Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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ISAIAS - Chapter 19

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Isaias xix.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Egypt. Many refer this to the coming of Christ, (Calmet) at whose presence the idols fell down, and many saints adorned the country. (Worthington) --- 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. (Herodotus ii. 141, 158.) --- Behold. The prophet speaks fourteen years before the attack of Sennacherib. --- Cloud. Psalm xvii. 11. Some Fathers explain it of the blessed Virgin [Mary]. (Calmet) --- Moved. Plundered by the Assyrians. (Menochius)

Ver. 2. Kingdom. Under the twelve kings. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Egypt. Septuagint, "of the Egyptians shall be troubled within them." (Haydock) --- 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. (Calmet) --- If the Nile rose less than twelve or more than sixteen cubits famine ensued. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xviii. 18.)

Ver. 7. Fountain. The Nile rises in Ethiopia. But the canals alone were left dry. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "the achi, every green herb along the river, and every," &c. (Haydock)

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. Greek, "silk." Ezechiel xvi. 10. (Calmet)

Ver. 10. All they. Septuagint, "and all who make strong drink (secer) shall be in sorrow, and shall afflict their souls." (Haydock) --- This version is perhaps the best, as the Egyptians used much ale or wine distilled from barley. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Tanis. Or of the twelve kings, ver. 1. They are disconcerted at the approach of Psammitichus, (Calmet) or at the want of water. (Haydock)

Ver. 13. Memphis. The seat of many kings, and a very ancient city. Hebrew, "Noph." --- Stay. Literally, "angle," denoting the chiefs, or all the land, Judges xx. 2.

Ver. 15. Back. King and subject are equally confused, chap. ix. 14. (Calmet)

Ver. 17. Terror. Hebrew also, "a rejoicing," (St. Jerome) on account of Sennacherib's defeat there, chap. xviii. 7.

Ver. 18. Chanaan. Hebrew. The Israelites had a connection with Egypt, which the prophets often blame, chap. 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, chap. xi. 2., and Jeremias xlii. More established themselves in the country under Alexander [the Great] and the Ptolemies. (3 Machabees 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. Hebrew, "of desolation." But the copies have varied. It is supposed to denote the city On, Genesis xli. 45. (Calmet) --- Prideaux (p. 2. b. 4.) accuses the Jews of willfully corrupting this text in the Septuagint. (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. (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities xii. 15., and xiii. 6.) --- But we must allow with the fathers and Jews in the days of St. Jerome, 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. (Calmet) --- The Egyptians shall embrace Christianity, and St. Anthony of Thebes, &c., shall live a holy (Worthington) and austere life. (Haydock)

Ver. 20. Them. The Jews were miraculously rescued from the hands of Philopater, (Josephus, contra Apion 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, (Calmet) and the Anchorets performed their vows and penitential exercises, to the admiration of all. (Haydock)

Ver. 22. Scourge. By means of Sennacherib, Cambyses, and Ochus. Afterwards the country was quietly subject to the kings of Persia, Alexander the Great, the Ptolemies, and the Romans. (Calmet)

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

Bible Text & Cross-references:
The punishment of Egypt: their call to the Church.

1 The burden of Egypt. Behold the Lord will ascend upon a swift cloud, and will enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst thereof.

2 And I will set the Egyptians to fight against the Egyptians: and they shall fight brother against brother, and friend against friend, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.

3 And the spirit of Egypt shall be broken in the bowels thereof; and I will cast down their counsel: and they shall consult their idols, and their diviners, and their wizards and soothsayers.

4 And I will deliver Egypt into the hand of cruel masters, and a strong king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the God of hosts.

5 And the water of the sea shall be dried up, and the rivers shall be wasted and dry.

6 And the rivers shall fail: the streams of the banks shall be diminished, and be dried up. The reed and the bulrush shall wither away.

7 The channel of the river shall be laid bare from its fountain; and every thing sown by the water shall be dried up; it shall wither away, and shall be no more.

8 The fishers also shall mourn: and all that cast a hook into the river shall lament; and they that spread nets upon the waters shall languish away.

9 They shall be confounded that wrought in flax, combing and weaving fine linen.

10 And its watery places shall be dry; all they shall mourn that made pools to take fishes.

11 The princes of Tanis are become fools; the wise counsellors of Pharao have given foolish counsel: how will you say to Pharao: I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

12 Where are now thy wise men? let them tell thee, and shew what the Lord of hosts hath purposed upon Egypt.

13 The princes of Tanis are become fools; the princes of Memphis are gone astray; they have deceived Egypt, the stay of the people thereof.

14 The Lord hath mingled in the midst thereof the spirit of giddiness: and they have caused Egypt to err in all his works, as a drunken man staggereth and vomiteth.

15 And there shall be no work for Egypt, to make head or tail, him that bendeth down, or that holdeth back.

16 In that day Egypt shall be like unto women, and they shall be amazed, and afraid, because of the moving of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which he shall move over it.

17 And the land of Juda shall be a terror to Egypt: every one that shall remember it shall tremble, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which he hath determined concerning it.

18 *In that day there shall be five cities in the land of Egypt, speaking the language of Chanaan, and swearing by the Lord of hosts: one shall be called the city of the sun.

19 In that day there shall be an altar of the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a monument of the Lord at the borders thereof:

20 It shall be for a sign, and for a testimony to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. For they shall cry to the Lord, because of the oppressor, and he shall send them a Saviour and a defender to deliver them.

21 And the Lord shall be known by Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall worship him with sacrifices and offerings: and they shall make vows to the Lord, and perform them.

22 And the Lord shall strike Egypt with a scourge, and shall heal it, and they shall return to the Lord, and he shall be pacified towards them, and heal them.

23 In that day there shall be a way from Egypt to the Assyrians; and the Assyrian shall enter into Egypt; and the Egyptian to the Assyrians; and the Egyptians shall serve the Assyrian.

24 In that day shall Israel be the third to the Egyptian and the Assyrian: a blessing in the midst of the land,

25 Which the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying: Blessed be my people of Egypt, and the work of my hands to the Assyrian: but Israel is my inheritance.



18: Ezechiel xxx.