Isaiah 30 Commentary

The folly of relying on Egypt (30:1-33)

All Isaiah’s warnings against an alliance with Egypt are in vain. As he learns that a group of Judean representatives is on its way to Egypt, he points out again how disastrous this alliance will prove to be.


Judah’s reliance on Egypt is against God’s will and in the end will bring only disgrace upon Judah (30:1- 5).

Isaiah pictures the dangerous journey, as a caravan of donkeys and camels carry Judah’s payment through the dry southern region of Judah towards Egypt. He knows that the journey is a waste of time, money and effort (6). Judah thinks of Egypt as a great dragon (Rahab) that will help it overthrow enemy Assyria, but Isaiah knows that Egypt will be powerless to help – like a dragon that sits still and does nothing (7).

The prophet writes this discouraging message down as a permanent record that the people have been warned (8). But the sinful people do not want to hear messages that come from God. They want to hear only those things that please them (9-11). They trust for their national defence in a treaty with Egypt, which, to them, is like a high wall that protects them from enemy Assyria. But this wall will collapse on top of them (12-14).

Instead of trusting quietly in God the people trust in military strength. This is only inviting defeat, because the military strength of Assyria is greater than that of Egypt (15-17). God wants to help his people, but first he wants them to learn to trust in him (18).

Despite Judah’s rebellion, God in his mercy does not cast them off for ever (19). He is the great teacher who punishes his people when they turn from him, so that they might see their wrongdoing, give up their sinful ways and return to walk in the ways of God (20-22). Then God will pour out upon them the blessings of nature to an extent they have never before experienced (23-26). Upon their enemies, God will pour out his holy wrath (27-28). The people of God will celebrate their victory with much gladness and singing (29), but the Assyrians will be destroyed without mercy, as if burnt in a huge bonfire (30-33).

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