and I will confuse their strategy. 2
They will seek guidance from the idols and from the spirits of the dead,
from the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, and from the magicians. 3
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?” 5
1 tn Heb “and the spirit of Egypt will be laid waste in its midst.”
2 tn The verb בָּלַע (bala’, “confuse”) is a homonym of the more common בָּלַע (bala’, “swallow”); see HALOT 135 s.v. I בלע.
3 tn Heb “they will inquire of the idols and of the spirits of the dead and of the ritual pits and of the magicians.” Hebrew אוֹב (’ov, “ritual pit”) refers to a pit used by a magician to conjure up underworld spirits. See the note on “incantations” in 8:19.
4 tn Or “certainly the officials of Zoan are fools.” אַךְ (’akh) can carry the sense, “only, nothing but,” or “certainly, surely.”
5 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.