Isaiah 11:15
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And the LORD will utterly destroy The tongue of the Sea of Egypt; And He will wave His hand over the River With His scorching wind; And He will strike it into seven streams And make men walk over dry-shod.

King James Bible
And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.

Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind will he shake his hand over the river, and will smite it into seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.

World English Bible
Yahweh will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his scorching wind he will wave his hand over the River, and will split it into seven streams, and cause men to march over in sandals.

Young's Literal Translation
And Jehovah hath devoted to destruction The tongue of the sea of Egypt, And hath waved His hand over the river, In the terror of his wind, And hath smitten it at the seven streams, And hath caused men to tread it with shoes.

Isaiah 11:15 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And the Lord - The prophet goes on with the description of the effect which shall follow the return of the scattered Jews to God. The language is figurative, and is here drawn from that which was the great storehouse of all the imagery of the Jews - the deliverance of their fathers from the bondage of Egypt. The general sense is, that all the embarrassments which would tend to impede them would be removed; and that God would make their return as easy and as safe, as would have been the journey of their fathers to the land of Canaan, if the 'Egyptian Sea' had been removed entirely, and if the 'river,' with its 'seven streams,' by nature so formidable a barrier, had been dried up, and a path had been made to occupy its former place. Figuratively, the passage means, that all the obstructions to the peace and safety of the people of God would be removed, and that their way would be easy and safe.

The tongue - The Hebrews applied the word 'tongue' to anything that resembled a tongue - to a bar of gold Joshua 7:21, Joshua 7:24; to a flame of fire (note, Isaiah 5:24; compare Acts 2:3); to a bay of the sea, or a gulf, from its shape Joshua 15:5; Joshua 18:19. So we speak of a tongue of land. When it is said that the Lord would 'utterly destroy' it, it is equivalent to saying that it would be entirely dried up; that is, so as to present no obstruction.

Of the Egyptian Sea - Some interpreters, among whom is Vitringa, have supposed that by the tongue of the Egyptian Sea mentioned here, is meant the river Nile, which flows into the Mediterranean, here called, as they suppose, the Egyptian Sea. Vitringa observes that the Nile, before it flows into the Mediterranean, is divided into two streams or rivers, which form the Delta or the triangular territory lying between these two rivers, and bounded on the north by the Mediterranean. The eastern branch of the Nile being the largest, he supposes is called the tongue or "bay" of the Egyptian Sea. But to this interpretation there are obvious objections:

(1) It is not known that the Mediterranean is elsewhere called the Egyptian Sea.

(2) This whole description pertains to the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt The imagery is all drawn from that. But, in their departure, the Nile constituted no obstruction. Their place of residence, in Goshen, was east of the Nile. All the obstruction that they met with, from any sea or river, was from the Red Sea.

(3) The Red Sea is divided, at its northern extremity, into two bays, or forks, which may be called the "tongues" of the sea, and across one of which the Israelites passed in going from Egypt. Of these branches, the western one was called the Heroopolite branch, and the eastern, the Elanitic branch. It was across the western branch that they passed. When it is said that Yahweh would 'destroy' this, it means that he would dry it up so that it would be no obstruction; in other words, he would take the most formidable obstructions to the progress of his people out of the way.

And with his mighty wind - With a strong and powerful wind. Michaelis supposes that by this is meant a tempest. But there is, more probably, a reference to a strong and steady hot wind, such as blows over burning deserts, and such as would have a tendency to dry up even mighty waters. The illustration is, probably, derived from the fact that a strong east wind was employed to make a way through the Red Sea Exodus 14:21. If the allusion here be rather to a mighty wind or a tempest, than to one that is hot, and that tends to evaporate the waters even of the rivers, then it means that the wind would be so mighty as to part the waters, and make a path through the river, as was done in the Red Sea and at the Jordan. The "idea" is, that God would remove the obstructions to the rapid and complete deliverance and conversion of people.

Shall he shake his hand - This is to indicate that the mighty wind will be sent from God, and that it is designed to effect this passage through the rivers. The shaking of the band, in the Scripture, is usually an indication of anger, or of strong and settled purpose (see Isaiah 10:32; Isaiah 13:2; Zechariah 2:9).

Over the river - Many have understood this as referring to the Nile; but two considerations show that the Euphrates is rather intended:

(1) The term 'the river' (הנהר hanâhâr) is usually applied to the Euphrates, called the river, by way of eminence; and when the term is used without any qualification, that river is commonly intended (see the notes at Isaiah 7:20; Isaiah 8:7; compare Genesis 31:21; Genesis 36:37; 1 Kings 4:21; Ezra 4:10, Ezra 4:16; Ezra 5:3).

(2) the effect of this smiting of the river is said to be Isaiah 11:16 that there would be a highway for the people "from Assyria," which could be caused only by removing the obstruction which is produced by the Euphrates lying between Judea and some parts of Assyria.

And shall smite it - That is to dry it up, or to make it pasable.

In the seven streams - The word 'streams' here (נחלים nechâlı̂ym) denotes streams of much less dimensions than a river. It is applied to a "valley" with a brook running through it Genesis 26:19; and then to any small brook or stream, or rivulet Genesis 32:24; Psalm 74:15. Here it denotes brooks or streams that would be fordable. When it is said that the river should be smitten 'in the seven streams,' the Hebrew does not mean that it was "already" divided into seven streams, and that God would smite "them," but it means, that God would smite it "into" seven streams or rivulets; that is, into "many" such rivulets (for the number seven is often used to denote a large indefinite number, Note, Isaiah 4:1); and the expression denotes, that though the river presented an obstruction, in its natural size, which they could not overcome, yet God would make new channels for it, and scatter it into innumerable rivulets or small streams, so that they could pass ever it dry-shod.

A remarkable illustration of this occurs in Herodotus (i.:189): 'Cyrus, in his march to Babylon, arrived at the river Gyndes, which, rising in the mountains of Matiene, and passing through the country of the Darneans, loses itself in the Tigris; and this, after flowing by Opis, is finally discharged into the Red Sea. While Cyrus was endeavoring to pass this river, which could not be perfomed without boats, one of the white consecrated horses boldly entering the stream, in his attempts to cross it, was borne away by the rapidity of the current, and totally lost. Cyrus, exasperated by the accident, made a vow that he would render this stream so very insignificant, that women should hereafter be able to cross it without so much as wetting their feet. He accordingly suspended his designs on Babylon, and divided his forces into two parts; he then marked out with a line on each side of the river, one hundred and eighty trenches; these were dug according to his orders, and so great a number of people were employed that he accomplished his purpose; but he thus wasted the whole of that summer' (see also Seneca, "De Ira." iii.continued...

Isaiah 11:15 Parallel Commentaries

July the Second Light and Lightning
"And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him." --ISAIAH xi. 1-10. And the spirit is one of light! All the doors and windows are open. His correspondences are perfect and unbroken. He is of "quick understanding," keen-scented to discern the essences of things, alert to perceive the reality behind the semblance, to "see things as they are." All the great primary senses are awake, and He has knowledge of every "secret place." "He shall smite ... with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Fragment iv.
[1745] As the elders who saw John the disciple of the Lord remembered that they had heard from him how the Lord taught in regard to those times, and said]: "The days will come in which vines shall grow, having each ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in every one of the shoots ten thousand clusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five-and-twenty metretes of wine.
Papias—Fragments of Papias

The King in Exile
'And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him. 14. When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt; 15. And was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Death and the Raising of Lazarus - the Question of Miracles and of this Miracle of Miracles - views of Negative Criticism on this History
From listening to the teaching of Christ, we turn once more to follow His working. It will be remembered, that the visit to Bethany divides the period from the Feast of the Dedication to the last Paschal week into two parts. It also forms the prelude and preparation for the awful events of the End. For, it was on that occasion that the members of the Sanhedrin formally resolved on His Death. It now only remained to settle and carry out the plans for giving effect to their purpose. This is one aspect
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Cross References
Revelation 16:12
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.

Exodus 14:29
But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Isaiah 7:20
In that day the Lord will shave with a razor, hired from regions beyond the Euphrates (that is, with the king of Assyria), the head and the hair of the legs; and it will also remove the beard.

Isaiah 8:7
"Now therefore, behold, the Lord is about to bring on them the strong and abundant waters of the Euphrates, Even the king of Assyria and all his glory; And it will rise up over all its channels and go over all its banks.

Isaiah 19:16
In that day the Egyptians will become like women, and they will tremble and be in dread because of the waving of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which He is going to wave over them.

Isaiah 43:16
Thus says the LORD, Who makes a way through the sea And a path through the mighty waters,

Isaiah 44:27
"It is I who says to the depth of the sea, 'Be dried up!' And I will make your rivers dry.

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