Chapter 20

1It was the year that the Tartan came to Ashdod—being sent by King Sargon of Assyria—and attacked Ashdod and took it.

אבִּשְׁנַת בֹּא תַרְתָּן אַשְׁדּוֹדָה בִּשְׁלֹח אֹתוֹ סַרְגוֹן מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּאַשְׁדּוֹד וַיִּלְכְּדָהּ׃

2Previously, Hashem had spoken to Yeshayahu son of Amotz, saying, “Go, untie the sackcloth from your loins and take your sandals off your feet,” which he had done, going naked and barefoot.

ba-AYT ha-HEE di-BER a-do-NAI b'-YAD y'-sha-YA-hu ven a-MOTZ lay-MOR LAYKH u-fi-takh-TA ha-SAK may-AL mot-NE-kha v'-na-al-KHA ta-kha-LOTZ may-AL rag-LE-kha va-YA-as KAYN ha-LOKH a-ROM v'-ya-KHAYF

בבָּעֵת הַהִיא דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה בְּיַד יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן־אָמוֹץ לֵאמֹר לֵךְ וּפִתַּחְתָּ הַשַּׂק מֵעַל מָתְנֶיךָ וְנַעַלְךָ תַחֲלֹץ מֵעַל רַגְלֶיךָ וַיַּעַשׂ כֵּן הָלֹךְ עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף׃

20:2   Go, untie the sackcloth from your loins

Egypt encouraged the Philistines to revolt against Assyria, and supported the rebellion for three years (713-711 BCE), only to then cowardly hand the Philistine king of Ashdod over to the Assyrians. In an attempt to dissuade Yehuda from similarly relying on Egypt for protection against the Assyrian army, Yeshayahu becomes a living sign to the people. He is to loosen his clothes at his loins, wear no upper garments, and go barefoot. This behavior is designed to signify that the Egyptians and Ethiopians will be led away as captives by the king of Assyria, and to remind the people not to rebel against Hashem’s message or try to rely on Egypt for salvation. Though it is tempting to rely on people or material wealth for success, Yeshayahu‘s message is that God is the only true source of success and salvation.

3And now Hashem said, “It is a sign and a portent for Egypt and Nubia. Just as My servant Yeshayahu has gone naked and barefoot for three years,

גוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ עַבְדִּי יְשַׁעְיָהוּ עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת עַל־מִצְרַיִם וְעַל־כּוּשׁ׃

4so shall the king of Assyria drive off the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Nubia, young and old, naked and barefoot and with bared buttocks—to the shame of Egypt!

דכֵּן יִנְהַג מֶלֶךְ־אַשּׁוּר אֶת־שְׁבִי מִצְרַיִם וְאֶת־גָּלוּת כּוּשׁ נְעָרִים וּזְקֵנִים עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף וַחֲשׂוּפַי שֵׁת עֶרְוַת מִצְרָיִם׃

5And they shall be dismayed and chagrined because of Nubia their hope and Egypt their boast.

הוְחַתּוּ וָבֹשׁוּ מִכּוּשׁ מַבָּטָם וּמִן־מִצְרַיִם תִּפְאַרְתָּם׃

6In that day, the dwellers of this coastland shall say, ‘If this could happen to those we looked to, to whom we fled for help and rescue from the king of Assyria, how can we ourselves escape?'”

ווְאָמַר יֹשֵׁב הָאִי הַזֶּה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא הִנֵּה־כֹה מַבָּטֵנוּ אֲשֶׁר־נַסְנוּ שָׁם לְעֶזְרָה לְהִנָּצֵל מִפְּנֵי מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וְאֵיךְ נִמָּלֵט אֲנָחְנוּ׃