In that day there are five cities in the land of Egypt, Speaking the lip of Canaan, And swearing to Jehovah of Hosts, 'The city of destruction,' is said of one.
Isaiah 19:18 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
The city of destruction "The city of the sun" - עיר החרס ir hacheres. This passage is attended with much difficulty and obscurity. First, in regard to the true reading. It is well known that Onias applied it to his own views, either to procure from the king of Egypt permission to build his temple in the Hieropolitan Nome, or to gain credit and authority to it when built; from the notion which he industriously propagated, that Isaiah had in this place prophesied of the building of such a temple. He pretended that the very place where it should be built was expressly named by the prophet, עיר החרס ir hacheres, the city of the sun. This possibly may have been the original reading. The present text has עיר ההרס ir haheres, the city of destruction; which some suppose to have been introduced into the text by the Jews of Palestine afterwards, to express their detestation of the place, being much offended with this schismatical temple in Egypt. Some think the latter to have been the true reading, and that the prophet himself gave this turn to the name out of contempt, and to intimate the demolition of this Hieropolitan temple; which in effect was destroyed by Vespasian's orders, after that of Jerusalem, "Videtur propheta consulto scripsisse הרס heres, pro חרס cheres, ut alibi scribitur בית און beith aven pro בית אל beith El: איש בשת ish bosheth for איש בעל ish baal, etc. Vide Lowth in loc." - Secker. "It seems that the prophet designedly wrote הרס heres, destruction, for חרס cheres, the sun: as elsewhere בית און beith aven, the house of iniquity, is written for בית אל beith El, the house of God; איש בשת ish bosheth for איש בעל ish baal," etc. But on the supposition that עיר ההרס air haheres is the true reading, others understand it differently. The word הרס heres in Arabic signifies a lion; and Conrad Ikenius has written a dissertation (Dissert. Philol. Theol. XVI.) to prove that the place here mentioned is not Heliopolis, as it is commonly supposed to be, but Leontopolis in the Heliopolitan Nome, as it is indeed called in the letter, whether real or pretended, of Onias to Ptolemy, which Josephus has inserted in his Jewish Antiquities, lib. 13 c. 3. And I find that several persons of great learning and judgment think that Ikenius has proved the point beyond contradiction. See Christian. Muller. Satura Observ. Philolog. Michaelis Bibliotheque Oriental, Part v., p. 171. But, after all, I believe that neither Onias, Heliopolis, nor Leontopolis has any thing to do with this subject. The application of this place of Isaiah to Onias's purpose seems to have been a mere invention, and in consequence of it there may perhaps have been some unfair management to accommodate the text to that purpose; which has been carried even farther than the Hebrew text; for the Greek version has here been either translated from a corrupted text, or wilfully mistranslated or corrupted, to serve the same cause. The place is there called πολις Ασεδεκ, the city of righteousness; a name apparently contrived by Onias's party to give credit to their temple, which was to rival that of Jerusalem. Upon the whole, the true reading of the Hebrew text in this place is very uncertain; fifteen MSS. and seven editions have חרס cheres, the city of Hacheres, or, of the sun. So likewise Symmachas, the Vulgate, Arabic, Septuagint, and Complutensian. On the other hand, Aquila, Theodotion, and the Syriac read הרס heres, destruction; the Chaldee paraphrase takes in both readings.
The reading of the text being so uncertain, no one can pretend to determine what the city was that is here mentioned by name; much less to determine what the four other cities were which the prophet does not name. I take the whole passage from the 18th verse to the end of the chapter, to contain a general intimation of the future propagation of the knowledge of the true God in Egypt and Syria, under the successors of Alexander; and, in consequence of this propagation, of the early reception of the Gospel in the same countries, when it should be published to the world. See more on this subject in Prideaux's Connect. An. 145; Dr. Owen's Inquiry into the present state of the Septuagint Version, p. 41; and Bryant's Observations on Ancient History, p. 124. - L.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Isaiah 19:19,21 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the middle of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD...
Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down...
Zechariah 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the middle of you...
Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people...
Isaiah 27:13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown...
Psalm 68:31 Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands to God.
Zephaniah 3:9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call on the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.
language. Heb. lip
Genesis 11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
Isaiah 45:23,24 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That to me every knee shall bow...
Deuteronomy 10:20 You shall fear the LORD your God; him shall you serve, and to him shall you hold, and swear by his name.
Nehemiah 10:29 They joined to their brothers, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law...
Jeremiah 12:16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD lives...
destruction. Heb. Heres, or, the sun. Instead of heres, 'destruction,' which is also the reading of Aquila, Theodotion, and the Syriac, fifteen MSS. and seven editions have cheres, 'the sun;' agreeable to Symmachus, the Arabic, and Vulagte; while the Chaldee takes in both readings; and the LXX. reads 'the city of righteousness,' a name apparently contrived by the party of Onias, to give credit to his temple. As, however, heres in Arabic signifies a lion, Conrad Ikenius is of opinion that the place here mentioned is not Heliopolis, as is commonly supposed, but Leontopolis in the Heliopolitan name, as it is termed in the letter of Onias to Ptolemy. The whole passage from this verse to the end, contains a general intimation of the propagation of the knowledge of the true God in Egypt and Syria, under the successors of Alexander, and the early reception of the gospel in the same countries.
Isaiah 19:18 Parallel CommentariesAllegiance Almighty Armies Canaan Cities City Destruction Egypt Five Heres Hosts Language Making Oaths Speak Speaking Sun Swear Swearing Towns UsingAllegiance Almighty Armies Canaan Cities City Destruction Egypt Five Heres Hosts Language Making Oaths Speak Speaking Sun Swear Swearing Towns UsingTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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