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.
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(4) So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians . . .—The prediction did not receive its fulfilment in the reign either of Sargon or Sennacherib, but Esarhaddon subdued the whole of Egypt, carried off its treasures, and appointed satraps over its provinces (Budge’s Esarhaddon, pp. 111-129). The prophet paints the brutality with which prisoners were treated on a march in vivid colours. What would men say of their boasted policy of an Egypto-Cushite alliance when they saw that as its disastrous issue? It may be noted that Rabshakeh’s scornful phrase, “This bruised reed,” seems to imply that Assyria had ceased to fear the power of Egypt; and Nahum (Nahum 3:8) speaks of No (i.e., No-Amun or Thebes) as having, when he wrote, been conquered, and his people carried into captivity.

20:1-6 The invasion and conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia. - Isaiah was a sign to the people by his unusual dress, when he walked abroad. He commonly wore sackcloth as a prophet, to show himself mortified to the world. He was to loose this from his loins; to wear no upper garments, and to go barefooted. This sign was to signify, that the Egyptians and Ethiopians should be led away captives by the king of Assyria, thus stripped. The world will often deem believers foolish, when singular in obedience to God. But the Lord will support his servants under the most trying effects of their obedience; and what they are called upon to suffer for his sake, commonly is light, compared with what numbers groan under from year to year from sin. Those who make any creature their expectation and glory, and so put it in the place of God, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of it. But disappointment in creature-confidences, instead of driving us to despair, should drive us to God, and our expectation shall not be in vain. The same lesson is in force now; and where shall we look for aid in the hour of necessity, but to the Lord our Righteousness, throne of grace, and serving with each other in the same business of religion, should end all disputes, and unite the hearts of believers to each other in holy love.So shall the king of Assyria - The emphasis here is on the word "so." As Isaiah has walked naked, that is, stripped off his usual clothing, "so" shall the Egyptians and Ethiopians be led away "stripped" of all their possessions.

The Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives - The Egyptians and Ethiopians, or Cushites, were often united in an alliance, and appear to have been when this prophecy was delivered. Thus Nahum 3:8 :

Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite;

Put and Lubim were thy helpers.

To the shame of Egypt - It shall be a disgrace to them to be subdued, and to be carried captive in so humiliating a manner. It is remarked by Belzoni ('Operations and Recent Discoveries in Egypt and Nubia'), that in the figures on the remains of their temples, prisoners are often represented as naked, or only in aprons, with disheveled hair, and with their hands chained. He also remarks, that on a "bas-relief," on the recently-discovered graves of the kings of Thebes, a multitude of "Egyptian and Ethiopian prisoners" are represented - showing that Egypt and Ethiopia were sometimes "allied," alike in mutual defense and in bondage (compare Isaiah 47:2, and Nahum 3:5).

4. buttocks uncovered—Belzoni says that captives are found represented thus on Egyptian monuments (Isa 47:2, 3; Na 3:5, 8, 9), where as here, Egypt and Ethiopia are mentioned as in alliance. Lead away, like beasts, of which this word is commonly used.

Their buttocks uncovered; having their garments cut off by the middle, to the discovery of their buttocks and their secret parts. Compare 2 Samuel 10:4 Isaiah 47:2. So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives,.... As beasts are led or driven, being taken prisoners, and carried captive by the king of Assyria, namely Sargon, whoever is intended by him:

young and old; without any regard to age, sparing none for their tender years or gray hairs:

naked and barefoot; as prisoners of war commonly are, being stripped by their conquerors of their clothes, and having only a few rags given them to cover their nakedness with, and obliged to travel without shoes on their feet:

even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt; having no clothes on them to cover those parts; or the skirts of their garments cut off, as David's servants were by the Ammonites, 2 Samuel 10:4 and this to humble and mortify the pride of the Egyptians.

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.
4. The apodosis. lead away] as in 1 Samuel 30:2.

the Egyptians prisoners … captives] Better as R.V. the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia. The two words for exile are both abstracts used in a concrete sense; the corresponding verbs denote, the one the act of making captive, the other the act of going into exile (lit. leaving the land bare).

to the shame] The word means “nakedness,” and the construction is difficult.Verse 4. - So shall the King of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives. In Sennacherib's annals for the year B.C. 701, twelve years after this prophecy was given, we find the following passage: "The kings of Egypt, and the archers, chariots, and horsemen of the King of Meroe, a force without number, gathered and came to the aid of Ekron. In the neighborhood of Eltekeh their ranks were arrayed before me, and they urged on their soldiers. In the service of Asshur, my lord, I fought with them, and I accomplished their overthrow. The charioteers and sons of the kings of Egypt, and the charioteers of the King of Meres, alive in the midst of the battle, my hand captured" (G. Smith, 'Eponym Canon,' pp. 133, 134). Young and old. The intermixture of young and old, of full-grown males with women leading children by the hand or carrying them upon the shoulder, in the Assyrian sculptures, strikes us even on the most cursory inspection of them. Naked and barefoot. Assyrian captives are ordinarily represented "barefoot." Most commonly they wear a single tunic, reaching from the neck to the knees, or sometimes to 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. Asshur, as we already know from Isaiah 18:1-7, is equally humbled; so that now the two great powers, which have hitherto only met as enemies, meet in the worship of Jehovah, which unites them together. "In that day a road will run from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur comes into Egypt, and Egypt to Asshur; and Egypt worships (Jehovah) with Asshur." את is not a sign of the accusative, for there can be no longer any idea of the subjection of Egypt to Asshur: on the contrary, it is a preposition indicating fellowship; and עבדוּ is used in the sense of worship, as in Isaiah 19:21. Friendly intercourse is established between Egypt and Assyria by the fact that both nations are now converted to Jehovah. The road of communication runs through Canaan.
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