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Isaiah 19:18-22

Context

19:18 At that time five cities 1  in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord who commands armies. One will be called the City of the Sun. 2  19:19 At that time there will be an altar for the Lord in the middle of the land of Egypt, as well as a sacred pillar 3  dedicated to the Lord at its border. 19:20 It 4  will become a visual reminder in the land of Egypt of 5  the Lord who commands armies. When they cry out to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a deliverer and defender 6  who will rescue them. 19:21 The Lord will reveal himself to the Egyptians, and they 7  will acknowledge the Lord’s authority 8  at that time. 9  They will present sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and fulfill them. 19:22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and then healing them. They will turn to the Lord and he will listen to their prayers 10  and heal them.

1 sn 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.

2 tc 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 1QIsaa 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.

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

4 tn 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.

5 tn Heb “a sign and a witness to the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts] in the land of Egypt.”

6 tn רָב (rav) is a substantival participle (from רִיב, riv) meaning “one who strives, contends.”

7 tn Heb “Egypt.” For stylistic reasons, to avoid redundancy, the present translation uses the pronoun (“they”) here.

8 tn Heb “will know the Lord.”

9 tn Heb “in that day” (so KJV), likewise at the beginning of vv. 23 and 24.

10 tn Heb “he will be entreated.” The Niphal has a tolerative sense here, “he will allow himself to be entreated.”



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