A Study in the Word – Isaiah 19:1-20:6


Egypt receives the strongest of calls to entrust themselves to Yahweh. When they do, they will be mightily blessed of God. Not yet, though, so judgment is coming (19:1), internally and externally (19:3-4). Her point of pride, the Nile River, will become “parched and dry” (19:5). Economic disasters will have widespread effect (19:6). Agriculture dependent on irrigation will fail (19:7). The fishing industry will falter (19:8). Manufacturers will be deprived of raw materials (19:9). The effects will extend throughout Egyptian society (19:10).

Leaders in Egypt have terribly misled the people (19:13). Her princes are “fools” and her advisers are “stupid” (19:11). A truly wise adviser would point them to trust in Yahweh (19:12), yet Egypt staggers in a collapsing economy (19:14-15).

The appointed day will come (19:16). Another nation will benefit from her fall (19:17a). “Advice” by Egypt’s counselors is countered by the purpose-filled “plan” of Yahweh (19:17b-18). Still, true worship of Yahweh will come when Egypt is delivered by the Lord’s “Savior and Champion” (19:19-20).

Egypt will be punished for their sin, but the intent is reformative, “striking but healing” (19:21-22). When people recognize Him for who He is and respond by faith in Him, that establishes a trust relationship. This is all God asks of any people. He will then provide all that is necessary for reconciliation to occur, between people and Himself and between peoples with a history of animosity (19:23). God intended Israel to be a blessing among the peoples of the earth (Genesis 12:3). On the day that God brings reconciliation to Israel, Egypt, and others, that blessing will find completion. Israel will be “a blessing in the midst of the earth” (19:24), and other nations will benefit (19:25).

Assyria captured the chief Philistine city of Ashdod in 711 B.C. (20:1). To illustrate the dire effects of exile, this event gave rise to a strange prophecy – Isaiah is to go about Jerusalem naked (20:2). Prophets sometimes employed symbolic acts, “enacted parables,” to convey God’s message. A prophet would give a visual exhibition to attract attention, and then explain the meaning of the act (20:2-4). Jeremiah and Ezekiel will use symbolic acts often in their ministries, adding a visual dimension to reinforce their preaching. Egypt kept her pride and will face the consequences (20:5-6). The question of 20:6 is unanswered - or is it?

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com.


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