Friday, August 21, 2015
The Triumvirate of Israel, Egypt and Assyria: Isaiah 19
Isa 11.11-16; 19.16-24; cp. Ps 47.8-9.
“In that time Israel will be a third with the Egyptians and the Assyrians, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying: ‘Blessed are my people whom I brought forth from Egypt; because they sinned before me I exiled them to Assyria, and now that they repent they are called my people and my heritage.’” Targum, Isa 19.25.
Isaiah 13-39: A Commentary, Otto Kaiser:
“…the people of God now includes Israel, Egypt, and Assyria [Isa 19.16-24].”
Biblical Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, Volume 1, Franz Delitzsch:
“Israel thereafter is no longer alone God’s people, God’s creation, God’s inheritance, but Egypt and Assyria are all these three things as well as Israel. To express that, the three titles of Israel are commingled, and each of the three nations obtains one of the precious names, that applied to Israel…”
Isaiah, John N. Oswalt:
“The language of Isaiah 19.20-22 appears to have been consciously chosen to demonstrate that Egypt will share the same kind of relationship with the Lord as Israel did. The final expression of God’s positive plans for Egypt is, if anything, even more shocking that the previous two. He is not merely going to deliver Egypt and Israel from the Assyrian oppressors, he is going to join the three countries together in the common worship of the Lord! ...Israel will fulfill the function that God promised to Abraham for his descendants (Gen 12.3). They will be a blessing to the world, a means whereby the blessings of God can come to all peoples, a means whereby the election of Israel is extended to everyone (‘Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork’, Isa 19.25).”
A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New, G. K. Beale:
“…the Egyptians will be identified as Israelite Semites [v.18], a likely way to connote that such allegiance indicates that one is to be reckoned as a native Israelite [Hebrew speaker]. In addition, that Egypt is also called ‘My people’ adds to this impression, since ‘My people’ (‘ammi) virtually without exception occurs elsewhere with reference to God’s people Israel [outside of 19.25 refers to Israel every other time, 25X]. Similarly, the expression that Assyria is ‘the work of My hands’ may have the same connotation, since the phrase ‘work of My hands’ (or virtual equivalents with different pronouns) occurs only 4 times elsewhere in Isaiah, 3 of which refer to Israel as God’s work.”
An exposition of the Old and New Testament Vol: 2:
“[Egypt & Assyria] shall be as welcome to God as Israel. They are all alike his people, whom he takes under his protection: they are formed by him, for they are the work of his hands; not only as a people but as his people. They are formed for him, for they are his inheritance, precious in his eyes, and dear to him, and from whom he has his rent of honour out of this lower world…they shall all share in one and the same blessing.”
Matthew Poole Annotations Upon the Holy Bible:
Isa 19.24: “[Israel will be] the third party, to wit, in that sacred league, whereby all of them oblige themselves to God. [Egypt & Assyria] are here put synecdochically for all the Gentiles.”
Isa 19.25: “[Israel, Egypt, and Assyria] of whom he speaks as of one people, in the singular number, because they are all united into one body and church. My people: this title, and those which follow, that were peculiar to the people of Israel, shall now be given to these and all other nations of the world.”
Has the Church Replaced Israel? Michael J. Vlach:
“…even though ‘Israel’ language will be applied to other nations it is not done so at the expense of national Israel’s identify…The nations who are blessed are not incorporated into Israel, but they are blessed alongside Israel. Spiritual unity does not cancel national distinctions.”
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, Isa 19.24:
third—The three shall be joined as one nation.
blessing—the source of blessings to other nations, and the object of their benedictions.
Matthew Poole’s Commentary, Isa 19.24:
“The third; the third party, to wit, in that sacred league, whereby all of them oblige themselves to God.”
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Isa 19.24:
“There shall be a triple alliance between them; Jew and Gentile shall be made one, the middle wall of partition being broken down; yea, Israel, or the Jews, shall be the third, or the Mediator between them both, or the means of uniting the Gentiles together, since the Gospel of peace was to go out from them, as it did.”
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Isa 19:
24. shall Israel be the third]—member of the Messianic League.
Psalm 47.9: Benson Commentary:
“…almost all the ancient versions and more modern translators render the former clause of this verse, The princes of the nations are incorporated with the God of Abraham: similar to which is the version of our Liturgy; The princes of the people are joined to the people of the God of Abraham. “In this prophetical sense,” says Dr. Dodd, “which seems most proper, the princes of the people mean the heathen princes, who were to be converted to Christianity, and to join themselves to the people of the God of Abraham; that is, to the Jewish converts under the dominion of Christ.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
“even the people of the God of Abraham; whom the God of Abraham has chosen for his people, taken into covenant, given to his Son, and who are redeemed by his blood, and effectually called by his grace; and who, though Gentiles, belong to the same covenant and the same covenant God as Abraham did, and have the blessing of Abraham upon them; and are indeed his spiritual seed, being Christ's. The Targum is, "the people that believe in the God of Abraham". The words may be rendered in connection with the former clause, "gathered together unto the people of the God of Abraham" (h); and so denote the association of the Gentiles converted with the believing Jews, as was at the first times of the Gospel, and will be at the latter day, 1 Corinthians 12:13.”
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:
“The Massoretic text of the next line must be rendered with R.V., ‘To be the people of the God of Abraham’: a bold phrase, reaching the very climax of Messianic hope, and hardly paralleled elsewhere. For though the nations are frequently spoken of as attaching themselves to Israel in the worship of Jehovah (Isaiah 2:2 ff; Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 56:6 ff; Isaiah 60:3 ff.; Zechariah 8:20 ff.; &c, &c), they are not called “the people of God.” This title is reserved for Israel, and only in the N.T. are the promises made to Israel extended to the Gentiles (Romans 9:25). Yet see Isaiah 19:25, where Egypt receives the title ‘my people.’
The rendering of R.V. marg. ‘Unto the people,’ is scarcely legitimate. It is however to be noted that the consonants of the word ‘am’ ‘people’ are identical with those of ‘im, ‘with,’ and the LXX read them as the preposition (with the God of A.). It is a natural conjecture that we should restore the preposition and render;
The princes of the peoples are gathered together, along with the people of the God of Abraham.
the God of Abraham] The title recalls the promises of blessing to the nations made through Abraham (Genesis 12:2 f. &c.).”
“The princes of the people (literally, princes of peoples) are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham; rather, to be the people of the God of Abraham (Revised Version) - i.e. to form, together with Israel, the one people, or Church, of God (comp. Isaiah 49:18-23).”