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This chapter refers to the calamities brought upon the Egyptians by
intestine commo!ions. The Israelites were fond of an alliance with them, therefore their distress and inability to help their allies is here foretold ; but it is difficult to determine to what period of their his. tory this prophecy refers.
THE burden of Egypt., Behold, the LORD rideth upon a
1 swift cloud, as a judge, and shall come into Egypt : and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, shall be car. ried captive, and not be able to help their worshippers, and the
heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it, the people shall lose 2 all their courage, 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, sandl 3 kingdom against kingdom.* And the spirit of Egypt, that is,
their courage and wisdom, for both of which they were famous, shall fạil in the midst thereof; and I will destroy the counsel thereof:
and they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to 4 them that have familiar spirits, and to the wizards. 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 5 hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river
shall be wasted and dried up, that is, the Nile which they worship
ped, and on the rising of which in spring, and overflowing their land, 6 their harvest depended, as they had little or no rain. And they
shall turn the rivers far away ; [and] the brooks of defence shall 7 be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. The
paper reedst by the brooks, by the mouth, or side, of the brooks,
and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven 8 away, and be no (more.] 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 : Egypt was famous
for fish, and its inhabitants lived much upon it, as they scrupled to 9 kill many animals for food. Moreover they that work in fine flax, and they that weave net works, shall be confounded : it was also
famous for filar and fine linen, for which Solomon traded with the 10 Egyptians. And they shall be broken in the purposes thereof,
all that make sluices [and] ponds for fish ; that is, they that were used to get their living by keeping fish in ponds, shall fail of their
gain that way; all which intimates a general decay of trade and li prosperity. Surely the princes of Zoan, that most ancient city,
• After the death of Sathon there were two years anarchy : then twelve persons seized the kinlom, and divided it among theinselves. At length Psummetichus, one of the twelve, by the help of the Greeks drove out the other eleven, and reigned alone.
+ This is understood of different persons, but is generally supposed to refer to Psammetichus.
This was the papyrus, a large reed that grow on the banks of their river and brooks, the broad leaves of which the Egyptians wrote upon, as we do on paper, which froin hence took its name. Vol. V.
(Numb. xiii. 22.) (are) fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors • of Pharaoh is become brutish : how say ye unto Pharaoh, I 12 [am) the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings ?* Where
(are) they? where [are) thy wise (men ?] thy politicians and
astrologers ? and let them tell theę now, and let them know what 13 the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt. The princes of
Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph, or Memphis, another ancient city, are deceived ; they have also seduced Egypt, [even
they that are] the stay of the tribes thereof; the governors, who 14 are the corners or support of it. 'The LORD hath mingled å per
verse spirit in the midst thereof : and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken (man) staggereth in
his vomit ; they shall be unsettled in their councils, and follow | 15 those that are most mischievous. Neither shall there be (any]
work for Egypt, which the head or tail, branch or rush, may do;
their trade shall be lost, and there shall be no work for the high or jo the lord, they shall have no means to help themselves. 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
shaketh over it ; that is, the threatening's he denounces, and the 17 judgments he is bringing upon them. 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. 18 In that day shall five, that is, many, cities in the land of Egypt
speak the language of Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts, engage themselves by covenant to become subject to them ; one
shall be called, The city of destruction ; of Heres, or the sun, 19 that is, Heliopolis.t 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; the worship of God shall be set up there; and gospel worship is often described by expressions laken from the
Jewish worship: a pillar shall be set up to let every one know at 20 their first entrance what religion they are of. 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 op
pressors, and he shall send them a saviour and a great one, and I he shall deliver them.ll And the LORD shall be known to Egypt,
The Egyptiang pretended to extraordinary antiquity, and traced up the lists of their kings hig'xer than any other nation, quite to Ham.
+ This probably refers to their apprehension o Janger when Sennacherib destroved the fencd cirics of Judah, before he be icged Jerusalem ; though others refer it to the long siege of Ashdod by psammetichus, which stopped the course of his victories, and gave him great vexation. There are varis opinions among the learned what the next verse refers to : sonne say, to the conversion of many of the Egyptians to the religion of the Jews, by their settlement ainong them; but it more probably refers to their conversion by the gospel.'
After the siege abovementioned, the learned say there was an alliance between Egypt, Assyrit, ard Judah : and the Jews had actually five cities in the land, where they were al lowed the free exercise of their religion. But that this was fact is not sufficiently evident; and I rather prefer the former interpretation.
Dr. Newton understands this of Alexander the Great, whose successor was Ptoleiny the Great, and Soter, or saviour, probably in reference to Christ. Alesunder favour the Jews, settled many in Egypt, allowed them to be governed by their own laws and customs; and there the Greek translation of the Bible, called the Septuagint, is generally supposed to have been taade.
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 ;] they shall have the means of knowledge 22 and improve them. And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall
smite and heal [it :) and they shall return (even) to the LORD, and he shall be entreated of them, and shall heal them ; their
afflictions shall do them good, and dispose them to receive the gos23 pel. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to As
syria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians; though Egypt was the house of their bondage, and the As
syrians the invaders of Judah, yet their enmity shall cease, and they 24 shall join in serving the Lord. In that day shall Israel be the
third with Egypt and with Assyria ; the land of Israel which is between Egypt and Assyria, shall be the centre of union to the three nations which had been so often at variance, [even] a blessing in
the midst of the land, or, of the earth, as from thence the gospel 25 shall spread : Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying,
Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. God will join them all in his blessing ; he will make them a blessing to all about them ; they shall be all alike in covenant with him. Accordingly the gospel was early plan:ed among them, and many flourishing christian churches were there.
1. O BSERVE how easily God cal throw a populous and
U flourishing nation into confusion and misery ; set the people one against the other, and raise a perverse spirit in the midst thereof; infatuate the wisest counsellors, and strike a panic and terror through all. He can by this means destroy their trade and commerce, and take away all their comforts. To do this, he needs but shake his hand over them. Who would not fear so great a Being, and wait on him for the continuation and increase of national prosperity ? We have need to pray that he would give a spirit of wisdom to our ministers, conduct and courage to our commanders and soldiers, and continue our unanimity, that we may not feel these dreadful evils.
2. See what a happy change the gospel makes in the state of nations, when it is cordially received. God would show favour to Egypt; and this is described, not by replenishing their rivers, multiplying their fish, increasing their trade, and establishing their concord ; but by the spread of true religion among them ; banishing idolatry and sin ; disposing men to receive the gospel ; to give themselves to the Lord, and worship him according to his institution.. We may learn from this passage, what improvement we are to make of the gospel ; to be thankful for Christ, that Saviour and great one ; publicly and boldly to profess our relation and regard to him, and cultivate that peace and love which he requires of his peo
ple. Let us, both in our social and private conduct, show that the gospel has this effect upon us ; and we should earnestly pray that it may have the same effect upon others, even upon all mankind; and that by the more plentiful effusion of the spirit in the latter day, God may again say, Blessed be Egyni my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
· CHAP. XX, XXI. A type prefiguring the shameful captivity of Egypt and Ethiopia.
This happened between the time that the Assyrian army took the defenced cities of Judah, and when they besieged Jerusalem, which was about three years. I IN the year that Tartan (mentioned with Rabshakeh, 2 King's
1 xviii. 17.) came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon, that is, Senna, cherib, the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ash2 dod, and took it ; At the same time spake thé LORD by Isaiah
the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, which thou hast worn as a mourning habit for the sins and calamities of Judah and Israel, and put off thy shoe from thy
foot. And he did so, walking naked, that is, without an upper 3 garment, and barefoot. And the LORD said, Like as my servant
Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years (for) a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia ; not three years, but three days, to represent three years ; or it may be rendered,
for a three year's sign, that is, for a type or example of three 4 years ; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians
prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and
barefoot, even with (their) buttocks, or hind paris, uncovered, to 5 the shame of Egypt, who were a very proud people. And they
shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory ; the nations that trusted in them, and who had
great expectations from the Ethiopians and Egyptians, particularly 6 Israel, shall be ashamed of their weak allies. And the inhabitant
of this isle, or country, shall say in that day, Behold, such is) our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria : and how shall we escape ? we have no way to escape, now the Assyrians have such succe88 against the 8€
nations. I CHAP. XXI. The burden of the desert, or plain, of the sea ;
that is, Babylon, which lay upon the rivers, and had large lakes like seas about it. As whirlwinds in the south pass through, come suddenly, irresistibly, and carry all before them, (so] it cometh
from the desert, which lay between Persia and Babylon, from a 2 terrible land. A griveous vision is declared unto me; the
treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, or, is dealt treacher. ously with, and the spoiler spoileth, or, is spoiled ; Babylon is repaid in her own coin. Go up, O Elam : besiege, O Media ; all
the sigbing thereof have I made to cease, that is, the sighing of 3 the captive Israelites and others. Therefore are my loins filled • with pain ; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs
of a woman that travaileth. I was bowed down at the hearing 4 (of it ;] I was dismayed at the seeing (of it.] My heart panted,
fearfulness affrighted me : the night of my pleasure, when I 5 used to take my repose, bath he turned into fear unto me.* Pre
pare the table, watch in the watch tower, eat, drink ; while you prepare your table, and are feasting in luxury, ye shall hear a sudden cry ; arise, ye princes, (and) anoint the shield, that they
may be beautiful und serviceable, and the darts may easily slip off. 6 For thus hath the LORD said unto me, Go, set a watchman, who
may discern the approaching danger, and let him declare what he 7 seeth. And he saw a chariot (with). a couple of horsemen, or horses, that is, the commanders in chief, Cyrus and Darius, a chariot of asses, or mules, that is, the Persians, [and] a chariot of camels, the Medes, who made use of them ; they were both joined
in this expedition ; and he hearkened diligently with much 8 heed : And he cried, A lion ; or, the watchman cried as a lion,
with a terrible voice, at the sight of the danger approaching, and said, My lord, I stand continually upon the watch tower in the
day time, and I am set in my ward whole nights ; I am very 9 careful 10 observe what passes : And, behold, here cometh a
chariot of men, (with) a couple of horsemen. And he, that is, the commander in chief, answered and said, Babylon is fallen, shall
surely fall : and all the graven images of her gods he hath brok10 en unto the ground. Omy threshing, and the corn of my floor;
referring to the Israelites, who are represented as God's corn, in opposition to chaff and straw; they shall be oppressed yet pre. served ; that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God
of Israel, have I declared unto you for your comfort. 11 The burden of Dumah, that is, of Idumea, or Edom. He
calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The Edomites were alarmed with the
approaching danger, and are here represented as eagerly addre8812 ing the prophet. The watchman said, The morning cometh,
and also the night ; ye shall have peace and respite for a while, but a dark and dreadful night will follow : If ye will inquire, inquire ye : return, come ; if ye will inquire, inquire immediately, in good earnest ; and come, return to God, join yourselves to his
people, and so escape the threatened destruction. 13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye 14 lodge, 0 ye travelling companies of Dedanim.t The inhabit
ants of the land of Temah brought water to him that was thirsty, 15 they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fed
• Some understand this of the prophet's concern for their calamities; I rather think it is a description of the terror of Babylon, especially of Belshazzar, when the city was taken.
+ These were the descendants of Abraham by Keturah. The king of Assyria might attack this people : they used to pitch their tents in fruitful countries, but now they were glad to wander in forests, and to reccive help from their neighbours..