113-122 Isaiah Chapter 22
The Valley of Vision
Jerusalem is called here the “Valley of Vision.” Jerusalem is a city that is built upon a hill and is surrounded by even higher hills. Because of this Jerusalem is in the midst of three valleys. In the present day Judah, Jerusalem is the center for the worship of God and home to some of the Prophets including Isaiah. For these reasons, Jerusalem is called the Valley of Vision. The people of Jerusalem have gone to their housetops that they might mourn and call to Heaven for help. Isaiah sees and hears the cries of the people and asks if their cries are that of evil tumult or an expression of joy?
Babylon came and conquered Jerusalem but their brave men did not die in battle. Some died from starvation as a result of the siege of the city. Others fled and died in a cowardly retreat. The siege causes famine and pestilence causing many to die. (Jeremiah 14:18; Jeremiah 38:2) Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet but here we read that Isaiah will weep bitterly at seeing God’s judgment coming upon God’s people.
Isaiah tells of the army he sees coming against Jerusalem with arrows and chariots. This will be the army of Babylon and they will overthrow Jerusalem. “Because Elam, Babylon’s neighbor to the east, had strongly supported the Babylonians and the Chaldeans in the struggle against Assyria, the Elamites were probably allies of the Babylonians.” (Wolf) As the armies surround Jerusalem to attack the Lord will not deliver them.
Jerusalem prepared itself for battle and to face a siege. They strengthened the walls of the city and assured themselves a proper supply of water for the siege. But none of this preparation would matter because the protection of the Lord had been removed. Jerusalem should have returned to the Lord for their protection. But they did not look to the Maker of all their provision and they had no respect for Him who had fashioned their land long ago.
Instead of preparing for an attack the people of Jerusalem should have repented humbly to the Lord. They took their confidence in their own preparation with joy and gladness. They had confidence in a glorious future with eating and drinking, for tomorrow they may die.
Their sin of neglecting the Lord was a sin that could not be forgiven. The people had done everything that should have been done except the essential thing of seeking their God. As a result, there would be no atonement for them.
Shebna was a servant of King Hezekiah. He was both a steward and a scribe. (1 Kings 18:18) The king’s steward and scribe were two positions of honor and responsibility. King Hezekiah was a good king so the judgment fell upon the next in line which was Shebna. The Lord is asking Shebna who was a proud man who he thought he was and what did he think he had. Shebna was but a man who really was nothing and had nothing.
Shebna in his position of power and authority made himself a prestigious tomb. This, in that day, was a monument to his significant power and wealth. Shebna becomes the personification of Jerusalem with their self-interest. Isaiah had told the people of Jerusalem and Judah that they would be carried away to exile. Shebna did not believe that. He built a significant tomb for himself in the city of Jerusalem. He was saying in the face of God that he would never be carried away to exile.
Shebna was a man who sought honor and glory but he would never find it. The Lord would make certain that he would never be buried in his fine tomb but would die in exile instead. Shebna was the sort of man that Jesus spoke of in the parable of the rich fool. (Luke 12:16-21) He spent all his time planning how to use his money to build great things only to die without God and it all meant nothing.
The Lord lifts up Eliakim instead of Shebna.
Shebna had a heart that was turned towards his own glory and ambition. Eliakim had a heart that was turned towards the Lord. Eliakim will have his greater fame in Heaven as he will be the father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the house of Judah. The Lord took the authority of Shebna and gave it to Eliakim. Eliakim was the man who would get the Lord’s work done.
Eliakim as the Lord’s servant will be given great authority. He will have the key to the house of David. In that day the chief royal steward would have a large master key of the palace fastened to his shoulder of his tunic. The Lord is giving Eliakim the authority to open and shut doors in the authority of the Lord which no man can oppose.
Eliakim is seen here as a prophecy of the Messiah as Jesus told us this passage speaks of Him. “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this:” (Revelation 3:7) Jesus is the one who holds the key to Hades and Death. (Revelation 1:18) Jesus has all authority booth in Heaven and on the earth and delegates it to whom He pleases. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19).
Because the authority of Eliakim was established by the Lord it was secure. Shebna sought glory for himself but only found shame. Eliakim was a servant of the Lord and became a glorious throne to his father’s house. Eliakim was a godly secure peg that could spiritually support his father’s house. Since Eliakim is a picture of Jesus, we see this as the believer’s total dependence upon Jesus. “This has been understood as the dependence of all souls, of all capacities, from the lowest in intellect to the most exalted, on the Lord Jesus, as the only Savior of all lost human spirits.” (Clarke)
When God places Eliakim in his rightful place then Shebna will be removed and cut down to fall. Shebna had been given a place of honor and authority but he did not use it as a servant of the Lord. The Lord then took this place Shebna had away from Shebna. When a man of Shebna’s position is removed those who hang with him will also be cut off. We too have to make sure that we are hanging on the right peg.