In that day shall Egypt be like to women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts…
I. THE EFFECT OF JUDGMENT. The hind will be like timid and trembling women, for the mighty hand of Jehovah will be brandished aloft in judgment. Whenever it is felt that Divine power is working on the side of the foe, the most warlike nations lose heart. "God with us!" - a watchword that nerves the feeblest arm, and fills the faintest heart with courage. "God against us!" - the hand of the bravest hangs down, the knees of the stoutest tremble. Judah, Jehovah's seat of empire, will be a terror to the proud land of Egypt. The seeming weakest community, the most insignificant individual, will be a power if the truth is operating through it. It is not magnitude that is appalling; it is spiritual force. Men will shudder at the Name of Judah; it will be a symbol of a purpose never successfully resisted. But when thus the prospect is at its darkest for Egypt, a light of hope glimmers.
II. PROMISES OF GOOD.
1. A view of Egypt's conversion to the true religion here opens. There will be five cities speaking the tongue of Canaan, or Hebrew, the language of the worship of Jehovah. They will take the oath of loyalty to him. And it seems that the city known as "city of the sun" shall be called" city of the breaking down of idolatrous altars." And an altar of the true religion, with the pillar marking the holy place, will be seen, visibly witnessing to the Lord of hosts in the land. There is now a covenant between Jehovah and the repentant and restored land. He will no longer be their Foe, but their Friend; and when they cry to him, in the midst of distress and oppression, he will hearken, and send a Helper and Deliverer. The people will sacrifice to him, and he will make himself known; Whether in the land or at Jerusalem (comp. Zechariah 14:16-19) is not stated.
2. This cannot be without previous suffering. Never does conversion from evil, from obstinate persistence in it, occur without suffering. But the suffering is beneficent, inflicted by love. God smites to heal. It is a thought echoed back from many a page: "I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and heal; He has torn, and he will heal us; hath smitten, and will bind us up;" "He wounds, and his hands make whole" (Deuteronomy 32:39; Hosea 6:1; Job 5:18). The fire of his wrath consumes, but purifies. "Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the Name of Jehovah, to serve him with one consent" (Zephaniah 3:8, 9). There lives a fund of pity in the heart and constitution of nature - compassion in Jehovah, the Hebrew prophet said (Jeremiah 12:14, 15). "God does not punish that he may punish, but that he may humble; wherefore, when humility is produced, his punishments proceed no further. God is of too great mercy to triumph over a prostrate soul" (South).
III. THE HAPPY RESULT. Peace replacing war, trust substituted for mutual hate. There is to be intercourse between Egypt and Assyria, a free highway between the two lands. Nay, there shall be a triple alliance, Israel being the third, and blessing is thus to be diffused over all the earth. Where Jehovah's blessing is, there is and must be prosperity. Thus have the clouds dispersed, and the golden year seems to have begun, "peace lying like a lane of beams across the sea, like a shaft of light athwart the land." PERSONAL APPLICATION. To avoid national judgment, to secure the Divine favor, let each inquire into his own sins. Personal sins bring down national judgments. If there were no personal, there could be no national sin. In punishing the many, God does not overlook the individual. There is no suffering of a nation without the suffering of its members, no repentance which is not that of men one by one, no prosperity and favor which is not reflected from a million faces and hearts. There is infinite ground of hope from the promises of God, and from their actual fulfillment. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.