Isaiah – Chapter 20

Barefoot and Naked

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

During Chizkiyahu’s reign, Sancheriv, king of Assyria (here called Sargon) sent his general to conquer Ashdod, then a Philistine city. At that time, G-d gave Isaiah the following instructions. Isaiah was to wear a sack loincloth and walk around essentially naked and barefoot for three years. (According to the Radak, Isaiah didn’t actually do this, he saw it in a vision.) G-d said, just as Isaiah was naked and barefoot for three years, that’s how Egypt and Ethiopia will be. The king of Assyria will lead the captives of those nations, young and old, into exile naked and barefoot. The people of Israel, who relied on these nations for aid, will question how they can hope to escape Assyria’s conquest.

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