The Meaning of Isaiah 19:1 Explained

Isaiah 19:1

KJV: The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

YLT: The burden of Egypt. Lo, Jehovah is riding on a swift thick cloud, And He hath entered Egypt, And moved have been the idols of Egypt at His presence, And the heart of Egypt melteth in its midst.

Darby: The burden of Egypt. Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt are moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt melteth in the midst of it.

ASV: The burden of Egypt. Behold, Jehovah rideth upon a swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall tremble at his presence; and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

What does Isaiah 19:1 Mean?

Study Notes

burden
Babylon
The city, Babylon is not in view here, as the immediate context shows. It is important to note the significance of the name when used symbolically. "Babylon" is the Greek form: invariably in the O.T. Hebrew the word is simply Babel, the meaning of which is confusion, and in this sense the word is used symbolically.
(1) In the prophets, when the actual city is not meant, the reference is to the "confusion" into which the whole social order of the world has fallen under Gentile world-domination. (See "Times of the Gentiles," Luke 21:24 ; Revelation 16:14 ; Isaiah 13:4 gives the divine view of the welter of warring Gentile powers. The divine order is given in Isaiah 11. Israel in her own land, the centre of the divine government of the world and channel of the divine blessing; and the Gentiles blessed in association with Israel. Anything else is, politically, mere "babel."
(2) In Revelation 14:8-11 ; Revelation 16:19 the Gentile world-system is in view in connection with Armageddon; Revelation 16:14 ; Revelation 19:21 while in Revelation 17. the reference is to apostate Christianity, destroyed by the nations Revelation 17:16 headed up under the Beast; Daniel 7:8 ; Revelation 19:20 and false prophet. In Isaiah the political Babylon is in view, literally as to the then existing city, and symbolically as to the times of the Gentiles. In the Revelation both the symbolical- political and symbolical-religious Babylon are in view, for there both are alike under the tyranny of the Beast. Religious Babylon is destroyed by political Babylon Revelation 17:16 political Babylon by the appearing of the Lord Revelation 19:19-21 . That Babylon the city is not to be rebuilt is clear from; Isaiah 13:19-22 ; Jeremiah 51:24-26 ; Jeremiah 51:62-64 . By political Babylon is meant the Gentile world-system. (See "World,"; John 7:7 ; Revelation 13:8 ) It may be added that, in Scripture symbolism, Egypt stands for the world as such; Babylon for the world of corrupt power and corrupted religion; Nineveh for the pride, the haughty glory of the world.
A "burden," Heb. massa= a heavy, weighty thing, is a message, or oracle concerning Babylon, Assyria, Jerusalem, etc. It is "heavy" because the wrath of God is in it, and grievous for the prophet to declare.
Babylon
The city, Babylon is not in view here, as the immediate context shows. It is important to note the significance of the name when used symbolically. "Babylon" is the Greek form: invariably in the O.T. Hebrew the word is simply Babel, the meaning of which is confusion, and in this sense the word is used symbolically.
(1) In the prophets, when the actual city is not meant, the reference is to the "confusion" into which the whole social order of the world has fallen under Gentile world-domination. (See "Times of the Gentiles," Luke 21:24 ; Revelation 16:14 ; Isaiah 13:4 gives the divine view of the welter of warring Gentile powers. The divine order is given in Isaiah 11. Israel in her own land, the centre of the divine government of the world and channel of the divine blessing; and the Gentiles blessed in association with Israel. Anything else is, politically, mere "babel."
(2) In Revelation 14:8-11 ; Revelation 16:19 the Gentile world-system is in view in connection with Armageddon; Revelation 16:14 ; Revelation 19:21 while in Revelation 17. the reference is to apostate Christianity, destroyed by the nations Revelation 17:16 headed up under the Beast; Daniel 7:8 ; Revelation 19:20 and false prophet. In Isaiah the political Babylon is in view, literally as to the then existing city, and symbolically as to the times of the Gentiles. In the Revelation both the symbolical- political and symbolical-religious Babylon are in view, for there both are alike under the tyranny of the Beast. Religious Babylon is destroyed by political Babylon Revelation 17:16 political Babylon by the appearing of the Lord Revelation 19:19-21 . That Babylon the city is not to be rebuilt is clear from; Isaiah 13:19-22 ; Jeremiah 51:24-26 ; Jeremiah 51:62-64 . By political Babylon is meant the Gentile world-system. (See "World,"; John 7:7 ; Revelation 13:8 ) It may be added that, in Scripture symbolism, Egypt stands for the world as such; Babylon for the world of corrupt power and corrupted religion; Nineveh for the pride, the haughty glory of the world.

Verse Meaning

Sovereign Yahweh was about to visit Egypt, and when He did, her idols would prove impotent and her people fearful. He had done this at the time of the Exodus ( Exodus 12:12), but Egypt was to receive a repeat lesson.

Chapter Summary: Isaiah 19

1  The confusion of Egypt
11  The foolishness of their princes
18  The calling of Egypt into the church
23  The covenant of Egypt, Assyria, and Israel

What do the individual words in Isaiah 19:1 mean?

The burden against Egypt Behold Yahweh rides on a cloud swift and will come into Egypt and will totter the idols of Egypt at His presence and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst
מַשָּׂ֖א מִצְרָ֑יִם הִנֵּ֨ה יְהוָ֜ה רֹכֵ֨ב עַל־ עָ֥ב קַל֙ וּבָ֣א מִצְרַ֔יִם וְנָע֞וּ אֱלִילֵ֤י מִצְרַ֙יִם֙ מִפָּנָ֔יו וּלְבַ֥ב מִצְרַ֖יִם יִמַּ֥ס בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ

מַשָּׂ֖א  The  burden  against 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: מַשָּׂא 
Sense: load, bearing, tribute, burden, lifting.
מִצְרָ֑יִם  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.
הִנֵּ֨ה  Behold 
Parse: Interjection
Root: הִנֵּה  
Sense: behold, lo, see, if.
יְהוָ֜ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
רֹכֵ֨ב  rides 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: רָכַב  
Sense: to mount and ride, ride.
עָ֥ב  a  cloud 
Parse: Noun, common singular
Root: עָב 
Sense: darkness, cloud, thicket.
קַל֙  swift 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: קַל  
Sense: swift, light, fleet.
וּבָ֣א  and  will  come 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: בֹּוא 
Sense: to go in, enter, come, go, come in.
מִצְרַ֔יִם  into  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.
וְנָע֞וּ  and  will  totter 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Conjunctive perfect, third person common plural
Root: נוּעַ  
Sense: to quiver, totter, shake, reel, stagger, wander, move, sift, make move, wave, waver, tremble.
אֱלִילֵ֤י  the  idols 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct
Root: אֱלִיל  
Sense: of nought, good for nothing, worthless.
מִצְרַ֙יִם֙  of  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.
מִפָּנָ֔יו  at  His  presence 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, common plural construct, third person masculine singular
Root: לִפְנֵי 
Sense: face.
וּלְבַ֥ב  and  the  heart 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: לֵבָב  
Sense: inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding.
מִצְרַ֖יִם  of  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.
יִמַּ֥ס  will  melt 
Parse: Verb, Nifal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: מָסַס  
Sense: to dissolve, melt.
בְּקִרְבּֽוֹ  in  its  midst 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: קֶרֶב  
Sense: midst, among, inner part, middle.