Isaiah 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them.
The politically correct police will not be pleased with God’s language. But He is in charge. He probably does not care about humanity’s linguistic standards. Deal with it.
In Isaiah 19, verses 16-25 are a unit that results in the return of Christ and the Millennial Kingdom. The section starts with fear, which leads to correction, which ultimately leads to peace. These verses talk and end when there is peace between Egypt, Israel, and Assyria. These areas will all worship the God of Israel and they will all be called “my people” by God.
In March 2019, this seems unthinkable and impossible. Imagine going to the Middle East and telling the Arab and Muslim people, the key to peace is to turn to and worship the triune God of the Bible. Imagine going to Israel and telling Jews, the key to peace is to turn to Jesus Christ as Messiah. There is a ton of passion over there. How well do you think those concepts would be accepted?
These verses are bound together by the term “in that day”. The phrase “in that day” is noted six times in these nine verses. Five times it is the start of a sentence and one time it ends a sentence in the NASB translation.
Verse 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.
This is an example of idiomatic language. Focus on the verbs tremble and dread. It is a word pair of charad and pachad.
Tremble or charad (Hebrew): to tremble, quake, move about, be afraid, be startled, be terrified
Dread or pachad (Hebrew): to fear, tremble, revere, dread, be in awe or dread
Why the need for all of this fear? The text is emphatic, God is the cause. It is stated twice that God is waving His hand. The concept is to swing or wield His hand over them. The grammar is a Hiphil stem verb which indicates God is actively causing things to happen. Lastly, there is the military term LORD of hosts. He is the military commander directing the action.
Before anyone gets upset and their pants get in a wad, spare me the “God is a sexist” nonsense. God is an equal opportunist when it comes to inciting fear. He can also whip men into a frenzy of panic just as well. Ezekiel 21:7 provides a nice example of men being scared. God is talking to nation Israel through the prophet.
“And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, ‘Because of the news that is coming; and every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it comes and it will happen,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
The phrase … all knees will be weak as water… is another way of saying they wet down their leg. In our culture, they whizzed their pants. It is just a matter of fact, declares the Lord GOD.