Isaiah 19:24
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth,

King James Bible
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

American Standard Version
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth;

Douay-Rheims Bible
In that day shall Israel be the third to the Egyptian and the Assyrian: a blessing in the midst of the land,

English Revised Version
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth:

Webster's Bible Translation
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

Isaiah 19:24 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

At first there is only slavish fear; but there is the beginning of a turn to something better. "In that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt speaking the language of Canaan, and swearing to Jehovah of hosts: 'Ir ha-Heres will one be called." Five cities are very few for Egypt, which was completely covered with cities; but this is simply a fragmentary commencement of Egypt's future and complete conversion. The description given of them, as beginning to speak the language of Canaan, i.e., the sacred language of the worship of Jehovah (comp. Zephaniah 3:9), and to give themselves up to Jehovah with vows made on oath, is simply a periphrastic announcement of the conversion of the five cities. ל נשׁבּע (different from בּ נשׁבּע, Isaiah 65:16, as Isaiah 45:23 clearly shows) signifies to swear to a person, to promise him fidelity, to give one's self up to him. One of these five will be called ‛Ir ha-Heres. As this is evidently intended for a proper name, lâ'echât does not mean unicuique, as in Judges 8:18 and Ezekiel 1:6, but uni. It is a customary thing with Isaiah to express the nature of anything under the form of some future name (vid., Isaiah 4:3; Isaiah 32:5; Isaiah 61:6; Isaiah 62:4). The name in this instance, therefore, must have a distinctive and promising meaning.

But what does ‛Ir ha-Heres mean? The Septuagint has changed it into πόλις ἀσεδέκ, equivalent to ‛Ir hazzedek (city of righteousness), possibly in honour of the temple in the Heliopolitan nomos, which was founded under Ptolemaeus Philometor about 160 b.c., during the Syrian reign of terror, by Onias IV, son of the high priest Onias III, who emigrated to Egypt.

(Note: See Frankel on this Egyptian auxiliary temple, in his Monatschrift fr Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, 1852, p. 273ff.; Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, iii. 460ff., 557ff.; and Grtz, Geschichte der Juden, iii.36ff.)

Maurer in his Lexicon imagines that he has found the true meaning, when he renders it "city of rescue;" but the progressive advance from the meaning "to pull off' to that of "setting free" cannot be established in the case of the verb hâras; in fact, hâras does not mean to pull off or pull out, but to pull down. Heres cannot have any other meaning in Hebrew than that of "destruction." But as this appears unsuitable, it is more natural to read ‛Ir ha-cheres (which is found in some codices, though in opposition to the Masora).

(Note: But no Greek codex has the reading πόλις ἀχερές (see Holmes-Parsons' V. T. Graecum c. var. lect. t. iv. on this passage), as the Complutensian has emended it after the Vulgate (see the Vocabluarium Hebr. 37a, belonging to the Complutensian).)

This is now generally rendered "city of protection" (Rosenmller, Ewald, Knobel, and Meier), as being equivalent to an Arabic word signifying divinitus protecta. But such an appeal to the Arabic is contrary to all Hebrew usage, and is always a very precarious loophole. ‛Ir ha-cheres would mean "city of the sun" (cheres as in Job 9:7 and Judges 14:18), as the Talmud in the leading passage concerning the Onias temple (in b. Menahoth 110a) thinks that even the received reading may be understood in accordance with Job 9:7, and says "it is a description of the sun." "Sun-city" was really the name of one of the most celebrated of the old Egyptian cities, viz., Heliopolis, the city of the sun-god Ra, which was situated to the north-east of Memphis, and is called On in other passages of the Old Testament. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 30:17) alters this into Aven, for the purpose of branding the idolatry of the city.

(Note: Heliopolis answers to the sacred name Pe-ra, house of the sun-god (like Pe-Ramesses, house of Ramses), which was a name borne by the city that was at other times called On (old Egyptian anu). Cyrill, however, explains even the latter thus, Ὤν δέ ἐστι κατ ̓ αὐτοὺς ὁ ἤλιος ("On, according to their interpretation, is the sun"), which is so far true according to Lauth, that Ain, Oin, Oni, signifies the eye as an emblem of the sun; and from this, the tenth month, which marks the return of the sun to the equinoctial point, derives its name of Pa-oni, Pa-one, Pa-uni. It may possibly be with reference to this that Heliopolis is called Ain es-sems in Arabic (see Arnold, Chrestom. Arab. p. 56 s.). Edrisi (iii. 3) speaks of this Ain es-sems as "the country-seat of Pharaoh, which may God curse;" just as Bin el-Faraun is a common expression of contempt, which the Arabs apply to the Coptic fellahs.)

But this alteration of the well-attested text is a mistake; and the true explanation is, that Ir-hahares is simply used with a play upon the name Ir-hacheres. This is the explanation given by the Targum: "Heliopolis, whose future fate will be destruction." But even if the name is intended to have a distinctive and promising meaning, it is impossible to adopt the explanation given by Luzzatto, "a city restored from the ruins;" for the name points to destruction, not to restoration. Moreover, Heliopolis never has been restored since the time of its destruction, which Strabo dates as far back as the Persian invasion. There is nothing left standing now out of all its monuments but one granite obelisk: they are all either destroyed, or carried away, like the so-called "Cleopatra's Needle," or sunk in the soil of the Nile (Parthey on Plutarch, de Iside, p. 162). This destruction cannot be the one intended. But hâras is the word commonly used to signify the throwing down of heathen altars (Judges 6:25; 1 Kings 18:30; 1 Kings 19:10, 1 Kings 19:14); and the meaning of the prophecy may be, that the city which had hitherto been ‛Ir-ha-cheres, the chief city of the sun-worship, would become the city of the destruction of idolatry, as Jeremiah prophesies in Isaiah 43:13, "Jehovah will break in pieces the obelisks of the sun-temple in the land of Egypt." Hence Herzfeld's interpretation: "City of demolished Idols". It is true that in this case ha-heres merely announces the breaking up of the old, and does not say what new thing will rise upon the ruins of the old; but the context leaves no doubt as to this new thing, and the one-sided character of the description is to be accounted for from the intentional play upon the actual name of that one city out of the five to which the prophet gives especial prominence. With this interpretation - for which indeed we cannot pretend to find any special confirmation in the actual fulfilment in the history of the church, and, so to speak, the history of missions - the train of thought in the prophet's mind which led to the following groove of promises is a very obvious one.

Isaiah 19:24 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Isaiah 6:13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them...

Isaiah 49:6,22 And he said, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel...

Isaiah 65:8,22 Thus said the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one said, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it...

Isaiah 66:12,19-21 For thus said the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream...

Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O you nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries...

Psalm 117:1 O praise the LORD, all you nations: praise him, all you people.

Zechariah 2:10,11 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, see, I come, and I will dwell in the middle of you, said the LORD...

Zechariah 8:20-23 Thus said the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities...

Luke 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture said, Whoever believes on him shall not be ashamed...

Romans 15:9-12,27 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to you among the Gentiles...

a blessing

Isaiah 65:8 Thus said the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one said, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it...

Genesis 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing:

Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season...

Zechariah 8:13 And it shall come to pass, that as you were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you...

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ...

Cross References
Isaiah 19:23
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

Isaiah 19:25
whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."

Isaiah 27:13
And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Zechariah 8:13
And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong."

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