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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 20

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 20:1 In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;

Ver. 1. In the year that Tartan.] A certain commander under Sennacherib, [2 Kings 18:17] who came against Ashdod, among other cities of Judah, about the twelfth year of king Hezekiah.

Came to Ashdod.] Called also Azotus, [Acts 8:40] and much praised by Herodotus in Euterpe.

When Sargon.] That is, Sennacherib most likely, who had seven names, saith Jerome, eight, say some Rabbis. Commodus, the Roman emperor, took unto himself as many names as there are months in the year, which also he changed ever and anon, but constantly-kept that of Exuperans, because he would have been thought to excel all men. (a) The like might be true of Sargon.

And fought against Ashdod, and took it.] Psammeticus, king of Egypt, had before taken it after a very long siege; now it is taken again from the Egyptian by the Assyrian, to teach them and others not to trust to forts and fenced cities. (b)


Verse 2

Isaiah 20:2 At the same time spake the LORD by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot.

Ver. 2. At the same time spake the Lord.] Against Egypt and Ethiopia, whom he had comforted, Isaiah 19:18-19, and yet now again threateneth; showing by an ocular demonstration (a) what miseries should befall them. This was done in Jewry; but the report thereof might easily come to these confederate countries, and the Jews, howsoever, were given hereby to see how vain a thing it was to trust to such confederates.

By Isaiah the son of Amoz.] Heb., By the hand of Isaiah, whom God used as a dispenser of this precious treasure.

Go, loose the sackcloth from off thy loins,] i.e., Thy thick rough garment, (b) such as prophets usually wore. [2 Kings 1:8 Zechariah 13:4 Matthew 3:4] Or else thy sackcloth put on as a mourning weed, either for ten tribes lately carried captive, or else for the miseries ready to fall shortly upon thine own people.

And put off thy shoe from thy foot.] The Nudipedales in Moravia might as well avouch Isaiah for their founder as the Carmelites do Elias.

And he did so.] God is to be obeyed without hesitation: his commands, how unreasonable soever they may seem, are not to be disputed, but despatched.

Walking naked.] Not stark naked, but stripped as a prisoner, his mantle or upper garment cast off. See 1 Samuel 19:24, Acts 19:16, Micah 1:8.


Verse 3

Isaiah 20:3 And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years [for] a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia;

Ver. 3. Like as my servant Isaiah.] Servants are either menial or magisterial. Prophets and preachers are of this latter sort.

Hath walked naked and barefoot three years,] i.e., Three days; a day for a year {as Ezekiel 4:4-6} Tremellius rendereth the text thus: Hath walked naked and barefoot for a sign and wonder of the third year against the Egyptians, and against the Ethiopians - that is, for a sign that the third year after this prophecy the forces of the Egyptians and Ethiopians under the conduct of Tirhaka shall be worsted, slaughtered, and carried captive by the Assyrian monarch. And this was preached not more to their ears than to their eyes, ad fidem faciendam, for more assurance.


Verse 4

Isaiah 20:4 So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with [their] buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

Ver. 4. So shall the king of Assyria lead away.] As men used to lead or drive cattle, for so the Hebrew word Nahag denotes: so are poor captives led; and so shall the Lord also one day "lead forth with" or in company of "the workers of iniquity" (notorious offenders) all such as "turn aside unto their crooked ways," hypocrites and dissemblers; whenas "peace shall be upon Israel, upon the pure in heart." [Psalms 125:5]

Young and old.] Young men are for action, old men for counsel. (a) Eργα νεων, βουλαι δε τεροντων. (b) They were all carried away together in a sad and sorry condition, little better, and sometimes more bitter, than death itself.

Even with their buttocks uncovered.] Vel ad ludibrium, vel ad libidinem hostium, for the enemies either to scorn at, or to feed their filthy eyes upon. Thus and for such a purpose dealt the mitred fathers with the poor Albigenses, those ancient Protestants in France, when they had forced them to take quarter for their lives, voluerunt episcopi viros et mulieres nudos egredi, &c. The bishops wished the men and women to be led forth nude. And so Tilly dealt with the miserable citizens at the sack of Magdeburg; and much worse than so dealeth the devil with all his wretched captives, whom he driveth away hellward, naked and barefoot with their buttocks uncovered, the shame of their nakedness exposed to public view for want of the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness that they might be clothed. [Revelation 3:18]


Verse 5

Isaiah 20:5 And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.

Ver. 5. And they shall be afraid and ashamed.] They - that is, as many as confided in them - seeing themselves thus confuted, shall be abashed and terrified ( perterrefient) at the fall of their confederates, and their own approaching calamity.


Verse 6

Isaiah 20:6 And the inhabitant of this isle shall say in that day, Behold, such [is] our expectation, whither we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?

Ver. 6. And the inhabitant of this isle shall say, &c.] Judea, though part of the continent, is here called an isle or island, whereas it was indeed an inland; (1.) Because it was bounded on the west with the Midland Sea, and on the east with the lake of Gennesaret; (2.) Because it was beset with many enemies, and beaten upon by the waves of wars from all parts, but especially from Egypt and Babylon, which is called a sea; [Isaiah 21:1; Isaiah 8:8] (3.) Because begirt with God’s favour, power, and protection, which was greater security to it than the sea is to Venice (a) (which yet is media insuperabilis unda), or than wooden walls can be to any island.

Behold, such is our expectation, &c.] Here is their shame, and well it might be, for if Hezekiah relied not upon the Egyptian for help against the Assyrian, yet the people did, as Rabshakeh also could tell. [2 Kings 18:24]

And how shall we escape?] Here is their fear. [Isaiah 20:5] How much more shall wicked men say thus at the last day?

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 20:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-20.html. 1865-1868.

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