The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 19 Part 3

Our next reading is Isaiah 19:11-15

v11: Zoan: A key ancient Egyptian city in the north-eastern Nile Delta. 

  • Pharoah: Many commentators believe that ‘Pharoah’ is a reference to the Egyptian government in general. They believe that this term simply refers to the governmental authority in Egypt and not to a specific man at this time. 
  • Foolish counsel: Their counsel is devoid of real knowledge or understanding. 
  • How do you say..: This ‘counsellors’ were unable to make this claim. They had come out of nowhere (so to speak) and had no link or heritage to those who had given counsel or who had had positions of leadership and authority in the past. 

v12: Your…you: Referring to the leadership of Egypt. 

  • What the L-rd of hosts has purposed against Egypt: Do these counsellors understand what G-d has planned for Egypt? Do they understand that the problems that they are encountering are because G-d has set forth His counsel for the destruction of Egypt? Although G-d’s judgment brings about destruction, it also has within it a degree of a call to repentance. G-d’s judgment manifests His power, glory, authority, and splendour. In the midst of G-d’s judgment, a remnant sees this glory, power etc and it brings them to repentance, to embracing the only True G-d, and to joining with the Kingdom (covenant) people. 

v13: Zoan…Noph: These were two important cities in Egypt. These two cities have prophetic significance. 

  • Princes (Officials): Referring to cabinet officials. These officials are not just those who are in governmental positions. These officials are within the inner circle within the cabinet in a government. These officials are going to be made foolish. 
  • They have also deluded (deceived) Egypt: These officials are going to be deceived and they, in turn, are going to deceive those in Egypt. 
  • The mainstay (chief ones) of its tribes: The tribal leaders. The key counsellors to Egypt, in the last days, are going to be instruments of deception. This is part of the judgment that they will receive for having turned to idolatry and other sources of wisdom rather than to G-d. 

v14: Mingled: G-d has mixed up, into their midst, a perverse spirit.  

  • Her midst: In the midst of Egypt.
  • Perverse: A Distortion or Delusion. G-d does not send delusion upon Egypt in a vacuum – simply because He is Sovereign and wanting to see these people destroyed so that He can manifest His glory. G-d sends this spirit upon them because of their refusal (time and time again) to repent and to turn toward Himself (see also Roms 1:28, 2 Thess 2:11-12). This is a spiritual law: when G-d manifests Himself to an individual (or to a nation) and His revelation is rejected by that individual (or by that nation) then a spirit of delusion takes root within that individual (or within that nation). The more G-d’s truth and revelation is rejected, the stronger and stronger becomes the delusion. 
  • Staggers: Those who are deceived do not walk on a straight path. They lack clear direction and vision in their lives. 
  • Vomit: The outcome of this delusion is to make them sick. They are not functioning, spiritually, in a healthy way. 

v15: Neither will there be any work for Egypt: When a nation or a person is under the influence of idolatry there is no act/deed that they can do to reverse or change G-d’s judgment (other than repentance – but repentance is not the context here. This nation is not thinking about repentance but are trying to respond to the false teaching/delusion that they are receiving). 

  • Head and tail: The chief leaders within the government (from the greatest to the least of these officials). 
  • Palm branch or bulrush: Possibly referring to the people within the nation – from the greatest to the least. 

Note: There is no action that the common people or the leaders in Egypt can do to stay G-d’s judgment. Only repentance would remove G-d’s judgment and the consequences of idolatry, but none of these people consider repentance an option.

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