The Lord Will Judge Egypt
19:1 Here is a message about Egypt:
Look, the LORD rides on a swift-moving cloud
and approaches Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him;
the Egyptians lose their courage.
19:2 “I will provoke civil strife in Egypt,
brothers will fight with each other,
as will neighbors,
cities, and kingdoms.
19:3 The Egyptians will panic,
and I will confuse their strategy.
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.
19:4 I will hand Egypt over to a harsh master;
a powerful king will rule over them,”
says the sovereign master, the LORD who commands armies.
19:5 The water of the sea will be dried up,
and the river will dry up and be empty.
19:6 The canals will stink;
the streams of Egypt will trickle and then dry up;
the bulrushes and reeds will decay,
19:7 along with the plants by the mouth of the river.
All the cultivated land near the river
will turn to dust and be blown away.
19:8 The fishermen will mourn and lament,
all those who cast a fishhook into the river,
and those who spread out a net on the water’s surface will grieve.
19:9 Those who make clothes from combed flax will be embarrassed;
those who weave will turn pale.
19:10 Those who make cloth will be demoralized;
all the hired workers will be depressed.
19:11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
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?”
19:12 But where, oh where, are your wise men?
Let them tell you, let them find out
what the LORD who commands armies has planned for Egypt.
19:13 The officials of Zoan are fools,
the officials of Memphis are misled;
the rulers of her tribes lead Egypt astray.
19:14 The LORD has made them undiscerning;
they lead Egypt astray in all she does,
so that she is like a drunk sliding around in his own vomit.
19:15 Egypt will not be able to do a thing,
head or tail, shoots and stalk.
19:16 At that time the Egyptians will be like women. They will tremble and fear because the LORD who commands armies brandishes his fist against them. 19:17 The land of Judah will humiliate Egypt. Everyone who hears about Judah will be afraid because of what the LORD who commands armies is planning to do to them.
19:18 At that time five cities 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. 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 dedicated to the LORD at its border. 19:20 It will become a visual reminder in the land of Egypt of the LORD who commands armies. When they cry out to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a deliverer and defender who will rescue them. 19:21 The LORD will reveal himself to the Egyptians, and they will acknowledge the LORD’s authority at that time. 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 and heal them.
There will be an altar for the Lord in the middle of the land of Egypt –
Rob Bell speculates:-
‘What’s the significance of Egypt? Egypt was Israel’s enemy. Hated. Despised. An altar in the heart of Egypt? An altar was where people worshipped. They’ll worship God in . . . Egypt? Once again, things aren’t what they appear to be. The people who are opposed to God will worship God, the ones far away will be brought near, the ones facing condemnation will be restored. Failure, we see again and again, isn’t final, judgment has a point, and consequences are for correction.’
Love Wins: At the Heart of Life’s Big Questions (pp. 88-89). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Bell’s universalist leanings are apparent. But he conflates the universal offer of the gospel and its universal acceptance. Rather, we should understand this to be ‘the most positive interpretation of the outward flow of population from Israel in the OT (comparable only to the NT’s commissions in Matt 28:19–20 and Acts 1:8).’ (Watts)