Surveying Isaiah 29-31, these chapters cover a generalized denunciation of Judah and Jerusalem making an alliance with foreign nations. In Isaiah 30, we see the generalization becoming more specific and Isaiah directs his attention to Egypt. We note something from a Torah perspective, that the people trusting in Egypt is synonymous to returning to Egypt, returning to the place that had enslaved them. The people wanted to return to what they knew, even though they were in bondage. These things remind us of how sin is habitual, that there are times when sin is something that we have become so accustomed with that it is repeated again and again, similar to this idea of returning to what is familiar. We are by nature creatures of habit, and so one of the things we should strive for in our lives is to break these bad habits and to form new habits which are of the Lord. The sinful habitual ways of life can be very powerful and this is what the Torah illustrates for us in relation to the people desiring to return to slavery, to return to the land of their bondage. This is why we need the help of the God of Israel to set us free from sin and bondage, to break habitual sin, and the desire to remain in the familiar place. We note that Egypt represents both physical and spiritual bondage! Because of the people wanting to return to become enslaved again, the people of Israel were restricted to wandering in the desert for 40 years until those who had rebelled died.
ספר במדבר פרק יד
א וַתִּשָּׂא כָּל-הָעֵדָה וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶת-קוֹלָם וַיִּבְכּוּ הָעָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא: ב וַיִּלֹּנוּ עַל-מֹשֶׁה וְעַל-אַהֲרֹן כֹּל בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֲלֵהֶם כָּל-הָעֵדָה לוּ-מַתְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה לוּ-מָתְנוּ: ג וְלָמָה יְהֹוָה מֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת לִנְפֹּל בַּחֶרֶב נָשֵׁינוּ וְטַפֵּנוּ יִהְיוּ לָבַז הֲלוֹא טוֹב לָנוּ שׁוּב מִצְרָיְמָה: ד וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל-אָחִיו נִתְּנָה רֹאשׁ וְנָשׁוּבָה מִצְרָיְמָה: ה וַיִּפֹּל מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עַל-פְּנֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי כָּל-קְהַל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: ו וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן וְכָלֵב בֶּן-יְפֻנֶּה מִן-הַתָּרִים אֶת-הָאָרֶץ קָרְעוּ בִּגְדֵיהֶם: ז וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל-כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל לֵאמֹר הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בָהּ לָתוּר אֹתָהּ טוֹבָה הָאָרֶץ מְאֹד מְאֹד: [שלישי] ח אִם-חָפֵץ בָּנוּ יְהֹוָה וְהֵבִיא אֹתָנוּ אֶל-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּנְתָנָהּ לָנוּ אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-הִוא זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ: ט אַךְ בַּיהוָֹה אַל-תִּמְרֹדוּ וְאַתֶּם אַל-תִּירְאוּ אֶת-עַם הָאָרֶץ כִּי לַחְמֵנוּ הֵם סָר צִלָּם מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וַיהוָֹה אִתָּנוּ אַל-תִּירָאֻם:
Bamidbar / Numbers 14:1–9
14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 14:3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 14:7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 14:8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 14:9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. (KJV)
Here the people say in Bamidbar / Numbers 14:2, לוּ-מַתְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם אוֹ בַּמִּדְבָּר הַזֶּה לוּ-מָתְנוּ “to Him we die in the land of Egypt or in this wilderness to Him we die?” What is interesting is the Lord God gives them what they are saying, rather than returning to Egypt, they die in the wilderness with 40 years of wandering about. The most significant point here is what Joshua says according to Bamidbar / Numbers 14:9 אַךְ בַּיהוָֹה אַל-תִּמְרֹדוּ וְאַתֶּם אַל-תִּירְאוּ אֶת-עַם הָאָרֶץ כִּי לַחְמֵנוּ הֵם סָר צִלָּם מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וַיהוָֹה אִתָּנוּ אַל-תִּירָאֻם “Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not.” The point that is being made here is that we are to trust in the Lord, we are not to fear, and the nations that appear to be more power than us will be like food for us (לַחְמֵנוּ) meaning that God will give them over to His people. These things reveal to us the power of God to break the enemy and bring deliverance to our lives. This also reminds us of something written in the book of Revelation in regards to these things.
14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (KJV, 12 Ὧδε ἡ ὑπομονὴ τῶν ἁγίων ἐστίν,* ⸆ ⸂οἱ τηροῦντες⸃ τὰς ἐντολὰς* τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν πίστιν Ἰησοῦ.* 13 Καὶ ἤκουσα φωνῆς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ λεγούσης⸆·* γράψον·* μακάριοι οἱ νεκροὶ οἱ ἐν ⸀κυρίῳ ἀποθνῄσκοντες ἀπʼ ἄρτι.* ⸂ναί, λέγει⸃ τὸ πνεῦμα, ⸁ἵνα ⸀1ἀναπαήσονται ἐκ τῶν κόπων αὐτῶν, τὰ ⸀2γὰρ ἔργα αὐτῶν ἀκολουθεῖ μετʼ αὐτῶν.* *14 Καὶ εἶδον,* καὶ ἰδοὺ νεφέλη λευκή, καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν νεφέλην ⸂καθήμενον ὅμοιον⸃ ⸀υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου,* ⸁ἔχων ἐπὶ ⸄τῆς κεφαλῆς⸅ αὐτοῦ στέφανον χρυσοῦν καὶ ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ δρέπανον ὀξύ.*)
Here in the Greek translation, the author of Revelation writes in Revelation 14:12, Ὧδε ἡ ὑπομονὴ τῶν ἁγίων ἐστίν,* “Here is the steadfastness of the holy ones.” We note the word ὑπομονὴ means “to stay behind, await, stand firm, be patient, persevere, endure.” In the LXX ὑπομένω occurs over 80x and renders many Hebrew terms, mainly קוה “to hope, wait” (25x). The noun ὑπομονή is used 25x. Although ὑπομένω is used with such senses as “to remain, stay behind” (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:19), “to stand firm, endure” (Job 8:15, 4 Maccabes 9:6), and “to submit or acquiesce to” (13:12), its characteristic meaning in the LXX, especially in Tehillim / Psalms, is “to wait for.” Those who wait for God are the faithful who hope firmly in him and who will therefore receive his benefits (see Tehillim / Psalms 25:3-5, 27:14, 33:20, 37:9, Isaiah 51:4, Lamentations 3:25). The verb ὑπομένω occurs 17x in the NT. The literal or physical sense “to stay behind” is found only twice (Luke 2:43 and Acts 17:14), and, surprisingly, the common LXX meaning “to wait for” does not occur at all. The standard NT usage is “to stand firm, hold one’s ground,” in the figurative sense “endure.” The noun ὑπομονή is used more than 30x, always with the sense of “patience, endurance, perseverance.” These things reveal to us something about what we read in the Torah concerning our enemies. We are told in Revelation that in the last days, the enemy will be given power over God’s people to kill and destroy them. These things do not contradict what we read in the Torah, but draw out the importance of waiting upon the Lord, and trusting in Him regardless of what happens to us in our lives! The ὑπομονὴ “patience” of God’s people is for waiting on God’s timing in our lives and waiting for His purposes. This idea of steadfastness represents how our faith is to be unmoving regardless of what happens in our lives! The patience of the holy ones speaks to keeping the faith and being faithful, these things destroy the attitudes that we see in the Torah and in Isaiah regarding the dependence upon something other than God, and falling back into enslavement again to sin and disobedience.
In the Isaiah text, the prophet Isaiah denounces those who are unfaithful at the beginning of his chapter, and then speaks of deliverance and salvation at the end of his chapter. The point is when we trust in anything other than God, in persons or things, wealth, weapons, etc, all will fail! This failure in repetitive sin causes us to realize that the only source of salvation, deliverance, and good news is from the Lord and not from any human efforts. In Isaiah 30:1-18 the prophet Isaiah discusses the foolishness of dependence upon Egypt. The Lord waits until one’s ungodliness has brought one to the end of his efforts and abilities, and then begins to work to draw one back to His holy ways, which are truth and life. John Oswalt dates this time period around 701 BC shortly before or after the Egyptian army’s advance to Eltekeh and Sennacherib’s defeat. Whether this text was written pre- or post-events to Isaiah’s words, his words are timeless and relevant even for us today in the world that we live in. Human help is fleeting and trusting for help from the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah Yeshua is the wisest advice. Again, we need to remember what John wrote in Revelation 14:12, Ὧδε ἡ ὑπομονὴ τῶν ἁγίων ἐστίν,* “Here is the steadfastness / patience of the holy ones.” This is a characteristic of God’s people, to patiently wait upon the Lord for Him to move in power and truth!
Isaiah begins saying the following according to Isaiah 30:1.
ספר ישעיה פרק ל
א הוֹי בָּנִים סוֹרְרִים נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה לַעֲשֹוֹת עֵצָה וְלֹא מִנִּי וְלִנְסֹךְ מַסֵּכָה וְלֹא רוּחִי לְמַעַן סְפוֹת חַטָּאת עַל-חַטָּאת:
Isaiah 30:1 states, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: (הוֹי בָּנִים סוֹרְרִים נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה לַעֲשֹוֹת עֵצָה וְלֹא מִנִּי וְלִנְסֹךְ מַסֵּכָה וְלֹא רוּחִי לְמַעַן סְפוֹת חַטָּאת עַל-חַטָּאת)” We see a very interesting thing here in Isaiah’s words. Isaiah opens saying הוֹי בָּנִים סוֹרְרִים נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה “woe rebellious children declares the Lord” and then says לַעֲשֹוֹת עֵצָה וְלֹא מִנִּי “that take counsel but not of me.” Notice the word לַעֲשֹוֹת means “to make” or “to do” and so לַעֲשֹוֹת עֵצָה means “to make counsel.” What this reveals to us is how the rebellious function, rather than taking counsel in the Lord, they manufacture their own counsel. This is similar to what we read in the Torah according to Bamidbar / Numbers 14:1–9. Isaiah says that they do this not from the spirit of God (וְלֹא רוּחִי) and the outcome of these things is לְמַעַן סְפוֹת חַטָּאת עַל-חַטָּאת “that they add/increase sin upon sin.” This speaks to the idea of trusting in ourselves or in our ability to overcome sin leads to only more sin upon sin, etc. The LXX and TgJ make it very clear what is going on according to Isaiah 30:1.
The TgJ translates saying, יֵי בְנַיָא מָרֹודַיָא אְמַר יוי לְמַעְבַד עֵיצָא וְלָא מִמֵימְרִי וּלאִתמְלָכָא מֵילַך וְלָא שָאְלִין בִנבִיַי בְדִיל לְאֹוסָפָא חֹובִין עַל חֹובֵי נַפשְהֹון׃ 1 Woe unto the rebellious children, saith the Lord, who take counsel, but not of my WORD, who consult a consultation, but do not ask my prophets, that they may add sin unto the sins of their soul. (TgJ) The LXX translates saying, 1 Οὐαὶ τέκνα ἀποστάται, τάδε λέγει κύριος, ἐποιήσατε βουλὴν οὐ διʼ ἐμοῦ καὶ συνθήκας οὐ διὰ τοῦ πνεύματός μου προσθεῖναι ἁμαρτίας ἐφʼ ἁμαρτίαις, 1 “Woe to you, rebellious children!” says the Lord. “You have made a plan that is not through me and treaties that are not through my spirit, add sins to sins, (LXX) Here we see how these texts mention how the people make a treaty with other nations. It is not inherently sinful to make a treaty with the nations. The major point that is being made here is that the people were trusting in their treaty as opposed to trusting in God. The LXX writes that the people made plans and treaties but not through the Spirit of God. Similar to the TgJ, where the translation states explicitly that the people did not take counsel in the Word of God. This is the point of the people adding sins unto sins, they did not know the Word of God, they did not trust in the Lord God of Israel, and they were relying upon their own actions only believing in their own ability to manipulate situations to protect themselves. These things describe the basic rebelliousness of the people who turn from the Lord. (Isaiah 1:2-4, 1:20, 1:23) Again, this concept of making a treaty with Egypt is synonymous to returning to the Land of Egypt and to their bondage. We note that the Torah states that this return or treaty making is forbidden according to Shemot / Exodus 13:17 and Devarim / Deuteronomy 17:16.
Shemot / Exodus 13:17
13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: (KJV וַיְהִ֗י בְּשַׁלַּ֣ח פַּרְעֹה֮ אֶת־הָעָם֒ וְלֹא־נָחָ֣ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים דֶּ֚רֶךְ אֶ֣רֶץ פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים כִּ֥י קָרֹ֖וב ה֑וּא כִּ֣י׀ אָמַ֣ר אֱלֹהִ֗ים פֶּֽן־יִנָּחֵ֥ם הָעָ֛ם בִּרְאֹתָ֥ם מִלְחָמָ֖ה וְשָׁ֥בוּ מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃)
Devarim / Deuteronomy 17:16
17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. (KJV רַק֮ לֹא־יַרְבֶּה־לֹּ֣ו סוּסִים֒ וְלֹֽא־יָשִׁ֤יב אֶת־הָעָם֙ מִצְרַ֔יְמָה לְמַ֖עַן הַרְבֹּ֣ותa ס֑וּס וַֽיהוָה֙ אָמַ֣רb לָכֶ֔םc לֹ֣א תֹסִפ֗וּן לָשׁ֛וּב בַּדֶּ֥רֶךְ הַזֶּ֖ה עֹֽוד׃)
The point here in these two references was for the people never to return to Egypt which was filled with false gods and belief systems. When one has a rebellious attitude, one cannot see the wisdom of God’s holy ways according to His Word. To those who are rebellious, they believe their rebellion is scientifically sound and common sense. Because of this one does not turn to the counsel of the Lord in His Word, and this leads to the statement סְפוֹת חַטָּאת עַל-חַטָּאת “adding sin upon sin.” The idea here is that through their treaties, they bring foreign nations into the holy land of Israel. When foreign nations come, they bring with them their false gods. They will hide their gods when they bring them, and this is similar to sin itself from the sense that when one sins he does not want to reveal that sin, but conceals the sin and adds more sins upon sins which draws one further away from the Lord. It is also important to realize that sinning against God comes quite easily due to creating gods of our own making and trusting in ourselves and our own means. This is why we must be intentional in our walk with God, to examine our lives, and to draw near to the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua, and seek the help of God for deliverance to overcome the sin that is in our lives!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 30:2.
ספר ישעיה פרק ל
ב הַהֹלְכִים לָרֶדֶת מִצְרַיִם וּפִי לֹא שָׁאָלוּ לָעוֹז בְּמָעוֹז פַּרְעֹה וְלַחְסוֹת בְּצֵל מִצְרָיִם:
Isaiah 30:2 states, “That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! (הַהֹלְכִים לָרֶדֶת מִצְרַיִם וּפִי לֹא שָׁאָלוּ לָעוֹז בְּמָעוֹז פַּרְעֹה וְלַחְסוֹת בְּצֵל מִצְרָיִם)” This verse exemplifies the issue of making a treaty with Egypt. The text states הַהֹלְכִים לָרֶדֶת מִצְרַיִם “going, descending into Egypt” has this implication of descending into the forbidden land. The LXX and TgJ both translate these things similar to the MSS saying the following:
The TgJ writes, דְאָזְלִין לְמֵיחַת לְמִצרַיִם וּבפִתגָמֵי נְבִיַי לָא שְאִילוּ לְאִיתַקָפָא בִתקֹוף פַרעֹה וּלאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם׃ 2 Who go to descend into Egypt, but ask not the words of my prophets: to strengthen themselves with the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. (TgJ) Notice the Torah parallels here to God, how the people are called to strengthen themselves in the Lord and rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Tehillim / Psalms 91) The LXX translates saying, 2 οἱ πορευόμενοι καταβῆναι εἰς Αἴγυπτον, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐκ ἐπηρώτησαν, τοῦ βοηθηθῆναι ὑπὸ Φαραω καὶ σκεπασθῆναι ὑπὸ Αἰγυπτίων. 2 you who are going to go down into Egypt, but they did not ask me, to be helped by Pharaoh and to be sheltered by the Egyptians. (LES) Here this concept of strengthening oneself in the strength of Pharaoh, this is an interesting concept, since Pharaoh did not believe in the God of Israel, in fact, he had his own pantheon of Egyptian gods. Pharaoh strengthened himself in sin, and so the idea of the people returning to Egypt draws on these concepts, the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem did not trust in the God of Israel, let alone believe in Him. The point here is that God’s people are to be guided by His Spirit and by the revelation of His word! The TgJ translation stating that the people did not seek the counsel of the prophets indicates how we are to search out the counsel of God in order to make our future plans. The reason they chose not to seek the counsel of God was because they chose to live in their sinful ways, and they knew the Lord God would not approve of their choices or their plans. We are told according to the Scriptures that the Lord God loves us and cares for us. (Nahum 1:7, Isaiah 41:10, Tehillim / Psalms 16:8, Matthew 10:30-31, Philippians 4:6) We note here that these verses speak to the Lord God our Father in heaven having good intentions for us and not bad intentions. This means that we can trust and believe in Him. The Word of God was given and preserved for us as a foundation upon which we stand, and so that we are not easily deceived. This is the importance of reading and studying God’s Holy Word! We also realize that God’s word is most effective when we apply His word to our lives! We do not simply read the Word of God and then not apply it to our lives, if we only read the Word, this becomes only an academic exercise, gaining head knowledge, because one would not actually be interacting or making the Word of God a part of his life. When we make God’s Word a part of our lives this is how we take refuge and shelter in His Word. This is the outcome of Judah’s relationship with God, their refusal to trust in the Lord, turning from His ways, and from His counsel, etc. This whole idea of making peace with the nations is synonymous to allowing them in coupled with bringing their false gods with them, this is a serious thing. We note how this is the approach of many today, the idea of having an academic approach to knowing about God and about the Messiah, but not applying God’s word, rather, joining with woke liberal ideologies and LGBTQ ideologies and even the occult, and then believing one can continue as God’s people. The Scriptural imperative is that God is calling us out of Egypt, away from the Nations and their unholy ways! This is the difference between walking in the shadow of God verses walking in the shadow of Pharaoh that Isaiah is trying to make!
Isaiah continues saying the following according to Isaiah 30:3-4.
ספר ישעיה פרק ל
ג וְהָיָה לָכֶם מָעוֹז פַּרְעֹה לְבֹשֶׁת וְהֶחָסוּת בְּצֵל-מִצְרַיִם לִכְלִמָּה: ד כִּי-הָיוּ בְצֹעַן שָֹרָיו וּמַלְאָכָיו חָנֵס יַגִּיעוּ: ה כֹּל הֹבִאישׁ עַל-עַם לֹא-יוֹעִילוּ לָמוֹ לֹא לְעֵזֶר וְלֹא לְהוֹעִיל כִּי לְבֹשֶׁת וְגַם-לְחֶרְפָּה:
Isaiah 30:3 states, “Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. (וְהָיָה לָכֶם מָעוֹז פַּרְעֹה לְבֹשֶׁת וְהֶחָסוּת בְּצֵל-מִצְרַיִם לִכְלִמָּה)” Isaiah 30:4 “For his princes were at Zoan, and his ambassadors came to Hanes. (כִּי-הָיוּ בְצֹעַן שָֹרָיו וּמַלְאָכָיו חָנֵס יַגִּיעוּ)” Isaiah 30:5 “They were all ashamed of a people that could not profit them, nor be an help nor profit, but a shame, and also a reproach. (כֹּל הֹבִאישׁ עַל-עַם לֹא-יוֹעִילוּ לָמוֹ לֹא לְעֵזֶר וְלֹא לְהוֹעִיל כִּי לְבֹשֶׁת וְגַם-לְחֶרְפָּה)” Here Isaiah declares that the strength of Pharaoh will be their shame (וְהָיָה לָכֶם מָעוֹז פַּרְעֹה לְבֹשֶׁת). This again is due to their not entering into the shelter of God, but seeking to find shelter in their own formulations. The text comparison LXX and TgJ draw this out saying the following:
The TgJ writes, וִיהֵי לְכֹון תְקֹוף פַרעֹה לְבַהתָא וְאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם לְאִתכְנָעוּ׃ אְרֵי הְוֹו בְטַאנֵיס רַברְבֹוהִי וְאִזגַדֹוהִי עַד תַחפַנחֵס מְטֹו׃ 30:3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be unto you for confusion; and confidence in the shadow of Egypt for disgrace. 30:4 For their princes were in Tanes, and their messengers have reached Taphnes. (TgJ) Here the Targum translation mentions two places, Tanes and Taphnes.
טַאֲנֵיס, טָאנֵיס, טָנֵיס pr. n. pl. (h. צֹעַן) Tanis (Zoan) in Lower Egypt
תַּחְפַּנְחֵס, תַּחְפְּנֵס (b. h.) pr. n. pl. Tahpanhes, Tahpenes, in Egypt
These are Egyptian locations:
Isaiah is saying here that to lean upon Egypt is to be shamed publicly, because the simple truth is that one should trust in the God of Israel as opposed to seeking the help of Pharaoh. According to the Torah, this is synonymous to turning back from the Lord. The LXX writes, 4 ὅτι εἰσὶν ἐν Τάνει ἀρχηγοὶ ἄγγελοι πονηροί, μάτην κοπιάσουσιν 4 Because in Tanis there are evil leading messengers. (LES) Here the text speaks of messengers who are evil, which draws in both spiritual and physical aspects to the dangers of turning to Egyptian help. These things lead to disgrace because sins bring one down low as opposed to the ways of God, when we apply His ways to our lives, brings us up, raises us to a very high standard of living, one that cares for others, and demonstrates mercy and grace just as God has demonstrated this to us!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 30:6-7.
ספר ישעיה פרק ל
ו מַשָּׂא בַּהֲמוֹת נֶגֶב בְּאֶרֶץ צָרָה וְצוּקָה לָבִיא וָלַיִשׁ מֵהֶם אֶפְעֶה וְשָֹרָף מְעוֹפֵף יִשְֹאוּ עַל-כֶּתֶף עֲוָרִים [עֲיָרִים] חֵילֵהֶם וְעַל-דַּבֶּשֶׁת גְּמַלִּים אוֹצְרֹתָם עַל-עַם לֹא יוֹעִילוּ: ז וּמִצְרַיִם הֶבֶל וָרִיק יַעְזֹרוּ לָכֵן קָרָאתִי לָזֹאת רַהַב הֵם שָׁבֶת:
Isaiah 30:6 states, “The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them. (מַשָּׂא בַּהֲמוֹת נֶגֶב בְּאֶרֶץ צָרָה וְצוּקָה לָבִיא וָלַיִשׁ מֵהֶם אֶפְעֶה וְשָֹרָף מְעוֹפֵף יִשְֹאוּ עַל-כֶּתֶף עֲוָרִים [עֲיָרִים] חֵילֵהֶם וְעַל-דַּבֶּשֶׁת גְּמַלִּים אוֹצְרֹתָם עַל-עַם לֹא יוֹעִילוּ)” Isaiah 30:7 “For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still. (וּמִצְרַיִם הֶבֶל וָרִיק יַעְזֹרוּ לָכֵן קָרָאתִי לָזֹאת רַהַב הֵם שָׁבֶת)” The viper and the fiery serpent are a part of the Egyptian religion, and here Isaiah speaks to their carying the riches or wealth of Egypt. It is interesting how the lion and the serpent are used throughout the Bible. The idea of the young lion, having pride, striving to lead the pack of lions, struggling against the alpha male lion. The serpent is a reference to that ancient serpent, the evil one, and the wealth of Egypt is definitely to the gold and silver they have amassed, but also to their spiritual aspect as the flying serpent in the Egyptian religion carries the pharaoh when he dies to heaven.
The strength of Egypt is claimed to “sit still” and do nothing. The content of Isaiah 30:6-7 have so many connections throughout the Scriptures. The idea here may be to the caravan carrying great wealth and treasures, and again the mention of flying serpents may be a reference to this pagan knowledge being brought with them. This is the danger of looking to the nations for help as opposed to seeking the help of the God of Israel! A Text comparison reveals the following concerning these verses in Isaiah 30:6-7.
The LXX translates to say the following, 6 Ἡ ὅρασις τῶν τετραπόδων τῶν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. Ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ τῇ στενοχωρίᾳ, λέων καὶ σκύμνος λέοντος ἐκεῖθεν καὶ ἀσπίδες καὶ ἔκγονα ἀσπίδων πετομένων, οἳ ἔφερον ἐπʼ ὄνων καὶ καμήλων τὸν πλοῦτον αὐτῶν πρὸς ἔθνος ὃ οὐκ ὠφελήσει αὐτοὺς εἰς βοήθειαν, ἀλλὰ εἰς αἰσχύνην καὶ ὄνειδος. 7 Αἰγύπτιοι μάταια καὶ κενὰ ὠφελήσουσιν ὑμᾶς, ἀπάγγειλον αὐτοῖς ὅτι Ματαία ἡ παράκλησις ὑμῶν αὕτη. 6 In oppression and distress are a lion and a cub of a lion; from there also asps and the offspring of asps who were bringing their wealth on donkeys and camels to a nation that will not benefit them. 7 The Egyptians will benefit you to no avail and ineffectively; report to them, “This summoning of you is to no avail.” (LES) Here the LXX translates the lion and the cub as being oppressed. This suggest that the lion and the cub are a reference to Judah and Jerusalem. The flying asps (serpents) are a reference to Egyptian help. Isaiah states explicitly that Egypt will be of no help (Isaiah 30:7). The TgJ translates saying the following, נָטְלִין עַל בְעִירְהֹון בְאֹורַח דָרֹומָא בַאְרַע עָקָא וַעְיָק אְתַר דְאַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן וְחִיוָוָן דְחֻרמָנִין )מַפרִיתִין( נָטְלִין עַל כְתַף עִלִין נִכסֵיהֹון וְעַל חְטֹוריָת גַמלִין מָא דִבאֹוצְרֵיהֹון וּמֹובְלִין לְעַם דְלָא יַהנֵי לְהֹון׃ וּמִצרָאֵי לָמָא וְרֵיקָנוּ סְעָדְהֹון בְכֵין עָרַעִית מִנְהֹון קְטִילִין זִמנִין אַיתִי עְלֵיהֹון׃ 6 They carry upon their beasts of burden on the way southward, into a land of oppression and distress, a place of the lion, and the whelps of the lionesses, and serpents, and of the flying basilisks—they carry upon the shoulders of their young cattle their treasures, and they bring upon the bunches of camels whatever is in their treasuries unto a people, that shall not profit them. 7 And as for the Egyptians, their help is vanity and emptiness; therefore I shall meet many of them slain: I will bring armed men upon them. (TgJ) Here the TgJ translates that the lions and cub, along with the serpents and flying basilisks are a reference to Judah and Jerusalem. We note the Torah perspective which refers to fiery serpent in the following locations:
ספר במדבר פרק כא
ו וַיְשַׁלַּח יְהוָֹה בָּעָם אֵת הַנְּחָשִׁים הַשְּׂרָפִים וַיְנַשְּׁכוּ אֶת-הָעָם וַיָּמָת עַם-רָב מִיִּשְֹרָאֵל:
Bamidbar / Numbers 21:6
21:6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. (KJV)
ספר דברים פרק ח
טו הַמּוֹלִיכֲךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר | הַגָּדֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא נָחָשׁ | שָֹרָף וְעַקְרָב וְצִמָּאוֹן אֲשֶׁר אֵין-מָיִם הַמּוֹצִיא לְךָ מַיִם מִצּוּר הַחַלָּמִישׁ:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:15
8:15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; (KJV)
Here the idea of the Lord bringing the fiery serpent to bite them, was due to their sins. This couples the idea of seeking out Egyptian help, when they seek the ways of the evil one, God will allow the evil one to be brought to them. The wilderness is said to be a place where serpents’ dwell. The concept of unrepentant sin is kind of like the one who chooses to go to the wilderness. We note that God brought the people through the wilderness, preserving them while the sinful and rebellious generation died. These things reveal how there are so many overtures to the use of the lion and the serpent analogy here by Isaiah. In Isaiah 30:6 Isaiah says מַשָּׂא בַּהֲמוֹת נֶגֶב בְּאֶרֶץ צָרָה וְצוּקָה the burden of the beasts of the south in the land of distress and oppression, this suggests that Israel is this land. The reason the land is that of distress and oppression is due to the years and years of unrepentant sin. It is only by the power of God that one is able to drop their age-old practices, only with God’s help can one turn from woke ideologies and LGBTQ indoctrination. Remember how Yeshua talked about the mountain that in faith one can cast into the sea.
21:18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (KJV, *18 ⸀Πρωῒ δὲ ⸁ἐπανάγων εἰς τὴν πόλιν ἐπείνασεν. 19 καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν μίαν ἐπὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ ἦλθεν ἐπʼ* αὐτὴν καὶ οὐδὲν εὗρεν ἐν αὐτῇ εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ· ⸆ μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς ⸀γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. καὶ ἐξηράνθη παραχρῆμα ἡ συκῆ. 20 Καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες·* πῶς παραχρῆμα ἐξηράνθη ἡ συκῆ; *21 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν,* ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε,* ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε· ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται· *22 καὶ πάντα ὅσα ⸀ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.*)
Yeshua is teaching a lesson on faith, when the disciples noticed how soon the fig tree withered. He went on and said something even more impossible, that if one has faith one can say to this mountain be moved and be cast into the sea, and it will be done. Why and for what purpose would one have for telling a mountain to be cast into the sea? It does not matter what magnitude of miracle that God performs, miracles do not save, this is evidenced in the life and ministry of Yeshua. The point of this scripture is in regards to sin in one’s life that appears as great as a mountain, one that is immovable without the help of God. The Torah analogy is to the Exodus and the children of Israel at the Red Sea. The egyptian army approached, the people feared for their lives since there seemed to be no way out, no hope, there was an ocean of water in front of them. We read this happening here according to Shemot / Exodus 14:10-14.
ספר שמות פרק יד
י וּפַרְעֹה הִקְרִיב וַיִּשְֹאוּ בְנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶת-עֵינֵיהֶם וְהִנֵּה מִצְרַיִם | נֹסֵעַ אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּירְאוּ מְאֹד וַיִּצְעֲקוּ בְנֵי-יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-יְהוָֹה: יא וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל-מֹשֶׁה הֲמִבְּלִי אֵין-קְבָרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם לְקַחְתָּנוּ לָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר מַה-זֹּאת עָשִֹיתָ לָּנוּ לְהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם: יב הֲלֹא-זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְנוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְמִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר חֲדַל מִמֶּנּוּ וְנַעַבְדָה אֶת-מִצְרָיִם כִּי טוֹב לָנוּ עֲבֹד אֶת-מִצְרַיִם מִמֻּתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר: יג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת-יְשׁוּעַת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶֹה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אֲשֶׁר רְאִיתֶם אֶת-מִצְרַיִם הַיּוֹם לֹא תֹסִפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עוֹד עַד-עוֹלָם: יד יְהוָֹה יִלָּחֵם לָכֶם וְאַתֶּם תַּחֲרִשׁוּן:
Shemot / Exodus 14:10–14
14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. 14:11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 14:12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14:14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (KJV)
We read on how God provided a great miracle. He divided the sea and the people, the entire nation walked through the sea on dry land! The ocean is analogous to sin in one’s life, that only by the power of God and His indwelling presence that we are able to be delivered from sin and bondage, which are represented by Pharaoh and his army. We note in the Torah narrative that God stood between the army and the people and showed great mercy to the people to walk through the divided sea and destroyed the Egyptians whom God hardened so they would follow Israel through the Sea and then die (drown). The Isaiah text coupled with these things reveals that without God we are impotent. We are unable to be successful in our war against sin in our lives! We need the presence of God inside of us, in our midst, by faith in Yeshua God’s Messiah. These things parallel what Isaiah says “For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore, have I cried concerning this, their strength is to sit still. (וּמִצְרַיִם הֶבֶל וָרִיק יַעְזֹרוּ לָכֵן קָרָאתִי לָזֹאת רַהַב הֵם שָׁבֶת)” (Isaiah 30:7) Sin does not help and adding sin to sin, gratifying the desires of the flesh regardless of what the sin may be only places one into even greater levels of bondage to that sin. Continuing to sin is as one who sits still and does nothing. Yeshua came to show us the way, to help us to understand what it means to move forward and to be set free from bondage in our lives! This is accomplished through faith in the Messiah and believing the God of Israel is able to overcome anything in our lives, and dwell with us empowering us to overcome!
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the Masoretic Text and so here in Isaiah the Targum becomes a very valuable resource for our continued study of the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק ל:א-ז
א יֵי בְנַיָא מָרֹודַיָא אְמַר יוי לְמַעְבַד עֵיצָא וְלָא מִמֵימְרִי וּלאִתמְלָכָא מֵילַך וְלָא שָאְלִין בִנבִיַי בְדִיל לְאֹוסָפָא חֹובִין עַל חֹובֵי נַפשְהֹון׃ ב דְאָזְלִין לְמֵיחַת לְמִצרַיִם וּבפִתגָמֵי נְבִיַי לָא שְאִילוּ לְאִיתַקָפָא בִתקֹוף פַרעֹה וּלאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם׃ ג וִיהֵי לְכֹון תְקֹוף פַרעֹה לְבַהתָא וְאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם לְאִתכְנָעוּ׃ ד אְרֵי הְוֹו בְטַאנֵיס רַברְבֹוהִי וְאִזגַדֹוהִי עַד תַחפַנחֵס מְטֹו׃ ה כוּלְהֹון אָזְלִין לְמִבְהַת לְוָת עַמָא דְלָא יַהנֹון לְהֹון לָא לִסעֵיד וְלָא לַהְנָאָה אְרֵי לְבַהתָא וְאַף לְחִיסוּדִין׃ ו נָטְלִין עַל בְעִירְהֹון בְאֹורַח דָרֹומָא בַאְרַע עָקָא וַעְיָק אְתַר דְאַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן וְחִיוָוָן דְחֻרמָנִין )מַפרִיתִין( נָטְלִין עַל כְתַף עִלִין נִכסֵיהֹון וְעַל חְטֹוריָת גַמלִין מָא דִבאֹוצְרֵיהֹון וּמֹובְלִין לְעַם דְלָא יַהנֵי לְהֹון׃ ז וּמִצרָאֵי לָמָא וְרֵיקָנוּ סְעָדְהֹון בְכֵין עָרַעִית מִנְהֹון קְטִילִין זִמנִין אַיתִי עְלֵיהֹון׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 30:1-7
30:1 Woe unto the rebellious children, saith the Lord, who take counsel, but not of my WORD, who consult a consultation, but do not ask my prophets, that they may add sin unto the sins of their soul. 30:2 Who go to descend into Egypt, but ask not the words of my prophets: to strengthen themselves with the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. 30:3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be unto you for confusion; and confidence in the shadow of Egypt for disgrace. 30:4 For their princes were in Tanes, and their messengers have reached Taphnes. 30:5 All of them go unto a people to be confounded, a people that shall not profit them, who shall be of no help, and of no profit, but for a confusion, and reproaches. 30:6 They carry upon their beasts of burden on the way southward, into a land of oppression and distress, a place of the lion, and the whelps of the lionesses, and serpents, and of the flying basilisks—they carry upon the shoulders of their young cattle their treasures, and they bring upon the bunches of camels whatever is in their treasuries unto a people, that shall not profit them. 30:7 And as for the Egyptians, their help is vanity and emptiness; therefore I shall meet many of them slain: I will bring armed men upon them. (TgJ)
The TgJ opens paralleling the people and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem with rebellious children. The TgJ translates saying, א יֵי בְנַיָא מָרֹודַיָא אְמַר יוי לְמַעְבַד עֵיצָא וְלָא מִמֵימְרִי וּלאִתמְלָכָא מֵילַך וְלָא שָאְלִין בִנבִיַי בְדִיל לְאֹוסָפָא חֹובִין עַל חֹובֵי נַפשְהֹון׃ 30:1 Woe unto the rebellious children, saith the Lord, who take counsel, but not of my WORD, who consult a consultation, but do not ask my prophets, that they may add sin unto the sins of their soul. (TgJ) Paul writes the importance of seeking counsel of God first saying according to Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV, 2 καὶ μὴ ⸀συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ ⸁μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς ⸆ εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον*.) Note the important concept here to taking counsel in the Word of God is that we will be μεταμορφοῦσθε “transformed.” The word μεταμορφοῦσθε is from the stem μορφή meaning “transformation.” Something interesting from the LXX, in the Tanakh the Lord God Almighty is mentioned in anthropological terms and the reason is so that we can understand Him, for example we listen to His words, we speak with Him in prayer, etc. We are given examples from the Torah, such as in Bereshit / Genesis 18:1-14 of the Lord appearing to and speaking with Abraham before the destruction of Sodom and Gamorah. In this sense God has to transform in a sense for us to be able to hear and speak to Him. Judaism also has this concept of Tikkun Olam, how we are to be involved in the transformation of the world through deeds of loving kindness. The book 2 Baruch 51:1 states that when the appointed day has passed, the appearance of sinners will be transformed; those who have acted righteously then appear glorified. In the NT text we read according to Mark how he uses this word in Mark 16:12, μορφή once. We also find this word occurring 2× in Philippians 2:6–7 and the word μεταμορφόω is used in the account of the transfiguration according to Matthew 17:2 = Mark 9:2. What these things reveal to us is how God is transformed for the purpose of our being able to commune with us just like what we read according to the Torah. Similarly, we are to seek the counsel of God for the purpose of our being transformed, so that again we can commune with the Holy One of Israel, the Lord God Almighty! This is the significance of our being transformed when we come to faith in Yeshua, how the Lord God enters into our lives through His Holy Spirit and this transformation is for the purpose of communing with Him! This also follows why we are to sanctify ourselves here on earth because of having been sanctified in heaven by Yeshua the Messiah! Rashi writes the following concerning this idea of taking counsel of God.
Rashi on Isaiah 30,1 Parts 1-2
סוררים. סרים מן הדרך: rebellious (סוֹרְרִים) who turn away from the way of God.
לנסוך מסכה. להמשיל עליהם מושל ולא רוחי ודעתי בדבר ומהו הנסוך הוא פרעה: and to appoint a ruler (וְלִנְסֹךְ מַסֵּכָה) to appoint a ruler to rule over them, with neither My spirit nor My will in the matter, and what is this appointing? This is Pharaoh.
Here Rashi points out how important it is to have leadership who are filled with the Spirit of God. We can really see the issues today in our modern world on the lack of the Spirit of God in the leadership in government! When people rebel against God’s will, they appoint rulers who are not filled with God’s Spirit, and this appointing is synonymous to one appointing Pharaoh over oneself as a ruler. This also demonstrates the spiritual problems with the general population today too who elect these corrupt leaders! We note how Pharaoh prefers enslavement as opposed to freedom. Solomon wrote the following according to Mishley / Proverbs 19:21 saying, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” The significance of this verse is that if we seek the counsel of God, His plan will prevail. If we do not seek the counsel of God, He will work in our lives to remember how important it is to seek His counsel, and so again God’s plan will prevail! Regardless of our decisions, whether to glorify Him or not, His plan will prevail! This is the outcome of not seeking the counsel of God, becoming enslaved to Pharaoh and to sin again! The TgJ goes on to emphasize this saying the following according to Isaiah 30:2, ב דְאָזְלִין לְמֵיחַת לְמִצרַיִם וּבפִתגָמֵי נְבִיַי לָא שְאִילוּ לְאִיתַקָפָא בִתקֹוף פַרעֹה וּלאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם׃ 30:2 Who go to descend into Egypt, but ask not the words of my prophets: to strengthen themselves with the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. (TgJ) We note something about all of Egypt. Egypt exists geographically at sea level, whereas Israel exists in a mountainous region. The idea of leaving Egypt is to ascend to Israel, getting closer to God in heaven. Here the TgJ writes that the one who is rebellious and turns to Egypt is on the descending path, walking away from God in heaven to a low land. We note this is also what Lot (Abraham’s relative) did in Bereshit / Genesis 17-18. He chose the low-lying land, and he paid the price for his choices with all that he had, including the loss of his wife. The point of the height of Israel is to draw near to the Lord, and not away from. Rashi speaks of these things saying the following:
Rashi on Isaiah 30,2 Parts 1-3
ההולכים לרדת מצרים. על הושע בן אלה אשר שלח מלאכים אל סוא מלך מצרים (מלכים ב י״ז:ד׳): Those who go to descend to Egypt This alludes to Hoshea, son of Elah, who sent emissaries to So, king of Egypt (II Kings 17:4).
לרדת מצרים. ארץ ישראל גבוהה מכל הארצו’ דבר אחר ירידה היא להם: to descend to Egypt The land of Israel is higher than all the other lands. Alternatively, this is a degradation for them.
ולחסות. להתכסות אבריאי”ר בלע”ז: and to take shelter (lit.) to cover themselves, abrier in O. F. (This is the equivalent of sabriter in Modern French, to take shelter.)
Rashi here agrees with our interpretation, saying, לרדת מצרים. ארץ ישראל גבוהה מכל הארצו’ דבר אחר ירידה היא להם: “to descend to Egypt The land of Israel is higher than all the other lands. Alternatively, this is a degradation or down grading for them.” This descending is paralleled to taking shelter under Egypt, or by analogy, taking shelter under sin and bondage, finding comfort in sin and bondage. There are many parallels here to the Exodus account and how the people desired to return to Egypt being discontented with what God had provided for them. Even lacking faith to enter into the Promised Land. We note that turning from sin is difficult, it takes effort and perseverance with the help of God!
Isaiah goes on according to the TgJ saying, ג וִיהֵי לְכֹון תְקֹוף פַרעֹה לְבַהתָא וְאִתרְחָצָא בִטלַל מִצרָיִם לְאִתכְנָעוּ׃ 30:3 Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be unto you for confusion; and confidence in the shadow of Egypt for disgrace. ד אְרֵי הְוֹו בְטַאנֵיס רַברְבֹוהִי וְאִזגַדֹוהִי עַד תַחפַנחֵס מְטֹו׃ 30:4 For their princes were in Tanes, and their messengers have reached Taphnes. (TgJ) Here the TgJ provides us with an important perspective saying that the strength of Pharaoh will be confusion and disgrace. We notice how those who practice sin openly today, the woke liberal ideologies and LGBTQ how confusion and disgrace reigns in their lives and how these things are connected, i.e. transgenderism, and being inflamed for the opposite sex, etc. The idea of turning to Egypt and descending to Egypt are connected to the desire of the leadership for prosperity and wealth. The Talmud connects these things to this saying according to the Talmud Bavli Ketubot 112a.
Talmud Bavli Ketubot 112a:7
And you have no more outstanding earth among all the lands other than the land of Egypt, as it is stated: “Like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” (Genesis 13:10). And you have no more outstanding region in all of the land of Egypt than Zoan. The superior quality of Zoan is derived from the fact that they would raise kings there, as it is written: “For his princes are at Zoan” (Isaiah 30:4). And you have no rockier terrain in all of Eretz Yisrael than Hebron, as people would bury their dead there, e.g., the Patriarchs in the Cave of Machpelah, because the land was not arable.
The Rabbis here discuss the idea of the fertility of the land of Egypt speaking to not just the growing of crops but of the production of kings as well. The imagery provided of Egypt is to wealth and royalty. The biblical imagery provided from the Exodus is bondage and sin. The connection here is what we see going on today in our culture around the world, how woke ideologies and LGBTQ are promoted, those who support these things the evil one gives great wealth. Take for example how the US government provides foreign aid only if the receiving country teaches LGBTQ and woke ideologies at their schools. This is how the evil one seduces people from every nation to do his bidding. The rabbis however consider Israel to be of a higher quality due to her spiritual closeness to God in heaven. Take for example the following descriptions of Israel and Egypt.
Ein Yaakov, Ketubot 13:20
Our Rabbis were taught: During a prosperous year in Israel, a space wherein a S’ah of seed is sown would produce five myriad Khor of grain. In the tilled districts of Z’oan, one measure of seed produced seventy Khor; for we are taught that Rabbi Maier said: “I myself have witnessed in the vale of Beth She’an an instance of one measure of seed producing seventy Khors.” And there is no better land anywhere than the land of Egypt; for it is said (Gen. 13) As the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. And there is no better laud in all Egypt than Zo’an, where several kings resided; as it is written (Is. 30, 4) His princes were in Z’oan!” In all Israel there was no other stony soil than Hebron, for this reason it was devoted for a burying place: and yet Hebron was seven times more prolific than Zo’an, as it is written (Num. 13, 22), Now Hebron was built seven years before Zo’an in Egypt. What does that mean? Shall we assume that it means literally? How is it possible that one should build a house for his smallest son at first? Since it is said (Gen. 10, 6) And the sons of Ham, Cush, Mizriam (Egypt), Phut, and Canaan. It must therefore mean that it was seven times more prolific than Zo’an, This is only in the stony soil of the land of Israel, but in the suitable soil [the increase] is five hundred times. All this applies to a year of average return; but in one of special prosperity it is written (Gen. 26, 12) Then Isaac sewed in that land, and received in the same year a hundred-fold.
Sifrei Devarim 37:2
— You say that Scripture speaks of the superiority of Eretz Yisrael? Perhaps it speaks of the superiority of Egypt! It is, therefore, written (Bamidbar 13:22) “And Chevron (the lowest-grade soil in Canaan [later, Eretz Yisrael,]) was superior, seven-fold to Tzoan (the highest-grade soil) in Egypt.” (lit., “Chevron was built seven years before Tzoan”) For Tzoan was the seat of Egyptian royalty, as it is written (Isaiah 30:4) “For its (Egypt’s) officers were in Tozan,”
Note how the Rabbis say that Israel has the most fertile land producing more fruit than all of the land of Egypt. There are relative size differences and such between these two lands. It doesn’t matter when God is in control. The idea here is not just to produce physical garden vegetables, but to the production of spiritual fruit which has an impact on not just the nation of Israel, but also to all of the world. If we consider the NT account of the life of Yeshua, the disciples, and Paul, notice how these handful of men have had such an influential impact upon all of the world! The Lord God Almighty wants us to be set free from bondage to sin! He wants to restore marriages, he wants to save those who are lost, to call men, women, and children to His holy and righteous ways which are full of mercy, grace, and love for one another. (Note how knowing these things about the Torah of God allows us to differentiate between the cult leader and the righteous man of God!) We can easily see the superiority of what has come out of the land of Israel as opposed to all the other nations. This is why Isaiah started out his book with the prophetic message that all nations will stream into Zion God’s holy mountain. God’s purpose for Israel was never just about the ethnic descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but for all the nations and families of the earth to know the God of Israel and to live and walk in His holy ways! The issue is that when one holds onto sin, or ideologies which are incompatible with the truths of God, then there will be brokenness in one’s relationship with God as a result. Those who hold onto liberal ideologies also do not recognize their fallen relationship with God, and so this explains why so many Christians claim to also have liberal belief systems and believe these are ok in relation to their faith. This is what Isaiah is trying to say according to Isaiah 30:5-7, ה כוּלְהֹון אָזְלִין לְמִבְהַת לְוָת עַמָא דְלָא יַהנֹון לְהֹון לָא לִסעֵיד וְלָא לַהְנָאָה אְרֵי לְבַהתָא וְאַף לְחִיסוּדִין׃ 30:5 All of them go unto a people to be confounded, a people that shall not profit them, who shall be of no help, and of no profit, but for a confusion, and reproaches. ו נָטְלִין עַל בְעִירְהֹון בְאֹורַח דָרֹומָא בַאְרַע עָקָא וַעְיָק אְתַר דְאַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן וְחִיוָוָן דְחֻרמָנִין )מַפרִיתִין( נָטְלִין עַל כְתַף עִלִין נִכסֵיהֹון וְעַל חְטֹוריָת גַמלִין מָא דִבאֹוצְרֵיהֹון וּמֹובְלִין לְעַם דְלָא יַהנֵי לְהֹון׃ 30:6 They carry upon their beasts of burden on the way southward, into a land of oppression and distress, a place of the lion, and the whelps of the lionesses, and serpents, and of the flying basilisks—they carry upon the shoulders of their young cattle their treasures, and they bring upon the bunches of camels whatever is in their treasuries unto a people, that shall not profit them. ז וּמִצרָאֵי לָמָא וְרֵיקָנוּ סְעָדְהֹון בְכֵין עָרַעִית מִנְהֹון קְטִילִין זִמנִין אַיתִי עְלֵיהֹון׃ 30:7 And as for the Egyptians, their help is vanity and emptiness; therefore I shall meet many of them slain: I will bring armed men upon them. (TgJ) The essential element of what Isaiah is saying here is for those who draw near to the ideologies of the state, and hold onto lies, will not benefit their lives and will lead only to confusion. This is certainly what we are seeing today in this world! Rashi writes the following concerning Isaiah 30:6.
Rashi on Isaiah 30,6 Parts 1-4
משא בהמות נגב. מטולין על בעירהון באורח דרומא לפי שארץ מצרים בדרומה של א”י וזהו הגידוף והחרפה שמחרפין אותן (ורואין) את אלו שטוענין משאות ממונם על בהמתם להוליך שוחד למצרים חנם ומסכנין עצמן במדברות ארץ צרה וצוקה וכו’: The burden of the beasts of the southland The burdens on their beasts on the way to the southland (Jonathan), for Egypt is in the south of Eretz Israel, and this is the insult and the derision that they would insult them: See these people, whose burdens of money are laden on their beasts to transport bribes to Egypt for nothing, and they imperil themselves in the deserts, in a land of trouble and anguish, etc.
אפעה. מין נחש רע הוא ואין בעולם כי אם שנים זכר ונקבה והם יולדים לשבעים שנה ואף שרף מעופף מין נחש הוא ולא שיהיו לו כנפים לעוף אלא קופץ ומדלג רחוק מאד וזורק להב מפיו: viper It is a species of deadly snakes, and there are only two of them in the world, a male and a female, which reproduce after seventy years, (i.e. its gestation period is seventy years) (Bechoroth 8a). The flying serpent, too, is a species of snake, not that it has wings with which to fly, but it jumps and springs long distances and throws a flame from its mouth.
חיליהם. ממונם: their wealth (חֵילֵיהֶם) their money.
דבשת. חטוטר’ חלדרוב”א בלע”ז יש לו לגמל במקום טעינת המשא וע”ש שמתרקבת תמיד וסכין שם דבש לרפואה קרויה דבשת כדאמרינן בב”מ דבש והדביש חזי לכתישא דגמלי: the humps (דַּבֶּשֶׁת) hidroba in O.F. A camel has this in the place the burden is laden, and since it always becomes sore, and they smear honey there to heal it, it is called דַּבֶּשֶׁת, (from דְּבַשׁ, honey,) as we say in Baba Mezia 38b: Honey that lost its sweetness is fit for the sores of the camels.
Note how Rashi draws out this idea of the burdens on the beasts as being a reference to the bribes that are being taken to the King of Egypt for his help. This idea of bribes is what we see taking place around the world found in the financial aid that is given. The stipulations are that they need to teach their people how to sin, how to lose reason and common sense (i.e. transgenderism and liberalism), how to set up an idol of the flesh, the body, the lusts and sexual desires that come with sexual sin and bondage. This is the plan of the evil one! We note the vulnerability of children, the innocent who are destroyed with these demonic ideologies. Those who do these things and support the efforts of the evil one will certainly perish! The Midrash Tanchuma has a parable that illustrates this in the following way.
Midrash Tanchuma, Beshalach 18:2
It is related that while King Shapur (of Persia) was passing through that place with the members of his family, a serpent swallowed one of them. As he continued along, a second member of his family was swallowed up and then a third. King Shapur was deeply saddened, but he did not know what to do. His counselors advised him: “Summon ten mighty men to fill the place with a layer of straw.” He summoned them and they did so. They placed straw around the serpent, and he swallowed it. Then they placed more straw around him, and he swallowed it as well. This continued until his belly swelled up, and they killed him. Hence, Who led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness, wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions, and thirsty ground where was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint (Deut. 8:15). It says also: The burden of the beasts of the south. Through the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the lioness and the lion, the viper and the flying serpent (Isa. 30:6). The word ef’eh is employed with reference to a viper. They say that when a viper looks at the shadow of a bird flying through the air, the bird immediately becomes entranced and falls apart. Nevertheless, they did not say: Where is the Lord that brought us out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death (Jer. 2:6). What is meant by the word tzalmavet (“shadow of death”)? A place where there is tzal (“shadow”) accompanied by mavet (“death”).
The Midrash has a parable about King Shapur who was passing through a place. The place is left unknown, and the reason being is that this can happen at any place when we consider the spiritual implications. Here the king passed through a land or region and the serpent was picking off his family members, his children, and swallowing them. So, the advisers counseled that the king should set mighty men to feed the serpent straw until it got too full and died. We note something about this parable. At the end of the midrash, we read how the Lord led Israel through the wilderness. It may be that this king had not allowed his family to be led by the God of Israel and so the serpent was able to swallow up his family. Note the parallel to turning from faith in Yeshua allows for the evil one to swallow not just us but also our children! This is a very important principle, how the Lord God protects us, and the power of God in our lives helps to keep us from the evil one and from falling prey to the ideologies of the evil one! Here is the purpose of the Lord God Almighty, our Father, the God of Israel sending His Son Yeshua into this world for the purpose of setting us free from the evil one, to help us to understand what it means to walk in the Torah of God (in His holy instructions for life), and to have God’s presence in our lives via the Holy Spirit! These things empower us to overcome sin and bring glory to God in heaven! The entire purpose of Israel was to reveal to the world, to every nation and people the glory of God, and of His power to help us overcome sin, and to have freedom, true freedom from bondage and slavery! It is for these reasons we praise God’s Holy Name! We serve such a wonderful God who loves us and promises us that if we seek Him, He will work powerfully in our lives to set us free from anything that is bondage or a trap that we cannot get ourselves out of!