Isaiah 20
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1  In the year that Tartan came into Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Ashur sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it;

א  בִּשְׁנַת בֹּא תַרְתָּן אַשְׁדּוֹדָה בִּשְׁלֹחַ אֹתוֹ סַרְגוֹן מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּאַשְׁדּוֹד וַיִּלְכְּדָהּ.

2  at that time Hashem spoke by Yeshayahu the son of Amotz, saying: ‘Go, and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put thy shoe from off thy foot.’ And he did so, walking 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

ב  בָּעֵת הַהִיא דִּבֶּר יְהוָה בְּיַד יְשַׁעְיָהוּ בֶן אָמוֹץ לֵאמֹר לֵךְ וּפִתַּחְתָּ הַשַּׂק מֵעַל מָתְנֶיךָ וְנַעַלְךָ תַחֲלֹץ מֵעַל רַגְלֶךָ וַיַּעַשׂ כֵּן הָלֹךְ עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף.

20:2   Go, and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put thy shoe from off thy foot.’

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

Comment

3  And Hashem said: ‘Like as My servant Yeshayahu hath walked naked and barefoot to be for three years a sign and a wonder upon Mitzrayim and upon Ethiopia,

ג  וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ עַבְדִּי יְשַׁעְיָהוּ עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אוֹת וּמוֹפֵת עַל מִצְרַיִם וְעַל כּוּשׁ.

4  so shall the king of Ashur lead away the captives of Mitzrayim, and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Mitzrayim.

ד  כֵּן יִנְהַג מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר אֶת שְׁבִי מִצְרַיִם וְאֶת גָּלוּת כּוּשׁ נְעָרִים וּזְקֵנִים עָרוֹם וְיָחֵף וַחֲשׂוּפַי שֵׁת עֶרְוַת מִצְרָיִם.

5  And they shall be dismayed and ashamed, because of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Mitzrayim their glory.

ה  וְחַתּוּ וָבֹשׁוּ מִכּוּשׁ מַבָּטָם וּמִן מִצְרַיִם תִּפְאַרְתָּם.

6  And the inhabitant of this coast-land shall say in that day: Behold, such is our expectation, whither we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Ashur; and how shall we escape?’

ו  וְאָמַר יֹשֵׁב הָאִי הַזֶּה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא הִנֵּה כֹה מַבָּטֵנוּ אֲשֶׁר נַסְנוּ שָׁם לְעֶזְרָה לְהִנָּצֵל מִפְּנֵי מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר וְאֵיךְ נִמָּלֵט אֲנָחְנוּ.

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Isaiah 19
Isaiah 21

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Isaiah 20