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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Isaiah 22

Verses 1-25

Chapter 22

Now in chapter 22 he turns his attention to Jerusalem, which is referred to as the valley of vision. And this is,

The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that you've gone up to the housetops? That you are full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that are found in thee are bound together, which have fled from far. Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labor not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people ( Isaiah 22:1-4 ).

And so he sees them not being slain with the sword. And in seeing their destruction, he weeps. He said, "Don't try to comfort me, because I'm weeping for the spoiling of the daughter of my people."

For it is a day of trouble, a day of treading down, and of perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of crying to the mountains. And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. And it shall come to pass, that your choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armor of the house of the forest. You have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and you have gathered together the waters of the lower pool. And you have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have you broken down to fortify the wall ( Isaiah 22:5-10 ).

Now he is speaking of the preparations that were going on at that moment in Jerusalem in preparing themselves for the threatened invasion by Assyria, which had destroyed the Northern Kingdom, and now Assyria was threatening to come with her armies to destroy Jerusalem. And so Hezekiah the king was making these precautions. First of all, he dug this tunnel some 1,700 feet from the spring of Gihon into the pool of Siloam. Coming under the wall of the city under the area of Ephal there, the old city that... Ephal that came up from the spring of Gihon. And through this rock they dug this tunnel 1,700 feet long because the spring of Gihon has a good head of water that flows through it constantly. And that was one of the major supplies for water in Jerusalem. It happened to be outside of the wall because it was down in the Kidron Valley at the base of Ophel there. And so what they did was dig the tunnel and then they covered over the spring so that the Assyrians would not know the source of the supply of their water. And so they diverted it through this tunnel. Brought it into the pool of Siloam within the gates so that they would have a water supply during the siege of the Assyrians.

And then they took some of the houses and they broke down the walls in order to fortify... the houses, they broke them down to fortify the breaches that were in the walls that were surrounding Jerusalem. And they were just fortifying the city and preparing the city for this coming invasion by Assyria.

You've made a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool ( Isaiah 22:11 ):

And they have done all of these things, but-and this is what the prophet is getting on to their case about. You've done all, fortified the walls, you've dug the pool... the tunnel for the water and so forth,

but you have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had you respect for him that fashioned it ( Isaiah 22:11 ).

In other words, who created the spring of Gihon? Who put the source of water there? You tried to fortify yourself with your own ingenuity, but you haven't really looked to God for your help or for your guidance or for your protection or for your strength.

This is a mistake I think that we oftentimes make, is that we are doing everything in the natural, but we're not doing anything in the supernatural. We're not looking to God. We're not looking for God's strength or God's guidance or God's help. A lot of people today that are doing all kinds of things in storing up foods and trying to prepare themselves for a coming desolation that they envision, and they're not really looking to God. They're not really turning to God for guidance, for help. They're not really trusting in the Lord. They're trusting in their own capacities. And so the prophet finds fault with them for not looking to God.

In that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth ( Isaiah 22:12 ):

Now the baldness was the shaving of their heads as a vow unto God. And God was calling them for a consecration and a commitment unto Him. Now God had said, "If My people, called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, then will I hear from heaven" ( 2 Chronicles 7:14 ). But rather than humbling themselves and praying and seeking God, they were taking every natural precaution that they could, but not taking God into account at all. Now God does expect us to use wisdom and to take natural precautions. But He also wants us to look to Him and to trust in Him. And when God is calling us to times of fasting and prayer and waiting upon Him, then it is manifestly wrong that we seek our own resources for our deliverance. And so when they should be weeping and mourning, girding themselves with sackcloth, they were having parties.

There was the slaying of the oxen, the killing of sheep, the eating of flesh, the drinking of wine: [and they were saying] let us eat, drink [and be merry]; because tomorrow we're going to die ( Isaiah 22:13 ).

Reminds us of the world in which we live today that is faced with one of the greatest crisis in the history of mankind as the superpowers are girding themselves for war. As the United States is diverting more and more of our budget towards a military posture in order that we might counteract the tremendous military build-up by Russia and the military superiority that she has gained. And the superpowers are girding for a super war. And we look around at the scene in America when God is calling for weeping, God is calling for prayer, God is calling for sackcloth. We see the people just blithely going on seeking pleasure, leaving God out of their lives, and it seems to be the attitude, "Eat, drink and be merry, tomorrow we die." And so the prophet comes out against this.

And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity will not be purged until you die ( Isaiah 22:14 ),

There's no cleansing for it. The course is set. The die is cast. They won't change until the judgment comes.

saith the Lord GOD of hosts ( Isaiah 22:15 ).

What a terrible, awesome indictment.

Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say, What do you have here and who do you have here, that you have hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and he that graveth a habitation for himself in a rock? Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will cover thee ( Isaiah 22:15-17 ).

Now while all this is going on, here this guy who was the treasurer of the nation was building himself out of the rock a beautiful sepulcher. If you go to Israel in the Kidron Valley you'll see some beautiful sepulchers that were hewn out of the rock there in the Kidron Valley. And this guy was cutting him out one of these fancy sepulchers for himself. And the prophet Isaiah says, "Hey, why are you making yourself a fancy sepulcher here in the land as though you're going to get buried here? You're going to get carried away captive and they're going to cover you someplace else."

You know, people laying up their plans for the future. God's going to interrupt your plans.

He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there you are going to die, and there the chariots of your glory shall be the shame of the lord's house. And I will drive thee from your station, and from your state shall he pull thee down. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah ( Isaiah 22:18-21 ).

Now Shebna was the treasurer, but Eliakim was also one of Hezekiah's counselors. They were both men of state. And later when the Rabshakeh who is one of the spokesmen for king Sennacherib of Assyria, when he came to bring the... not an edict, but a demand for surrender from king Hezekiah, Eliakim and Shebna were two of the men that dealt in the matters of state. Now, Eliakim evidently was God's choice. Shebna was a foreigner who was usurping a place there, trying to build himself a big tomb to be buried in and all. He said, "You're going to be carried away and buried elsewhere in a large land," and all.

Now in this the two men, Shebna and Eliakim, you have one of these cases where you have a prophecy that is veiled in the near fulfillment and in the far fulfillment. He was dealing with a particular situation. These two men were at that time men of state in Israel. And Shebna was to lose his position and Eliakim was moved in--God's choice. But from a prophetic standpoint, you have here Shebna as a type of the antichrist and Eliakim as the type of Jesus Christ. And even as the antichrist will come and be hailed and seek to ingratiate himself to Israel, yet he will be destroyed and the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, will come and establish the kingdom.

So you have here types of yet the future. And so when you get into verse Isaiah 22:22 , it lapses on out and Jesus picks up verse Isaiah 22:22 when He is talking to the church of Philadelphia. And He is introducing Himself to the church of Philadelphia in Revelation chapter 3 there, "Unto the church of Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" ( Revelation 3:7 ). So Jesus makes this verse apply to Him. That is why we say that it had an immediate fulfillment, but also it looked down prophetically and yet has a future fulfillment as Jesus takes these very words out of verse Isaiah 22:22 and applies them to Himself.

And the key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder ( Isaiah 22:22 );

That is Eliakim.

and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house ( Isaiah 22:22-23 ).

And so a little light of future burst in and then he comes back to the local situation.

And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it ( Isaiah 22:24-25 ). "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 22". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.