From the series of the Oracles of Isaiah.
Isaiah 19 – Egyptian Civil War
A Historicist explanation of Isaiah’s prophecy of a civil war in Egypt.
We start out with the Lord coming on a swift cloud in judgment, sound familiar? Just like in Matt 24. As we explain in Matt 24 the Lord’s coming is always judgment it is not the RETURN of the Lord, nor does it mean that He is physically present. The Egyptians in verse 2 will fight each other. This would be the grandson of Pharaoh Necho II, the grandson’s name was Apries (a.k.a. Pharaoh-Hophra), a pharaoh of Egypt (589 BC – 570 BC), of the Twenty-sixth dynasty, he is called Hophra in Jeremiah 44:30.
Necho II had taken the Egyptian empire to beyond the Euphrates, but as the Babylonia Empire grew they were pushed back, Apries tried to protect Jerusalem from the Babylonians but this effort ended in complete failure. When his troops returned to Egypt from Jerusalem they began to revolt. Just as he was putting this insurrection down he suffered another loss on his eastern border where he had attempted to put down an incursion by Greek forces in Libya. His defeated the army on returning from this second failure started a full out civil war. During this civil war Apries’ general Amasis declared himself pharaoh in 570 BC, forcing Apries to flee. With the assistance of the Babylonian army, Apries marched back to Egypt in 567 BC to reclaim his throne. It is believed that he was killed in battle with Amasis’ forces. Amasis managed to push back and hold off the Babylonians, and was fortunate to have died in 526 BC shortly before the Persians attacked. In 525 BC six months after Amasis’ son Psamtik III came to the throne the Persian (the fierce king of vs 4) began their final assault. Egypt became a vassal of the Persian Empire.
In vs 5-11 the Nile is dried up. This is not the physical Nile running dry of water. Water in the symbolic language of Biblical prophecy represents the people and nations [Rev. 17:15]. So here in Isaiah the drying of the Nile represents the loss of their national independence. The oldest civilization in history was no longer an independent nation. From this point on they belonged to one Empire after another until 1920’s when the Ottoman Empire fell apart. The League of Nations gave the British controlled the area and that lasted till 1952. They then reappeared as an independent nation, in fulfillment of [Rev 16:12] where the Euphrates (or Ottoman Empire) is said to dry up.
In vs 12-16 it is explains how Egypt made one poor decision after another. All the screams of man are of no value, if God has destined your path for destruction.
And the land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians; every one to whom it is mentioned will fear because of the purpose which the LORD of hosts has purposed against them. Is. 19:17
During the Babylonian Empire the Jews had been deported to Babylon. Were they posted no threat to Egypt. With the coming of the Persians, the Jews were returned to their land. They naturally functioned as a buffer between the Egyptians and the Persian armies. Any thoughts of independence was met with having to fight through Judea just to get at the Persians.
Excavation on Elephantine
In vs 20 -21 there is a description a temple to God in Egypt. There was in fact a working temple to the God of the Bible in Egypt in antiquity. At some point before Egypt fell to the Persians the Jews had built a second temple on Elephantine Island with an altar. We know this because in a letter written in 407 BC to Bagoas, the Persian governor of Judea asking permission from the Persian Empire to rebuild and repair it. The letter claims that it was there from the time of the kingdom of Egypt.
In vs 23 we are told that they speak one language. They all spoke one language, Greek. The entire Old Testament was translated into the Greek language, and is referred to as the Septuagint or the LXX because it is said that 70 scholars worked on it in Alexandria Egypt. The city of the sun is Helioplis.
In vs 24 both the nations of Egypt and Assyria, were inhabited by large numbers of Jews during the Greek Empires, building many synagogues and teaching that there is only one God. The Hellenistic world was ready for a change. Since the time of the philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, they had begun to question the reality of their gods. The gods that raped, murdered, stole, and cheated were clearly not the best foundation for a society. Pagans were eager for only one God with a firm set of rules. Christianity was the perfect answer for this quandary. Buy the time Constantine made Christianity the state religion in 313 AD. There were few pagans left in what became the Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire.
whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.” Is. 19:25
This blessing lasted until the Moslem hoards like locust came out of the east and slowly ate away at the empire till the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Which is covered in the prophecies of The Revelation.
The dispensationalist will have you believe that there will be a future temple, tribulation, or antichrist, in these Isaiah oracles, but they are just not here. There is nothing here that is unfulfilled. Don’t get caught up in their lazy hermeneutic of, “if I don’t know the history then it is still to happen.” We are somewhere between the 6th and 7th bowls of Revelation 16.