Isaiah prophesies Aswan Dam

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“And the [Nile] river shall be wasted and dried up”

Isaiah 19:5

Isaiah prophesied of the Aswan Dam that would be built in Egypt more than 2,500 years in the future.

In Isaiah 19:5-15, Isaiah prophesied of the ecological disaster the dam would bring to the Nile:

  • Waters fail from sea, river wasted, dried up (v. 5)
  • Rivers would be turned (stopped up) far away (v.6)
  • Water plants (reeds, flags) would wither (v. 6-7, 9)
  • Fishers would lament because of poor fishing (v.8, 10)
  • Egyptian and foreign leaders would look foolish because of the consequences (v. 11-15)
Apparently Ezekiel also prophesied of the Aswan Dam in Ezekiel 30:12 “And I will make the river dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers.”
Now that we know Isaiah and Ezekiel’s prophesies, let’s take a look at what actually happened.
In 1902 Egypt built the Aswan Low Dam.  It overflowed in 1946, so Egypt decided to recruit help from the Soviet Union.  In 1970 they finished the 111-meter high Aswan High Dam.

While the dam brought some benefits, including drought protection, electricity, agricultural production and employment, it brought many problems:

  • Dead fish because of stopped water and nutrient-rich silt (134 millions tons of silt blocked annually).
  • More algae and aquatic weeds because of standing water and fertilizers.
  • More need for water treatment because of lack of annual floods to flush downstream stagnant water.
  • River-bed level dropped 1-2 feet.
  • Increased bilharzia/schistosomiasis due to snails breeding in standing water.
  • Poor crops because of salty and water-logged soils, costing over 3 billion dollars to attempt to fix.
  • More than 100,000 people displaced because of the resulting Lake Nasser.
  • Sardines off Egyptian coast declined from 18,000 tons in 1962 to 460 tons in 1968.
Well, do you think do Isaiah and Ezekiel prophecies line up with history?  I think so.


“You are free to choose, but you are not free to alter the consequences of your decisions.”

-Ezra Taft Benson

My Testament: Sometimes it’s tempting to trust in our own wisdom when planning the future.  I think it’s important we always consult the Lord for every major decision.  He sees consequences, opportunities and trials that we don’t.  If we rely on His wisdom, we’ll have the Creator of the Universe on our side.

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