A Further Prophecy Against Ashdod, Egypt, and Cush ~ Yesha’yahu 20:1-6

In my last post, we completed The Prophecy Against Egypt ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 19:11-25. In this post, we learn of A Further Prophecy Against Ashdod, Egypt, and Cush in Yesha’yahu 20:1-6.

We have learned that Cush is modern-day Ethiopia.

1 In the year that Sargon, the king of Ashur sent his commander-in-chief to attack Ashdod, he captured it.

This is one of those rare instances where the biblical account of the Ashdod revolt of 713-711 BCE, the Ashurian records, and the archaeological remains all corroborate one another. The Philistine city revolted at the instigation of King Azuri, perhaps with the expectation of Egyptian support. The Ashurian Annals charge him with refusing to pay tribute and fomenting rebellion among his neighbors. The Ashurian emperor Sargon II responded with a swift campaign that quickly suppressed any hopes for independence. He placed Azuri’s younger brother, Ahimeti, on the throne, who in turn was almost immediately deposed by a usurper named Yamani. Sargon sent another expedition in 712, and Yamani fled to Egypt. An Ashurian commissioner was then appointed to manage Ashdod for the empire. [1]

Tartan was the commander-in-chief of the invading Ashurian army. Ashdod was one of the five cities of the Philistines.

2 It was at that time that Adonai, speaking through Yesha‘yahu, the son of Amotz, said, “Go and unwind the sackcloth from around your waist, and take your sandals off your feet.” So he did it, going about unclothed and barefoot.

God commanded Yesha’yahu to perform a symbolic action that would support his spoken prophecy. Yesha’yahu had been wearing sackcloth, a symbol of mourning, but he was told to go about naked. This would represent the coming humiliation and poverty of Egypt. Hopefully, we never get that same call.

3 In time, Adonai said, “Just as my servant Yesha‘yahu has gone about unclothed and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, 4 so will the king of Ashur lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, unclothed and barefoot, with their buttocks exposed, to the shame of Egypt.

Prisoners of war were considered spoils to be divided among the conquerors. They would become slaves, and it was necessary to break their spirit immediately and at the same time, use them as a means of shaming their home countries or cities. I recall seeing images of Holocaust victims receiving the same humiliating treatment.

5 They will be dismayed and ashamed because of Ethiopia, their hope, and Egypt their pride.

Those who trusted Egypt and Ethiopia for help against their enemies would be sorely disappointed. God was and is the only proper object of the people’s trust.

6 On that day, the people living along this coast will say, ‘Look what happened to the people to whom we fled for help, hoping they would rescue us from the king of Ashur! How will we escape now?’” ~Yesha’yahu 20:1-6 (CJB)

“How will we escape now?” The prophecy envisioned other nations coming to recognize that Egypt was an unreliable ally. That’s always the way it is – for as long as we depend on men and look to men, we’ll never have true deliverance. The implicit message is that Y’hudah should come to the same realization. I believe that the current State of Isra’el has come to that same conclusion. Pray for the peace of Yerushalayim.

In my next post, we will explore Another Prophecy Against the Desert by the Sea (Bavel) in Yesha’yahu 21:1-10.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

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