1Oracle on Egypt:
See, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud
on his way to Egypt;
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.a
2I will stir up Egypt against Egypt:
brother will war against brother,
Neighbor against neighbor,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.
3The courage of the Egyptians shall ebb away within them,
and I will bring their counsel to nought;
They shall consult idols and charmers, ghosts and clairvoyants.b
4I will deliver Egypt
into the power of a cruel master,
A harsh king* who shall rule over them—
oracle of the Lord, the LORD of hosts.c
5The waters shall be drained from the sea,
the river shall parch and dry up;d
6Its streams shall become foul,
and the canals of Egypt shall dwindle and parch.e
Reeds and rushes shall wither away,
7and bulrushes on the bank of the Nile;f
All the sown land along the Nile
shall dry up and blow away, and be no more.
8The fishermen shall mourn and lament,
all who cast hook in the Nile;
Those who spread their nets in the water
shall pine away.
9The linen-workers shall be disappointed,
the combers and weavers shall turn pale;g
10The spinners shall be crushed,
all the hired laborers shall be despondent.
11Utter fools are the princes of Zoan!*
the wisest of Pharaoh’s advisers give stupid counsel.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am a descendant of wise men, of ancient kings”?
12Where then are your wise men?
Let them tell you and make known
What the LORD of hosts has planned
13The princes of Zoan have become fools,
the princes of Memphis have been deceived.
The chiefs of its tribes
have led Egypt astray.i
14The LORD has prepared among them
a spirit of dizziness,
And they have made Egypt stagger in whatever she does,
as a drunkard staggers in his vomit.j
15Egypt shall accomplish nothing—
neither head nor tail, palm branch nor reed,* shall accomplish anything.
16On that day the Egyptians shall be like women, trembling with fear, because of the LORD of hosts shaking his fist at them.k 17And the land of Judah shall be a terror to the Egyptians. Every time they think of Judah, they shall stand in dread because of the plan the LORD of hosts has in mind for them.
18On that day there shall be five cities* in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear by the LORD of hosts; one shall be called “City of the Sun.”
19On that day there shall be an altar to the LORD at the center of Egypt, and a sacred pillar to the LORD near its boundary. 20This will be a sign and witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt, so that when they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior to defend and deliver them.l 21The LORD shall make himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day; they shall offer sacrifices and oblations, make vows to the LORD and fulfill them.m 22Although the LORD shall smite Egypt severely, he shall heal them; they shall turn to the LORD and he shall be moved by their entreaty and heal them.n
23On that day there shall be a highway from Egypt to Assyria; the Assyrians shall enter Egypt, and the Egyptians enter Assyria, and the Egyptians shall worship with the Assyrians.
24On that day Israel shall be a third party with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,o 25when the LORD of hosts gives this blessing: “Blessed be my people Egypt, and the work of my hands Assyria, and my heritage, Israel.”
* [19:4] Cruel master…harsh king: possibly the Nubian (Ethiopian) Shabaka who gained control of all of Egypt around 712 B.C.
* [19:11, 13] Zoan, later known as Tanis, and Memphis (Hebrew Noph) were key cities in the Nile Delta.
* [19:15] Head…reed: the leaders and the people; cf. 9:13–14.
* [19:18] Five cities: colonies of Jews living together and speaking their native language; cf. Jer 43. City of the Sun: the meaning is uncertain, but the reference seems to be to the city known later as Heliopolis.
b. [19:3] Is 8:19; 44:25; Lv 19:31.
d. [19:5] Jer 51:36; Ez 30:12; 32:2.
e. [19:6] 2 Kgs 19:24.
h. [19:12] Is 14:26; 41:22–23.
j. [19:14] Is 28:7; Jer 48:26.