ch. 19




vs. 1-17 - THE BURDEN OF EGYPT. It has been doubted whether

this prophecy refers to the conquest of Egypt by Piankhi, as related in the

monument which he set up at Napata, or to that by Esarhaddon, of which

we gain our knowledge from the inscriptions of his son, Asshur-bani-pal.

In the former case, we must suppose it written as early as B.C. 735; in the

latter, its date might be as late as B.C. 690. The division of Egypt,

kingdom against kingdom,” is a circumstance rather in favor of the earlier

date; but the “cruel lord,” and the mention of the “princes of Zoan and

Noph,” are decisive for the later. Piankhi is anything rather than a “cruel

lord,” being particularly mild and clement; Napata (Noph) is under him,

and cannot be said to have been “deceived” or to have “seduced Egypt;”

and Zoan plays no part in the history of the period. Esarhaddon, on the

contrary, was decidedly a “cruel” prince, and treated Egypt with great

severity, splitting it up into a number of governments. Zoan was one of the

leading cities of the time, and Noph was the leading power on the Egyptian

side, the head of the patriotic party which resisted the Assyrian monarch,

but to no purpose. We may, therefore, regard this prophecy as one of

Isaiah’s latest, placed where it is merely on account of its heading - the

compiler having placed all the “burdens” against foreign countries together.


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v. 1 - "The Lord rideth upon a swift cloud" - imagery to express the

            rapidity of Divine visitations - God is about to visit Egypt with a

            judgment of extreme severity and is represented as entering

            the land in person.


v. 2 – “I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians” -The

disintegration of Egypt commenced about B.C. 760-750, towards the close

of the twenty-second dynasty. About B.C. 735 a struggle began between

Plan-khi, King of Upper Egypt, and Tafnekhf, King of Sais and Memphis,

in which the other princes took different sides. Ten or twelve years later

there was a struggle between Bocchoris and Sabaeo. From this time

onwards, until Psamatik I. reestablished the unity of Egypt (about B.C.

650), the country was always more or less divided, and on the occurrence

of any crisis the princes were apt to make war one upon another.

“Kingdom against kingdom” During the period of disintegration, the title

of” king” was assumed by most of the potty princes, though they were

little more than chiefs of cities (see ‘Records of the Past,’ vol. 2. p. 100; G.

Smith, ‘History of Asshur-bani-pal,’ pp. 20-22).  (compare this state of

affairs in Egypt with the present red-blue states in the United States and

the issues over which we are divided – religious/secular morality/

amorality compare I Kings 16:21 – “Then were the people of Israel

divided into two parts:  half of the people followed Tibni the son of

Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri – CY- 2009)




v. 3 - "And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst

            thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof"


they shall seek to idols…to the charmers... to them that have

familiar spirits… wizards” - Classes of men corresponding to the

magicians” and “wise men” of earlier times (Genesis 41:8). (On the

large place which magic occupied in the thoughts of the Egyptians, see

‘Pulpit Commentary’ on Exodus 7:11 – see next entry – CY 2009)

 There was no diminution of the confidence reposed in them as time

went on; and some remains of their practices seem to survive to the

present day.


Comments on Exodus 7:11 – Pharaoh also called the wise men

and the sorcerers” –That magic was an object of much attention and

study in Egypt is abundantly evident from “The tale of Setnau” (‘Records

of the Past,’ vol. 4. pp. 133-148), “The Magic Papyrus” (ibid. vol. 10. pp.

137-158), and many other writings. It consisted, to a large extent, in charms,

which were thought to have power over men and beasts, especially over

reptiles. What amount of skill and power the Egyptian magicians possessed

may perhaps be doubted.  Many commentators believe them to have been in

actual communication with the unseen world, and to have worked their wonders

by the assistance of evil spirits. Others, who reject this explanation, believe

that they themselves were in possession of certain supernatural gifts. But the

commonest view at the present day regards them as simply persons who

had a knowledge of many secrets of nature which were generally unknown,

and who used this knowledge to impress men with a belief in their

supernatural power. The words used to express “magicians” and

enchantments” support this view. The magicians are called khakamim,

wise men,” “men educated in human and divine wisdom” (Keil and

Delitzsch); mekashshephim, “charmers,” “mutterers of magic words”

(Gesenius); and khartummim, which is thought to mean either “sacred

scribes” or “bearers of sacred words” (Cook). The word translated

enchantments” is lehatim, which means “secret” or “hidden arts”

(Gesenius). On the whole, we regard it as most probable that the Egyptian

magicians” of this time were jugglers of a high class, well skilled in

serpent-charming and other kindred arts, but not possessed of any

supernatural powers.


The following is an excerpt from II Timothy 3:8 – “Jannes and

Jambres-  the traditional names of the magicians who opposed Moses;

and, if Origen can be trusted, there was an apocryphal book called by their

names. But Theodoret ascribes their names to an unwritten Jewish

tradition. Their names are found in the Targum of Jonathan on Exodus

7:11; 22:22; and are also mentioned, in conjunction with Moses, with some

variation in the name of Jambres, by Pliny (‘Hist. Nat.,’ 31:2), who

probably got his information from a work of Sergius Paulus on magic, of

which the materials were furnished by Elymas the sorcerer (Acts 13:6-8).


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v. 5 – “the waters shall fail from the sea…..the river shall be….

            dried up” – a great deficiency in the water supply.


(I heard over the news a few minutes ago that California is having

a severe water shortage – 7 pm - CST – March 3, 2009)– this coupled

with the great amount of garden foods they supply to the nation is about

something that all can be concerned – a year or so ago it was in Georgia,

Alabama and the southeast – if you do not think that God can do

wonders think of the shutting down of New Orleans by Hurricane

Katrina – people would have laughed in you face if a week before you like,

Jonah, would have said “yet seven days and New Orleans will be

incapacitated” {see Jonah 3:4}– and may I say over issues in the United

States and the rest of the world today that are very similar to these burdens

that Isaiah is relating from God Almighty of the world that then was! CY-)


vs. 6-10 – The general decline of Egyptian prosperity


  • brooks and vegetation dried up – v. 6
  • paper industry and truck farming affected – v. 7
  • fishing trade hard hit – v. 8
  • linen trade suffers – v. 9


v. 9 - “They that work in fine flax” - Linen of great fineness and

delicacy was woven in Egypt, for the priests’ dresses, for mummy-cloths,

and for corselets. Solomon imported “linen yarn” from his Egyptian

neighbors (1 Kings 10:28), and the Phoenicians a linen fabric for their

sails’ (Ezekiel 27:7).


v. 10 - "And they shall be broken in the purposes

            thereof" - foundations of the fabric of society


v. 12 - "where are the wise men?"


v. 13 - "The princes of Zoan are become fools, the

            princes of Noph are deceived; they have also

            seduced Egypt"


“They have also” -translate, Even they have led Egypt

astray, who are the corner-stone of her tribes. Strictly speaking, there

were no “tribes” in Egypt, much less “castes,” but only classes, marked out

by strong lines of demarcation the one from the other. Herodotus gives

seven of them (2. 164) — priests, soldiers, herdsmen, swineherds,

tradesmen, interpreters, and boatmen. But there were several others also,

e.g. agricultural laborers, fishermen, artisans, official employees, etc.


v. 14 - "The Lord hath mingled a perverse spirit

            in the midst......Egypt"


“Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?” (Amos 3:6).

To bring Egypt into so distracted a state, the hand of God had been necessary.

He had introduced into the nation “a spirit of perverseness.” Those in whom

this spirit was had then “led Egypt astray in all her doings.” They had made

her “like a drunken man,” who “staggers” along his path, and slips in “his

own vomit.” Long-continued success and prosperity produces often a sort

of intoxication in a nation.


Could it be that this is happening with the lack of sound leadership

in the White House, Congress, and the Judiciary today in the USA?

(CY- 2009)


As Exhibit A - :  HYPOCRITICAL LEADERSHIP below I cite an

e-mail I got this week concerning the Speaker of the House, Nancy





$ 5,760,000 just for fuel?



Madame Pelosi wasn't happy with the small private jet that comes with the

Speaker's, Madame Pelosi was aggravated that this little jet had to

Stop to refuel, so she ordered a Big Fat 200 seat jet that could get her

Back to California without stopping!


Many, many legislators walked by and grinned with glee as Joe informed

Everyone that's Nancy's Big Fat Jet costs us, the hard working American

Tax payers, thousands of gallons of fuel every week.


Since she only works 3 days a week, this gas guzzling jet gets fueled and

She flies home to California, cost to the taxpayers of about $60,000, one


As Joe put it, 'Unfortunately we have to pay to bring her back on Monday

Night.' Cost to us another $60,000.


Folks, that is $480,000 per month and that is an annual cost to the taxpayers

Of $5,760,000. No wonder she complains about the cost of this might

Cramp her style and she is styling, on my back and yours.


I think of the military families in this country doing without and this woman,

Who heads up the most do-nothing Congress in the history of this country,

Keeps fueling that jet while doing nothing.


Madame Pelosi wants you and me to conserve our carbon footprint. She

Wants us to buy smaller cars .

Keep in mind the figures above do NOT include cost of plane or crew,

            Just fuel!



v. 15 – “Neither shall there be any work”, etc. Translate, And there shall

            be for Egypt no work in which both the head and the tail, both the

             palm branch and the rush, may (conjointly) work. The general spirit

            of perverseness shall prevent all union of high with low, rich with poor.



v. 16 – fear – “In that day”- or, at that time; i.e. when the Assyrian invasion

comes. shall Egypt be like unto women” (comp. Jeremiah 51:30). So

Xerxes said of his fighting men at Salamis: “My men have become women”

(Herod., 8:88) –“because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord” (comp.

Isaiah 11:15 and 30:32). The Egyptians would scarcely recognize

Jehovah as the Author of their calamities, but it would none the less be

His hand which punished them.



chastisement of the Egyptians shall be followed, after a while, by a great

change. Influences from Canaan shall penetrate Egypt (v. 18), an altar

shall be raised in her midst to Jehovah (v. 19), and she herself shall cry to

Him for succor (v. 20) and be delivered (v. 20). Egypt shall even

become a part of Jehovah’s kingdom, shall “know Him,” and serve Him

with sacrifice and oblation (v. 21), and perform her vows to Jehovah, and

have her supplications heard by Him, and be converted and healed (ver. 22).


There were men from Egypt at the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10) and

many Egyptian converts are known as Coptic Christians – (CY 2009)


St. Mark is thought to  have established an early church in Alexandria.


v. 18 – the influence of ideas, thoughts and sentiments coming out of

            the Holy Land.


vs. 19-20 – For an in depth look at a very intriguing interpretation

            of vs. 19-20 – I recommend  Isaiah 19 - Dispensational Teaching

            of the Great Pyramid by Clarence Larkinthis web site –

            the reader will be amply rewarded.


“He shall send them a savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver

them.  And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians

shall know the Lord in that day”



v. 22 – “And Jehovah shall smite Egypt, smiting and healing; i.e.

Jehovah shall indeed “smite Egypt,” as already prophesied (vs. 1-16), but

it shall be with a merciful object, in order, after smiting, to “heal.” His

smiting shall induce them to “return” to Him, and when they return He will

forgive and save (comp. Zephaniah 3:8-10, Jeremiah 12:14-16).

Egypt was a Christian country from the third century to the seventh; and

the Coptic Church (though very corrupt) still remains, knowing Jehovah,

and offering the holy oblation of the Christian altar continually.


See Isaiah 19 – Photo Coptic Church in Egyptthis web site


vs. 21-24 - The more complete fulfillment was after

            Pentecost when Christianity was preached and

            established in Egypt & Libya, Parthia, Media,

            Elam and Mesopotamia - Acts 2:9-10



v. 24 - "a blessing in the midst of the earth" - not just

            to these countries but the world at large.


v. 25 - "whom the Lord of hosts shall bless"



                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES


vs. 1-17 - Egypt’s Punishment, a Proof Both of God’s Long-Suffering

            and of His Inexorable Justice.

The punishment of Egypt by the Assyrian conquest, on which the prophet

enlarges in this chapter, may be regarded in a double light.





A.  Consider the long persistence of Egypt in sins of various kinds —

idolatry, king-worship, practice of magic, kidnapping of slaves, cruel usage

of captives, impurity, indecency; consider that her monarchy had lasted at

least sixteen hundred years, and that both in religion and in morals she had

continually grown worse.


B. Bear in mind her treatment of God’s people — how she had first

oppressed them (Exodus 1:8-14), then endeavored to exterminate them

(Exodus 1:15-22); this failing, made their bondage harder (Exodus 5:6-19);

repeatedly refused to let them go; sought to destroy them at the Red Sea

(Exodus 15:9); plundered them in the time of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25, 26);

alternately encouraged and deserted them in their struggles against Assyria

(II Kings 17:4; 18:21, 24).


C. Note also that she had helped to corrupt God’s people. In Egypt many

Israelites had worshipped the Egyptian gods (Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 20:8).

They had brought from Egypt an addiction to magical practices

which had never left them. Manasseh, in calling his eldest son “Amon,”

intended to acknowledge the Egyptian god of that name. Under these

circumstances, it is marvelous that Egypt had been allowed to exist so

long, and, on the whole, to flourish; and the marvel can only be accounted

for by the extreme long-suffering and extraordinary mercy of Almighty




However long God defers the punishment of sin, it comes at last with

absolute certainty. It might have seemed as if the hardships suffered by his

people in Egypt had escaped God’s recollection, so many years was it since

they had happened. It might have seemed as if all Egypt’s old sins were

condoned — as if she was to escape unpunished. Sixteen centuries of

empire! Why, Rome herself, the “iron kingdom,” that “broke in pieces and

bruised” all things (Daniel 2:40), was not allowed more than twelve

centuries of existence. But Egypt was allowed a far longer term, not only

of existence, but of prosperity. Since the time of the shepherd-kings, four

hundred years before the Exodus, she had suffered no great calamity. Even

the Ethiopians had not been so much foreign conquerors, as princes

connected by blood and identical in religion, who claimed the crown by

right of descent from former Egyptian sovereigns. But God had all the time

been waiting, with his eye upon the sinful nation, counting her offences,

remembering them against her, and bent on taking vengeance. And the

vengeance, when it came, was severe. First, internal discord and civil war

— “kingdom against kingdom, and city against city” (v. 2); then

conquest by an alien nation — conquest effected by at least three distinct

expeditions, in which the whole land was overrun, the cities taken and

plundered, and army after army slaughtered; finally, subjection to a “fierce

king,” a “cruel lord” (v. 4). And the sufferings of war aggravated,

apparently, by the natural calamity of a great drought — a failure of the

inundation either for one year, or possibly for several (vs. 5-8). Truly,

when the day of vengeance came, Egypt was afflicted indeed! No wonder

she “was afraid, and feared because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord

of hosts” (v. 16). It is, indeed, “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the

living God” (Hebrews 10:31).



v. 22 - Smiting and Healing Closely Connected in God’s Counsels.


God’s smiting is no doubt twofold,


  • remedial and
  • penal;


By far the greater portion of it is of the former kind. Once only has He visited

mankind at large penalty — at the Deluge; but a thousand times has He visited

them remedially. Similarly with nations. He smote Egypt in Moses’ time

with the ten plagues, not to destroy, but tochasten. So again at the Red Sea.

So now by the hands of Esarhaddon and his son. So by Nebuchadnezzar,

Cambyses, Ochus. And at last he bowed their hearts and caused them to

turn to him, first partially, when Judaism gained an influence over

them; afterwards, as a nation, when they accepted Christianity. Former

chastisements had doubtless some remedial force, or the nation would

scarcely have been borne with so long; but they did not fully heal, and

blow after blow became requisite. So God went on “smiting and

healing.” And the course of his providence is similar with individuals.

Primarily he smites to heal. Each offence brings down His rod, but the

stroke is comparatively light at first, and intended to warn, admonish, call

to amendment. If men persist in wrong courses, the blows become heavier.

But still the intention is the same; it is sought to bring them to repentance.

God has no pleasure in the death of him that dieth. Only after repeated

trials, after blow upon blow, warning upon warning, if they will not repent,

if they will not be healed, the penal sentence goes forth to “pluck up and

destroy (Jeremiah 12:17).


vs. 23-24 -  Unity in Religion Joins Together the Bitterest Foes.

As, ultimately, the establishment of the kingdom of Christ among all the

nations of the earth (Isaiah 2:2) will produce a reign of universal peace,

so that men will everywhere “beat their swords into ploughshares, and their

spears into pruning-hooks” (Isaiah 2:4), so, on a lesser scale, wherever

true religion prevails, asperities are softened, old enmities die out and

disappear, a friendly spirit springs up, and former adversaries are

reconciled and become friends. Assyria, Egypt, Israel, long the bitterest

foes, were drawn together by a common faith in the later days of Judaism

and the earlier ones of Christianity — felt sympathy one with another, and

lived in harmony. The Papacy was an attempt to bring all the Roman

communion into a species of political unity, to abolish wars between its

various members, and unite it against heathendom. This attempt had,

however, only a partial success, owing to the admixture of bad with good

motives in those who were at the head of the movement and had the

direction of it. That war has not yet ceased among all Christian nations is a

slur upon Christianity, and an indication that nations are still Christian in

name rather than in spirit. The league of Assyria, Egypt, Israel, may well be

held up to the modern Christian world as an example that should shame it

into the adoption of “peace principles.” If such foes, so fiercely hostile, so

long estranged, could become close friends through the influence of a

community of religion, why cannot the Christian nations of modern times

attain to a similar unity?


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