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An Oracle concerning Egypt


An oracle concerning Egypt.


See, the L ord is riding on a swift cloud

and comes to Egypt;

the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,

and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.


I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians,

and they will fight, one against the other,

neighbor against neighbor,

city against city, kingdom against kingdom;


the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out,

and I will confound their plans;

they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead

and the ghosts and the familiar spirits;


I will deliver the Egyptians

into the hand of a hard master;

a fierce king will rule over them,

says the Sovereign, the L ord of hosts.



The waters of the Nile will be dried up,

and the river will be parched and dry;


its canals will become foul,

and the branches of Egypt’s Nile will diminish and dry up,

reeds and rushes will rot away.


There will be bare places by the Nile,

on the brink of the Nile;

and all that is sown by the Nile will dry up,

be driven away, and be no more.


Those who fish will mourn;

all who cast hooks in the Nile will lament,

and those who spread nets on the water will languish.


The workers in flax will be in despair,

and the carders and those at the loom will grow pale.


Its weavers will be dismayed,

and all who work for wages will be grieved.



The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish;

the wise counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel.

How can you say to Pharaoh,

“I am one of the sages,

a descendant of ancient kings”?


Where now are your sages?

Let them tell you and make known

what the L ord of hosts has planned against Egypt.


The princes of Zoan have become fools,

and the princes of Memphis are deluded;

those who are the cornerstones of its tribes

have led Egypt astray.


The L ord has poured into them

a spirit of confusion;

and they have made Egypt stagger in all its doings

as a drunkard staggers around in vomit.


Neither head nor tail, palm branch or reed,

will be able to do anything for Egypt.


16 On that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the L ord of hosts raises against them. 17And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the plan that the L ord of hosts is planning against them.

Egypt, Assyria, and Israel Blessed

18 On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the L ord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.

19 On that day there will be an altar to the L ord in the center of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the L ord at its border. 20It will be a sign and a witness to the L ord of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the L ord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior, and will defend and deliver them. 21The L ord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the L ord on that day, and will worship with sacrifice and burnt offering, and they will make vows to the L ord and perform them. 22The L ord will strike Egypt, striking and healing; they will return to the L ord, and he will listen to their supplications and heal them.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

24 On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25whom the L ord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”


22. Therefore Jehovah will smite Egypt. From what has been already said the Prophet draws the conclusion, that the chastisement which he has mentioned will be advantageous to the Egyptians, because it will be a preparation for their conversion; 4949    {Bogus footnote} as if he had said, that it will be for the good of Egypt that the Lord will punish her. Those who translate the words, “he will strike with a wound that may be healed,” misinterpret this passage, and greatly weaken the Prophet’s meaning; for it means that the wounds will be advantageous to them, and that by means of these wounds the Lord will bring them back. Hence we ought to conclude, that we must not refuse to be chastised by God, for it is done for our benefit. (Proverbs 3:11, 12; Hebrews 12:5-7.) Exemption from punishment would cherish a disposition to sin with less control. As men are exceedingly prone to give way to their own inclinations, whenever God spares them for a little, it is necessary on this account that the Lord should prevent this danger, which he does by chastisements and stripes, which excite and arouse us to repentance. A remarkable instance of this is here exhibited in Egypt, which abounded in superstitions and wickedness, and went beyond all nations in idolatry, and yet experienced the mercy of God.

For they shall be turned to Jehovah. We must attend to the manner of its accomplishment, which is, their conversion to God. It is the explanation of the former clause; as if he had said, “God will heal the Egyptians, because they shall be converted.” The copulative ו (vau) signifies for. Hence we infer that conversion may be said to be a resurrection from eternal death. We are utterly ruined so long as we are turned away from God; but when we are converted, we return to his favor, and are delivered from death; not that we deserve the favor of God by our repentance, but because in this manner God raises us up, as it were, from death to life. To repentance is added a promise, from which we conclude, that when we sincerely repent, 5050    {Bogus footnote} we do not in vain implore forgiveness. Now, when the Prophet says that the Lord will be gracious and reconciled to the Egyptians, he at the same time shews, that as soon as they have been converted, they will obtain forgiveness. It will therefore be a true conversion when it is followed by a calling on God. But without faith (Romans 10:14) it is impossible to call on God; for even the ungodly may acknowledge sin; but no man will have recourse to the mercy of God, or obtain reconciliation, till he be moved by a true feeling of repentance, which is likewise accompanied by faith.

And will heal them. He does not repeat what he had said, that God strikes in order to heal; but he promises healing in another sense, that is, that God will cease to inflict punishments. The former healing, which he mentioned a little before, was internal; but the latter relates to stripes and wounds. In short, he means that it will be a speedy remedy for all their distresses. After having been reconciled to God, there is nothing in us that calls for punishment; for whence comes punishment but on account of guilt? and when guilt is pardoned, exemption from punishment will quickly follow. 5151    {Bogus footnote} And if we be chastised, it is an evidence that we are not yet sufficiently prepared for repentance.

In a word, let us remember this order, which the Prophet points out to us; first, that stripes prepare men for repentance; secondly, that they are healed, because they are delivered from eternal destruction; thirdly, that when they have been brought to the knowledge of their guilt, they obtain pardon; fourthly, that God is gracious and reconciled to them; fifthly, that chastisements cease after they have obtained pardon from God. There is no man who ought not to acknowledge in himself what Isaiah here declares concerning the Egyptians, in whom the Lord holds out an example to the whole world.

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