ISAIAH CHAPTER 20.
The Symbol of Egypt’s and Ethiopia’s Fall.
V. 1. In the year that Tartan, the commander-in-chief of the Assyrian armies, 2 Kings 18, 17, came unto Ashdod, one of the cities of Philistia which had revolted against the Assyrian supremacy (when Sargon, the king of Assyria, who succeeded Shalmaneser at just about the time when Samaria was taken by the Assyrians, sent him), and fought against Ashdod, and took it, in the second last decade of the eighth century before Christ (in 711 B. C., according to the Assyrian annals), v. 2. at the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah, the son of Amoz, in the year when the siege of Ashdod began, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth, the loose outer garment of coarse cloth which Isaiah wore, from off thy loins and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked, that is, with only his tunic or shirtlike garment, and barefoot, presenting the appearance of one who bad been robbed or spoiled, stripped of his possessions, like a beggar or captive of war. The very dress of Isaiah called attention to his message of repentance. V. 3. And the Lord said, Like as My servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years, to bring home with great emphasis the lesson which the Lord wished to convey, for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia, for a portentous type against the double kingdom, v. 4. so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, as foretold by the symbolic act of Isaiah, even with their buttocks uncovered, as a sign of extreme disgrace, 2 Sam. 10, 4. 5, to the shame of Egypt. V. 5. And they, the inhabitants of Palestine, also the Jews, who looked to Egypt as a possible ally against Assyria, shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia, their expectation, finding themselves disappointed in their hopes of help from this quarter, and of Egypt, their glory, of whose power they had boasted and on whose strength they had relied. V. 6. And the inhabitants of this isle, of the coastal country along the Mediterranean, including Philistia, Phenicia, and the kingdom of Judah, shall say in that day, Behold, such is our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria, that is, such was the lot of those to whom they looked for help and deliverance from the power of Assyria; and how shall we escape? The nation which they considered strong and mighty had proved itself powerless against the common enemy; how, then, could the weaker states hope to escape? It is but another instance of the folly of men in placing their trust in the power of flesh and believing that they can escape the Lord.