The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 19 Part 4

We end this week with Isaiah 19:16-25

v16: In that day: This phrase is repeated six times in the next ten verses. This is very unique and significant grammatically. It is also a phrase that should remind us of G-d’s judgment – specifically His last days judgment (the judgment just prior to the establishment of His Kingdom on earth). 

Note: This passage deals with the nations of Egypt, Assyria and Israel. In Genesis 15:18, when G-d allots the Promised land and gives it its geographical borders (which include Egypt and Assyria) this exact same phrase in Hebrew ‘In that day’ is used. Although this covenant was cut with Abraham about 4000 years ago and “in that day” may seem as if it was completed in the past, this phrase points out that this passage in Genesis has last day implications. “To your descendants (seed)…” also gives this passage future implications. This prophecy (in regard to this physical land) has not yet been fulfilled. Israel has never lived within the full scope of her promised boundaries. Is she ever going to? G-d, who never lies, promised Abraham that she would, and so she shall!

  • Afraid and fear (literally: fear and trembling): Women, by and large, are more quickly gripped by fear than men are.  
  • Waving of the hand: G-d is waving His hand (authority), and the implication is that it is being done in a threatening manner. 

v17: The land of Judah will be a terror to Egypt: Why? Because Egypt is going to see G-d moving to deliver Israel because of His covenant with them. As G-d moves to deliver Israel, He is going to judge the enemies of Israel (and Egypt is one of those enemies). This makes those in Egypt very afraid. 

  • Counsel: In this context this word is a synonym for prophecy. What G-d has proclaimed (prophesied) He is going to do. 
  • L-rd of hosts: L-rd of the armies. 

v18: Five cities: There is something unique about these five cities. ‘Five’, Biblically is a number for being incomplete. Not all of Egypt will be saved, but only a remnant. 

  • The language of Canaan: Most rabbinical commentators classify this language of Canaan as the Hebrew language. The word ‘Canaan’ comes from a Hebrew word which means to ‘submit’ or to recognise authority and respond properly to it. This is what these five cities are going to do – they are going to recognise the authority of the G-d of Israel. 
  • Swear: Take an oath to. 
  • City of Destruction: Many English translations translate this as the ‘city of the sun’. This is incorrect. The implication of this verse is that the Egyptians are going to threaten these cities with (persecution) destruction if they continue submitting to the G-d of Israel. 

v19: Altar: An altar is for sacrifice. This means that in the centre of Egypt there is going to be those who want to submit to and live sacrificially for G-d. 

  • Pillar: This is a sacred or holy structureIt is going to be erected as a testimony, testifying that a remnant within Egypt want to submit to and worship the G-d of Israel. 
  • At its border: Presumably this will be erected at the border between Egypt and Israel. 

v20: Sign: This word, Biblically, speaks of something which is miraculous. It refers to something that only G-d can do. G-d is miraculously going to redeem a remnant in Egypt, and they are going to be responsive to Him. 

  • A sign and for a witness (a testimony): When G-d works miraculously in a person’s life (a sign) there is a visible outcome, and that person gives testimony of G-d’s miraculous work in their lives.
  • Oppressors: Those who place stress or anxiety upon others. This remnant in Egypt is going to be persecuted and oppressed in the last days because of their faith. 
  • He will send them a Saviour: G-d is faithful to His people. He responds when they call out to Him. 
  • Saviour: מוֹשִׁ֥יעַ : (Moshiya). The name ‘Yeshua’ comes from this same root word. His name means salvation. 
  • He will deliver them: In the midst of their persecution, G-d is going to send them the Mighty One (Yeshua) to deliver them. 

v21: Known: This is not referring to a cognitive knowing of the L-rd but about an experiential knowledge of Him.

Note: Once these Egyptians have been saved, they are going to want to make sacrifices and offerings unto the L-rd. Their response after salvation is to worship. 

  • They will make a vow: They make a commitment to the L-rd and what they have committed to they will do. This speaks about the faithfulness of this remnant to the L-rd. 

v22: The L-rd will strike Egypt: In the midst of their deliverance the L-rd is going to strike Egypt with a plague. 

  • Strike and heal: Egypt is going to be struck with this plague, but G-d is going to heal them. 
  • They will return to the L-rd, and He will be entreated by them and heal them: This remnant is going to have a great influence in Egypt. After G-d has struck Egypt with a plague there is going to be repentance in Egypt and G-d is going to heal them and bring about a change in this land. 

v23: Highway: This is the word used for a runway at an airport. It is a pathway that connects two locations. It is a word that speaks of unification, a connection. 

  • Assyria: This is the first time that Assyria is mentioned in this passage. The emphasis here is not on the people of Assyria but on its geographical location. Egypt is to the south of Israel and Assyria is to the north. The land spoken of here (Egypt to Assyria, and through the land of Israel) matches the area G-d promised to Abraham and his seed in Genesis 15:18. 
  • The Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria: The Egyptians and the Assyrians will have something in common. They will be united with a common purpose. 
  • The Egyptians will serve (worship) with the Assyrians: When G-d establishes His earthly Kingdom (for His 1000year reign) it is going to be a Kingdom characterised by righteousness, holiness and worship. Worship is key in the millennial Kingdom, and it should be the foundation of our lives. Egypt and Assyria are going to be united in their worship of the L-rd G-d of Israel. This worship is going to take place in Jerusalem (Zech 14:16-21). 

v24: Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria: G-d is going to set up a Kingdom and in that Kingdom, in these geographical locations, the remnant of the people are going to worship G-d, Messiah Yeshua – Jew and Gentile alike. 

  • Three: The number three is for the purpose of revealing or documenting something. G-d’s judgment is going to lead to a Kingdom reality. G-d’s covenantal purposes are going to be revealed through Israel in those days. G-d is going to be shown to be faithful to the promises He gave to Abraham regarding the Promised land. G-d keeps His covenantal promises. 
  • A blessing in the midst of the land: What was G-d’s desire in the Abrahamic covenant? G-d desired that Abraham and his descendants would be a blessing to all the families of the world (Gen 12:3). This is textual evidence that G-d’s people are going to be a blessing in the land – they are going to fulfil G-d’s covenantal purposes. 

v25: Egypt: Prophetically Egypt is generally spoken of as a symbolic representation of the world. Here Egypt personifies the people of the world, all of the nations. Through G-d’s promise to Abraham (Gen 12:3) the people of the world are blessed. 

Note: In one sense Egypt represents the first exile. The people of Israel went wilfully into Egypt (Genesis 46) but were then enslaved there and could not leave until they had a saviour. Assyria represents the second exile. Israel was taken captive by Assyria (2 Kings 17:6). They are only restored back to the land of Israel in the last days (Ezekiel 37:16-22). 

  • The work of My hands: G-d is going to take that which represented captivity and exile and He is going to change it into a blessing.

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