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A severe rebuke of the conduct of the people of Jerusalem in a time of calamity. The crisis refered to cannot be certainly identified. The difficulty in assigning the passage to Sennacherib’s invasion (701 b.c.) is that other prophecies relating to it are marked by encouragement, not, as here, by a tone of rebuke. Perhaps the present prophecy should be dated 711, the time of Sargon’s invasion.
1-7. The unworthy behaviour of the people of Jerusalem when attack is imminent.
8-11. Every measure is taken for defence except to turn to Jehovah.
12-14. Instead of mourning, they give themselves to reckless revelry. Such conduct must bring destruction as its punishment.
1. Valley of vision] This expression in the title is evidently taken from Isaiah 22:5. It is generally understood to signify Jerusalem.
Housetops] the natural place of concourse (Judges 16:27). The city is apparently en fete (Isaiah 22:13).
2. The joy is the forced gaiety of despair (Isaiah 22:13). Slain] It is implied that they have died through famine.
3. Which. . far] RV ’they fled afar off.’
4. Daughter] poetical personification of the people (Isaiah 10:32).
5. By the Lord] RV ’from the Lord.’ Valley of vision] Jerusalem may be so designated as being the home of prophetic vision.
6. Elam.. Kir] peoples who furnished auxiliaries to the Assyrian army. Uncovered] took off its case in preparation for battle.
7. Shall be.. shall set] RV ’were.. set.’
S. Discovered, etc.] RV ’took away the covering,’ which concealed the danger from the people’s eyes. Thou didst look] The people of Judah are addressed. Instead of looking to Jehovah for help, they rely wholly on their material resources. House of the forest] i.e. the house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 1 Kings 10:17), part of Solomon’s palace, used as an armoury.
9. Seen] i.e. inspected. Isaiah 22:9-10 refer to hasty measures taken for defence.
Gathered together, etc.] to secure a supply during the siege.
10. Numbered] to see what material could be spared for strengthening the fortifications.
11. Ditch] RV ’reservoir.’
The old pool] probably the pool of Siloam.
The maker thereof] RV ’him that hath done this,’ i.e. God who has brought this trouble upon them.
12. Weeping] the outward tokens of national repentance.
13. The reckless enjoyment of the despairing people, who urged the shortness of the time that remained to them as an excuse for their excesses. Let us eat, etc.] the argument of men who believed in no hereafter (1 Corinthians 15:32).
Denunciation of Shebna
This section contains Isaiah’s only invective against an individual. He denounces Shebna, the king’s chief minister, who may have been a leader of the party which favoured alliance with Egypt. The prophecy was delivered before Sennacherib’s invasion (701 b.c.), because at that time we read that Eliakim held the office Isaiah here promises him, while Shebna occupied a subordinate position (Isaiah 36:3; Isaiah 37:2).
15-25. The deposition of Shebna. The elevation of Eliakim.
15. Over the house] i.e. steward of the royal palace, a very high office sometimes held by a king’s son (2 Chronicles 26:21).
16. What hast] RV ’what doest.’ Shebna was apparently a foreigner, who ostentatiously presumed to treat Jerusalem as his native place. A sepulchre] Kings and great men in the East used to prepare their tombs in their life-time.
17. Carry, etc.] RV ’hurl thee away violently as a strong man, yea he will wrap thee up closely.’
18. Large country] i.e. a broad land, where it may roll on and on and not return. There the chariots, etc.] RV ’there shall be the chariots of thy glory, thou shame of thy lord’s house.’ The chariots are another feature of Shebna’s ostentation.
19. I will.. shall he] Though the person is changed, the subject is the same (viz. Jehovah) in both clauses. Such changes of person are common in Hebrew (Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 10:12).
22. The key] the symbol of the office. The v. shows the powerful influence exercised by this official. He had the right of admitting to, or excluding from, the king’s presence. This is symbolically applied to Christ (Revelation 3:7).
24,23. The office of Eliakim is to be firmly established. His family will rest upon him, and all kinds of dependents cluster round him. Eliakim means ’God establishes.’
25. The burden, etc.] i.e. the vessels hanging upon the nail; figuratively put for the dependents upon a great man.
25. Perhaps the prophet may revert in thought to the fall of Shebna, but the continuation of the figure of the nail seems to point to Eliakim, whose fall, if he abused his power, would involve the ruin of his dependents. Neither the promises nor the denunciations of the prophecy need be considered as absolute, but rather conditional. Eliakim did indeed succeed to Shebna’s office (see prefatory note), but we do not know that Shebna suffered the penalty of exile (Isaiah 22:18); this may have been averted by repentance.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 22". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent