vs. 1-6 - A PROPHECY
Assyrian inscriptions enable us to date this prophecy with a near approach
of Sargon — in his ninth year (B.C. 713) and in his eleventh year (B.C.
711). On the former occasion it is probable that the arms of a general
(Tartan) were employed; on the latter it is nearly certain that Sargon made
expedition in person. The capture of
consequently the first capture.
under one head, Shabak, or Shabatok; and the inhabitants of
looked to this quarter for deliverance from the Assyrian power. Shortly
after the first capture, they revolted, deposed the king whom Sargon had
set over them, appointed another, and then proceeded, in conjunction with
Ethiopians. Isaiah’s mission on this occasion was to discourage
African powers, and carry into captivity large numbers of both nations. The
prophecy seems to have had its accomplishment about twelve years later,
when Sennacherib defeated the combined forces of
Eltekeh, near Ekron (G. Smith, ‘Eponym Canon,’ p. 133).
v. 2 – “walking naked” - Probably not actually “naked,” for captives were
not stripped bare by the Assyrians, but with nothing on besides his short
tunic, as the male captives are commonly represented in the Assyrian
sculptures. The supposed “impropriety” of Isaiah’s having “gone naked and
barefoot” – v. 3 for three years arises from a misconception of the word “naked.”
which is not to be taken literally. The costume adopted would be extraordinary,
especially in one of Isaiah’s rank and position; but would not be in any degree
“improper.” It would be simply that of working men during the greater part of
the day (see Exodus 22:26, 27).
v. 3 – “My servant Isaiah” - Isaiah shares this honorable title, “my
servant,” with a select few among God’s saints — with Abraham
(Genesis 26:24), Moses (Numbers 12:7), Caleb (Numbers 14:24),
Job (Job 1:8; 42:7, 8), Eliakim (Isaiah 22:20), and Zerubbabel (Haggai 2:23).
It is a great acknowledgment for the Creator to make to the creature, that he
really does Him service.
v. 4 – “naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to
the shame of
Most commonly they wear a single tunic, reaching from the neck to the knees, or
sometimesto the ankles, and girt about the waist with a girdle. It is probable that
Egyptian and Ethiopian prisoners would be even more scantily clad, since
the ordinary Egyptian tunic began at the waist and ended considerably
above the knee.
v. 5 – “they shall be afraid and ashamed” - Those who have resorted
and “afraid” of its consequences (see the last clause of v. 6).
vs. 1-4 - Foolish Trust Rebuked by a Strange Sign.
Few things are so difficult as to bring men to rely WHOLLY AND
SOLELY upon God. The circumstances of the time were these. Humanly
speaking, Judaea lay absolutely at the mercy of
power or combination of powers that could successfully contend at the time
against the vast bodies of well-armed and well-disciplined soldiers which a king
independence for more than a few years but some miraculous interposition
of God on behalf of the Jewish people. But for God to interpose
miraculously, it was necessary that implicit trust should be placed in him
(Mark 6:5; 9:23). The Jews, however, could not bring themselves
believe that they had no help but Jehovah. They thought
were bent on placing themselves under the protection of the combined
powers. The lesson of the destruction of the
lost on them. In connection with
that Isaiah received the special mission which was to warn his countrymen
of the utter folly of trusting to human aid. For three years he was to wear
the scant clothing that Assyrian captives ordinarily wore, announcing that
he did so in token that ere long the warriors of
be seen thus clad, on their way from
unusual attire of the prophet could not but create a great sensation. It
probably made a considerable impression on Hezekiah and his counselors.
It was not forgotten; and if it did not at once cause the negotiations with
prediction was fulfilled after the battle of Eltekeh, the Jewish monarch and
people did in their trouble turn to God. At the crisis of his danger,
Hezekiah made appeal to the Almighty (Isaiah 37:4); and his appeal
was followed by that destruction of the Assyrian host (Isaiah 37:36)
which caused the Assyrians to respect and fear the Jews thenceforward,
and to allow them to retain their independence. Thus the life of the Jewish
monarchy was extended for above a century.
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