Isaiah 19

Chapter 19

Egypt

1 An oracle concerning Egypt:

Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud,
and he is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt will tremble before him,
and the hearts of the Egyptians will melt within them.
2 I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,
and they will fight against one another,
brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3 The spirit of the Egyptians will ebb away within them,
and I will throw their deliberations into disarray.
They will then resort to consulting idols
and the spirits of the dead,
as well as ghosts and sorcerers.
4 I will deliver the Egyptians
into the power of a harsh master,
a cruel king who will rule over them—
says the Lord, the Lord of hosts.
5 The waters of the Nile will ebb away,
and the river will become parched and dry.
6 Its canals will emit a terrible stench,
and its branches will diminish and dry up;
reeds and rushes will wither away.
7 All the plants on the banks of the Nile
and all the vegetation of the Nile
will dry up, blow away, and vanish.
8 The fishermen will groan and mourn,
all those who cast their hooks into the Nile,
while those who spread their nets on the water
will lose heart.
9 The linen-workers will despair,
as will the combers and weavers.
10 The spinners will be dismayed,
and all who work for wages will be crushed.
11 The princes of Zoan[a] are utter fools;
the wisest of Pharaoh’s counselors offer stupid advice.
How can you dare to say to Pharaoh,
“I am descended from sages;
I spring from ancient kings”?
12 Where then are your sages?
Let them tell you,
so that all may know
what the Lord of hosts has planned against Egypt.
13 The princes of Zoan have become fools.
and the princes of Memphis have been deceived.
The chiefs of her tribes
have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has infused them
with a spirit of confusion;
they have made Egypt stagger in everything she does,
just as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
15 Neither head nor tail,
neither palm branch nor reed,
will be able to do anything for Egypt.

16 On that day the Egyptians will be like women, trembling with fear because the Lord of hosts has raised his hand against them. 17 And the land of Judah will become a source of terror to the Egyptians. Every time they remember Judah, they will tremble with fear because of the plan that the Lord of hosts has devised against them.

18 On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.

19 On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the land of Egypt, and a sacred pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will serve as a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord for his help against their oppressors, he will send them a savior to defend and deliver them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will acknowledge the Lord on that day. They will offer sacrifices and oblations, and they will make vows to the Lord and fulfill them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt severely, but he will then bring them healing. After that they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their prayers and heal them.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will enter Egypt, and the Egyptians will enter Assyria, and Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.

24 On that day Israel will be a member of a triumvirate with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing at the center of the world, 25 and the Lord of hosts will bless them with these words: “Blessed be my people Egypt, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 19:11 Zoan: the Tanis of the Greeks, a city in the Nile Delta. Egyptian wise men enjoyed a high reputation in the ancient East.

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