Isaiah 36:6

6 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.

Isaiah 36:6 in Other Translations

KJV
6 Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
ESV
6 Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.
NLT
6 On Egypt? If you lean on Egypt, it will be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, is completely unreliable!
MSG
6 Egypt? Don't make me laugh. Egypt is a rubber crutch. Lean on Egypt and you'll end up flat on your face. That's all Pharaoh king of Egypt is to anyone who leans on him.
CSB
6 Look, you are trusting in Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which will enter and pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. This is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who trust in him.

Isaiah 36:6 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 36:6

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt,
&c.] His ally and auxiliary; and which is rightly called "the staff of a broken reed", if trusted to, and leaned upon, being weak and frail, and an insufficient ground of confidence to depend upon; the allusion seems to be to the cane or reed which grew upon the banks of the river Nile, in Egypt: whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it;
the splinters of the broken reed being leaned on, will enter into a man's hand, and do him harm, instead of being a help to him to walk with: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him;
pernicious and harmful, instead of being useful and helpful.

Isaiah 36:6 In-Context

4 The field commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: “ ‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?
5 You say you have counsel and might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?
6 Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.
7 But if you say to me, “We are depending on the LORD our God”—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, “You must worship before this altar”?
8 “ ‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them!

Cross References 4

  • 1. S 2 Kings 17:4; S Isaiah 8:12
  • 2. Ezekiel 17:17
  • 3. S Isaiah 30:2,5
  • 4. Isaiah 42:3; Isaiah 58:5; Ezekiel 29:6-7