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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 22

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 22:1 The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?

Ver. 1. The burden.] See Isaiah 13:1.

Of the valley of vision,] i.e., Of Zion or Jerusalem, as the Septuagint express it, which is called first a valley, though set upon a knoll - first, Because environed with mountains; [Psalms 125:2] secondly, Because shortly to be laid low and levelled with the ground - ita ut vallis aut vorago dici posset.

Of vision.] So Jerusalem is called - first, Because there was God’s visible or aspectable presence; secondly, Because it was a seminary of seers, as Jerome elegantly termeth it, not without some allusion, as it is thought, to Mount Moriah, whereon stood the temple, which signifieth vision; q.d., O Zion, thou wast Moriah, but now thou art Marah; thou wast the mountain of vision, but now thou art a valley of tears and of darkness; thou wast the temple of God, but now thou art a den of thieves.

What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the house tops?] Luctus et salutis causa, saith Scultetus; there to lament thy distress, or else for safeguard in this distraction. Shouldst thou not rather go out to fight, than go up thus wholly and fully to the tops of thy terraces?


Verse 2

Isaiah 22:2 Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain [men are] not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.

Ver. 2. Thou that art full of stirs.] Clamoribus fragosis, (a) How soon hast thou changed thy cheer and thy note? thy joyful acclamations into doleful exclamations?

Thy slain men are not slain with the sword.] Sed mortui ex anxietate; but are foreslain with fear, or, as others, by the visible vengeance of God, as Titus acknowledged at the last sack of that city, (b) and as the poet sang of Troy -

Non tibi Tindaridis facies invisa Lacaenae,

Culpatusve Paris; verum inclcmcntia divum

Has evertit opes. ” - Virgil.


Verse 3

Isaiah 22:3 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.

Ver. 3. All thy rulers are fled together.] Vagantur, As not knowing what to do, or whither to turn themselves.

All that are found in thee are bound together.] Either in fetters, [Jeremiah 52:11] or with fear. [Psalms 76:5]

Which have fled from far.] Or, They fly far away, even as fast and as far as they can out of danger.


Verse 4

Isaiah 22:4 Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.

Ver. 4. Therefore said I, Look away from me.] Ut luctui et lamentis me totum dedam; that unseen I may soak myself in the salt tears of sorrow for Zion.


Verse 5

Isaiah 22:5 For [it is] a day of trouble, and 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.

Ver. 5. For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down.] Great is the woe of war; no words how wide soever can set forth to the full the distress and destruction thereof.

And of perplexity.] Mebusah samebucah, so the original elegantly, as in the last words of the verse, rythmically.

Breaking down the walls.] (a) According to Isaiah 5:5.


Verse 6

Isaiah 22:6 And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men [and] horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.

Ver. 6. And Elam,] i.e., The Persians (great archers, as Corabo testifieth, lib. xvi.), as Kir standeth here for the Medians, [2 Kings 16:9] good at sword and buckler; called also Syromedians.

Uncovered the shield.] Kept covered till then for fear of rusting. These were desperate fellows, bloodily bent, skilful to destroy.


Verse 7

Isaiah 22:7 And it shall come to pass, [that] thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.

Ver. 7. Thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots.] Iron chariots armed with scythes. These were, saith Vegetius, first a terror, and then a scorn.

In array at the gate,] sc., To force entrance into the city. {as 9:44; 9:52}


Verse 8

Isaiah 22:8 And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.

Ver. 8. And he discovered the covering of Judah.] That is, he that is the enemy took the city; Hoc enim significat nudari operimentum - i.e., Protectionem Iudae; or, as others sense it, (a) God took away his protection, the rampart and defence of their country; {see Exodus 32:25 Numbers 14:9 Micah 1:11} or the enemy destroyed the temple, wherein the Jews so foolishly confided. [Jeremiah 7:4]

To the armour of the house.] To anything but whom they should have looked unto. Our hearts are topped full of harlotry, ready to shift and shark in every by corner for comfort; to hang their hopes on every hedge, rather than to roll themselves upon God, "the hope of Israel."


Verse 9

Isaiah 22:9 Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.

Ver. 9. Ye have seen also … and ye gathered together, &c.] This they did when in distress, to prevent the enemy and provide for their own safety; and this they might well have done, had not God been neglected; this of all things he can least endure. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalms 9:17; see Isaiah 30:1).


Verse 10

Isaiah 22:10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.

Ver. 10. And ye have numbered.] This they did not till now, that they might make the city more defensible, and the better keep out the enemy. General Vere told the King of Denmark, that kings cared not for soldiers and warlike preparations until such times as their crowns hang on the one side of their head.


Verse 11

Isaiah 22:11 Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.

Ver. 11. Ye made a ditch also.] A new ditch, lest the old one should not suffice, to hold water for the besieged. All this was well and wisely done, had not the main matter been left undone. See 2 Chronicles 32:3; 2 Chronicles 32:5, 2 Kings 18:14; 2 Kings 18:16. The community of the Jews were carnal, and trusted in the arm of flesh. Hezekiah also himself faltered, &c.

But ye have not looked unto the maker thereof,] i.e., To the author of that trouble, treading down, and perplexity (a) [Isaiah 22:5] or, to the founder of Jerusalem, which, say the Rabbis, was one of those seven things which God had in his thoughts before he made the world.


Verse 12

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

Ver. 12. And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping.] Ponit arma quibus civitates ab hostibus defenduntur, nempe arma poenitentiae. These are the best defensive weapons, which therefore God of his goodness calleth people to, or ere he punisheth them. He calleth them, I say, by his word and by his works, both ordinary and extraordinary, that his justice may be magnified, and every foul mouth stopped.

To weeping and mourning.] The walls of Zion cannot but stand firm if well tempered with the tears of true penitents.

And to baldness.] Forbidden in other cases, [Leviticus 19:27-28; Leviticus 21:5 Deuteronomy 14:1 Micah 1:16] called for in the practice of holy repentance, which hath nothing to do with despair. See Ezra 9:3.


Verse 13

Isaiah 22:13 And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.

Ver. 13. And behold joy and gladness.] Or, But behold, see the madness of these cross grained creatures, who, to thwart the Almighty, in laetitiam et luxum prosiliunt, take a clean contrary course to what he had prescribed, as if they had done it on purpose. (a)

Eating and drinking.] This was all they minded, or were good for, as we say. Gulonum non alia est cura quam cibum ingerere, digerere, egerere, saith Bernard. The belly god is set all on his paunch, as the ass fish hath his heart in his belly; as the spider is little else but belly; as the gulon (a beast so called) eateth that which he preyeth upon - if it be a horse, till all be devoured - ever filling his belly, and then emptying it, and then falling to it again till all be consumed; such a delight hath he in his appetite.

For to morrow we shall die.] So the prophets tell us, but we are wiser than to believe them; so the enemy threateneth us, but we are too well fortified to fear him; so it may happen, for we are all mortal; let us therefore make much of ourselves while we may.

Indulge genio, carpamus dulcia: nostrum est

Quod vivis: cinis et manes et fabula fies. ”

- Pers., Sat. v.

St Paul saith that the epicures of his time used the like atheistic expressions. {1 Corinthians 15:32, see there} It is the guise of graceless wretches to jest out God’s judgments, and to jeer when they should fear.


Verse 14

Isaiah 22:14 And it was revealed in mine ears by the LORD of hosts, Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Ver. 14. And it was revealed in mine ears.] It was told me for certain. God is absolute in threatening, because resolute in punishing; such is his hatred against scuffing epicures.

Surely this iniquity shall not be purged.] Heb., If it be ever purged, let me be never trusted again.

Till ye die.] That is, never; for "ye shall die in your sin," die eternally. Oh fearful! Pavete, cavete.


Verse 15

Isaiah 22:15 Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, [even] unto Shebna, which [is] over the house, [and say],

Ver. 15. Go, get thee unto this treasurer.] This is Actio Iesaiae in Shebnam, sicut Ciceronis in verrem. Shebna was a great courtier and an ill member, advanced likely by King Ahaz, and tolerated for a time by good Hezekiah, as Joab was by David, because he could neither will nor choose; or as Stephanus the Persian was by Justinian, the second emperor of Constantinople; who, being praefectus aulae likewise, set over the house, grew so insolent that he spared not the emperor’s mother, though she were Augusta, but whipped her as if she had been his bond slave. (a) This Shebna is thought to have been an Egyptian, a Sochite, and of mean parentage.

Asperius nihil est humili cum surgit in altum.

Shebna likely was one of those jeering epicures above taxed, and now particularly threatened. Some for treasurer render fautor, adiutor, a favourer and helper, sc., of those profane scoffers, [Isaiah 22:13] or of the enemies, with whom he underhand dealt and packed; he is therefore threatened to be ex-officed and sent packing into a strange country.


Verse 16

Isaiah 22:16 What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, [as] he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, [and] that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?

Ver. 16. What hast thou here?] What inheritance, possession?

And whom hast thou here?] sc., Of thy stock and kindred? (a) Art not thou a foreigner, a new man, an upstart mushroom? Why, then, dost thou cut thee out such a costly and stately sepulchre in Jerusalem, as if you were of the royal family, or as if you were sure to die here in thy nest? Will it not prove a true κενοταφιον, as the Greeks call it? Some conceive that for the safeguard of his tomb, and other trinkets, Shebna was one of those princes [2 Kings 19:2] that gave the king counsel to fortify so strongly. The Hebrews say that he likewise secretly kept correspondence with the enemy, that he might have a stake in store which way soever the dice chanced to turn; yea, that he treacherously agreed with the enemy to deliver the city into his hands; and therefore it was but time to take him a link lower, as Hezekiah did upon this prophecy of Isaiah. Some add, that for betraying the city he hoped to be made king there till his death, and therefore hewed him out a mausoleum or royal sepulchre there, and that among those of the house of David, say the Rabbis.


Verse 17

Isaiah 22:17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.

Ver. 17. Behold, the Lord will carry thee away, &c.] Or, Is casting thee out with casting, O thou mighty man. Not, God will carry thee away as a cock is carried, so the Vulgate translator hath it; which caused a learned interpreter to say he wondered whence this cock flew into the text.

And will surely cover thee.] As they used to do to condemned persons unworthy any longer to see the light, they covered their faces, {as Job 9:24 Esther 7:8} {See Trapp on "Job 9:24"} {See Trapp on "Esther 7:8"}


Verse 18

Isaiah 22:18 He will surely violently turn and toss thee [like] a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory [shall be] the shame of thy lord’s house.

Ver. 18. He will surely turn and toss thee.] Turn thee like a bowl, and toss thee like a ball. How and when this was fulfilled the Scripture relateth not. But the Talmudists tell us that Shebna, revolting to Sennacherib, was by him - after the execution done by God’s angel upon his forces - carried to Nineveh, there tied to a horse tail, and drawn through briers and brambles till he died.

There shalt thou die.] Ingloria vita recedet. Spotswood, Archbishop of St Andrews, who had discouraged, and by degrees extirpated, many faithful ministers of Scotland, thought it seasonable, A.D. 1639, to repair into England, where he died; and so was fulfilled upon him the prediction of Mr Walsh, a famous Scottish minister, who, in a letter to the bishop, written long before, told him he should die an outcast. (a)

And there the chariots of thy glory.] Thy stately chariots, wherein thou delightest to be hurried up and down, these shall also die or cease; O domus regiae dedecus! O optimi regis opprobrium! - for so some read the words by an apostrophe to Shebna - O thou that art such a blur to thy good master, and such a disgrace to his house. (b) Shebna affected to bear as great a deportment almost as the king himself did, sed passus est manes suos, but he came to an ill end. So did the Duke of Guise in France; and so did here Cardinal Wolsey, Sir Thomas Moore, Sir Francis Bacon, &c.


Verse 19

Isaiah 22:19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

Ver. 19. And I must drive thee from thy station.] This was done in part when, as of a great master of the court, chancellor, lord marshal, or lord high treasurer - for so many ways the word Sochem [Isaiah 22:15] is rendered - he was made scribe or secretary, [Isaiah 36:3] which was a far inferior place, but much more when all that befell him that is threatened, [Isaiah 22:17-18] as it did, no doubt.


Verse 20

Isaiah 22:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:

Ver. 20. I will call my servant Eliakim.] Such as honour God shall surely be honoured. He will call them to it, who else would choose to live and die in their self-contented secrecy, like as the sweet violet grows low to the ground, hangs the bead downward, and besides, hides itself with its own leaves.


Verse 21

Isaiah 22:21 And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy 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.

Ver. 21. And I will clothe him with thy robe,] i.e., Vest him in thine honours and offices, thyself being laid by, and looked upon as an officiperda.

And he shall be a father.] A fit title for a ruler, as this text is a fit looking glass for a good counsellor.


Verse 22

Isaiah 22:22 And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Ver. 22. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder.] Rulers have their back burdens.

Fructus honos oneris: fructus honoris onus.

The meaning is, he shall have chief authority under the king, together with dexterity and discretion to manage it aright. And herein Eliakim was a type of Christ. [Revelation 3:7] Let us pray for such Eliakims as a common blessing.


Verse 23

Isaiah 22:23 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.

Ver. 23. And I will fasten him as a nail.] Paxilli simile et concinnum et amabile est. (a) On a nail are hung utensils of the house - any such thing as cannot stand by its own strength. Eliakim was to be a common support to the people, but especially to his father’s house.

And he shall be for a glorious throne.] He shall ennoble his whole stock and kindred.


Verse 24

Isaiah 22:24 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.

Ver. 24. And they shall hang upon him.] As upon a nail.

The offspring and the issue.] All his allies, both great and small, shall be the better for him. He shall employ and prefer them. And this Shebna is told, the more to spite him.


Verse 25

Isaiah 22:25 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].

Ver. 25. Shall the nail that is fastened.] So Shebna once seemed to be, but now it shall appear to be otherwise; for he shall fall, and with him all his dependants shall be ruined.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 22:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-22.html. 1865-1868.

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Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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