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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Isaiah 22

 

 

Verses 1-25

Isaiah 22:1-25 — Judgment upon Judah - Isaiah 22:1-25 contains a prophecy of the invasion of Jerusalem by the Assyrian army. We know from other passages of Scriptures that this event took place in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah. We find the story of Hezekiah's fortification of the city and encouragement to the people in 2 Chronicles 32:1-8, and a reference to it in 2 Kings 20:20. We are given a picture of the confusion in the city in Isaiah 22:1-3. We have a description of the sorrow and pains of the prophet in Isaiah 22:4 as he sees in a vision this event taking place in the city. We also see in this passage the purpose of divine judgment. As harsh and painful it is to mankind, it has a redemptive work, and that is to restore man back to fellowship with God; for we read in Isaiah 22:11, "but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago." God wanted the people of Jerusalem to look to Him during the time of trouble. He wanted to be their deliverer.

2 Kings 20:20, "And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"

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

Isaiah 22:1 — "The burden of the valley of vision" - Word Study on "the burden" - Hebrew ( מַּשָּׂא) (H 4853) - This literally word means "a burden," and figuratively, "an utterance, a prophecy." Holladay says it means, "a burden or pronouncement (a sort of cursing pronouncement)." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 66 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "burden 57, Song of Solomon 3, prophecy 2, set 1, exaction 1, carry away 1, tribute 1." Note that this Hebrew word is commonly translated "oracle" in modern English versions (NASB, NIV, RSV).

Comments- "of the valley" - Jerusalem was surrounded by mountains ( Psalm 125:2). Jeremiah describes the people of Jerusalem as "inhabitants of the valley" ( Jeremiah 21:13).

Psalm 125:2, "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever."

Jeremiah 21:13, "Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?"

Comments- "of vision" - A vision is given to priests for the purpose of delivering a word from the Lord to the people ( 1 Samuel 3:1, Micah 3:6, Romans 3:2). Priests would enter the Temple and receive God's judgment and Wisdom of Solomon , as did Zacharias concerning the birth of his son John the Baptist ( Luke 1:5-25). Thus, Jerusalem is described as a valley of vision since its primary function is to serve as the seat of judgment from God by means of the Temple services.

1 Samuel 3:1, "And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision."

Micah 3:6, "Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them."

Romans 3:2, "Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

Comments- The LXX reads, "The word of the valley of Sion." Thus, we see from this how the ancient Jews understood this phrase to be a reference to Jerusalem. We must note the phrases "the spoiling of the daughter of my people" ( Isaiah 22:4) and "the city of David" ( Isaiah 22:9) as supportive of the ancient Jewish interpretation that Jerusalem is being referred to in this prophecy.

Isaiah 22:1"What aileth thee now" - Comments- In other words, "What troubles you, what is the matter?"

Isaiah 22:1"that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops" - Comments- The people went to the housetops for better views. Their homes did not have sufficient windows that looked out, perhaps for personal security. Thus, when they heard a multitude of noises without, as described in the next verse ( Isaiah 22:2), they had to go to their rooftops to find out what was going on. They went up to get a view of the approaching enemy, and cast arrows down upon them. A second possibility is that they went up upon their roofs to weep and mourn and cry out to their idols, or perhaps to Jehovah ( Isaiah 15:3, Jeremiah 48:38).

Isaiah 15:3, "In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly."

Jeremiah 48:38, "There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD."

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.

Isaiah 22:2 — "Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city" - Comments- Jerusalem is a city of noisy commotion, a city in an uproar of mass confusion.

Isaiah 22:2"a joyous city" - Comments- This "joyous" city was not rejoicing in God's blessings, but rather, the people were eating and drinking in order to find comfort in the few remaining days of their life before destruction falls upon them ( Isaiah 22:12-13, Micah 6:3-6)

Isaiah 22:12-13, "And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth: 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."

Micah 6:3-6, "O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD. Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?"

Isaiah 22:2"thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle" - Comments- The people died of famine and pestilence ( Jeremiah 38:2; Jeremiah 52:6, Lamentations 4:9-10).

Jeremiah 38:2, "Thus saith the LORD, He that remaineth in this city shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth forth to the Chaldeans shall live; for he shall have his life for a prey, and shall live."

Jeremiah 52:6, "And in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the famine was sore in the city, so that there was no bread for the people of the land."

Lamentations 4:9-10, "They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people."

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.

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.

Isaiah 22:4Comments- The phrase "daughter of my people" refers to the children of Israel who were in covenant with the God of Israel ( 2 Kings 19:21, Lamentations 2:13).

2 Kings 19:21, "This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee."

Lamentations 2:13, "What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?"

How much God hurts when He has to chasten His children. Dad once said before spanking me, " Song of Solomon , this is gonna hurt me worse than it does you."

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.

Isaiah 22:5"and of crying to the mountains" - Comments- The people cried to the mountains because this was their only place of refuge, or it perhaps refers to those who are seeking death ( Luke 23:30).

Luke 23:30, "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us."

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

Isaiah 22:6Comments- Elam refers to the Elamites, whose capital was Shushan, where King Darius later relocated the capital of the Persian Empire around 520 B.C. 43] John Gill notes that they were subject to the Assyrians during Isaiah's time. He also says that Kir was a city in Media, which represented the army of the Medes ( 2 Kings 16:9, Isaiah 15:1, Amos 1:5; Amos 9:7). 44] Thus, we have the Medes and Persians incorporated into the Assyrian army at this time in ancient history.

43] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Elamites."

44] John Gill, Isaiah , in John Gill's Expositor, in e-Sword, v 777 [CD-ROM] (Franklin, Tennessee: e-Sword, 2000-2005), comments on Isaiah 22:6.

2 Kings 16:9, "And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin."

Isaiah 15:1, "The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;"

Amos 1:5, "I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD."

Amos 9:7, "Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?"

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.

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.

Isaiah 22:8 — "he discovered the covering of Judah" - Comments- When we sin, God can allow the devil to come in on us and God can remove his hedge about us ( Job 1:10).

Job 1:10, "Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land."

Isaiah 22:8 — "and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest" - Comments- The "house of the forest" refers to Solomon's palace ( 1 Kings 7:2; 1 Kings 10:16-17).

1 Kings 7:2, "He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars."

1 Kings 10:16-17, "And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon."

The armour refers to the five hundred golden shields, which were later replaced with brass.

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.

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

Isaiah 22:10"And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem" - Comments- The houses were counted to figure out how many were needed to use their bricks to fortify their walls.

In 2Samuel 24,1Chronicles 21, David"s act of numbering the people showed him giving consideration to man's strength and ability.

A key verse is 1 Chronicles 27:23. The young were not numbered because of faith in God that He would cause the increase.

1 Chronicles 27:23, "But David took not the number of them from twenty years old and under: because the LORD had said he would increase Israel like to the stars of the heavens."

Isaiah 22:10"and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall" - Comments - In Isaiah 22:10 the Jews appear to have counted how many houses would be needed to fortify the wall in order to hold off the enemy; but they did not turn to the One who created it all. During the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib in 701 B.C, the Jews looked to the arm of flesh. They trusted and acted according to their own abilities instead of looking to the Lord. They will perform this same vain act of defense during the siege by Babylon in 587-586 B.C. ( Jeremiah 33:4).

Jeremiah 33:4, "For thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defence against the mounds and against the sword;" (ASV)

The Lord has brought me to this verse many times to correct me when I am walking in the flesh, depending upon my own abilities. Man today is trying to build a wall of defence around himself with financial strength, a good home, health, life insurance etc. If he has the best-trained doctors money can buy, it cannot deliver him from God"s wrath.

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.

Isaiah 22:11"Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool" - Comments- Note 2 Kings 20:20 for part of this story at Hezekiah. Archaeologists tell us Hezekiah cut a tunnel through bedrock 1 ,550 feet long to bring water from the Gihon spring inside the city walls. 45]

45] R. F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison, and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson"s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, rev. ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), "Water Supply."

2 Kings 20:20, "And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"

Isaiah 22:11"but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago" - Comments- God brought about this siege and planned it long ago ( Isaiah 37:26).

Isaiah 37:26, "Hast thou not heard long ago, how I have done it; and of ancient times, that I have formed it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities into ruinous heaps."

When we find ourselves living under a curse, we must understand that God brought it upon us to bring us to Him ( Isaiah 22:12); so we must repent and turn to Him for help and mercy and grace ( Hebrews 4:15-16).

Hebrews 4:15-16, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

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:

Isaiah 22:12Comments- Isaiah 22:12 teaches genuine repentance, which is how we come to God in times of need due to sin in our lives ( Psalm 34:18).

Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."

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.

Isaiah 22:13Comments- Man's pride keeps him from confessing sin and coming to God.

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.

Isaiah 22:22Comments- Isaiah 22:22 gives us a foreshadowing of the coming of Jesus Christ.

 


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These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Isaiah 22:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/isaiah-22.html. 2013.

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