Isaiah 20

Chapter 20

The Fate of Egypt and Ethiopia.[a] 1 In the year that the commander-in-chief, who had been sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod, he fought against it and captured it. 2 At that time the Lord spoke to Isaiah, the son of Amoz, and issued this warning, “Go forth, take off the sackcloth from your waist, and remove the sandals from your feet.” Isaiah did as he had been instructed, walking naked and barefoot.

3 Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles from Ethiopia, both the young and the aged, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks exposed, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then they will be dismayed and ashamed of Ethiopia their hope and of Egypt their boast. 6 On that day the inhabitants of the coastland will say, ‘Observe what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria. How will we now be able to escape?’ ”


  1. Isaiah 20:1 Because it had incited an anti-Assyrian coalition, the Philistine city of Ashdod was captured in 711 B.C. by the supreme commander of Sargon II. Isaiah performs a prophetic gesture; his incongruous behavior illustrates the fate reserved for prisoners from the contingent, which Egypt and Ethiopia had sent to serve under the Philistines.

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