Isaiah 22 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
I.C.9 The Burden of the valley of Vision (Jerusalem), 22:1-25
1. The burden of the valley of vision.
What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
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.
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.
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.
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.
the valley of vision - refers to Judah and Jerusalem (see v.8-10).
Jerusalem is uniquely the place of 'Vision,' because the Word of God was committed to Israel (cp. Psa 147:19,20; Rom 3:1,2). Having been founded upon God's Word, Israel appears, in this list of 'burdens' upon the nations, in stark contrast to Babylon, which was seen as 'the desert of the sea,' the barren wasteland of human philosophies.
     Normally, the place of vision is thought of as a mountain top (eg., Moses on Mount Sinai or Mount Nebo; Jesus on the mount of transfiguration, Mat 17:9). But here, Jerusalem is seen in the valley, a low place of sorrow and death, because of their neglect of God's Word, and their preference for false teaching (cp. Mic 3:6). Israel's disregard for God's Word is the cause for their inclusion in the 'burdens' of judgment upon the nations (cp. Ex 19:5,6; Num 23:9; Deu 4:23-27; Hos 9:17; Zech 7:12-14).
what aileth thee, that thou are wholly gone up to the housetops? -
A city's population went to their housetops to assess approaching dangers. This was the case when Sennacherib (King of Assyria) threatened Jerusalem during the reign of Hezekiah (see Isa 36:11-13). So it will be at Jerusalem's final siege (Mat 24:16-18).
thou that art full of stirs {ie., noise, clamour}... tumultuous... joyous...-
Within the walls of the besieged city there is confusion. The city that should be full of joy because it has been given knowledge of the LORD (eg., Isa 12:2,3), is instead given to great trouble.
thy slain... are not slain with the sword... - Rather, death comes by starvation and disease.
This did not occur during Sennacherib's siege, because the LORD delivered Jerusalem out of his hand. However, 100 years later, the citizens of Jerusalem suffered terribly, during the siege that led to her fall under Babylon's king Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 38:9; 19:9; Lam 2:20; 4:10).
all thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers... -
This also did not occur during Sennacherib's siege. But it was fulfilled at Jerusalem's fall to Babylon (Jer 39:4,5).
     Likewise, the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem (70 AD) involved severe suffering. This burden also foresees the future siege(s) of that city, in the Day of the LORD (eg., Zech 14:1-3).
therefore... look away from me; I will weep bitterly... because of the spoiling of the daughters of my people...-
The Lord's sorrow, for the tribulations of His people, is revealed in the prophet's tears (cp. Jer 4:19; 9:1). These tears span the centuries of Israel's 'valley of vision,' of her ignorance of the Lord and His Word (cp. Luk 19:41-44).
...a day of trouble... treading down... perplexity... of crying to the mountains.-
See Jer 30:7; Isa 5:5; Luk 23:28-30; Rev 6:16,17
6 And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men [and] horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
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.
8. And he discovered the covering of Judah,
and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.
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.
10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem,
and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.
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.
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:
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.
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.
thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots... in array at the gate...-
The picture is of a siege of Jerusalem.
Many of the elements were fulfilled literally when Sennacherib besieged the city. The enemy...
...bare the quiver... uncovered the shield... set themselves in array...- before Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Hezekiah took measures to strengthen the city's defenses.
...he {ie., Hezekiah} discovered {ie., removed} the covering of Judah... -
Hezekiah attempted to pay the Assyrians to turn away by stripping the gold and silver from the Temple. 2Kin 18:13-16
...didst look... to the armour of the house of the forest.-
This building had been constructed 300 years earlier by Solomon, as a showplace for his treasures (1Kin 7:2; 10:17). The shields of gold which Solomon had installed there, had long ago been carried away by another enemy (1Kin 14:25-28). The brass shields which replaced the lost originals in their ornamental role, were now brought out for use in battle.
...seen the breaches... gathered the water of the old pool... made a ditch between the two walls...-
These measures are recorded in 2Kin 20:20 and 2Chr 32:1-5,30.
     As indicated by 2Chr 32:6-8, Hezekiah had also called his people to put their trust in the LORD. Earlier in his reign, he oversaw a great spiritual revival (which is described in 2Chr ch. 29-31). Although, the king was sincere in his faith, many of the people did not truly give their hearts to the LORD.
but ye have not looked unto the maker {ie., doer} thereof,
neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.-
The sense is, that for all their preparations against the enemy, they had not truly sought the help of the LORD God, who had arranged this trouble to come upon them, as judgment for their sin, to motivate them to return to Him.
the LORD of hosts {did} call to weeping... and behold joy and gladness...-
God's message of impending judgment should have brought sorrow unto repentance, but instead the people gave themselves to partying, and to unbelieving mockery of the prophetic message:
let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.-
(What a contrast to the LORD's heart toward them, as revealed in v.4.)
Surely this iniquity shall not be purged...- cp. Eze 24:13; Joh 8:21-24; Heb 10:26,27
How long will their condition of unbelief persist? Until the time of the end. Isa 6:9-13
Elam... and Kir... (v.6) - These two regions participate in Jerusalem's trouble then, and in the future.
Kir, a region of Mesopotamia, is mentioned in reference to Assyria (2Kin 16:9). Later, when Babylon rose to power, Kir would come under their control.
     Elam is an old name for Persia, which is modern day Iran. Since the Assyrian empire extended to the western edge of Elam, it is possible that soldiers from that region were among the Assyrian forces which threatened Jerusalem in Hezekiah's day. However, Elam has not besieged Jerusalem up until the present time. Rather, Elam's historic role was as an instrument of judgment against Babylon for their sins against Jerusalem (Isa 21:1,2), and as an enabler of the restoration of Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, through the decrees of kings of Persia.
     However, in the latter days, Persia will take up arms alongside the king of the north (Russia) and other nations, to invade Israel (Eze 38:1-9). Today, it seems that we are watching the preparations for that action, as Iran and their allies train troops, ready weapons, and fill their quivers with missiles and warheads.
     In the next verses, our attention is returned to the near view and specific participants, at the time of the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem...
15. Thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts,
Go, get thee unto this treasurer,
[even] unto Shebna, which [is] over the house, [and say],
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?
17 Behold, the LORD will carry thee away
with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
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.
19 And I will drive thee from thy station,
and from thy state shall he pull thee down.
20 And it shall come to pass in that day,
that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
Shebna... Eliakim the son of Hilkiah...-
These men are mentioned in regard to Sennacherib's siege of Jerusalem. (see 2Kin 18:17-18,26,37; 19:2; Isa 36:3; 37:2; see also the record of the siege in 2Chr 32:9-22, where these men are not mentioned)
Since these are the only scriptural references, our knowledge about these men is scanty.
Yet, the chapter before us puts great weight upon them.
Shebna... - whose name means 'vigour,' is typical of men who put confidence in the flesh,
and disregard the work and Word of God. No doubt, he was a leader among those mentioned in v.12-14 as partying in mockery of the prophetic message, since God singles him out in the very next verse.
...this treasurer {ie., steward}... Shebna, which [is] over the house...-
Shebna held great political power under king Hezekiah. Although we don't know the details of his role, it seems likely that he was a leader among the king's counsellors who advised enlisting the aid of Egypt against the Assyrian threat.
     (In Isaiah ch. 30-31, the nation is confronted with the decision of placing their trust in Egypt versus in the LORD. The failure of this strategy had been foretold previously in Isaiah ch. 19-20, 'The Burden of Egypt.')
     As treasurer, Shebna would have made payments to Egypt for their aid, and also to Assyria in the futile attempt to buy peace (2Kin 18:13-16).
What hast thou here?... that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here...-
Shebna's confidence was in the arm of flesh. Using political position and diplomatic skill, he had expected to leverage monetary and military might to bring peace to Jerusalem. Thus, he would make a name for himself that would endure for generations. To honor his legacy, he was apparently building a sepulchre, as a monument to himself, not unlike those to the Pharaohs of Egypt.
Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.-
Rather that enjoying fame, Shebna would be covered with shame and oblivion (cp. this word for 'cover,' in Psa 71:13; 89:45; 109:29).
     There is no scriptural record of what happened to Shebna. According to Jewish tradition, Shebna, sure that Jerusalem was about to fall, slipped out of the city to defect to the other side. However, the Assyrians, doubting his intentions, treated him harshly and carried him away as a captive.
He will surely violently turn and toss thee...-
Shebna would die an ignominious death, far from his prepared sepulchre. In this, he foreshadows the captivity of Jerusalem to Babylon more than 100 years later (Jeremiah ch. 39). Shebna's disregard for the LORD God of Israel, his self-confidence and self-exaltation, and his ultimate humiliation also foreshadow the Antichrist (cp. Isa 14:11-20).
...there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord's house.-
Having cast aside his lot among the LORD's people, to cast his lot with (what appeared to be) a more powerful nation, he and his ambitions would share the shame of his chosen lord (the Assyrian king). cp. 2Chr 32:21
...I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.-
The failure of Shebna's political strategy (to save Israel via alliances with other nations) was evident by the time of Sennacherib's siege. There would be no help from Egypt (2Kin 18:18-21).
     Perhaps because of this failure of policy, Shebna's power and legacy were already diminished. Notice that in all other references (except v.15), Shebna appears to have been demoted to the office of 'scribe' {secretary}, and Eliakim has become the treasurer over the household (eg., 2Kin 18:18; Isa 36:3).
     Our last glimpse of Shebna is on the eve of the night in which the LORD worked a miraculous victory over the Assyrian army, a victory in which Shebna would not participate, because he did not believe God's Word (see 37:1-7).
Eliakim {meaning: 'God raises up' or 'God establishes,' cp. Psa 75:6,7} the son of Hilkiah {meaning: 'my portion is Jehovah'} -
Eliakim is a type (picture) of Christ in several ways:
  • His character as revealed in his name (see above):
    not seeking self-advancement, but desiring only the LORD's will. cp. v.20; Joh 5:30
  • He holds the reigns of government. cp. v.21; Isa 9:6,7
  • He holds the 'key' of full authority, cp. v.22; Rev 1:18; 3:7
    Eliakim had nearly unlimited authority under king Hezekiah, who was in the line of David.
    The Lord Jesus Christ, will reign with complete authority as the King on David's throne.
  • He is the security of His people and nation, as established by the Lord, v.23,24
    In biblical times, household goods were hung on pegs on the wall, rather than stored in cabinets.
    Upon this one peg (Christ), hangs everything that pertains to the Father's house:
         His children, His purposes, His vessels (servants).
    Regardless of relative size, value or function, none is more secure than any other.
    Were the peg to fail, all would suffer loss, earthen vessels and vessels of gold alike (cp. 2Tim 2:19-21).
    But Christ cannot fail, because He is established by God (Isa 28:16; Rom 9:33; 10:10,11).
    It is He who secures God's promises to Israel, and who will fulfill them at the close of the Tribulation period (cp. Ezr 9:8; Zech 10:4).
In that day... shall the nail that is fastened in the secure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall...-
The phrase 'In that day...' places the final application of this verse in the Tribulation period.
The nail (of v.23,24), established by the LORD, cannot fail, but secures all who trust in Him.
The nail, of v.25, represents the person whom Shebna foreshadowed, the Antichrist, 'the man of sin' in whose name the unbelieving nation will trust, even as they reject the LORD and His Word (cp. Joh 5:43, Dan 9:27; 2The 2:3-17).
On whom does your eternal future hang?

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