Isaiah delivers a message naked
Isaiah goes naked for three years1It all began the year King Sargon of Assyria sent his top general and the army to capture the Philistine town of Ashdod. 2The LORD told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Strip down. Take off those scratchy clothes you’ve been wearing. Flip off those sandals.” Isaiah did, and he started walking around barefoot and naked. 3Three years later, the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around barefoot and naked for three years. He did it so I could get a point across to the Egyptians and Ethiopians.
Naked in Egypt4They’re going to end up barefoot and naked when Assyria captures them and leads them away. Young and old, they’ll walk barefoot and bare butted, to shame Egypt in front of the world. 5This will shock Philistines when they see what happens to Egypt and Ethiopia, the nations they hoped would rescue them. 6There on the coast, Philistines will say, “Look at what happened to the people we thought would save us from the Assyrian king. Who’s going to save us now?”
King Azuri of Ashdod organized a revolt against the Assyrian overlords in about 713 BC. A couple years later, Assyrian king, Sargon, sent his army to crush the revolt. This report shows up in ancient Assyrian documents. Ashdod apparently appealed to Egyptians for help. Ethiopia, known then as Cush, was running Egypt at the time. The king of Egypt was an Ethiopian named Shahaka. Egyptians apparently did not respond since there’s no record of Assyrians invading Egypt until about 40 years later. Egyptians did try to come to the rescue of Jerusalem in 701 BC, but Assyrian king Sennacherib ran them off.
Sackcloth, a rough fabric like burlap feed sacks. People in Bible times dressed in rough clothes as an expression of mourning or sadness. Our version in the Western world is to wear black clothes or an armband. Isaiah, who constantly delivered bad news, may have felt clothes of sackcloth was the appropriate attire for what he was doing in life.
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