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Isaiah 22:1-25

The Lord Will Judge Jerusalem

22:1 Here is a message about the Valley of Vision: 1 

What is the reason 2 

that all of you go up to the rooftops?

22:2 The noisy city is full of raucous sounds;

the town is filled with revelry. 3 

Your slain were not cut down by the sword;

they did not die in battle. 4 

22:3 5 All your leaders ran away together –

they fled to a distant place;

all your refugees 6  were captured together –

they were captured without a single arrow being shot. 7 

22:4 So I say:

“Don’t look at me! 8 

I am weeping bitterly.

Don’t try 9  to console me

concerning the destruction of my defenseless people.” 10 

22:5 For the sovereign master, 11  the Lord who commands armies,

has planned a day of panic, defeat, and confusion. 12 

In the Valley of Vision 13  people shout 14 

and cry out to the hill. 15 

22:6 The Elamites picked up the quiver,

and came with chariots and horsemen; 16 

the men of Kir 17  prepared 18  the shield. 19 

22:7 Your very best valleys were full of chariots; 20 

horsemen confidently took their positions 21  at the gate.

22:8 They 22  removed the defenses 23  of Judah.

At that time 24  you looked

for the weapons in the House of the Forest. 25 

22:9 You saw the many breaks

in the walls of the city of David; 26 

you stored up water in the lower pool.

22:10 You counted the houses in Jerusalem, 27 

and demolished houses so you could have material to reinforce the wall. 28 

22:11 You made a reservoir between the two walls

for the water of the old pool –

but you did not trust in 29  the one who made it; 30 

you did not depend on 31  the one who formed it long ago!

22:12 At that time the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, called for weeping and mourning,

for shaved heads and sackcloth. 32 

22:13 But look, there is outright celebration! 33 

You say, “Kill the ox and slaughter the sheep,

eat meat and drink wine.

Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” 34 

22:14 The Lord who commands armies told me this: 35  “Certainly this sin will not be forgiven as long as you live,” 36  says the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies.

22:15 This is what the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, says:

“Go visit this administrator, Shebna, who supervises the palace, 37  and tell him: 38 

22:16 ‘What right do you have to be here? What relatives do you have buried here? 39 

Why 40  do you chisel out a tomb for yourself here?

He chisels out his burial site in an elevated place,

he carves out his tomb on a cliff.

22:17 Look, the Lord will throw you far away, 41  you mere man! 42 

He will wrap you up tightly. 43 

22:18 He will wind you up tightly into a ball

and throw you into a wide, open land. 44 

There you will die,

and there with you will be your impressive chariots, 45 

which bring disgrace to the house of your master. 46 

22:19 I will remove you from 47  your office;

you will be thrown down 48  from your position.

22:20 “At that time 49  I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah. 22:21 I will put your robe on him, tie your belt around him, and transfer your authority to him. 50  He will become a protector of 51  the residents of Jerusalem and of the people 52  of Judah. 22:22 I will place the key 53  to the house of David on his shoulder. When he opens the door, no one can close it; when he closes the door, no one can open it. 22:23 I will fasten him like a peg into a solid place; 54  he will bring honor and respect to his father’s family. 55  22:24 His father’s family will gain increasing prominence because of him, 56  including the offspring and the offshoots. 57  All the small containers, including the bowls and all the jars will hang from this peg.’ 58 

22:25 “At that time,” 59  says the Lord who commands armies, “the peg fastened into a solid place will come loose. It will be cut off and fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut off.” 60  Indeed, 61  the Lord has spoken.

1 sn The following message pertains to Jerusalem. The significance of referring to the city as the Valley of Vision is uncertain. Perhaps the Hinnom Valley is in view, but why it is associated with a prophetic revelatory “vision” is not entirely clear. Maybe the Hinnom Valley is called this because the destruction that will take place there is the focal point of this prophetic message (see v. 5).

2 tn Heb “What to you, then?”

3 tn Heb “the boisterous town.” The phrase is parallel to “the noisy city” in the preceding line.

4 sn Apparently they died from starvation during the siege that preceded the final conquest of the city. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:409.

5 tn Verse 3 reads literally, “All your leaders ran away, apart from a bow they were captured, all your found ones were captured together, to a distant place they fled.” J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:403, n. 3) suggests that the lines of the verse are arranged chiastically; lines 1 and 4 go together, while lines 2 and 3 are parallel. To translate the lines in the order they appear in the Hebrew text is misleading to the English reader, who is likely unfamiliar with, or at least insensitive to, chiastic parallelism. Consequently, the translation above arranges the lines as follows: line 1 (Hebrew) = line 1 (in translation); line 2 (Hebrew) = line 4 (in translation); line 3 (Hebrew) = line 3 (in translation); line 4 (Hebrew) = line 2 (in translation).

6 tn Heb “all your found ones.” To achieve tighter parallelism (see “your leaders”) some prefer to emend the form to אַמִּיצַיִךְ (’ammitsayikh, “your strong ones”) or to נֶאֱמָצַיִךְ (neematsayikh, “your strengthened ones”).

7 tn Heb “apart from [i.e., without] a bow they were captured”; cf. NAB, NRSV “without the use of a bow.”

8 tn Heb “look away from me” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).

9 tn Heb “don’t hurry” (so NCV).

10 tn Heb “the daughter of my people.” “Daughter” is here used metaphorically to express the speaker’s emotional attachment to his people, as well as their vulnerability and weakness.

11 tn The Hebrew term translated “sovereign master” here and in vv. 12, 14, 15 is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay).

12 tn Heb “For [there is] a day of panic, and trampling, and confusion for the master, the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].”

13 tn The traditional accentuation of the Hebrew text suggests that this phrase goes with what precedes.

14 tn The precise meaning of this statement is unclear. Some take קִר (qir) as “wall” and interpret the verb to mean “tear down.” However, tighter parallelism (note the reference to crying for help in the next line) is achieved if one takes both the verb and noun from a root, attested in Ugaritic and Arabic, meaning “make a sound.” See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:404, n. 5.

15 sn Perhaps “the hill” refers to the temple mount.

16 tn Heb “[with] the chariots of men, horsemen.”

17 sn A distant region in the direction of Mesopotamia; see Amos 1:5; 9:7.

18 tn Heb “Kir uncovers” (so NAB, NIV).

19 sn The Elamites and men of Kir may here symbolize a fierce army from a distant land. If this oracle anticipates a Babylonian conquest of the city (see 39:5-7), then the Elamites and men of Kir are perhaps viewed here as mercenaries in the Babylonian army. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:410.

20 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

21 tn Heb “taking a stand, take their stand.” The infinitive absolute emphasizes the following finite verb. The translation attempts to bring out this emphasis with the adverb “confidently.”

22 tn Heb “he,” i.e., the enemy invader. NASB, by its capitalization of the pronoun, takes this to refer to the Lord.

23 tn Heb “covering.”

24 tn Heb “in that day” (so KJV), likewise at the beginning of v. 12.

25 sn Perhaps this refers to a royal armory, or to Solomon’s “House of the Forest of Lebanon,” where weapons may have been kept (see 1 Kgs 10:16-17).

26 tn Heb “the breaks of the city of David, you saw that they were many.”

27 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

28 tn Heb “you demolished the houses to fortify the wall.”

29 tn Heb “look at”; NAB, NRSV “did not look to.”

30 tn The antecedent of the third feminine singular suffix here and in the next line is unclear. The closest feminine noun is “pool” in the first half of the verse. Perhaps this “old pool” symbolizes the entire city, which had prospered because of God’s provision and protection through the years.

31 tn Heb “did not see.”

32 tn Heb “for baldness and the wearing of sackcloth.” See the note at 15:2.

33 tn Heb “happiness and joy.”

34 tn The prophet here quotes what the fatalistic people are saying. The introductory “you say” is supplied in the translation for clarification; the concluding verb “we die” makes it clear the people are speaking. The six verbs translated as imperatives are actually infinitives absolute, functioning here as finite verbs.

35 tn Heb “it was revealed in my ears [by?] the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts].”

36 tn Heb “Certainly this sin will not be atoned for until you die.” This does not imply that their death will bring atonement; rather it emphasizes that their sin is unpardonable. The statement has the form of an oath.

37 tn Heb “who is over the house” (so ASV); NASB “who is in charge of the royal household.”

38 tn The words “and tell him” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

39 tn Heb “What to you here? And who to you here?” The point of the second question is not entirely clear. The interpretation reflected in the translation is based on the following context, which suggests that Shebna has no right to think of himself so highly and arrange such an extravagant burial place for himself.

40 tn Heb “that you chisel out.”

41 tn Heb “will throw you with a throwing.”

42 tn Heb “O man” (so NASB); NAB “mortal man”; NRSV “my fellow.”

43 tn Heb “and the one who wraps you [will] wrap.”

44 tn Heb “and he will tightly [or “surely”] wind you [with] winding like a ball, to a land broad of hands [i.e., “sides”].”

45 tn Heb “and there the chariots of your splendor.”

46 sn Apparently the reference to chariots alludes to Shebna’s excessive pride, which in turn brings disgrace to the royal family.

47 tn Heb “I will push you away from.”

48 tn Heb “he will throw you down.” The shift from the first to third person is peculiar and abrupt, but certainly not unprecedented in Hebrew poetry. See GKC 462 §144.p. The third person may be indefinite (“one will throw you down”), in which case the passive translation is justified.

49 tn Or “in that day.” The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

50 tn Heb “and your dominion I will place in his hand.”

51 tn Heb “a father to.” The Hebrew term אָב (’av, “father”) is here used metaphorically of one who protects and supports those under his care and authority, like a father does his family. For another example of this metaphorical use of the word, see Job 29:16.

52 tn Heb “house.”

53 sn This may refer to a literal insignia worn by the chief administrator. Even so, it would still symbolize the administrator’s authority to grant or exclude access to the king. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:422.

54 sn The metaphor depicts how secure his position will be.

55 tn Heb “and he will become a glorious throne for the house of his father.”

56 tn Heb “and all the glory of the house of his father they will hang on him.” The Lord returns to the peg metaphor of v. 23a. Eliakim’s secure position of honor will bring benefits and jobs to many others in the family.

57 tn The precise meaning and derivation of this word are uncertain. Cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV “the issue”; CEV “relatives.”

58 tn Heb “all the small vessels, from the vessels that are bowls to all the vessels that are jars.” The picture is that of a single peg holding the weight of all kinds of containers hung from it.

59 tn Or “In that day” (KJV).

60 sn Eliakim’s authority, though seemingly secure, will eventually be removed, and with it his family’s prominence.

61 tn Or “for” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NRSV).

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