Isaiah 19:11
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings"?

New Living Translation
What fools are the officials of Zoan! Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong. Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom? Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors?

English Standard Version
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”?

New American Standard Bible
The princes of Zoan are mere fools; The advice of Pharaoh's wisest advisers has become stupid. How can you men say to Pharaoh, "I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings "?

King James Bible
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellers of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The princes of Zoan are complete fools; Pharaoh's wisest advisers give stupid advice! How can you say to Pharaoh," I am one of the wise, a student of eastern kings"?

International Standard Version
Zoan's princes are nothing but fools; the wisest advisors of Pharaoh give stupid advice. How can you say to Pharaoh, "I'm a descendant of wise men, a descendant of ancient kings"?

NET Bible
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?"

New Heart English Bible
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish. The counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become stupid. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The leaders of Zoan are nothing but fools. The wisest of Pharaoh's counselors gives stupid advice. How can you tell Pharaoh, "I'm a descendant of wise men, a descendant of ancient kings"?

JPS Tanakh 1917
The princes of Zoan are utter fools; The wisest counsellors of Pharaoh are a senseless counsel; How can ye say unto Pharaoh: 'I am the son of the wise, The son of ancient kings'?

New American Standard 1977
The princes of Zoan are mere fools;
            The advice of Pharaoh’s wisest advisers has become stupid.
            How can you men say to Pharaoh,
            “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools; the counsel of the prudent counsellors of Pharaoh is become carnal; how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of the ancient kings?

King James 2000 Bible
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh give foolish counsel: how do you say unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

American King James Version
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say you to Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

American Standard Version
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the counsel of the wisest counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

Douay-Rheims Bible
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?

Darby Bible Translation
They are but fools, the princes of Zoan, the wise counsellors of Pharaoh: [their] counsel is become senseless. How say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

English Revised Version
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the counsel of the wisest counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

Webster's Bible Translation
Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counselors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye to Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

World English Bible
The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish. The counsel of the wisest counselors of Pharaoh has become stupid. How do you say to Pharaoh, "I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?"

Young's Literal Translation
Only, fools are the princes of Zoan, The counsel of the wise ones of the counsellors of Pharaoh hath become brutish. How say ye unto Pharaoh, 'A son of the wise am I, a son of kings of antiquity?'
Study Bible
The Burden Concerning Egypt
10And the pillars of Egypt will be crushed; All the hired laborers will be grieved in soul. 11The princes of Zoan are mere fools; The advice of Pharaoh's wisest advisers has become stupid. How can you men say to Pharaoh, "I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings"? 12Well then, where are your wise men? Please let them tell you, And let them understand what the LORD of hosts Has purposed against Egypt.…
Cross References
Acts 7:22
So Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.

1 Corinthians 1:20
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

Genesis 41:38
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?"

Genesis 41:39
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.

Numbers 13:22
When they had gone up into the Negev, they came to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

1 Kings 4:30
Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.

Psalm 78:12
He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

Psalm 78:43
When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan,

Isaiah 30:4
"For their princes are at Zoan And their ambassadors arrive at Hanes.

Jeremiah 8:9
"The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind of wisdom do they have?
Treasury of Scripture

Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say you to Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?

the princes

Isaiah 19:3,13 And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the middle thereof; and I will …

Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this …

Isaiah 44:25 That frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; …

Job 5:12,13 He disappoints the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot …

Job 12:17 He leads counsellors away spoiled, and makes the judges fools.

Psalm 33:10 The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing: he makes the …

Jeremiah 49:7 Concerning Edom, thus said the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in …

Ezekiel 7:26 Mischief shall come on mischief, and rumor shall be on rumor; then …

1 Corinthians 1:19,20 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will …

Zoan

Isaiah 30:4 For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes.

Numbers 13:22 And they ascended by the south, and came to Hebron; where Ahiman, …

Psalm 78:12,43 Marvelous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land …

Ezekiel 30:14 And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and …

brutish

Psalm 73:22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before you.

Psalm 92:6 A brutish man knows not; neither does a fool understand this.

Proverbs 30:2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

Jeremiah 10:14,21 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded …

I am

Genesis 41:38,39 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this …

1 Kings 4:30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the …

Acts 7:22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was …

(11) Surely the princes of Zoan are fools.--Zoan, the great city of the Delta, was known to the Greeks as Tanis, founded, as stated in Numbers 13:22, seven years after Hebron. Here the great Rameses II. fixed his capital, and the city thus acquired the name of Pi-Rameses.

How say ye unto Pharaoh . . .?--The princes of Zoan, probably priest-princes and priest-magicians (Exodus 7:11), boasting at once of their wisdom and their ancestry, are represented as speaking to the Pharaoh of the time (probably, as in Isaiah 18, of Ethiopian origin) in something like a tone of superiority. They claim to be the only counsellors; and the prophet challenges their claim. Can they disclose, as he can, the future that impends over their country?

Verse 11. - Surely the princes of Zoan are fools. Zoan, or Tanis, which had been an insignificant city since the time of the shepherd-kings, came to the front once more at the time of the struggle between Egypt and Assyria. Esarhaddon made it the head of one of the petty kingdoms into which he divided Egypt (G. Smith, 'History of Asshur-bani-pal,' p. 21, 1. 2). Early in the reign of his son it revolted, in conjunction with Sais and Mendes, but was ere long reduced to subjection by the Assyrians. Its king, Petu-bastes, was taken to Nineveh, and there probably put to death. Its "princes" were, no doubt, among those who counseled resistance to Assyria. The counsel of the wise, etc.; literally, as for the wise coun-sellers of Pharaoh, their counsel is become senseless. Two classes of advisers seem to be intended - nobles, supposed to be qualified by birth; and "wise men," qualified by study and education. Both would now be found equally incapable. Pharaoh. Probably Tirhakah is intended. It is possible that he was really suzerain of Egypt at the time of Sennacherib's invasion, when Shabatek was nominally king. It is certain that, after the death of Shabatok (about B.C. 698), he was recognized as sovereign both of Ethiopia and of Egypt, and ruled over both countries. Esarhaddon found him still occupying this position in B.C. 673, when he made his Egyptian expedition. Tirhakah's capital at this time was Memphis. How say ye, etc.? With what face can you boast of your descent, or of your learning, when you are unable to give any sound advice? Surely the princes of Zoan are fools,.... Zoan was a very ancient city of Egypt, it was built within seven years of Hebron in the land of Judah, Numbers 13:22 here it was that the Lord did those miracles, by the hands of Moses and Aaron, before Pharaoh and his people, in order to oblige him to let Israel go, Psalm 78:12 by which it appears that it was then the royal city, as it seems to have been now; since mention is made of the princes of it, who usually have their residence where the court is. The Targum, Septuagint, and Vulgate Latin versions, call it Tanis, which was the metropolis of one of the nomes or provinces of Egypt, called from it the Tanitic nome (q); near it was one of the gates of the Nile, which had from it the name of the Tanitic gate (r); the princes of this place, the lords of this nome, though they had princely education, acted a foolish part, in flattering their sovereign, as afterwards mentioned, and in putting him upon doing things destructive to his kingdom and subjects:

the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish; the men of whose privy council were esteemed very wise, and greatly boasted of, and much confided in; and yet the counsel they gave him were such as made them look more like brutes than men:

how say ye unto Pharaoh; the then reigning prince, for Pharaoh was a name common to all the kings of Egypt. Some think their king Cethon is meant, said to be a very foolish king: others Psammiticus; which seems more likely; though there is no need to apply it to any particular king, they being used to say what follows to all their kings:

I am the son of the wise; suggesting that wisdom was natural and hereditary to him; though this may not merely respect his immediate ancestors, but remote ones, as Menes or Mizraim, the first king of Egypt, to whom is attributed the invention of arts and sciences; and his son Thoth, the same with Hermes, the Mercury of the Egyptians. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, make these words to be spoken by the wise counsellors of themselves, "we are the sons of wise men", and so the next clause; likewise Aben Ezra and Jarchi, also the Targum:

the son of ancient kings? according to these, it is spoken to Pharaoh thus, "and thou the son of kings of old"; of Ham, Mizraim, Thoth, &c.; the Egyptians boasted much of the antiquity of their kingdom and kings; and they say, from their first king Menes, to Sethon the priest of Vulcan, who lived about the time of this prophecy, were three hundred and forty one generations or ages of men, in which were as many kings and priests; and three hundred generations are equal to ten thousand years (s); and so many years, and more, their kings had reigned down to the prophet's time; which was all vain boasting, there being no manner of foundation for it. Vitringa renders it the son of ancient counsellors; this, as the former, being spoken by the counsellors, not of Pharaoh, but themselves.

(q) Herodot. l. 2. c. 166. Plin. l. 5. c. 9. Ptolem. Geogr. l. 4. c. 5. (r) Ptolem. ib. Plin. l. 5. c. 10. (s) Herodot. l. 2. c. 142. 11. Zoan—The Greeks called it Tanis, a city of Lower Egypt, east of the Tanitic arms of the Nile, now San; it was one the Egyptian towns nearest to Palestine (Nu 13:22), the scene of Moses' miracles (Ps 78:12, 43). It, or else Memphis, was the capital under Sethos.

I am … son of the wise … kings—Ye have no advice to suggest to Pharaoh in the crisis, notwithstanding that ye boast of descent from wise and royal ancestors. The priests were the usual "counsellors" of the Egyptian king. He was generally chosen from the priestly caste, or, if from the warrior caste, he was admitted into the sacred order, and was called a priest. The priests are, therefore, meant by the expression, "son of the wise, and of ancient kings"; this was their favorite boast (Herodotus, 2.141; compare Am 7:14; Ac 23:6; Php 3:5). "Pharaoh" was the common name of all the kings: Sethos, probably, is here meant.19:1-17 God shall come into Egypt with his judgments. He will raise up the causes of their destruction from among themselves. When ungodly men escape danger, they are apt to think themselves secure; but evil pursues sinners, and will speedily overtake them, except they repent. The Egyptians will be given over into the hand of one who shall rule them with rigour, as was shortly after fulfilled. The Egyptians were renowned for wisdom and science; yet the Lord would give them up to their own perverse schemes, and to quarrel, till their land would be brought by their contests to become an object of contempt and pity. He renders sinners afraid of those whom they have despised and oppressed; and the Lord of hosts will make the workers of iniquity a terror to themselves, and to each other; and every object around a terror to them.
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