Isaiah 19:2

2 “I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian— brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, province against province.

Isaiah 19:2 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 19:2

And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians
Or mingle and confound them together; in which confusion they should fall upon and destroy one another, as the Midianites did: the phrase is expressive of rebellions and civil wars, as the following words explain it; and which show, that the calamities of Egypt should be brought upon them, not by means of a foreign invasion, but by internal quarrels, and other means, which the Lord would in judgment send among them: and they shall fight everyone against his brother, and everyone
against his neighbour;
and destroy one another: city against city;
of which there were great numbers in Egypt; in the times of Amasis, it is said F19, there were twenty thousand: [and] kingdom against kingdom;
for though Egypt was but originally one kingdom, yet upon the death of Sethon, one of its kings, who had been a priest of Vulcan, there being no successor, twelve of the nobility started up, and set up themselves as kings, and divided the kingdom into twelve parts F20, and reigned in confederacy, for the space of fifteen years; when, falling out among themselves, they excluded Psammiticus, one of the twelve, from any share of government; who gathering an army together, fought with and conquered the other eleven, and seized the whole kingdom to himself, and who seems afterwards regarded in this prophecy; all this happened in the times of Manasseh king of Judah, and so in or quickly after Isaiah's time: though some understand this of the civil wars between Apries and Amasis, in the times of Nebuchadnezzar. The Septuagint version renders the phrase here, "nome against nome"; for the whole land of Egypt, by Sesostris, one of its kings, was divided into thirty six F21 nomes, districts, or provinces, whose names are given by Herodotus F23, Pliny {x}, and others; for so the words of that version should be rendered, and not as they are by the Latin interpreter, and in the Arabic version, which follows it, "law upon law".


F19 Herodot. l. 2. c. 177.
F20 Ib. c. 147.
F21 There were ten of them in Thebais, the same number in Delta, and sixteen between them.
F23 Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 164, 165, 166.
F24 Nat. Hist. I. 5. c. 9. Ptolem. Geograph. l. 4. c. 4. Strabo Geogr. l. 17. P. 541.

Isaiah 19:2 In-Context

1 This message came to me concerning Egypt: Look! The LORD is advancing against Egypt, riding on a swift cloud. The idols of Egypt tremble. The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.
2 “I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian— brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, province against province.
3 The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will confuse their plans. They will plead with their idols for wisdom and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
4 I will hand Egypt over to a hard, cruel master. A fierce king will rule them,” says the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
5 The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields. The riverbed will be parched and dry.
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