And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.
All Commentaries on Isaiah 19:2 Go To Isaiah 19
Isodore of Seville
Daughters of Tyre, daughters of the nations, from species to genus. Through Tyre, neighbor to the land of prophecy, the psalmist signifies all the people who would come to believe in Christ. Rightly, therefore, does he continue: “The wealthy of the earth will all seek your face.” The Lord also threatens Assyria through the prophet Isaiah, saying, “I will destroy the Assyrian in my land, and I will crush him on my mountains”; “and the Lord will destroy Babylon, glorious and famous among the kingdoms, as he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.” It is possible that the Lord began to admonish only the city of Babylon at the beginning of Isaiah, but as he spoke against it, he crossed from species to genus and turned to address his word generally toward all the earth. Surely, if he were not speaking against the entire world, he would not have added later: “I will destroy the whole earth, and I will visit evil upon the world,” and other such statements that pertain to the eradication of the corrupted world. Consequently, he also adds, “This is the decision that I have made concerning the whole earth and this is its hand extended over all the peoples.” … He was addressing the entire world under the figure of Babylon, saying, “I will destroy the whole earth, and I will visit evil upon the world,” along with similar declarations pertaining to the world’s extermination. [But] he also turned his attention back toward Babylon, as though from genus to species, and made remarks that relate specifically to that city: “Behold, I am raising Media up against them.” For during Balthasar’s reign, Babylon was taken by Media. So also, the “oracle of Egypt” intends for Egypt to be understood as a personification of the entire world when it says, “And I will cause Egyptians to fight against Egyptians, kingdom against kingdom,” since it is written that Egypt possessed only one kingdom, not many.
The fifth rule of time is that the greater part can be implied through the lesser or the lesser through the greater. With regard to the three days of the Lord’s burial, for instance, the whole is taken from the part, since he lay in the tomb neither for three full days nor for three full nights. And the part can be taken from the whole, for after the Lord had established that “the length of a man’s life will be one hundred and twenty years,” only one hundred years passed before the great flood. Also, whereas God predicted that the children of Israel would be slaves in Egypt for four hundred years and would then depart, they were not enslaved for four hundred years, since they had escaped slavery under Joseph’s rule. Yet again, the whole is also here subjoined from the part, since they did not depart Egypt immediately after the four hundred years, as promised, but did so after four hundred and thirty years had transpired. Events that are still in the future but are narrated as though they have already occurred also belong to this rule of time. For example, “They pierced my hands and feet and counted all of my bones,” and “they divided my clothing among themselves,” and similar passages in which what has yet to occur is related as a historical event. Anything predicated of the future, however, is spoken from our perspective. But when the future is said to have happened, it must be understood from the perspective of God’s eternity, since what is still in the future for us has already been accomplished according to God’s predestination, for whom everything in the future has been accomplished.
The sixth rule of time is that of recapitulation, which consists in Scripture returning to what it had already narrated. For instance, when it discussed the sons of the sons of Noah, Scripture said that they had their own language among their own people. Afterwards, however, as though subsequent in time, we read, “And all the earth was of one language, and everyone spoke with one voice.” How, therefore, could the sons of Noah have had their own language if there were only one language for everyone, unless the narrative regressed in order to recapitulate what had already transpired?