|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 9. - They that work in fine flax. Linen of great fineness and delicacy was woven in Egypt, for the priests' dresses, for mummy-cloths, and for corselets. Solomon imported "linen yarn" from his Egyptian neighbors (1 Kings 10:28), and the Phoenicians a linen fabric for their sails' (Ezekiel 27:7). In the general decline of Egyptian prosperity, caused by the circumstances of the time, the manufacturers of linen would suffer. They that weave networks; rather, they that weave while clothes. Cotton fabrics are probably intended. Shall be confounded; literally, shall blush, or be ashamed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Moreover they that work in fine flax,.... Of which they made fine linen cloth, and yarn, and was much wore by the Egyptians, and was the commodity of the country, and for which other nations traded with them, 1 Kings 10:28 but now would have no flax to work, that being withered and gone which was sown by the sides of the brooks, Isaiah 19:7 and no linen cloth or yarn to sell, and consequently in great confusion and distress, as they are here represented (l). The Targum renders the whole verse thus,
"they shall be confounded which work flax, which they comb, and of it weave nets;''
and so Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it, not of persons that wrought in flax, to make yarn or linen of it; but who combed it, to make nets of it, as follows:
and they that weave networks shall be confounded: because they would have no sale for their nets, the fishermen having no use for them, the rivers being dried up. The word for "networks" signifies "holes", because nets are made with holes large enough to let the water through, and so small that the fishes may not get out. Some render the word "white works" (m), white linen, white cloth, of which white garments are made, such as nobles and princes formerly wore; hence, in the Hebrew language, they are called by a name of the same root and signification; but the former sense seems best.
(l) is by us rendered "fine"; and so, Ben Melech says, in the Arabic language the best and finest linen is called and so says Kimchi in Sepher Shorash.; with which Schindler agrees, Arab. sericum or "muslin"; but it is a question whether this is of so early a date, and especially not fit to make nets of. De Dieu and Bochart think it denotes the colour of the linen, which was yellow, that being the best; but others render it "combed". (m) "et textores alborum operum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. fine flax—Gesenius, for "fine," translates, "combed"; fine "linen" was worn by the rich only (Lu 16:19). Egypt was famous for it (Ex 9:31; 1Ki 10:28; Pr 7:16; Eze 27:7). The processes of its manufacture are represented on the Egyptian tombs. Israel learned the art in Egypt (Ex 26:36). The cloth now found on the mummies was linen, as is shown by the microscope. Wilkinson mentions linen from Egypt which has five hundred forty (or two hundred seventy double) threads in one inch in the warp; whereas some modern cambric has but a hundred sixty [Barnes].
networks—rather, white cloth (Es 1:6; 8:16).
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