Notes for Isa 19:2LEB

I will provoke Egypt against Egypt" (NAB similar).


"and they will fight, a man against his brother, and a man against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom." Civil strife will extend all the way from the domestic level to the provincial arena.


Notes for Isa 19:3LEB

"and the spirit of Egypt will be laid waste in its midst."


The verb בָּלַע (bala’, "confuse") is a homonym of the more common בָּלַע (bala’, "swallow"); see HALOT 135 s.v. I בלע.


"they will inquire of the idols and of the spirits of the dead and of the ritual pits and of the magicians." Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, "ritual pit") refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. See the note on "incantations" in 8:19.


Notes for Isa 19:4LEB

The Hebrew term translated "sovereign master" here is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).


Notes for Isa 19:5LEB

"will dry up and be dry." Two synonyms are joined for emphasis.


Notes for Isa 19:6LEB

"rivers" (so KJV, ASV); NAB, CEV "streams"; TEV "channels."


The verb form appears as a Hiphil in the Qumran scroll 1QIsa; the form in MT may be a so-called "mixed form," reflecting the Hebrew Hiphil stem and the functionally corresponding Aramaic Aphel stem. See HALOT 276 s.v. I זנח.


Notes for Isa 19:7LEB

"the plants by the river, by the mouth of the river."


"will dry up, [being] scattered, and it will vanish."


Notes for Isa 19:8LEB

Or perhaps, "will disappear"; cf. TEV "will be useless."


Notes for Isa 19:9LEB

BDB 301 s.v. חוֹרִי suggests the meaning "white stuff" for חוֹרִי (khori); the Qumran scroll 1QIsa has חָוֵרוּ (khaveru), probably a Qal perfect, third plural form of חוּר, (khur, "be white, pale"). See HALOT 299 s.v. I חור. The latter reading is assumed in the translation above.


Notes for Isa 19:10LEB

Some interpret שָׁתֹתֶיהָ (shatoteha) as "her foundations," i.e., leaders, nobles. See BDB 1011 s.v. שָׁת. Others, on the basis of alleged cognates in Akkadian and Coptic, repoint the form שְׁתִיתֶיהָ (shétiteha) and translate "her weavers." See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:370.


"crushed." Emotional distress is the focus of the context (see vv. 8–9, 10b).


"sad of soul"; cf. NIV, NLT "sick at heart."


Notes for Isa 19:11LEB

Or "certainly the officials of Zoan are fools." אַךְ (’akh) can carry the sense, "only, nothing but," or "certainly, surely."


"A son of wise men am I, a son of ancient kings." The term בֶּן (ben, "son of") could refer to literal descent, but many understand the word, at least in the first line, in its idiomatic sense of "member [of a guild]." See HALOT 138 s.v. בֶּן and J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:371. If this is the case, then one can take the word in a figurative sense in the second line as well, the "son of ancient kings" being one devoted to their memory as preserved in their literature.


Notes for Isa 19:12LEB

"Where are they? Where are your wise men?" The juxtaposition of the interrogative pronouns is emphatic. See HALOT 38 s.v. אֶי.


Notes for Isa 19:13LEB

"Noph" (so KJV); most recent English versions substitute the more familiar "Memphis."


"the cornerstone." The singular form should be emended to a plural.


Notes for Isa 19:14LEB

"the Yahweh has mixed into her midst a spirit of blindness."


"like the going astray of a drunkard in his vomit."


Notes for Isa 19:15LEB

"And there will not be for Egypt a deed, which head and tail, shoot and stalk can do." In 9:14–15 the phrase "head or tail" refers to leaders and prophets, respectively. This interpretation makes good sense in this context, where both leaders and advisers (probably including prophets and diviners) are mentioned (vv. 11–14). Here, as in 9:14, "shoots and stalk" picture a reed, which symbolizes the leadership of the nation in its entirety.


Notes for Isa 19:16LEB

"in that day" (so KJV), likewise at the beginning of vv. 18 and 19.


"Egypt," which stands by metonymy for the country’s inhabitants.


As the rest of the verse indicates, the point of the simile is that the Egyptians will be relatively weak physically and will wilt in fear before the Yahweh’s onslaught.


"and he will tremble and be afraid because of the brandishing of the hand of the Yahweh who commands armies [traditionally, the Yahweh of hosts], which he brandishes against him." Since according to the imagery here the Yahweh’s "hand" is raised as a weapon against the Egyptians, the term "fist" has been used in the translation.


Notes for Isa 19:17LEB

"and the land of Judah will become [a source of] shame to Egypt, everyone to whom one mentions it [i.e., the land of Judah] will fear because of the plan of the Yahweh who commands armies [traditionally, the Yahweh of hosts] which he is planning against him."


Notes for Isa 19:18LEB

The significance of the number "five" in this context is uncertain. For a discussion of various proposals, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:376–77.


The Hebrew text has עִיר הַהֶרֶס (’ir haheres, "City of Destruction"; cf. NASB, NIV) but this does not fit the positive emphasis of vv. 18–22. The Qumran scroll 1QIsa and some medieval Hebrew mss read עִיר הָחֶרֶס (’ir hakheres, "City of the Sun," i.e., Heliopolis). This reading also finds support from Symmachus’ Greek version, the Targum, and the Vulgate. See HALOT 257 s.v. חֶרֶס and HALOT 355 s.v. II חֶרֶס.


Notes for Isa 19:19LEB

This word is sometimes used of a sacred pillar associated with pagan worship, but here it is associated with the worship of the Yahweh.


Notes for Isa 19:20LEB

The masculine noun מִזְבֵּחַ (mizbbeakh, "altar") in v. 19 is probably the subject of the masculine singular verb הָיָה (hayah) rather than the feminine noun מַצֵּבָה (matsevah, "sacred pillar"), also in v. 19.


"a sign and a witness to the Yahweh who commands armies [traditionally, the Yahweh of hosts] in the land of Egypt."


רָב (rav) is a substantival participle (from רִיב, riv) meaning "one who strives, contends."


Notes for Isa 19:21LEB

"Egypt." For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, the present translation uses the pronoun ("they") here.


"will know the Yahweh."


"in that day" (so KJV), likewise at the beginning of vv. 23 and 24.


Notes for Isa 19:22LEB

"he will be entreated." The Niphal has a tolerative sense here, "he will allow himself to be entreated."


Notes for Isa 19:23LEB

The text could be translated, "and Egypt will serve Assyria" (cf. NAB), but subjugation of one nation to the other does not seem to be a theme in vv. 23–25. Rather the nations are viewed as equals before the Yahweh (v. 25). Therefore it is better to take אֶת (’et) in v. 23b as a preposition, "together with," rather than the accusative sign. The names of the two countries are understood to refer by metonymy to their respective inhabitants.


Notes for Isa 19:24LEB

"will be a blessing" (so NCV).


Or "land" (KJV, NAB).


Notes for Isa 19:25LEB

"which the Yahweh who commands armies [traditionally, the Yahweh of hosts] will bless [it], saying." The third masculine singular suffix on the form בֵּרֲכוֹ (berakho) should probably be emended to a third feminine singular suffix בֵּרֲכָהּ (berakhah), for its antecedent would appear to be the feminine noun אֶרֶץ (’erets, "earth") at the end of v. 24.


Or "my inheritance" (NAB, NASB, NIV).