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Isaiah 20:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it;
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— In the year that the commander came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him and he fought against Ashdod and captured it,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, (and he fought against Ashdod and took it,)
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— In the year that Tartan entered Ashdod, when Sargon king of Assyria, sent him,—and he fought against Ashdod and captured it,—
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— In the year of the coming in of Tartan to Ashdod, when Sargon king of Asshur sendeth him, and he fighteth against Ashdod, and captureth it,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— In the year that Tharthan entered into Azotus, when Sargon the king of the Assyrians had sent him, and he had fought against Azotus, and had taken it:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— In the yeere that Tartan came vnto Ashdod (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him) and fought against Ashdod and tooke it:
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— In the year when Tanathan came to Ashdod{gr.Azotus}, when he was sent by Arna king of the Assyrians, and warred against Ashdod{gr.Azotus}, and took it;
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Ashshur sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
In the year 8141
{8141} Prime
(The first form being in plural only, the second form being feminine); from H8138; a year (as a revolution of time).
that Tartn תַּרתָּן 8661
{8661} Prime
Of foreign derivation; Tartan, an Assyrian.
came 935
{0935} Prime
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
unto Ad אַשׁדּוֹד, 795
{0795} Prime
From H7703; ravager; Ashdod, a place in Palestine.
(when Sarqn סַרגוֹן 5623
{5623} Prime
Of foreign derivation; Sargon, an Assyrian king.
the king 4428
{4428} Prime
From H4427; a king.
of Ar אַשּׁוּר 804
{0804} Prime
Apparently from H0833 (in the sense of successful); Ashshur, the second son of Shem; also his descendants and the country occupied by them (that is, Assyria), its region and its empire.
sent 7971
{7971} Prime
A primitive root; to send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications).
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
him,) and fought 3898
{3898} Prime
A primitive root; to feed on; figuratively to consume; by implication to battle (as destruction).
<8735> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 1602
against Ad אַשׁדּוֹד, 795
{0795} Prime
From H7703; ravager; Ashdod, a place in Palestine.
and took 3920
{3920} Prime
A primitive root; to catch (in a net, trap or pit); generally to capture or occupy; also to choose (by lot); figuratively to cohere.
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 20:1

_ _ Isaiah 20:1-6. Continuation of the subject of the nineteenth chapter, but at a later date. Captivity of Egypt and Ethiopia.

_ _ In the reign of Sargon (722-715 b.c.), the successor of Shalmaneser, an Assyrian invasion of Egypt took place. Its success is here foretold, and hence a party among the Jews is warned of the folly of their “expectation” of aid from Egypt or Ethiopia. At a later period (Isaiah 18:1-7), when Tirhakah of Ethiopia was their ally, the Ethiopians are treated as friends, to whom God announces the overthrow of the common Assyrian foe, Sennacherib. Egypt and Ethiopia in this chapter (Isaiah 20:3, Isaiah 20:4) are represented as allied together, the result no doubt of fear of the common foe; previously they had been at strife, and the Ethiopian king had, just before Sethos usurpation, withdrawn from occupation of part of Lower Egypt. Hence, “Egypt” is mentioned alone in Isaiah 19:1-25, which refers to a somewhat earlier stage of the same event: a delicate mark of truth. Sargon seems to have been the king who finished the capture of Samaria which Shalmaneser began; the alliance of Hoshea with So or Sabacho II of Ethiopia, and his refusal to pay the usual tribute, provoked Shalmaneser to the invasion. On clay cylindrical seals found in Sennacherib’s palace at Koyunjik, the name of Sabacho is deciphered; the two seals are thought, from the inscriptions, to have been attached to the treaty of peace between Egypt and Assyria, which resulted from the invasion of Egypt by Sargon, described in this chapter; 2 Kings 18:10 curiously confirms the view derived from Assyrian inscriptions, that though Shalmaneser began, Sargon finished the conquest of Samaria; “they took it” (compare 2 Kings 17:4-6). In Sargon’s palace at Khorsabad, inscriptions state that 27,280 Israelites were led captive by the founder of the palace. While Shalmaneser was engaged in the siege of Samaria, Sargon probably usurped the supreme power and destroyed him; the siege began in 723 b.c., and ended in 721 b.c., the first year of Sargon’s reign. Hence arises the paucity of inscriptions of the two predecessors of Sargon, Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser; the usurper destroyed them, just as Tiglath-pileser destroyed those of Pul (Sardanapalus), the last of the old line of Ninus; the names of his father and grandfather, which have been deciphered in the palace of his son Sennacherib, do not appear in the list of Assyrian kings, which confirms the view that he was a satrap who usurped the throne. He was so able a general that Hezekiah made no attempt to shake off the tribute until the reign of Sennacherib; hence Judah was not invaded now as the lands of the Philistines and Egypt were. After conquering Israel he sent his general, Tartan, to attack the Philistine cities, “Ashdod,” etc., preliminary to his invasion of Egypt and Ethiopia; for the line of march to Egypt lay along the southwest coast of Palestine. The inscriptions confirm the prophecy; they tell us he received tribute from a Pharaoh of “Egypt”; besides destroying in part the Ethiopian “No-ammon,” or Thebes (Nahum 3:8); also that he warred with the kings of “Ashdod,” Gaza, etc., in harmony with Isaiah here; a memorial tablet of him is found in Cyprus also, showing that he extended his arms to that island. His reign was six or seven years in duration, 722-715 b.c. [G. V. Smith].

_ _ Tartan — probably the same general as was sent by Sennacherib against Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17). Gesenius takes “Tartan” as a title.

_ _ Ashdod — called by the Greeks Azotus (Acts 8:40); on the Mediterranean, one of the “five” cities of the Philistines. The taking of it was a necessary preliminary to the invasion of Egypt, to which it was the key in that quarter, the Philistines being allies of Egypt. So strongly did the Assyrians fortify it that it stood a twenty-nine years’ siege, when it was retaken by the Egyptian Psammetichus.

_ _ sent — Sargon himself remained behind engaged with the Phoenician cities, or else led the main force more directly into Egypt out of Judah [G. V. Smith].

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 20:1-6

_ _ God here, as King of nations, brings a sore calamity upon Egypt and Ethiopia, but, as King of saints, brings good to his people out of it. Observe,

_ _ I. The date of this prophecy. It was in the year that Ashdod, a strong city of the Philistines (but which some think was lately recovered from them by Hezekiah, when he smote the Philistines even unto Gaza, 2 Kings 18:8), was besieged and taken by an army of the Assyrians. It is uncertain what year of Hezekiah that was, but the event was so remarkable that those who lived then could by that token fix the time to a year. He that was now king of Assyria is called Sargon, which some take to be the same with Sennacherib; others think he was his immediate predecessor, and succeeded Shalmaneser. Tartan, who was general, or commander-in-chief, in this expedition, was one of Sennacherib's officers, sent by him to bid defiance to Hezekiah, in concurrence with Rabshakeh, 2 Kings 18:17.

_ _ II. The making of Isaiah a sign, by his unusual dress when he walked abroad. He had been a sign to his own people of the melancholy times that had come and were coming upon them, by the sackcloth which for some time he had worn, of which he had a gown made, which he girt about him. Some think he put himself into that habit of a mourner upon occasion of the captivity of the ten tribes. Others think sackcloth was what he commonly wore as a prophet, to show himself mortified to the world, and that he might learn to endure hardness; soft clothing better becomes those that attend in king's palaces (Matthew 11:8) than those that go on God's errands. Elijah wore hair-cloth (2 Kings 1:8), and John Baptist (Matthew 3:4) and those that pretended to be prophets supported their pretension by wearing rough garments (Zechariah 13:4); but Isaiah has orders given him to loose his sackcloth from his loins, not to exchange it for better clothing, but for none at all — no upper garment, no mantle, cloak, or coat, but only that which was next to him, we may suppose his shirt, waistcoat, and drawers; and he must put off his shoes, and go barefoot; so that compared with the dress of others, and what he himself usually wore, he might be said to go naked. This was a great hardship upon the prophet; it was a blemish to his reputation, and would expose him to contempt and ridicule; the boys in the streets would hoot at him, and those who sought occasion against him would say, The prophet is indeed a fool, and the spiritual man is mad, Hosea 9:7. It might likewise be a prejudice to his health; he was in danger of catching a cold, which might throw him into a fever, and cost him his life; but God bade him do it, that he might give a proof of his obedience to God in a most difficult command, and so shame the disobedience of his people to the most easy and reasonable precepts. When we are in the way of our duty we may trust God both with our credit and with our safety. The hearts of that people were strangely stupid, and would not be affected with what they only heard, but must be taught by signs, and therefore Isaiah must do this for their edification. If the dress was scandalous, yet the design was glorious, and what a prophet of the Lord needed not to be ashamed of.

_ _ III. The exposition of this sign, Isaiah 20:3, Isaiah 20:4. It was intended to signify that the Egyptians and the Ethiopians should be led away captive by the king of Assyria, thus stripped, or in rags, and very shabby clothing, as Isaiah was. God calls him his servant Isaiah, because in this matter particularly he had approved himself God's willing, faithful, obedient servant; and for this very thing, which perhaps others laughed at him for, God gloried in him. To obey is better than sacrifice; it pleases God and praises him more, and shall be more praised by him. Isaiah is said to have walked naked and barefoot three years, whenever in that time he appeared as a prophet. But some refer the three years, not to the sign, but to the thing signified: He has walked naked and barefoot; there is a stop in the original; provided he did so once that was enough to give occasion to all about him to enquire what was the meaning of his doing so; or, as some think, he did it three days, a day for a year; and this for a three years' sign and wonder, for a sign of that which should be done three years afterwards or which should be three years in the doing. Three campaigns successively shall the Assyrian army make, in spoiling the Egyptians and Ethiopians, and carrying them away captive in this barbarous manner, not only the soldiers taken in the field of battle, but the inhabitants, young and old; and it being a very piteous sight, and such as must needs move compassion in those that had the least degree of tenderness left them to see those who had gone all their days well dressed now stripped, and scarcely having rags to cover their nakedness, that circumstance of their captivity is particularly taken notice of, and foretold, the more to affect those to whom this prophecy was delivered. It is particularly said to be to the shame of Egypt (v. 4), because the Egyptians were a proud people, and therefore when they did fall into disgrace it was the more shameful to them; and the higher they had lifted up themselves the lower was their fall, both in their own eyes and in the eyes of others.

_ _ IV. The use and application of this, Isaiah 20:5, Isaiah 20:6. 1. All that had any dependence upon, or correspondence with, Egypt and Ethiopia, should now be ashamed of them, and afraid of having any thing to do with them. Those countries that were in danger of being overrun by the Assyrians expected that Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, with his numerous forces, would put a stop to the progress of their victorious arms, and be a barrier to his neighbours; and with yet more assurance they gloried that Egypt, a kingdom so famous for policy and prowess, would do their business, would oblige them to raise the siege of Ashdod and retire with precipitation. But, instead of this, by attempting to oppose the king of Assyria they did but expose themselves and make their country a prey to him. Hereupon all about them were ashamed that ever they promised themselves any advantage from two such weak and cowardly nations, and were more afraid now than ever they were of the growing greatness of the king of Assyria, before whom Egypt and Ethiopia proved but as briers and thorns put to stop a consuming fire, which do but make it burn the more strongly. Note, 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, and their disappointment in it will but increase their fear. See Ezekiel 29:6, Ezekiel 29:7. 2. The Jews in particular should be convinced of their folly in resting upon such broken reeds, and should despair of any relief from them (Isaiah 20:6): The inhabitants of this isle (the land of Judah, situated upon the sea, though not surrounded by it), of this country (so the margin); every one shall now have his eyes opened, and shall say, “Behold, such is our expectation, so vain, so foolish, and this is that which it will come to. We have fled for help to the Egyptians and Ethiopians, and have hoped by them to be delivered from the king of Assyria; but, now that they are broken thus, how shall we escape, that are not able to bring such armies into the field as they did?” Note, (1.) Those that confide in creatures will be disappointed, and will be made ashamed of their confidence; for vain is the help of man, and in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills or the height and multitude of the mountains. (2.) Disappointment in creature confidences, instead of driving us to despair, as here (how shall we escape?), should drive us to God; for, if we flee to him for help, our expectation shall not be frustrated.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 20:1

Sargon — Sennacherib, who, before he came to Jerusalem, came up against and took all the walled cities of Judah, of which Ashdod might be reckoned one, as being in the tribe of Judah.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 20:1

In the year that (a) Tartan came to (b) Ashdod, (when (c) Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;

(a) Who was captain of Sennacherib, (2 Kings 18:17).

(b) A city of the Philistines.

(c) The Hebrews write that Sennacherib was so called.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
Tartan was one of the generals of Sennacherib, who, it is probable, is here called Sargon, and in the book of Tobit, Sacherdonus and Sacherdan, against whom Tirhakah, king of Cush or Ethiopia, was in league with the king of Egypt.
2 Kings 18:17 And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which [is] in the highway of the fuller's field.


1 Samuel 6:17 And these [are] the golden emerods which the Philistines returned [for] a trespass offering unto the LORD; for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Askelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one;
Jeremiah 25:20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,
Amos 1:8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD.

and took:

Jeremiah 25:29-30 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. ... Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread [the grapes], against all the inhabitants of the earth.
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1S 6:17. 2K 18:17. Jr 25:20, 29. Am 1:8.

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