A lot is said in these times about “Black Lives Matter” in the context of police excessive force incidents against unarmed black males. Those cases have inspired a national movement and have generated a lot of media coverage.
Surprisingly, very little has been said about recent scholarship suggesting that black lives didn’t matter much in the writing of biblical scriptures depicting in the negative black civilizations which pre-date by several thousand years the birth of Christ, and the ‘holy’ books such as the Bible and other ‘holy’ works.
Read More about holy works at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text
Recent scholarship discusses Ptahhotep, an ancient Egyptian philosopher who lived in the era 2400 B.C. He is credited with writing the first work on spirituality from which many of the popular holy books including the Bible were derived.
That’s right-there was a book on spirituality written centuries before Christ was born, and before the Bible and other holy books were written.
Indeed, it has become painfully clear that many of the scriptures of the holy books may have plagiarized the maxims of Ptahhotep, and distorted them.
Furthermore, other ancient writings and symbols of the Egyptians on Pyramids, in tombs and coffins and in myths also may have been plagiarized.
While ancient Egyptians generally are credited with advances in the sciences, medicine and mathematics, the full scope of those advances for the most part has been surprised.
EricVoc New Media will begin presenting a series of contributed articles on this topic to stimulate thinking and discussion about whether blacks have been misguided in adopting and following Christianity and other faiths which have minimized and trivialized the greatness of the ancient Egyptian people.
Today we present an article on “Isaiah-The Prophecy Against Egypt,” in the Bible, Book of Isiah 19: 1-25.
Our comments are framed from the text of biblestudycourses.org:
Below are some preliminary questions to help in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download)
- According to verse one (printed below,) who is going to visit Egypt? What will be the effect of his visit?
The oracle concerning Egypt. Look! Jehovah rides upon a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble at his presence, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them. (Isaiah 19:1)
In verse 1 the announcement is made that the Lord is about to visit Egypt and the effect of His coming is stated as follows: “The idols of Egypt tremble at his presence, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them.” Every unholy spirit flees and all human strength is dissolved when men have a direct encounter with the Lord God, the Almighty.
- What does the Lord declare He will do to the Egyptians? What is being described in verses 2-3 (printed below?)
I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—everyone shall fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. (3) The spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them. I will confound the counsel of the nation, so they will resort to the idols and the spirits of the dead and the mediums and the spiritists. (Isaiah 19:2-3)
The Lord declares that He will create a situation of internal strife, even civil war: “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—everyone shall fight against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom” (verse 2).
Here is a reference to the political and social upheaval that characterized Egypt at this particular time in history (approximately 745-712 B.C.).
The effect of this internal strife on the national life is now described (verse 3): the national spirit of unity, self-confidence and optimism will be drained and disappear (“the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them.”).
The Lord further declares that He will “confound the counsel of the nation.” That is to say, the political efforts to bring unity, stability, and re-vitalization to the nation will be thwarted and come to nothing.
When mere human endeavor proves to be futile, the nation will turn to its idols and to the occult: “so they will resort to the idols and the spirits of the dead and the mediums and the spiritists.”
In these few passages of Isaiah the writer reviews a period of political and social upheaval in ancient Egypt and undertakes to explain the causes remarkably in spiritual terms while at the same time demeaning the people of Egypt, their spiritual beliefs and practices.
- Describe the natural and economic calamities that, at the command of God, befell the nation of Egypt. See Isaiah 19:5-10 (printed below)
* * * The waters of the River will dry up, and the riverbed will become parched and dry. (6) The canals will stink. The streams of Egypt will dwindle away and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither. (7) The bulrushes along the Nile, by the edge of the Nile, and all the sown fields beside the Nile, will become parched, the topsoil will be blown away and vanish. (8) The fishermen will lament, and all those who cast their hooks into the Nile will mourn—those who spread their fishing nets upon the waters will pine away. (9) Furthermore, the manufacturers of linen made from combed flax and the weavers of white cloth will despair. (10) The economic pillars of Egypt will be broken in pieces; all the wage earners will be grieved in their souls. (Isaiah 19:5-10
In verses 5-10 Isaiah describes the natural and economic calamities that, at the command of God, befell the nation of Egypt.
Verses 5-6 are describing a severe drought: as the Nile River recedes, its tributaries dry up, becoming foul-smelling swamps. Verse 7 describes the effects of the drought on the countryside: the meadows and all the cultivated fields become dry and barren. Verses 8-9 describe the effects of the drought upon the economy at large: the fishermen lament the fact that they have no catch of fish, while the textile workers are thrown out of work owing to the lack of flax from which to make textile products. Verse 10 describes the final effects of the drought.
The “pillars of Egypt” being broken is a reference to the total collapse of the economy; while the reference to the grief stricken laborers points to the massive amount of unemployment—what is described here is a great depression.
Of course, those conditions also could be explained as being the results of a cycle of climate change.
- What do verses 11-15 (printed below) tell us about the political leadership of the nation during those days?
The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; the counsel given by Pharaoh’s wisest counselors has become brutish. How can you say to Pharaoh, I am one of the wise men, a disciple of the ancient kings? (12) Now where are your wise men? Let them tell you and make known what Jehovah of hosts has planned with regard to Egypt. (13) The officials of Zoan have become fools, the leaders of Memphis are deluded—those who are the cornerstones of her tribes have led Egypt astray. (14) Jehovah has mixed within her a spirit of confusion; they have caused Egypt to go astray in everything she does. She is like a drunken man staggering around in his vomit. (15) There will be no help for Egypt, no help that head or tail, palm branch or reed can provide. (Isaiah 19:11-15)
In this time of intense strife and economic crisis, the wisdom of Egypt totally fails (verses 11-15). Not only are the leaders dumbfounded to find solutions (verse 11a); their mismanagement is responsible for much of the suffering (as verse 13 indicates).
In verse 14 the Egyptian nation is described as a drunken man staggering about aimlessly—and it is the Lord who has mixed the strong, intoxicating drink that the nation has imbibed through the counsel of its befuddled leaders.
As a form of judgment, God gave them up to the foolishness of their own sinful hearts and allowed them to reap the fruit of their own ungodly devices.
Verse 15 describes the outcome of this pitiable state of affairs: no one can accomplish anything; no one can offer the solution to the dilemma of the nation.
It would not be a simple matter for the political leaders of Egypt to deal with a calamity of the size described in the scriptures if they had never dealt with such a calamity in their lives. That kind of calamity could be something which occurred every 1000 years.
So on what basis does Isaiah purport to question their judgment other than to assert, with no foundation or support, that God commanded it?
- What kind of spiritual awakening is described in verses 18-21 (printed below?)
On that day five of Egypt’s cities will speak the language of Canaan and swear their vows by Jehovah of hosts—one of them will be called The City of Destruction. (19) On that day there will be an altar to Jehovah in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to Jehovah at its border. (20) It will be a sign and a witness to Jehovah of hosts in the land of Egypt; for they will cry out to Jehovah because of their oppressors, and he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. (21) So Jehovah will make himself known to the Egyptians, and on that day the Egyptians will acknowledge Jehovah—indeed, they will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings, they will make vows to Jehovah and they will keep them. (Isaiah 19:18-21)
According to verse 18, “On that day five of Egypt’s cities will speak the language of Canaan and swear their vows by Jehovah of hosts.”
A relatively small proportion of the population is genuinely converted (five cities), but in the midst of this great pagan land of Egypt it is a real and substantial work of grace.
Verses 19-20a describe the evidence and effects of this work of grace among the people of the land. In the very heart of this pagan land there will be those who are converted to the Lord and who openly profess His great name and the religion of His people Israel (verse 19a).
Verses 19b-20a describe their allegiance to the Lord and their oneness with His people Israel.
A further result of this work of grace throughout the land is the preservation and restoration of the Egyptian nation: “Jehovah … will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them” (verse 20c).
This is a reference to the Egyptian leader, Psamtik (663-610 B.C.), who delivered his people from the oppression of the Assyrians.
As verse 20b indicates, this national deliverance was granted by the Lord in answer to the prayers of the newly converted on behalf of their country.
Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of Psamtik or what may have guided his spirit, it is a leap for the Isaiah to assume, with no foundation or support, that it was because of the conversion of the people in 5 cities of Egypt that the Lord inspired Psamtik to intervene and save the people of Egypt.
As this discussion should show, it is not a simple matter to take scriptures at face value in their depiction of historical events occurring in ancient Egypt in the context of the spiritual and religious bias and spin of the writer Isaiah.
Isaiah was not an eye witness to the events written about.
The suggestion that Isaiah must be credible because he was “inspired by God” without more is sheer rhetoric.
Isaiah is a book of the Old Testament which along with the New Testament make up the Bible. The Bible consists of 66 books written over 1600 years. Isaiah was a prophet who purportedly was inspired to see the causes of events.
Biblical theology counsels that the writings of the prophets cannot be questioned. Why not?
Who can prove the truth of Isaiah’s prophecies?
The Bible was published in the 14th Century A.D. Ptahhotep’s Maxims were published in the era 2400 B.C. So what was the spiritual guidance for humanity in the intervening 3800 years?
Was Ptahhotep inspired by God?
If so, then is it the case that anything in the Bible or other holy books inconsistent with his Maxims is not legitimate?
Those are legitimate questions for which there are no simple answers.
TO BE CONTINUED
Your comments are welcomed.