Isaiah 20

Listen to Isaiah 20
1 In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,
2 the LORD told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
3 Then the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.
4 For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt.
5 Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt!
6 They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”

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?

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Ashdod was captured by Assyria in 711
  • [b]. Hebrew Cush; also in 20:5 .
  • [c]. Hebrew Cushites.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 20

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