Isaiah 19:17 The land of Judah will become a terror to Egypt; everyone to whom it is mentioned will be in dread of it, because of the purpose of the LORD of hosts which He is purposing against them.
Who and where is the land of Judah? Judah is a son of Jacob/Israel from Genesis. The lineage of Judah becomes the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 46, 49). Jesus is from this tribe and is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). This tribe is synonymous with the southern kingdom in the day of Isaiah. It is modern day southern Israel, the area which shares a border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
From previous verses in Isaiah 19, we know the Nile River is dry during this time. The text does not say if the cause is by drought or if water is being withheld by a dam or whatever. Time will tell. The following is food for thought in the event the waters of Nile are restrained by the dam.
Recently as 2009, Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has stirred controversy with comments about Arab citizens and Egypt. Liberman once suggested Egypt’s Aswan Dam might be bombed. In 2008, he told Hosni Mubarak, Egyptian President at that time, “Go to hell!”
Now if Israel is threatening to bomb the Aswan Dam, this would most certainly cause fear, dread, and terror. The concept of the verse is reeling in terror. This would effectively flood and wipe out Egypt.
…because of the purpose of the LORD of hosts which He is purposing against them.
God is the One imposing fear on Egpyt. Granted, God has many options at His disposal in regards to stirring up fear. He has plagues, weather, darkness (Exodus) just to mention a few. I am not suggesting or claiming to know the mind or purpose of God. It does not say. The scenario is worth noting in today’s geo-political climate. God can absolutely plant an idea or emotion into the mind of a country’s psyche (see Ezekiel 38, 39 with Gog; note Pharaoh and his hardened heart in Exodus).
There is also the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). As of April 2019, the dam is about 2/3 complete. The dam is expected to be finished in 2022. Egypt is expressing concern about their neighbors in Ethiopia up river withholding water. The Egyptians are discussing “dire humanitarian consequences” of the completion of the GERD. Ethiopia expects to block 19.5 trillion gallons (74 billion cubic meters) of Nile River water behind the dam. The Nile River is the definitive source of life for Egypt. This is an insane amount of water not going to Egypt.
Plausible scenario: Egypt wiped out and flooded by waters withheld by destruction of the Aswan Dam. Nile River goes dry in Egypt by waters withheld by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
See the link below for articles related to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Isaiah 19:18 In that day five cities in the land of Egypt will be speaking the language of Canaan and swearing allegiance to the LORD of hosts; one will be called the City of Destruction.
There are all kinds of speculation and conjecture as to the symbolism or meaning of the five cities noted in this verse. Some commentators are looking for a hidden meaning. Some are seeking spiritual significance of the number five. Some are allegorizing the number of cities.
I am going to take God at His word and believe that He says what He means. There will be five cities in Egypt where those residents will speak Hebrew. Hearts in Egypt will change. Those people in those five cities will be committed to the God of the Bible.
One of those cities is named. The name of that city is debated with legitimate scholarship, not speculation or allegorical interpretation. The argument lies in which text. Here are the considerations.
The Hebrew text has עִיר הַהֶרֶס (’ir haheres, “City of Destruction”; cf. NASB, NIV).
The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa (Dead Sea Scrolls) and some medieval Hebrew manuscripts read עִיר הָחֶרֶס (ir hakheres, “City of the Sun,” i.e., Heliopolis). This reading also finds support from Symmachus’ Greek version, the Targum (Aramaic translation of the Bible), and the Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible).
FYI, Heliopolis is located in northern Egypt on the Nile River where it branches into multiple rivers and streams.
I trust at some point in the future this city name will be clarified and make sense.
Make no mistake. God is in control. Egyptian hearts will turn to the Hebrew God of the Bible.