Shock: 1) extreme surprise; 2) sudden overwhelming dismay or outrage …
Shocking things seem the norm in these days of “reality” TV, bombastic talk-hosts, up-the-anti newscasts, and political Humpties. But with repetitious exposure, like the torture scenes from Iraq, the shock wears off as pundits assuage conscience and justify cause. Thus we “progress” from shock to benign acceptance to titillating entertainment.
One wonders if this happened to Isaiah (700s BC) walking naked and barefoot for three years as a symbol and warning to those who looked to Egypt and Ethiopia for security (Old Testament Isaiah 20)? Or to Hosea (also 700s BC) who took an infamous harlot to wife whose subsequent conceptions were the blatant children of whoredoms (Old Testament Hosea 1:2; 2:4). Both prophets acting under specific instruction from God!
But in our day, without the daily visual—with only the written account—we remain too shocked to read with comprehension the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying:
Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the LORD said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they [the misguided people] shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory (Old Testament Isaiah 20:2-5).We cannot abide even the literary shock of a naked prophet. We prefer to remove only his “upper garment, like a slave or exile” (KJV: LDS footnote at 20:2a). Or more conservative yet, we confine our vision to the removal of “his upper garment …, and to have nothing on but his tunic (cetoneth);” which was “opposed to common custom” (Old Testament Student Manual, Vol. 2: 157).
But that is not what is written in Holy Scripture. There the shock of contrast is too great. We skip loins and buttocks as if God were above such prophetic imagery. Whether Isaiah was fully naked or more likely draped with a meager loin cloth that exposed his buttocks—we are not prepared for either scene, and thus miss the shocking vision and transformative power of both his prophecy and his symbolic truth.
Hosea does not fare much better—nor have the depth charges of the symbolic and parabolic that have been stripped from our “sophisticated” culture and consciousness. We seem to have lost, not only the ability to read between the lines, we can’t even read the lines themselves.
Makes one wonder (with all our latter-day excesses and distractions), if there might not be other shocks of contrast in the wings!
 Unfortunately, too few were Humpty Dumpties as was proven in the latest election. “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men” seem to have retired in favor of all the king’s money.
 Just ask Jack Bauer devotees.
 See (14-32) at http://www.ldsces.org/inst_manuals/ot-in-2/manualindex.asp reproduced here:
(14-32) Isaiah 20:2. What Was Meant by Isaiah Walking “Naked and Barefoot”?
“With the great importance attached to the clothing in the East, where the feelings upon this point are peculiarly sensitive and modest, a person was looked upon as stripped and naked if he had only taken off his upper garment. What Isaiah was directed to do, therefore, was simply opposed to common custom, and not to moral decency. He was to lay aside the dress of a mourner and preacher of repentance, and to have nothing on but his tunic (cetoneth); and in this, as well as barefooted, he was to show himself in public.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 7:1:372.)” [Relevant questions: Were sensitivity and modesty the norm imposed on slaves and exiles whom Isaiah was symbolizing? And can we ever, with our limited vision, impose our “moral decency” upon the God of Abraham (who was commanded to sacrifice his son); or upon the God of Hosea; or the God of Nephi1 (who slew Laban); or the God of Moses/Joshua/David/Elijah/Elisha, and so forth (and their participation in the deaths of countless numbers)? The shock of contrast and contradiction keeps us, too often, from reading, let alone acknowledging, what is written. Or admitting that we shall never understand God with the rational mind alone.]
 –the common lot of many slaves—