Wednesday, January 03, 2024

And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied (Isaiah 20)

It's time for Isaiah chapter 20 and the crazy antics of God's appointed prophets! This time, God has Isaiah walk around barefoot and naked for three years as a sign and a wonder (as in people "wonder" why he's naked, I assume?) to show how Assyria will lead away Egypt and Ethiopia (probably Cush) naked and barefoot in the future. The SAB marks most of this chapter with "Absurd" and "Sex" (mere nudity seems like a stretch to me, but I guess it's fair), which, yeah, it's pretty wacky, but I bet it delivers a message effectively.

What does the Bible say about nudism? There's actually a lot more nudity in the Bible than this, but I realized the title was "nudism", which implies being naked on purpose which I suppose all these examples are with the exception of Adam and Eve, although it feels like it belongs here because they're not getting dressed any time soon. I think it needs to be said that not necessarily all of these are talking about someone being completely naked; I think it's likely that Jonathan, David, "a certain young man" (probably John Mark), Jesus, and Peter, were probably in their underwear, and there's really nothing in Exodus 33:23 that suggests God is naked, if that's even meaningful for what's going on there. Adam and Eve really are a special case nonetheless, because the idea is that clothing doesn't even exist yet in Genesis chapter two, and they don't care because they don't know the difference. I have actually heard at least one sermon in which it was suggested that this is saying something about the intimacy of marriage, actually, which may be a stretch, but I know for myself when there's nobody around except my wife, I have no problem with nudity. I think Saul, although naked, was not voluntarily naked, but it's a strange passage indeed. Micah indeed talks about being naked, but I don't see anything in context that really explains why; verse 11 talks about "having thy shame naked" but what this phrase is supposed to mean is beyond me. So in the end, it's really just a couple of prophets that are practicing nudism, one (Isaiah) giving a reason why that's clear, and one (Micah) giving a more opaque explanation.

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