babylon was taken, by which means his soldiers entered the city dry shod, to which the allusion may be here; and it may denote the entire destruction of the Turkish empire, in all its branches; for "seven", as Kimchi observes, may signify a multitude, even the many kingdoms, people, and nations, under that jurisdiction: and make [men] go over dryshod;
or "with shoes", with them on, there being no need to pluck them off, the river and its streams being dried up; by the "men" are, meant the "kings of the east", of which (See Gill on Revelation 16:12) all these phrases denote the removal of all impediments out of the way of God's people in those parts, in coming over to the Christian religion, and their embracing and professing that.

F15 Satyr. 13.
F16 Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 10.

Isaiah 11:15 In-Context

13 The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim.
14 But they shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them.
15 And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.
16 And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.

Cross References 2

  • 1. [Zechariah 10:11]
  • 2. See Isaiah 7:20

Footnotes 2

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.