Previously the Lord had spoken to Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go untie the sackcloth from your loins and take your sandals off your feet,’ which he had done, going naked and barefoot. And now the Lord said, ‘It is a sign and a portent for Egypt and Nubia. Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years, so shall the king of Assyria drive off the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Nubia, young and old, naked and barefoot and with bared buttocks — to the shame of Egypt!
I have read through Isaiah many times but I can honestly say I cannot remember this passage. In the midst of prophetic words of warning, of reproof, and encouragement we find these words. Could Isaiah be called the naked prophet?
The point is well taken. The Lord will shame Egypt for what they have done, just like nakedness shames the individual. The image of one who gives the word of the Lord, one who speaks to kings and people in powerful positions, one who necessitates gravitas, in this state brings chuckles and makes you wonder if the scripture is serious?
I obviously do not think it matters. Each time I read through the bible I am surprised by its honesty, color, and reality. This story is truly our story, the story of everyday people seeking, searching, longing for something better. A people who make mistakes, who try again, and needs a constant reminder of their identity as God’s people.
I love the biblical narrative, I love that it leaves room for a naked prophet whose bare butt is a symbol of what God is doing in the midst of a people.