Isaiah 20

Listen to Isaiah 20

A Sign Against Egypt and Cush

1 In the year that 1the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to 2Ashdod and fought against it and captured it--
2 at that time the LORD spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet," and he did so, walking 3naked and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years 4as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush,[a]
4 so shall the 5king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.
5 6Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast.
6 And the inhabitants of 7this coastland will say in that day, 'Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and 8to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?'"

Isaiah 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

The invasion and conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia.

- Isaiah was a sign to the people by his unusual dress, when he walked abroad. He commonly wore sackcloth as a prophet, to show himself mortified to the world. He was to loose this from his loins; to wear no upper garments, and to go barefooted. This sign was to signify, that the Egyptians and Ethiopians should be led away captives by the king of Assyria, thus stripped. The world will often deem believers foolish, when singular in obedience to God. But the Lord will support his servants under the most trying effects of their obedience; and what they are called upon to suffer for his sake, commonly is light, compared with what numbers groan under from year to year from sin. Those who make any creature their expectation and glory, and so put it in the place of God, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of it. But disappointment in creature-confidences, instead of driving us to despair, should drive us to God, and our expectation shall not be in vain. The same lesson is in force now; and where shall we look for aid in the hour of necessity, but to the Lord our Righteousness?

Cross References 8

  • 1. 2 Kings 18:17
  • 2. 1 Samuel 5:1
  • 3. Micah 1:8, 11; [1 Samuel 19:24]
  • 4. [Isaiah 8:18]
  • 5. Isaiah 19:4
  • 6. Isaiah 30:3, 5; [Isaiah 37:9]
  • 7. Jeremiah 47:7; [Isaiah 14:29, 31]
  • 8. [Isaiah 37:6]

Footnotes 1

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of the Egyptians and Ethiopians by the Assyrians, which had been prophesied of separately in the two preceding chapters Isa 18:1-19:25, and now conjunctly in this: the time of it is given, Isa 20:1 the sign of it, the prophet's walking naked, and barefoot, Isa 20:2 the explanation and accommodation of the sign to the captivity of Egypt and Ethiopia, Isa 20:3,4 the use of this to the Jews, and the effect it had upon them; shame for their trust and dependence on the above nations, and despair of deliverance from the Assyrians by their means, Isa 20:5,6.

Isaiah 20 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.