King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 19

Judgments upon Egypt. (1-17) Its deliverance, and the conversion of the people. (18-25)

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Judgments upon Egypt

1 The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

2 And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

3 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof: and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards.

4 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts.

5 And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.

6 And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.

7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.

8 The fishers also shall mourn, and all they that cast angle into the brooks shall lament, and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish.

9 Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave networks, shall be confounded.

10 And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof, all that make sluices and ponds for fish.

11 Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

12 Where are they? where are thy wise men? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.

13 The princes of Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived; they have also seduced Egypt, even they that are the stay of the tribes thereof.

14 The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

15 Neither shall there be any work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do.

16 In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.

17 And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it.

Its deliverance, and the conversion of the people

18 In that day shall five cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.

19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.

20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.

21 And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.

22 And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

23 In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

24 In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

25 Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Egypt. Many refer this to the coming of Christ, (C.) at whose presence the idols fell down, and many saints adorned the country. W. — But the prophet may also literally refer to the wars of the Assyrians against Egypt. Sabacon having retired, after reigning fifty years, Anysis, and afterwards the priest of Sethon, succeeded to the throne. The latter was attacked by Sennacherib. After his death, twelve kingdoms were formed, but Psammitichus reunited them, and had Nechao for his successor. Herod. ii. 141. 158. — Behold. The prophet speaks fourteen years before the attack of Sennacherib. — Cloud. Ps. xvii. 11. Some Fathers explain it of the blessed Virgin. C. — Moved. Plundered by the Assyrians. M.

Ver. 2. Kingdom. Under the twelve kings. C.

Ver. 3. Egypt. Sept. “of the Egyptians shall be troubled within them.” H. — Soothsayers. Feeble but too common resource of superstitious people!

Ver. 4. Masters. Twelve kings. Psammitichus, one of them, shall gain the ascendancy.

Ver. 5. Dry. The lakes and the Nile shall not afford sufficient moisture. C. — If the Nile rose less than twelve or more than sixteen cubits famine ensued. Pliny xviii. 18.

Ver. 7. Fountain. The Nile rises in Ethiopia. But the canals alone were left dry. C. — Sept. “the achi, every green herb along the river, and every,” &c. H.

Ver. 8. Fishers. The lake Mœris produced a talent every day for the revenue, and so great was the abundance of fish, that they could hardly be salted. The Nile was also well supplied with fish.

Ver. 9. Linen. Gr. “silk.” Ezec. xvi. 10. C.

Ver. 10. All they. Sept. “and all who make strong drink (secer) shall be in sorrow, and shall afflict their souls.” H. — This version is perhaps the best, as the Egyptians used much ale or wine distilled from barley. C.

Ver. 11. Tanis. Or of the twelve kings. v. 1. They are disconcerted at the approach of Psammitichus, (C.) or at the want of water. H.

Ver. 13. Memphis. The seat of many kings, and a very ancient city. Heb. “Hoph.” — Stay. Lit. “angle,” denoting the chiefs, or all the land. Judg. xx. 2.

Ver. 15. Back. King and subject are equally confused. C. ix. 14. C.

Ver. 17. Terror. Hebrew also, “a rejoicing,” (S. Jer.) on account of Sennacherib’s defeat there. C. xviii. 7.

Ver. 18. Chanaan. Hebrew. The Israelites had a connection with Egypt, which the prophets often blame. C. xxx. 2. Ezechias trusted in their aid, when he refused to pay tribute to the Assyrians. Many at that time, or afterwards, retired thither, and served God unmolested. C. xi. 2. Jer. xlii. More established themselves in the country under Alexander and the Ptolemies. 3 Mac. viii. But this prediction was more fully accomplished by the propagation of the Christian religion. Grace no where shone forth more brightly than in this country, once the seat of superstition. — Sun. Heb. “of desolation.” But the copies have varied. It is supposed to denote the city On. Gen. xli. 45. C. — Prideaux (p. 2. b. 4.) accuses the Jews of willfully corrupting this text in the Sept. Kennicott.

Ver. 19. Altar. If the Jews were forbidden to have any other than the one at Jerusalem, how can the prophet announce this as a blessing? Onias being excluded from the high priesthood, retired into Egypt, and obtained leave to build the temple Onion, in the Nome, though not in the city of Helipolis, above Bubaste, on the Nile, alleging that Isaias had foretold this event, and that one was already built at Leontopolis. Jos. Ant. xii. 15. and xiii. 6. — But we must allow with the fathers and Jews in the days of S. Jerom, that this prediction regarded the Messias, when altars might be lawfully erected in every nation. See Misna, tr. Moneuth, xiii. 10. — Monument. The cross is set up wherever Christ is adored. C. — The Egyptians shall embrace Christianity, and Anthony, &c. shall live a holy (W.) and austere life. H.

Ver. 20. Them. The Jews were miraculously rescued from the hands of Philopater, (c. Ap. ii.) or rather Christians are delivered from sin and Satan.

Ver. 21. Egypt. The kings often caused sacrifices to be offered for them; but they were not acceptable, as long as they continued idolaters. The country was converted to Christianity, (C.) and the Anchorets performed their vows and penitential exercises, to the admiration of all. H.

Ver. 22. Scourge. By means of Sennacherib, Cambyses, and Ochus. Afterwards the country was quietly subject to the kings of Persia, Alex. the Ptolemies, and the Romans. C.

Ver. 24. Land. The apostles, who were true Israelites, (H.) procured the blessing of faith for these nations, (C.) to serve God with concord. H.