And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.…
These verses are suggestive of the thousandfold forms of trouble that follow on an unusually low Nile, or the failure of the Nile flood. It is peculiar to the valley of the Nile, and the Delta forming the land of Egypt, that cultivation of the soil depends upon the yearly flooding of the river, which, by canals, sluices, ponds, and ditches, is led over the fields as the great fertilizer. Holy Scripture gives us the picture of supreme distress following on the failure of the Nile for seven successive years in the times of Joseph. The complete dependence of the country on this periodical overflow, and the fact that all agricultural arrangements are adapted to this peculiarity, involved a remarkable helplessness throughout the land when the Nile failed to rise. The people could not do what they were accustomed to do, so they did not know what to do, and could not, in any effective way, make up for this calamity. If their river be dried up, their fruitful land will soon be turned into barrenness, and. their harvests cease. Two things are suggested for consideration.
I. THE WONDERFUL WAY IN WHICH THINGS ARE LINKED TOGETHER. So that failure in one thing brings on a most varied train of evils. The prominent thing here is the failure of the Nile flood; but how many things are found to depend on that! - the basket-trade; the paper-trade; the farmer's trade; the fish-trade; the flax-trade; the net-trade; the builder's trade. So is it still. The cotton supply from America was checked a few years ago, and the consequences reached, in one way or another, all classes of society. Depressions in trade first affect one branch, but presently rise to the highest and descend to the lowest classes of society; and so it is again and again proved that, "we are members one of another."
II. THE WONDERFUL WAY IN WHICH ALL PROSPERITY IS MADE DEPENDENT ON THE FIRST GIFTS OF GOD. Man's riches are God's gifts. Man can never add to the wealth of the world by exchanges, which only vary the possessors. Air, rain, sunshine, water, electricity, coal, increase from field and beast, are man's riches; and these are first things that are absolutely dependent on God, and out of man's control. God withholds the rains, and a nation is in misery; God tempers the air, and plague sweeps away the multitudes; God stops the flood, and Egypt pines away in its helplessness. The source of all real good is God, in whose hands are the very springs and sources of all human happiness and prosperity. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.