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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 20

Verses 1-6

Isaiah 20:1 . Tartan is mentioned as the general-in-chief to Sennacherib, when he summoned Jerusalem. 2 Kings 18:17. Sargon is supposed to be one of Sennacherib’s names; for kings assumed new names on the acquisition of fresh laurels. Jerome on this place says, that Sennacherib had seven names, a circumstance which very much confuses the certainty, and embarrases the chronology of ancient history. Here we find that the terrors of his conquests spread to the isles of Greece, as in Isaiah 20:6, it being absurd to call Judea an island. Isaiah was directed to warn the nations of the situation they would be in during their captivity, by walking half dressed, as the slaves were obliged to do: Isaiah 20:2-4.

Isaiah 20:2 . Loose the sackcloth from thy loins. It would seem that Isaiah wore sackcloth during the time of this sore and bloody invasion. This prophet, the maternal grandson of king Amaziah, walking in the dress of a slave, would attract notice, and make a great deal of talk; and the more deeply to impress the public mind with his prophecies, this invasion should for three years afflict all the nations of the west. In ancient times, the poor were ill clad, which accounts for the soldiers stripping the captives to a state of nudity.

Isaiah 20:5 . They shall be afraid and ashamed. The Jews should be ashamed of having forsaken the Lord, and trusting to the broken spear of Egypt, or to their allies, for the present, the Ethiopians, who could not save themselves. Did the Lord ever fail to deliver the Hebrews when they cast away their idols, and called upon his name?

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 20". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.