Isaiah 30:2
That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
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(2) To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh.—Literally, the fortress of Pharaoh, used as the symbol of his kingdom: This, then, was the course into which even Hezekiah had been led or driven, and it had been done without consulting Isaiah as the recognised prophet of Jehovah. For the “shadow of Egypt” see Note on Isaiah 18:1.

30:1-7 It was often the fault and folly of the Jews, that when troubled by their neighbours on one side, they sought for succour from others, instead of looking up to God. Nor can we avoid the dreadful consequences of adding sin to sin, but by making the righteousness of Christ our refuge, and seeking for the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Men have always been prone to lean to their own understandings, but this will end in their shame and misery. They would not trust in God. They took much pains to gain the Egyptians. The riches so spent turned to a bad account. See what dangers men run into who forsake God to follow their carnal confidences. The Creator is the Rock of ages, the creature a broken reed; we cannot expect too little from man, or too much from God. Our strength is to sit still, in humble dependence upon God and his goodness, and quiet submission to his will.That walk to go down to Egypt - Hebrew, 'Going in the descent to Egypt.' That is, they do it by their ambassadors Isaiah 30:4. The journey to Egypt from Palestine is always represented as going down Genesis 12:10; Genesis 42:3; Genesis 43:15; Numbers 20:15; Deuteronomy 10:22.

To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh - To form an alliance with Pharaoh, that thus they might be able to repel the threatened invasion. Pharaoh was the general name of the kings of Egypt, in the same manner as Caesar was the common name of the emperors of Rome.

To trust in the shadow of Egypt - A 'shadow' (צל tsêl) is an emblem of protection and defense, as a shade is a protection from the burning rays of the sun (see the note at Isaiah 4:6).

2. walk—are now setting out, namely, their ambassadors (Isa 30:4).

Egypt—See on [742]Isa 19:1; [743]Isa 20:1.

Pharaoh—the generic name of the kings of Egypt, as Cæsar was at Rome. The word in Egyptian means "king" [Josephus, Antiquities, 8.6,2]. Phra, "the sun," was the hieroglyphic symbol and title of the king.

shadow—image from shelter against heat: protection (Ps 121:5, 6).

That walk to go down into Egypt; that send ambassadors to Egypt for succour, as we read, Isaiah 30:4, which the Jews were forward to do upon all occasions, and did now upon the invasion of the king of Assyria, as is evident from Isaiah 20:5,6, and did the like against the king of Babylon, Jeremiah 37:7 Ezekiel 17:15.

Have not asked at my mouth; either by the priests or prophets, as they were to do in weighty cases; of which see Numbers 27:21 Joshua 9:14 1 Samuel 23:9,10 1 Kings 22:7 Jeremiah 21:2 42:2,20; or by studying my word, which plainly directs them to another course, and forbids them this practice.

In the shadow; in their power (as it is in the foregoing clause) and protection, which is oft signified by the shadow, as Judges 9:15 Psalm 17:8 91:1,4.

That walk to go down into Egypt,.... That walk out of their own land to go thither; who sent messengers thither to form an alliance, and get help and assistance, or went in person, to secure themselves from present danger. Jarchi refers this to the times of Hoshea, the son of Elah, king of Israel, who sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, 2 Kings 17:4. Jerom to the times of Jeremiah, to the history in his prophecy, Jeremiah 41:17 and others to Zedekiah. Kimchi thinks it respects the time of Ahaz, though there is no account, either in the books of Kings or Chronicles, of sending then to Egypt for help; or else to the times of Hezekiah himself; which latter is right, as appears from the insults of Rabshakeh, when Sennacherib's army was before Jerusalem, Isaiah 36:6,

and have not asked at my mouth: or as the Targum,

"the words of my prophets they have not asked;''

they did not inquire of the prophets of the Lord, whether they should go down or not:

to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh; by making an alliance with him, and receiving men and horses from him, to assist them against the Assyrians; this Pharaoh was he whom the Scriptures call So, 2 Kings 17:4 and by other writers, Sevechus and Sethon:

and to trust in the shadow of Egypt; the protection that would afford them, in which they placed their confidence, and thought themselves safe from their other enemy, by having so powerful an ally; but this was but a shadow, as are whatsoever men trust in short of the Lord himself, be they riches or righteousness, or any creature or creature enjoyment.

That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
2. and have not asked at my mouth] “have not consulted my prophet” (for the expression cf. Joshua 9:14; Genesis 24:57).

to strengthen themselves … Egypt] Rather: to take refuge in the refuge of Pharaoh, and to hide in the shadow of Egypt.

Verse 2. - That walk; or, are on their way (comp. Isaiah 31:1). Either the Jewish ambassadors have already started, or the anticipatory vision of the prophet sees them as if starting. In the history (2 Kings 18:13-37; Isaiah 36:1-22) it is not expressly said that Hezekiah made application to Egypt for aid; but the reproaches of Rabshakeh (2 Kings 18:21, 24) would be pointless if he had not done so. Have not asked at my mouth. As they ought to have done (see Numbers 27:21; Judges 1:1; Judges 20:18; 1 Samuel 23:2; 1 Kings 22:7, etc.). To strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh. It is very uncertain who is the "Pharaoh" here intended. The supreme power over Egypt was probably, at the time, in the hands of Tirkakah (2 Kings 19:9); but Lower Egypt seems to have been ruled by various princes, the chief of whom was Shabatok, and any one of these may have been regarded by Isaiah as a "Pharaoh." To trust in the shadow of Egypt. Trust in the "shadow of God" was an expression very familiar to the Jews (see Psalm 17:8; Psalm 36:7; Psalm 63:7; Psalm 91:1; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 32:2). To "trust in the shadow of Egypt" was to put Egypt in the place of God. Isaiah 30:2The plan which, according to Isaiah 29:15, was already projected and prepared in the deepest secrecy, is now much further advanced. The negotiations by means of ambassadors have already been commenced; but the prophet condemns what he can no longer prevent. "Woe to the stubborn children, saith Jehovah, to drive plans, and not by my impulse, and to plait alliance, and not according to my Spirit, to heap sin upon sin: that go away to travel down to Egypt, without having asked my mouth, to fly to Pharaoh's shelter, and to conceal themselves under the shadow of Egypt. And Pharaoh's shelter becomes a shame to them, and the concealment under the shadow of Egypt a disgrace. For Judah's princes have appeared in Zoan, and his ambassadors arrive in Hanes. They will all have to be ashamed of a people useless to them, that brings no help and no use, but shame, and also reproach." Sōrerı̄m is followed by infinitives with Lamed (cf., Isaiah 5:22; Isaiah 3:8): who are bent upon it in their obstinacy. Massēkhâh designates the alliance as a plait (massēkheth). According to Cappellus and others, it designates it as formed with a libation (σπονδη, from σπένδεσθαι); but the former is certainly the more correct view, inasmuch as massēkhâh (from nâsakh, fundere) signifies a cast, and hence it is more natural here to take nâsakh as equivalent to sâkhakh, plectere (Jerome: ordiremini telam). The context leaves no doubt as to the meaning of the adverbial expressions ולא־מנּי and ולא־רוּחי, viz., without its having proceeded from me, and without my Spirit being there. "Sin upon sin:" inasmuch as they carry out further and further to perfect realization the thought which was already a sinful one in itself. The prophet now follows for himself the ambassadors, who are already on the road to the country of the Nile valley. He sees them arrive in Zoan, and watches them as they proceed thence into Hanes. He foresees and foretells what a disgraceful opening of their eyes will attend the reward of this untheocratical beginning. On lâ‛ōz b', see at Isaiah 10:31 : ‛ōz is the infinitive constr. of ‛ūz; mâ‛ōz, on the contrary, is a derivative of ‛âzaz, to be strong. The suffixes of שׂריו (his princes) and מלאכיו (his ambassadors) are supposed by Hitzig, Ewald, and Knobel, who take a different view of what is said, to refer to the princes and ambassadors of Pharaoh. But this is by no means warranted on the ground that the prophet cannot so immediately transfer to Zoan and Hanes the ambassadors of Judah, who were still on their journey according to Isaiah 30:2. The prophet's vision overleaps the existing stage of the desire for this alliance; he sees the great men of his nation already suing for the favour of Egypt, first of all in Zoan, and then still further in Hanes, and at once foretells the shameful termination of this self-desecration of the people of Jehovah. The lxx give for יגיעוּ חנּס, μάτην κοπιάσουσιν, i.e., ייגעוּ סהנּם, and Knobel approves this reading; but it is a misunderstanding, which only happens to have fallen out a little better this time than the rendering ὡς Δαυίδ given for כּדּוּר in Isaiah 29:3. If chinnâm had been the original reading, it would hardly have entered any one's mind to change it into chânēs. The latter was the name of a city on an island of the Nile in Central Egypt, the later Heracleopolis (Eg. Hnēs; Ehnēs), the Anysis of Herodotus (ii. 137). On Zoan, see at Isaiah 19:11. At that time the Tanitic dynasty was reigning, the dynasty preceding the Ethiopian. Tanis and Anysis were the two capitals. הבאישׁ ( equals היבשׁ equals ( ה, a metaplastic hiphil of יבשׁ equals בּושׁ, a different word from יבשׁ) is incorrectly pointed for הבאישׁ, like ריאשׁנה (keri) for ראישׁנה in Joshua 21:10. הבאישׁ signifies elsewhere, "to make stinking" (to calumniate, Proverbs 13:5), or "to come into ill odour" (1 Samuel 27:12); here, however, it means to be put to shame (בּאשׁ equals בּושׁ).
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