Isaiah 20

A Prophecy Against Egypt and Cush

1 In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it—
2 at that time the LORD spoke through Isaiah son of Amoz. He said to him, “Take off the sackcloth from your body and the sandals from your feet.” And he did so, going around stripped and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush,[a]
4 so the king of Assyria will lead away stripped and barefoot the Egyptian captives and Cushite exiles, young and old, with buttocks bared—to Egypt’s shame.
5 Those who trusted in Cush and boasted in Egypt will be dismayed and put to shame.
6 In that day the people who live on this coast will say, ‘See what has happened to those we relied on, those we fled to for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! How then can 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 28

  • 1. 2 Kings 18:17
  • 2. S Joshua 11:22; S Joshua 13:3
  • 3. S Isaiah 13:1
  • 4. 2 Kings 1:8; S Isaiah 3:24; Zechariah 13:4; Matthew 3:4
  • 5. Ezekiel 24:17,23
  • 6. S 1 Samuel 19:24
  • 7. Ezekiel 4:1-12; Micah 1:8
  • 8. Isaiah 22:20; Isaiah 41:8-9; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 49:3,5-7; Isaiah 50:10; Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 53:11; Jeremiah 7:25; Haggai 2:23; Zechariah 4:14
  • 9. S Isaiah 16:14
  • 10. S Exodus 3:12; S Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 37:30; Isaiah 38:7; Acts 21:11
  • 11. S Deuteronomy 28:46
  • 12. S Isaiah 19:1
  • 13. ver 5; S Genesis 10:6; Isaiah 37:9; Isaiah 43:3
  • 14. S Isaiah 19:4
  • 15. S Job 12:17
  • 16. Jeremiah 46:19; Nahum 3:10
  • 17. Isaiah 18:1; Zephaniah 2:12
  • 18. S Isaiah 3:24
  • 19. Isaiah 47:3; Jeremiah 13:22,26; Nahum 3:5
  • 20. S Isaiah 8:12
  • 21. S ver 3
  • 22. S 2 Kings 18:21; S Isaiah 30:5
  • 23. Ezekiel 29:16
  • 24. Isaiah 2:11; S Isaiah 19:23
  • 25. S 2 Kings 18:21
  • 26. Jeremiah 46:25
  • 27. S Isaiah 10:3
  • 28. Jeremiah 30:15-17; Jeremiah 31:2; Matthew 23:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Hebrews 2:3

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, the upper Nile region; also in verse 5

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

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