17. They did cry there, Pharaoh king of Egypt is but a noise; he hath passed the time appointed.
17. Clamarunt illic, Pharao rex Aegypti perturbationis, praeteriit tempus statutum (vel, condictum.)
This verse ought to be joined with the preceding, for he refers to the cries of the soldiers who had been deceived by their own hopes: they at length cried, Pharaoh is to us a king of confusion. The Prophet predicts what was to be; but he speaks, according to what was usually done, in the past time; for the Prophets announce unknown things as before their eyes, in order to gain credit to their prophecies. He then says, that there would be a cry among the soldiers, Pharaoh the king of Egypt is a king of confusion; for the word s'vn, shaun, is to be read in the genitive case; as though the Prophet had said that the soldiers would really find that Pharaoh would not turn out according to his boasting. The name of Egypt first filled him and the whole nation with arrogance; and further, it was dreaded by the neighbouring nations. When, therefore, they came to Pharaoh, they thought that they were coming to some sort of a god. The Prophet derided that foolish confidence unreasonably entertained, and says, |They shall cry there, O Pharaoh, magnificent king, thou art now a king of tumult,| or confusion.
What follows is not well explained, as I think, by interpreters; for they all, with one consent, think that Pharaoh is derided, because he delayed time, after having before said that he would go against Nebuchadnezzar; as earthly kings, when they think themselves sufficiently prepared, do not wait until the enemy is at hand, or finds them at home, but go to meet him at a distance. Others think that the time for war had been proclaimed, as it was usual formerly for both sides to proclaim a certain day on which they were to come to a conflict. But from the last verse we may gather that the Prophet meant another thing, he then derides, if I am not mistaken, the folly of Pharaoh for another reason, even because he thought that those threatenings were vain and empty, which had been dispersed by the Jews; for the Egyptians were not ignorant of what had been predicted by the Prophets. Isaiah had long before cried out against the Jews, because they made treaties with the Egyptians, and fled there for aid. There is no doubt but the courtiers, in order to gain favor, said to them, |Behold, our Prophets hinder us as much as they can, and we must take care lest they turn aside the people: while then there is time, let us make the treaty, which will be useful to you as well as to us.| As, then, the destruction of Egypt had been predicted many years before, and as the Egyptians remained in safety after Judea was overthrown and laid waste, it is probable that they became more hardened, thinking that the time had elapsed. And this view, as I have said, is confirmed by the context. For it follows, --