Isa 22:1-14. Prophecy as to
an Attack on Jerusalem.
That by Sennacherib, in the fourteenth year of
Hezekiah; Isa 22:8-11, the preparations for defense and
securing of water exactly answer to those in 2Ch 32:4, 5,
30. "Shebna," too (Isa 22:15), was scribe at this time (Isa 36:3) [Maurer]. The language of Isa 22:12-14, as to the infidelity and
consequent utter ruin of the Jews, seems rather to foreshadow the
destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah's reign, and cannot be
restricted to Hezekiah's time [Lowth].
1. of … valley of vision—rather,
"respecting the valley of visions"; namely, Jerusalem, the seat of
divine revelations and visions, "the nursery of prophets" [Jerome], (Isa 2:3; 29:1; Eze 23:4, Margin; Lu 13:33). It lay in a "valley" surrounded by
hills higher than Zion and Moriah (Ps 125:2; Jer 21:13).
thee—the people of Jerusalem
housetops—Panic-struck, they went up
on the flat balustraded roofs to look forth and see whether the enemy
was near, and partly to defend themselves from the roofs (Jud 9:51, &c.).
2. art—rather, "wert"; for it could not
now be said to be "a joyous city" (Isa 32:13). The cause of their joy (Isa 22:13) may have been because Sennacherib
had accepted Hezekiah's offer to renew the payment of tribute, and they
were glad to have peace on any terms, however humiliating (2Ki 18:14-16), or on account of the alliance
with Egypt. If the reference be to Zedekiah's time, the joy and
feasting are not inapplicable, for this recklessness was a general
characteristic of the unbelieving Jews (Isa 56:12).
not slain with the sword—but with the
famine and pestilence about to be caused by the coming siege (La 4:9). Maurer
refers this to the plague by which he thinks Sennacherib's army
was destroyed, and Hezekiah was made sick (Isa 37:36;
38:1). But there is no
authority for supposing that the Jews in the city suffered such
extremities of plague at this time, when God destroyed their
foes. Barnes refers it to those slain
in flight, not in open honorable "battle"; Isa 22:3 favors this.
3. rulers—rather, "generals" (Jos
10:24; Jud 11:6, 11).
bound—rather, "are taken."
by the archers—literally, "by the
bow"; so Isa 21:17.
Bowmen were the light troops, whose province it was to skirmish in
front and (2Ki 6:22)
pursue fugitives (2Ki 25:5);
this verse applies better to the attack of Nebuchadnezzar than that of
all … in thee—all found in the
13:15), not merely the
"rulers" or generals.
fled from far—those who had fled
from distant parts to Jerusalem as a place of safety; rather,
4. Look … from me—Deep grief seeks
to be alone; while others feast joyously, Isaiah mourns in prospect of
the disaster coming on Jerusalem (Mic 1:8, 9).
daughter, &c.—(see on Isa 1:8; La 2:11).
5. trouble … by the Lord—that is,
sent by or from the Lord (see on Isa 19:15;
valley of vision—(See on Isa 22:1). Some think a valley near Ophel is meant as
about to be the scene of devastation (compare see on Isa 32:13,14).
breaking … walls—that is, "a
day of breaking the walls" of the city.
crying to the mountains—the mournful
cry of the townsmen "reaches" to (Maurer
translates, towards) the mountains, and is echoed back by them.
Josephus describes in the very same
language the scene at the assault of Jerusalem under Titus. To this the
prophecy, probably, refers ultimately. If, as some think, the "cry" is
that of those escaping to the mountains, compare Mt 13:14;
24:16, with this.
6. Elam—the country stretching east from
the Lower Tigris, answering to what was afterwards called Persia (see
on Isa 21:2). Later, Elam was a province of
4:9). In Sennacherib's time,
Elam was subject to Assyria (2Ki 18:11), and so furnished a contingent to its
invading armies. Famed for the bow (Isa 13:18; Jer 49:35), in which the Ethiopians alone
with chariots of men and horsemen—that
is, they used the bow both in chariots and on horseback.
"Chariots of men," that is, chariots in which men are borne, war
chariots (compare see on Isa 21:7; Isa 21:9).
Kir—another people subject to Assyria
16:9); the region about the
river Kur, between the Caspian and Black Seas.
uncovered—took off for the battle the
leather covering of the shield, intended to protect the embossed
figures on it from dust or injury during the march. "The quiver" and
"the shield" express two classes—light and heavy armed
7. valleys—east, north, and south of
Jerusalem: Hinnom on the south side was the richest valley.
in array at the gate—Rab-shakeh stood
at the upper pool close to the city (Isa 36:11-13).
8. he discovered the covering—rather,
"the veil of Judah shall be taken off" [Horsley]: figuratively for, exposing to shame as a
captive (Isa 47:3; Na 3:5). Sennacherib dismantled all "the
defensed cities of Judah" (Isa 36:1).
thou didst look—rather, "thou shalt
house of … forest—The
house of armory built of cedar from the forest of Lebanon
by Solomon, on a slope of Zion called Ophel (1Ki 7:2;
10:17; Ne 3:19). Isaiah says
22:8-13) his countrymen will
look to their own strength to defend themselves, while others of
them will drown their sorrows as to their country in feasting,
but none will look to Jehovah.
9. Ye have seen—rather, "Ye shall
city of David—the upper city, on Zion,
the south side of Jerusalem (2Sa 5:7, 9; 1Ki 8:1); surrounded by a wall of its own; but
even in it there shall be "breaches." Hezekiah's preparations for
defense accord with this (2Ch 32:5).
ye gathered—rather, "ye shall
lower pool—(See on Isa 22:11). Ye shall bring together into the city by
subterranean passages cut in the rock of Zion, the fountain from which
the lower pool (only mentioned here) is supplied. See on Isa 7:3; 2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:3-5, represent Hezekiah as having
stopped the fountains to prevent the Assyrians getting water.
But this is consistent with the passage here. The superfluous waters of
the lower pool usually flowed into Hinnom valley, and so through that
of Jehoshaphat to the brook Kedron. Hezekiah built a wall round it,
stopped the outflowing of its waters to debar the foe from the
use of them, and turned them into the city.
10. numbered—rather, "ye shall number,"
namely, in order to see which of them may be pulled down with the least
loss to the city, and with most advantage for the repair of the walls
and rearing of towers (2Ch 32:5).
have ye broken down—rather, "ye shall
11. Ye made … a ditch—rather, "Ye
shall make a reservoir" for receiving the water. Hezekiah
surrounded Siloah, from which the old (or king's, or upper) pool took
its rise, with a wall joined to the wall of Zion on both sides; between
these two walls he made a new pool, into which he directed the waters
of the former, thus cutting off the foe from his supply of water also.
The opening from which the upper pool received its water was nearer
Zion than the other from which the lower pool took its rise, so that
the water which flowed from the former could easily be shut in by a
wall, whereas that which flowed from the latter could only be brought
in by subterranean conduits (compare see on Isa
22:9; Isa 7:3; 2Ki 20:20; 2Ch 32:3-5, 30; Ecclesiasticus 48:17). Both were
southwest of Jerusalem.
have not looked … neither had
respect—answering by contrast to "Thou didst look to
the armor, ye have seen ('had respect', or 'regard to') the
breaches" (Isa 22:8, 9).
maker thereof—God, by whose command
and aid these defenses were made, and who gave this fountain "long
ago." G. V. Smith translates, "Him who
doeth it," that is, has brought this danger on you—"Him
who hath prepared it from afar," that is, planned it even from a
12. did the Lord God call—Usually the
priests gave the summons to national mourning (Joe 1:14); now Jehovah Himself shall give it; the "call" shall
consist in the presence of a terrible foe. Translate, "shall call."
baldness—emblem of grief (Job 1:20; Mic
13. Notwithstanding Jehovah's "call to
mourning" (Isa 22:12),
many shall make the desperate state of affairs a reason for reckless
revelry (Isa 5:11, 12, 14; Jer 18:12; 1Co 15:32).
Isa 22:15-25. Prophecy That
Shebna Should Be Deposed from Being Prefect of the Palace, and Eliakim
Promoted to the Office.
In Isa 36:3, 22; 37:2, we find Shebna "a scribe," and no
longer prefect of the palace ("over the household"), and Eliakim in
that office, as is here foretold. Shebna is singled out as the subject
of prophecy (the only instance of an individual being so in
Isaiah), as being one of the irreligious faction that set at naught the
prophet's warnings (Isa 28:1-33:24); perhaps it was he who advised the
temporary ignominious submission of Hezekiah to Sennacherib.
15. Go, get thee unto—rather, "Go in to"
(that is, into the house to).
treasurer—"him who dwells in the
tabernacle" [Jerome]; namely, in a room
of the temple set apart for the treasurer. Rather, "the king's friend,"
or "principal officer of the court" (1Ki 4:5;
18:3; 1Ch 27:33, "the king's
counsellor") [Maurer]. "This" is
prefixed contemptuously (Ex 32:1).
unto Shebna—The Hebrew for
"unto" indicates an accosting of Shebna with an unwelcome
16. What … whom—The prophet
accosts Shebna at the very place where he was building a grand
sepulcher for himself and his family (compare Isa 14:18; Ge 23:1-20; 49:29; 50:13). "What (business) hast
thou here, and whom hast thou (of thy family, who is likely to
be buried) here, that thou buildest," &c., seeing that thou
art soon to be deposed from office and carried into captivity? [Maurer].
on high—Sepulchres were made in the
highest rocks (2Ch 32:33,
habitation for himself—compare "his
own house" (Isa 14:18).
17. carry … away with …
captivity—rather, "will cast thee away with a mighty throw"
[Maurer]. "Mighty," literally, "of a
man" (so Job 38:3).
surely cover—namely, with shame, where
thou art rearing a monument to perpetuate thy fame [Vitringa]. "Rolling will roll thee," that is, will
continually roll thee on, as a ball to be tossed away [Maurer]. Compare Isa 22:18.
18. violently turn and toss—literally,
"whirling He will whirl thee," that is, He will, without
intermission, whirl thee [Maurer].
"He will whirl thee round and round, and (then) cast thee away," as a
stone in a sling is first whirled round repeatedly, before the string
is let go [Lowth].
large country—perhaps Assyria.
chariots … shall be the shame of thy
lord's house—rather, "thy splendid chariots shall be there, O
thou disgrace of thy lord's house" [Noyes]; "chariots of thy glory" mean "thy
magnificent chariots." It is not meant that he would have these in a
distant land, as he had in Jerusalem, but that he would be borne
thither in ignominy instead of in his magnificent chariots. The Jews
say that he was tied to the tails of horses by the enemy, to whom he
had designed to betray Jerusalem, as they thought he was mocking them;
and so he died.
he—God. A similar change of persons
occurs in Isa 34:16.
20. son of Hilkiah—supposed by Kimchi to be the same as Azariah, son of
Hilkiah, who perhaps had two names, and who was "over the household" in
Hezekiah's time (1Ch 6:13).
21. thy robe—of office.
girdle—in which the purse was carried,
and to it was attached the sword; often adorned with gold and
father—that is, a counsellor and
22. key—emblem of his office over the
house; to "open" or "shut"; access rested with him.
upon … shoulder—So keys are
carried sometimes in the East, hanging from the kerchief on the
shoulder. But the phrase is rather figurative for sustaining the
government on one's shoulders. Eliakim, as his name implies, is
here plainly a type of the God-man Christ, the son of "David," of whom
9:6) uses the same language
as the former clause of this verse. In Re 3:7, the same language as the latter clause
is found (compare Job 12:14).
23. nail … sure place—Large nails
or pegs stood in ancient houses on which were suspended the ornaments
of the family. The sense is: all that is valuable to the nation shall
rest securely on him. In Ezr 9:8 "nail"
is used of the large spike driven into the ground to fasten the cords
of the tent to.
throne—resting-place to his family, as
applied to Eliakim; but "throne," in the strict sense, as applied to
Messiah, the antitype (Lu 1:32, 33).
24. Same image as in Isa 22:23. It was customary to "hang" the
valuables of a house on nails (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; So
offspring and the issue—rather, "the
offshoots of the family, high and low" [Vitringa]. Eliakim would reflect honor even on the
vessels of cups—of small capacity:
answering to the low and humble offshoots.
vessels of flagons—larger vessels:
answering to the high offshoots.
25. nail … fastened—Shebna, who
was supposed to be firmly fixed in his post.
burden … upon it—All that were
dependent on Shebna, all his emoluments and rank will fail, as when a
peg is suddenly "cut down," the ornaments on it fall with it. Sin
reaches in its effects even to the family of the guilty (Ex 20:5).