Pharaoh’s wise advisers give stupid advice.
How dare you say to Pharaoh,
“I am one of the sages,
one well-versed in the writings of the ancient kings?” 2
19:13 The officials of Zoan are fools,
the officials of Memphis 3 are misled;
the rulers 4 of her tribes lead Egypt astray.
and his messengers arrive at Hanes, 6
1 tn Or “certainly the officials of Zoan are fools.” אַךְ (’akh) can carry the sense, “only, nothing but,” or “certainly, surely.”
2 tn Heb “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.
3 tn Heb “Noph” (so KJV); most recent English versions substitute the more familiar “Memphis.”
4 tn Heb “the cornerstone.” The singular form should be emended to a plural.
5 sn This probably refers to Judah’s officials and messengers.
6 sn Zoan was located in the Egyptian delta in the north; Hanes was located somewhere in southern region of lower Egypt, south of Memphis; the exact location is debated.