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send them à Saviour and a Great One, and he shall deliver them. In consequence of this happy change in their circumstances, the Lord shall be known to Egypt; and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall minister sacrifice and oblation: Assyria likewise shall partake of the blessing, and join with Israel and Egypt in praising God. Now, since this knowledge of the Lord is the evident result of a Saviour and a Great One being sent to the Egyptians, I know not what person we can reasonably understand by The Saviour, except the MESSIAH.
What precise five cities are alluded to, as adopting the religious confession of Canaan, and as swearing by the Lord of hosts, can only be sàtisfactorily determined by the event. The most natural explanation seems to be, that the five principal cities of Egypt are considered as including all the rest; and that this phraseology is only a varied method of declaring, what the prophet in the course of the same prediction more explicitly declares, that the whole land of Egypt should be converted to the profession of the true faith. It perhaps may not be altogether unworthy of notice, that D'Anville, in his map of Egypt, assigns to the Delta precisely five principal cities, the names of which he writes in capitals : Alexandria, Rashid, Damiat, Fouah, and Mahalle Kebir. He likewise divides the Delta into exactly five provinces : Bahire, Garbie, Dakelie, Sharkie, and Menufie. As for Cairo, it is situated at the head of the Delt, somewhat higher than the grand division of the Nile. In one of these provinces stood, I believe, the ancient Heliopolis, or city of the Sun *.
At the conclusion of the present prophecy, Isaiah predicts, as he had already done at the conclusion of his former prophecy, that there should be a close intercourse and religious connection between Assyria, Israel, and Egypt. They should be united together, as the different parts of a single kingdom are, by a common highway; and they should jointly experience the benefit of being the blessed of the Lord of the hosts t.
In the interpretation, which I have here giren of the 19th chapter of Isaiah, I am conscious that I have most materially differed from Bp. Newton and his precursor Vitringa I. The Bishop conceives, that the cruel lords and the fierce king primarily mean Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians; but principally Cambyses, Ochus, and the Persians : that what is said, respecting the er- haustion and diversion of the river, alludes to the consequences of the subjection and slavery to which Egypt was reduced by the Persians, her poverty and want, her mourning and lamentation, her confusion and misery: that the saviour and the mighty one, who delivered the Egyptians, is Alerander the great *; that their conversion is the partial diffusion of religious knowledge by the instrumentality of the Jews, who are thence represented as the medium of religious connection between Egypt and Assyria : that the five cities were Heliopolis, mentioned by the prophet himself, and four others spoken of by Jeremiah as being the places of the residence of the Jeus ; namely, lligdol, Tahpanhes, Noph, and soine other in the country of Pathros, the name of which is not particularized: and that the building of the altar in the midst of the land of Egypt alludes to the building of a Jewish temple by Onius in the prefecture of Heliopolis
* See the Map prefixed to the report of Citizen Ripaud. + Compare Isaiah xi. 15, 16. with xix. 5, 23, 24, 25.
(Bp. Lowth follows Bp. Newton in his opinion respecting the accomplishment of this prophecy.
. f. The whole of this interpretation appears to me to fall very far short of the most natural and obyious meaning of the original. The immediate connection of the 19th chapter with its tro predecessors certainly leads one prima facic to conclude, that its subject is the same: because we find Egypt and Assyria similarly, almost indeed in the very same words, connected with the restoration of the Jeu's by Isaiah himself in his 11th chapter; because Zechariah again, still almost in the same words, unites the restoration of Israel with the fates of Egypt and Assyria *; and because Daniel exactly in the same manner predicts, that at the era of the restoration of the Jews Egypt should be conquered by Antichrist t. But, if the 19th chapter of Isaiah be connected with the restoration, as the general harmony of prophecy seems to require, and as its situation immediately after the 17th and 18th chapters naturally suggests, I know not now it can have any relation to events long since past. What the Bishop says respecting the exhaustion of the river seems scarcely allowable on the common principles of symbolical interpretation. If the Nile is here to be understood figuratively, the drying up and diversion of its streams can with difficulty be conceived to mean the introduction of poverty, lamentation, and confusion, among the Egyptians : it would rather typify, as I have already stated, the subversion of their polity and their gradual depopulation and emigration. As for the Saviour and the great one, the evident connection, in which that person is placed with a general diffusion of real religion throughout Egypt, will not allow us, without a singular degree of harshness, to suppose him to be Alexander the great. Whatever increase of religion there might be in Egypt during his reign and those of his suc
* His Lordship seems to think, that not only Alexander may be intended by the Sariour and the great one, but also his immediate successor in Egypt, Ptolemy, who like himself was styled the great, and Ptolemy Soter or the Saviour. This play upon words would have better become a less grave come mentator than the excellent Newton.
+ Dissert. xii.
cessors, the Egyptians, as a nation, were utidoubtedly idolaters. The same remark applies with equal force to the Assyrians. Hence I cannot but think the introduction of comparatively a few Jews into those countries a most imperfect and unsatisfactory solution of the predicted religious unity of Egypt, Israel, and Assyria. Is it reasonable to believe, that the Lord of hosts would esteem Israel the third with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land; and that he should be represented as saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance; merely because Nebuchadnezzar carried the Jews captive to Babylon, and because many of the same people had emigrated to Egypt in the days of Alexander and the Ptolemies? How then will our doubt respecting the propriety of this interpretation be increased, when we find Bp. Newton himself confessing, that the Egyptian Jews “ were generally very wicked
men, and disobedient to the word of the Lord, " and that upon that account the prophet Jeremiah “ denounced the heaviest judgments against “ them.” His Lordship adds indeed, as if with a view to anticipate the objection which so naturally arises out of his own statement, that “ some good men might be mingled among them, who might
open his prophecies to the Egyptians, and they “ themselves when they saw them fulfilled might