Isaiah 20

CHAPTER XX

The Prophet Isaiah a sign to Egypt and Cush or Ethiopia, that

the captives and exiles of these countries shall be indignantly

treated by the king of Assyria, 1-6.

NOTES ON CHAP. XX

Tartan besieged Ashdod or Azotus, which probably belonged at

this time to Hezekiah's dominions; see 2Ki 18:8. The people

expected to be relieved by the Cushites of Arabia and by the

Egyptians. Isaiah was ordered to go uncovered, that is, without

his upper garment, the rough mantle commonly worn by the prophets,

(see Zec 13:4,) probably three days to show that within three

years the town should be taken, after the defeat of the Cushites

and Egyptians by the king of Assyria, which event should make

their case desperate, and induce them to surrender. Azotus was a

strong place; it afterwards held out twenty-nine years against

Psammitichus, king of Egypt, Herod. ii. 157. Tartan was one of

Sennacherib's generals, 2Ki 18:17, and Tirhakah, king of the

Cushites, was in alliance with the king of Egypt against

Sennacherib. These circumstances make it probable that by Sargon

is meant Sennacherib. It might be one of the seven names by which

Jerome, on this place, says he was called. He is called

Sacherdonus and Sacherdan in the book of Tobit. The taking of

Azotus must have happened before Sennacherib's attempt on

Jerusalem; when he boasted of his late conquests, Isa 37:25. And

the warning of the prophet had a principal respect to the Jews

also, who were too much inclined to depend upon the assistance of

Egypt. As to the rest history and chronology affording us no

light, it may be impossible to clear either this or any other

hypothesis, which takes Sargon to be Shalmaneser or Asarhaddon,

&c., from all difficulties.-L. Kimchi says, this happened in the

fourteenth year of Hezekiah.

Verse 2. Walking naked and barefoot.] It is not probable that the

prophet walked uncovered and barefoot for three years; his

appearing in that manner was a sign that within three years the

Egyptians and Cushites should be in the same condition, being

conquered and made captives by the king of Assyria. The time was

denoted as well as the event; but his appearing in that manner for

three whole years could give no premonition of the time at all. It

is probable, therefore, that the prophet was ordered to walk so

for three days to denote the accomplishment of the event in three

years; a day for a year, according to the prophetical rule,

Nu 14:34; Eze 4:6. The words

shalosh yamim, three days, may possibly have been lost out of

the text, at the end of the second verse, after yacheph,

barefoot; or after the same word in the third verse, where, in the

Alexandrine and Vatican copies of the Septuagint, and in MSS.

Pachom. and I. D. II. the words τριαετη, three years, are twice

expressed. Perhaps, instead of shalosh yamim, three days,

the Greek translator might read shalosh shanim, three

years, by his own mistake, or by that of his copy, after

yacheph in the third verse, for which stands the first τριαετη,

three years, in the Alexandrine and Vatican Septuagint, and in the

two MSS. above mentioned. It is most likely that Isaiah's walking

naked and barefoot was done in a vision; as was probably that of

the Prophet Hosea taking a wife of whoredoms. None of these things

can well be taken literally.

From thy foot] ragleycha, thy feet, is the reading

of thirty-four of Kennicott's and De Rossi's MSS., four

ancient editions, with the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, and

Arabic.

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