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?
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?
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?'
Isaiah 19:11 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Surely the princes - The following verses, to Isaiah 19:16, are designed to describe further the calamities that were coming upon Egypt by a want of wisdom in their rulers. They would be unable to devise means to meet the impending calamities, and would actually increase the national misery by their unwise counsels. The word 'princes' here is taken evidently for the rulers or counselors of state.
Of Zoan - The Vulgate, Septuagint, and Chaldee, render this 'Tanis.' Zoan was doubtless the Tans of the Greeks (Herod. ii. 166), and was a city of Lower Egypt, built, according to Moses Numbers 13:22, seven years after Hebron. It is mentioned in Psalm 78:12; Isaiah 19:11, Isaiah 19:13; Isaiah 30:4; Ezekiel 30:14. It was at the entrance of the Tanitic mouth of the Nile, and gave name to it. Its ruins still exist, and there are seen there at present numerous blocks of granite, seven obelisks of granite, and a statue of Isis. It was the capital of the dynasty of the Tanitish kings until the time of Psammetichus; it was at this place principally that the miracles done by Moses were performed. 'Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers in the land of Egypt; in the field of Zoan' Psalm 78:12. Its ruins are still called "San," a slight change of the word Zoan. The Ostium Taniticum is now the "Omm Faredje."
Are fools - They are unable to meet by their counsels the impending calamities. Perhaps their folly was evinced by their flattering their sovereign, and by exciting him to plans that tended to the ruin, rather than the welfare of the kingdom.
The wise counselors of Pharaoh - Pharaoh was the common name of the kings of Egypt in the same way as "Caesar" became afterward the common name of the Roman emperors - and the king who is here intended by Pharaoh is probably Psammetichus (see the note at Isaiah 19:4).
How say ye ... - Why do you "flatter" the monarch? Why remind him of his ancestry? Why attempt to inflate him with the conception of his own wisdom? This was, and is, the common practice of courtiers; and in this way kings are often led to measures most ruinous to their subjects.
LibraryExposition of the Moral Law.
1. The Law was committed to writing, in order that it might teach more fully and perfectly that knowledge, both of God and of ourselves, which the law of nature teaches meagrely and obscurely. Proof of this, from an enumeration of the principal parts of the Moral Law; and also from the dictate of natural law, written on the hearts of all, and, in a manner, effaced by sin. 2. Certain general maxims. 1. From the knowledge of God, furnished by the Law, we learn that God is our Father and Ruler. Righteousness …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Covenanting Predicted in Prophecy.
"Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.
1 Corinthians 1:20
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
Then Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?"
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.
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.
He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
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