Further warning against alliances (20:1-6)
Previous messages have shown Hezekiah the uselessness of forming alliances with Philistia, Ethiopia or Egypt for the purpose of fighting against Assyria (see 14:28-32; 18:1-6; 19:1-15). To emphasize the point afresh, Isaiah acts a message for everybody to see. He dresses himself as a prisoner of war, to show the people of Judah what will happen to them if they enter foreign alliances instead of trusting God for victory over Assyria. After three years the people have proof of the wisdom of Isaiah’s advice. The Assyrians capture the Philistine city of Ashdod, after which they invade Egypt and Ethiopia and carry away many captives (20:1-4).
Philistia’s hope of military help from Egypt and Ethiopia is sadly disappointed. This causes Judah to realize how disastrous it would have been to trust in any of those countries for its security (5-6).