Isaiah: Chapter 19 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome, Family! We're spending 2024 with the prophet Isaiah. While we claim no expertise, we're excited to sit with you as we both learn at the feet of Jesus. Each month, we offer a calendar that outlines daily exercises (adapted from Jenn Wilkin's Women of the Word Bible study process) to progress through Isaiah. Download  April's calendar to begin with us and witness what we uncovered in our weekly "Wolfe Note" postings.

A man leads a camel with pyramids in the background. Text overlay quotes Isaiah 19:21


  1. Different Versions Noting and clarifying differences between LEB & ISV.
  2. Annotation My thoughts, connections, clarifications, and questions.
  3. Research God's titles for Egypt, Assyria, and Israel.
  4. Summary An approximately twenty word overview of the chapter.
  5. Memorize Why I chose to memorize Isaiah 19:21-22
  6. Cross References Of Isaiah 19:21-22.
  7. Respond Based on reflections on God's character and my own.

Different Versions

I read Chapter 19 in the Lexham English Bible (LEB) and the International Standard Version (ISV). The LEB is a word-for-word and the ISV is a thought-for-thought.

Major differences I noticed (*My thoughts alone are in italics and designated with an asterisk.):
  • "And the rivers will become foul-smelling," LEB v. "The canals will stink," ISV. Verse 6. *But the KJV says nothing about a smell: "And they shall turn the rivers far away;".
  • "branches" LEB v. "tributaries" ISV. Verse 6. *But, "brooks of defence" in KJV.
  • "and those who weave white linen" LEB v. "the weavers of white linen" ISV. Verse 9. *But "they that weave networks", in KJV.
  • "all the hired workers will be grieved of heart." LEB v. "all who work for wages will be sick at heart." ISV. Verse 10. *But "all that make sluices and ponds for fish" in KJV.
  • "Memphis" LEB v. "Memphis" ISV. Verse 13. *But "Noph" in KJV.
  • "And there will be nothing" LEB v. "there will be nothing" ISV. Verse 15. *But "neither shall there be any work for Egypt" in KJV. Which ties it back to verses 5-10 unlike the other two versions.
  • "City of the Sun" LEB v. "City of the Sun" ISV. Verse 18. *But the KJV calls it "City of Destruction."
  • "a savior and a defender" LEB v. "a savior, and he will come down and rescue them." ISV. Verse 20. *And KJV says "a saviour, and a great one,". The LEB and KJV could be read as two people  are being sent. ISV interestingly adds "come down" which implies heavenly assistance.
  • "will worship" LEB v. "will worship" ISV. Verse 23. *But the KJV, "will serve". Our service is a form of worship, however just one part of worship.
*Conclusions: The LEB and ISV are mostly similar with contrast coming from the KJV. The most notable difference for me was City of Sun v. City of Destruction in verse 10. The KJV projects a contrasting mood.


Notes on my process*Denotes my thoughts alone. ! Denotes a connection. Researched quick answers are in italics. *Indicates a topic with more extensive notes under the research heading.
  1. God is Coming to Egypt (v1)
    1. When God comes to Egypt, its idols tremble and its courage is lost. v1
  2. The People are Affected  (v2-4)
    1. Everyone is in conflict with each other. v2
    2. Disturbed and confused, Egyptians consult idols and spirits.
      • Is the "disturbed spirit" an actual spirit or is it metaphorical?  v3
    3. God will choose a harsh, powerful king to rule Egypt. v4
  3. The Land is Affected (v5-7)
    1. The waters will dry, plants will wither, and the land will be barren. v5-7
      • But the word of our Lord remains forever! Isaiah 40:8
  4. The Workers will be Affected (v8-10)
    1. Fishermen, weavers, and all who work for money will mourn. v8-10
      1. What will cause productivity to be harmed?
      2. Why are fishermen and weavers specifically named?
  5. Leadership is Affected (v11-15)
    1. The wisest of Pharoah's advisors offer foolish counsel. v11
      • Where is Zoan?
      • ? Does the description the advisors use to justify their position suggest shame brought on their ancestors?
    2. Yet, even they are equipped enough to understand the devastation God will bring. v12
    3. Egypt is lost, confused, and stupid because of its leadership which Yahweh has confused. v13-14
    4. And it is not within Egypt's power to fix it. v15
      • ? How does head or tail, palm branch or reed relate to Egypt's inability to fix the devastation brought on Israel by God? 
  6. The Faithful will be Awakened (v16-22)
    1. Egypt shakes with fear with the mention of Judah because of Yahweh's actions.
    2. Five cities within Egypt will join Yahweh's nation in spirit and truth.
      1. What are the 5 cities?
      2. ? Does speaking the language signify that they adopt their culture?
      3. ? What is the significance of "City of the Sun / (Destruction KJV)"?
      4. ? Might the alter in the middle represent the heart or spirit of the faithful in Egypt and the pillars on the borders proclaim the truth they've discovered to the outside world?
    3. When the faithful cry out in their oppression, God will deliver them, and everyone watching will know He is God.
    4. Egypt will then faithfully worship Yahweh.
    5. Yahweh will refine them, respond to their prayers, and heal them.
      1. ? Has this happened? Some believe its fulfillment is spoken of in Jeremiah 44. However, it's an incomplete fulfillment. So, no, it hasn't happened yet, but it will happen at the second coming. See Isaiah 2:1-4. (
  7. The Nations will Unify (v23-24)
    1. Egypt and Assyria will unite in worship to Yahweh.
      1. Has this happened?
    2. Israel will join them to form a blessing in the middle of the earth.
      1. ! They are in the middle of the earth!
      2. ? Does this trinity of nations in any way connect to the Holy Trinity?
      3. ? Egypt and Assyria both oppressed Israel and now there is peace? This would be a scandalous prophesy in Isaiah's day(
      4. ? Why is each nation called something different, yet each one is God's possession? *R


*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.
Why are Egypt, Assyria, and Israel each given distinctive titles from God? (v25)

Egypt: My People (God?)

  • *Egypt is the last nation we'd expect God to reference as "His people". Egypt, the land that echoes God's voice (through Moses) demanding Pharoah to, "Let my people go." (Exodus 9:1) But, choosing the last nation we would expect God to choose is certainly in line with His character. Might this demand to, "Let my people go," pertain not only to the nation of Israel, but for all God's people held captive everywhere. Thus, a command not just to the human Pharoah but to our spiritual enemy, Satan. 
  • Once Egypt becomes alienated, now the Lord can claim it. (Ellicott)
    • Hosea 1:9-10 KJV: Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.

Assyria: The Work of My Hands (Holy Spirit?)

  • This is the nation that was hated by Jonah. They were known for being a brutal and callously cruel nation that was fiercely hated. (Grogan cited at Enduring Word)
  • Creation. This is the instrument that did God's work - see Isaiah 10:15, and 37:26. (Ellicott)
  • Conversion, God's work throughout scripture - see Ephesians 2:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 100:3, Hosea 2:23 - is here manifested in God's work in Assyria. (Barnes & Jamieson-Fausset-Brown)

Israel: My Inheritance (Jesus?)

  • Is the most eminent and blessed. It becomes a conduit pipe for blessing through Christ first, then the establishment of the church and ordinances that follow. (Poole)
  • Heir: this is the earliest history of the church and still obtains universal recognition. (Keil and Delitzsch)
  • Where God will always find His rest and home for the Lord's portion is His people. See Ephesians 1:18 (Meyer cited at Enduring Word)

Trinity: Three Nations As One

  • Egypt and Assyria were the most obstinate and malicious nations to God's church and as such were specially accursed by God, representatively so for all Gentiles. (Poole) *Which reminds me of Paul who calls himself the worst of sinners (I Timothy 1:15-16). Yet God chose Paul (Ephesians 1:1) to spread the gospel, to explain mysteries set in place since the beginning of creation to the world (Colossians 1:25-26). It's like God is saying "I can redeem the worst of them, so I can redeem you too."
  • Reasons to Believe suggests that Isaiah 19:20-21 references the trinity.
  • *At this point, it's simply a connection for me: three separate nations coming together as one is a trinity and I'm still pondering if it represents in any way the Holy Trinity.
*Conclusions: Each title given reflects each nation's unique relationship with God throughout its history. Each title holds significance. Moreover, because the three nations are now unified, each title is equally applicable to each nation. Personally, each title - by the grace of God - is now extended to you, and to me.


God's interaction with Egypt yields miraculously restorative results that ultimately unites Egypt, Assyria, and Israel under God.


I chose to memorize Isaiah 19:21-22.
And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

These verses summarize a believer's relationship with God, including the back and forth. It will remind me that life with God is not always rainbows and butterflies. Good times come and good times go, but the JOY comes in knowing Him more and more, in observing the process of Him healing me, and in responding with praise to who He is and what He has done, is doing, and will do.

Cross References

*Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.

Of Isaiah 19:21-22: 

And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day,...
We will come to know (awaken to) Him; He has known us from our beginning
  • Jeremiah 1:5 KJV: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
  • Isaiah 45:14 LEB: Thus says Yahweh: "The acquisition of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush and the Sabeans, tall men, shall pass over to you; they shall be yours, and they shall walk behind you. They shall pass over in chains, and they shall bow down to you; they will pray to you: 'Surely God is with you, and there is no other. Besides him there is no God.'"
  • Isaiah 49:7 ISV: "This is what my Lord says - the Lord your Redeemer, O Israel, and his Holy One - to one despised by people, to those abhorred as a nation, to the servant of rulers: 'Kings see and arise, and princes will bow down, because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, the one who has chosen you."
  • Isaiah 55:5 LEB: Look! You shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that does not know you shall run to you, because of Yahweh your God, and the holy one of Israel, for he has glorified you."

...and shall do sacrifice and oblation;...

We sacrifice and give offerings in response to who we know Him to be; He prefers our kindness, obedience, and intimacy far more than these. 
  • Hosea 6:6 YLT: "For kindness I desired, and not sacrifice, and a knowledge of God above burnt-offerings."
  • Zephaniah 3:10 KJV: From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering.
  • Malachi 1:11 KJV: For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.
  • John 4:21-24 ISV: Yet the time is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Indeed, the Father is looking for people like that to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

...yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. 

We make promises to Him and keep them; He rewards us for our faithfulness. 
  • Matthew 25:21 KJV: His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and  faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
  • Ecclesiastes 5:4 LEB: When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it, for he takes no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you vow!

And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it... 

He smites and heals us; we return to Him. 
  • Romans 2:3-4 ISV: "So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on those who practice [every kind of wickedness] and then do them yourself, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or are you unaware of his rich kindness, forbearance, and patience, that it is God's kindness that is leading you to repent?"
  • Deuteronomy 32:39 KJV: See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.
  • Job 5:18 LEB: for he himself wounds, but he binds up; he strikes, but his hands heal.

 ...and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.

We pray; he heals. 
  • James 5:15 ICB: "And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will heal him. And if he has sinned, God will forgive him."
  • Isaiah 6:10 ISV: Dull the mind of this people, deafen their ears, and blind their eyes. By doing so, they won't see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed." (Read research on this verse.)
  • Isaiah 55:7 KJV: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.


  1. God calls us His own. I belong to You. I can show loyalty by seeking God's wisdom and counsel because I trust He is the source of truth and unfailing wisdom. Following men's counsel leads to failure and confusion. (Isaiah 2:22 & I Corinthians 2:6-16)
  2. God works in our lives. I am the work of your hands. I can submit to God's will, even when I don't understand it, because I know it leads to goodness and truth. 
  3. God values us. I am Your inheritance. I pray to God and God alone because in Him I find value. Everything else is meaningless. 

In Closing

Father God, what a gift You give us! You listen to our prayers and You respond. You want our hearts. You want us to turn to You in spirit and truth and You work to make it happen. We are Your blessed people, the work of Your hands, Your inheritance. This is our identity. Let us remember and never forget: we are loved by You!

Learning with You,

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