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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 22

Verses 1-25

Isaiah 22:1 . The valley of vision. A valley near Jerusalem, so called because of a school of the prophets said to have been there.

Isaiah 22:3 . All thy rulers are fled. All thy captains of hundreds and thousands are gone beyond the Jordan, or wherever they could, from the bow and piercing arrows of the bloody Assyrians. The terror of the invaders deprived the people of natural courage.

Isaiah 22:6 . Elam, then subject to the Assyrians, bare the quiver, and were famed for archery. Jeremiah 49:35. Men and horsemen. Isaiah saw the far-famed Persian cavalry in the beautiful vales of Jerusalem, for the horse cannot act on rugged hills. Kir, a city of Media; but there were other towns of that name. He saw the infantry of that country uncover the shield, and prepare for battle.

Isaiah 22:8 . He discovered the covering of Judah. It might read, Judah hath removed her covering, and looked for carnal armour, instead of the covering promised in chap. 5:5, the shield of Jehovah’s angels.

Isaiah 22:13 . Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die. St. Paul cites this text as epicurean language. If there be no hereafter, yet the infidel had better die sober, and die bravely; for by courage he might save himself and his country. The prophet says, that this should be a time of weeping and of sackcloth, not of feasting.

Isaiah 22:20 . My servant Eliakim, supposed to be a highpriest, and a great minister. But mystically the reference is to Christ, on whose shoulders the government shall rest.

On a review of this chapter, a special reference is had to the invasion under Sennacherib, king of Assyria, for there was no Eliakim to heal and restore Zion after the invasion made by Nebuchadnezzar.

Isaiah 22:22 . The key of the house of David. A key worn over the shoulder, or pendant to the neck, was a badge of high office and dignity. Christ gave Peter and the apostles the keys of his kingdom; and this honour he will confer on every victorious soul.

Isaiah 22:23 . As a nail in a sure place. Hebrews יתד itad, designates strength and security to the state, or to the flock. Ecclesiastes 12:11.


We see in this chapter, as well as in other correspondent passages of vision, the abundant light which broke into the mind of the holy prophets. All the particulars of the investiture of Jerusalem by the Assyrians were depicted to Isaiah. He saw the multitude approach the city, and all the trembling inhabitants of Jerusalem viewing them from the flat roofs of their houses. He saw the nobles leaving their mansions in the country to take refuge in the city; and their panic was so great that they seemed as dead men before the sword could approach them; slain, but not with the sword.

The despair of the whole city he described as the last stage of despondency, and in the highest style of grief. Labour not to comfort me. This shows that the progress of the Assyrian army was bloody, cruel, and devastating to the last degree.

But while he saw the inhabitants of Jerusalem repair their walls, open their arsenals, number their houses, and secure their water; he saw that they had no particular regard to the Lord, who made all these things; that when the Lord called them to weeping, to fasting, and to prayer, he saw them eating flesh and drinking wine in despair; for they said, To-morrow we shall die. What a portrait of despair: what a character of carnal and irreligious men in the day of trouble! Where is now the spirit of their fathers, which sought divine protection from the invader, and relied on arms only in a secondary view? Oh that wicked men could see their own portrait in the sentiments of the wicked shut up in Jerusalem. They promise themselves impunity in crimes, they talk of a mercy nowhere promised in the sacred writings, and hope that the end of a sinful course will be happy. But when that day shall come, and they know not but it is at the door, then they shall be all gloom, indecision, and despair.

The reproof of Shebna is very instructive. This man, whether priest or prince, had the reins of government in his hands, and was unworthy of his honours. Elated with the vanity of oriental luxury, he was preparing himself a splendid mausoleum, hewn out of the rock and decorated. Isaiah had the arduous service of mortifying his pride by a positive declaration that he should never need it, as the enemy would carry him away to die in a distant land, where his funeral would require less of pomp! And what thousands of Shebnas do we see building houses, and engaged in works which neither they nor their heirs shall ever enjoy. And it was no small addition to his mortification to hear of Eliakim’s nomination to his place, a man of piety and worth. This man entered into office in difficult times, with the promise that he should be as a nail in a sure place; or as a pin built in the wall of a house, so he should long enjoy his place, and be a stay and a blessing to the whole nation. The worth of a good minister is above all estimation.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 22". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.