Isaiah 20 (ESV)
A Sign Against Egypt and Cush
In the year that the commander in chief, who was sent by Sargon the king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and captured it—
This invasion took place in 711 BCE.
At the time this siege took place Egypt and Ethiopia were under the same monarch, named Shabok. The Philistine inhabitants of Ashdod were seriously looking forward to being delivered from the big bad Assyrians, by the big good Egyptian/Ethiopian forces. On this occasion, the one referred to in Isaiah 20:1, the king of Assyria placed his own puppet king in charge of Ashdod and left for home. Soon afterwards, however, Ashdod deposed the Assyrian “Yes man,” and put their own choice of king on their throne, and then hurriedly and immediately went scurrying around the nations that surrounded them asking Judah, Edom, Moab and the Egyptian/Ethiopian empire to assist them. They knew full well that Assyria would beat the daylights out of them for their hasty rebellion.
Foreseeing all that was to come, Isaiah was given a message from God that was meant to warn Hezekiah and the whole of Judah not to entertain union with Egypt or Ethiopia in anyway whatsoever. What was to happen to Egypt and Ethiopia would be the same as happened to all their allies.
Rather than preach and declare, “Keep away from Egypt,” he brought a much more easily grasped message. The message was strange — a somewhat embarrassing message that one could not help but see, hear, and understand.
2 at that time the Lord spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your waist and take off your sandals from your feet,” and he did so, walking naked and barefoot.
The commentators agree that Isaiah did not go about stark naked, but stripped of his outer garments — rather like walking around in one’s underwear — as a symbol of poverty and humiliation.
3 Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush, 4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.
5 Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast. 6 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, ‘Behold, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”
How shall we escape? Where can we go? Seems to me there is a song about that — something about nowhere to go “but to the Lord”! Click HERE to hear the Gaithers sing it.