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Isaiah 20:3

Isaiah 20:3

And the Lord said
Here follows the explanation of the sign, and the accommodation of it to the thing signified by it:

like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot;
not wholly naked, for that would have been very indecent and dangerous indeed; but without his upper garment, as Saul, ( 1 Samuel 19:24 ) and David, ( 2 Samuel 6:14 2 Samuel 6:20 ) or with rent and ragged clothes, and old shoes, as Jarchi F11 interprets it, and which might be only when he appeared abroad; and how long he thus walked is not certain, whether only one day, as some, or three days, as others, or three years, which is not said, though our version inclines to it; but the three years next mentioned are not to be joined to Isaiah's walking, but to the thing signified by it; for the accent "athnach" is at the word which is rendered "barefoot", and distinguishes this clause from the following. The Septuagint indeed puts the phrase "three years" into both clauses, but it only belongs to the latter:

three years [for] a sign and wonder upon Egypt, and upon Ethiopia;
that is, the prophet's walking naked and barefoot was a sign that three years after this Egypt and Ethiopia should be subdued by the Assyrians; or, that so long he should be in subduing them, or their calamities should last such a term of time. This sign was only seen by the Jews, for whose sake chiefly this prophecy was, to take off their dependence on the above nations; though probably this might be made known to the Egyptians and Ethiopians.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 77. 1. & Sabbat, fol. 114. 1.
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