10 The workers in cloth will be dejected, and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.
19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. 21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turn to the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
Yesterday it was noted the heart is mentioned four times in this chapter and we discussed two of them. Today we look at the last two hearts in this chapter.
The first is in verse ten and is a continuation of a list of various occupations of workers who are fearful. In verse ten this is summarized as all the wage earners will be sick at heart. The point of this is to show how deep the fear of the Lord God of Israel permeated Egypt. It was not simply the rulers and their sycophants who feared what was coming, but everyone down to what we would today call the common everyday working man. They too knew and were afraid.
The second mention today is not the heart we normally look at, but a location instead. Nonetheless, it is interesting to consider even though many translations say in the midst of Egypt vs. in the heart of Egypt as the heart image provides a great symbol to how deeply this prophecy was felt and enacted. Many commentaries mention the fulfillment of this prophecy, but the one from the Pulpit Commentary is the most suscinct:
There will be an altar to the Lord. An altar to the Lord was undoubtedly erected by Onias in the temple which he obtained leave to build from Ptolemy Philometor. Josephus says that he persuaded Ptolemy by showing him this passage of Isaiah. And a monument at the border thereof. It is not clear that any “pillar” was ever actually erected. The erection of pillars for religious purposes was forbidden by the Law (Deuteronomy 16:22). But this would be a pillar of witness (Genesis 31:52), and would mark that the land was Jehovah’s. Dr. Kay suggests that “the Jewish synagogue first, and afterwards the Christian Church at Alexandria, standing like a lofty obelisk, with the name of Jehovah inscribed upon it, at the entrance of Egypt,” sufficiently fulfilled the prophecy.
I do not think the prophecy has been completely fulfilled as verses twenty through twenty-three preview, there are many more changes to come. Of course He has already provided a Savior for them and everyone else, but they have yet to turn to Him and His Father. That day will come.