Isaiah 22 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 22)

Verse 1

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

The valley — Of Judah; and especially of Jerusalem, called a valley, because great part of it flood in a valley; and the valley of vision, because of the many and clear visions or revelations of God's mind, in that place.

House-tops — As they used to do in times of great consternation, that they might look, to and cry to heaven for help.

Verse 2

[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.

Noises — Of joyful shouts.

Tumultuous — Through revelling and jollity.

Battle — But either by famine or pestilence in the siege, or in their flight.

Verse 3

[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.

Rulers — Zedekiah and his chief commanders, whose flight he foretells.

Found — That remain there with Zedekiah in the siege; for those who had fled to the Chaldeans saved their lives and liberties.

Bound — In fetters, Jeremiah 52:11.

Fled — Who fled from Jerusalem, but were pursued and overtaken by their enemies, and bound, as others had been.

Verse 4

[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.

Look away — Take off your eyes and thoughts from me, and leave me alone.

Verse 5

[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.

Treading down — In which my people are trodden under foot by their enemies.

By the Lord — Not only men, but God himself fought against them.

Walls — Of the strong cities of Judah.

Mountains — With such loud and dismal outcries as should reach to the neighbouring mountains.

Verse 6

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

Elam — The Persians, who now, and for a long time after, were subject to the Assyrian and Chaldean emperors.

Quiver — Being expert bowmen.

Horsemen — As some fought on foot, so others fought from chariots and horses.

Kir — The Medes, so called from Kir, an eminent city and region of Media.

Uncovered — Prepared it and themselves for the battle.

Verse 7

[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.

Valleys — Valleys were the most proper places for the use of chariots.

Gate — To assist the footmen while they made their assault, and to prevent those who endeavoured to escape.

Verse 8

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

He — The enemy.

Covering — He took those fenced cities, which were a covering or safe-guard both to the people of Judah, and to Jerusalem.

The armour — Thy trust was placed in the arm of flesh.

The forest — More fully called the house of the forest of Lebanon, 1 Kings 7:2, not because it was built in Lebanon, for it was in Jerusalem; but because it was built of the trees of Lebanon.

Verse 9

[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.

Seen — That is, observed in order to the reparation of them.

The waters — That you might both deprive the enemy of water, and supply the city with it.

Verse 10

[10] And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.

Numbered — That they might exactly know their own strength.

The houses — Which stood upon or without the walls, and so gave their enemies advantage, and hindered the fortifying the city.

Verse 11

[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.

Thereof — Of Jerusalem, expressed in the foregoing verse.

Him — God, who made it a city, and the place of his special presence and worship.

Long ago — Which may be added to aggravate their sin, in distrusting that God, who had now for a long time given proof of his care and kindness in defending this city.

Verse 12

[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:

Call — By his providence, and by his precepts requiring these things in such times.

Baldness — By plucking or shaving off the hair of their heads, as was usual in great sorrows.

Verse 13

[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.

Let us, … — A most perverse and desperate conclusion.

Verse 14

[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.

'Till ye die — You shall feel the sad effects of this, as long as you live.

Verse 16

[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?

What — What right hast thou to this place and office? Whom - What kindred or relations? For the Jews say, he was a stranger by birth; which is the more probable, because his pedigree is not mentioned in any of those places of scripture where he is named.

On high — In an high and eminent place.

An habitation — He erected a stately house to live in, and a stately sepulchre to receive him when he died. And these two are fitly joined together, because their sepulchres were commonly built in or near their houses.

A rock — A fit place both for strength and state.

Verse 17

[17] Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.

Will carry — Will cause thee to be carried into captivity by a strong hand.

Cover — This may be an allusion to the ancient custom of covering the faces of condemned persons.

Verse 18

[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.

Thy chariots — Thy glorious chariots where thou didst ride in great state at Jerusalem, shall be turned into shame to thyself, and to thy master.

Verse 19

[19] And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down.

He — The Lord; such sudden changes of persons being very usual in these writings.

Verse 20

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

Call — By my powerful providence.

Verse 21

[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.

Girdle — There was a peculiar sort of robe and girdle which was the badge of his office.

A father — He shall govern them with fatherly care and affection.

Verse 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.

The key — The government, the power of opening and shutting, of letting men into it, or putting them out of it, whereof a key is a fit emblem.

Shoulder — He mentions the shoulder rather than the hand, in which keys are commonly carried, from some ceremony then in use, of carrying a key upon the shoulder of the officer of state.

Verse 23

[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.

Fasten — I will establish the power in his hands.

Sure place — In the strong walls, or solid timber, in the house.

He shall be — By his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, to all that have any relation to him.

Verse 24

[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.

The glory — Of his own kindred and family, who shall all depend upon him, and receive glory from him; of the house of David, which is called his father's house, because he was of the blood-royal.

The offspring — Great and small, the children and grand-children of his father's house, the meanest of them shall receive a lustre from their relation to him.

All vessels — All sorts of vessels, great or small, mean or precious, may be hanged upon him, without any fear of falling.

Verse 25

[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.

The nail — Shebna, who seemed to be so.

The burden — All those wicked officers that were advanced and supported by his power.