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Chapter 22

The Valley of Vision

    Oracle on the Valley of Vision:[a](A)
What is the matter with you now, that you have gone up,
    all of you, to the housetops,
[b]You who were full of noise,
    tumultuous city,
    exultant town?(B)
Your slain are not slain with the sword,
    nor killed in battle.
All your leaders fled away together,
    they were captured without use of bow;
All who were found were captured together,
    though they had fled afar off.
That is why I say: Turn away from me,
    let me weep bitterly;
Do not try to comfort me
    for the ruin of the daughter of my people.(C)
It is a day of panic, rout and confusion,
    from the Lord, the God of hosts, in the Valley of Vision[c]
Walls crash;
    a cry for help to the mountains.
Elam takes up the quiver,
    Aram mounts the horses
    and Kir[d] uncovers the shields.
Your choice valleys are filled with chariots,
    horses are posted at the gates—
    and shelter over Judah is removed.[e]

On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest; [f]you saw that the breaches in the City of David were many; you collected the water of the lower pool. 10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, tearing some down to strengthen the wall; 11 you made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to the city’s Maker, nor consider the one who fashioned it long ago.

12 On that day the Lord,
    the God of hosts, called
For weeping and mourning,
    for shaving the head and wearing sackcloth.
13 But look! instead, there was celebration and joy,
    slaughtering cattle and butchering sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
    “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”(D)

14 This message was revealed in my hearing from the Lord of hosts:

    This iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die,
    says the Lord, the God of hosts.

Shebna and Eliakim

15 Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
    Up, go to that official,
    Shebna,[g] master of the palace,
16 [h]“What have you here? Whom have you here,
    that you have hewn for yourself a tomb here,
Hewing a tomb on high,
    carving a resting place in the rock?”
17 The Lord shall hurl you down headlong, mortal man!
    He shall grip you firmly,
18 And roll you up and toss you like a ball
    into a broad land.
There you will die, there with the chariots you glory in,
    you disgrace to your master’s house!
19 I will thrust you from your office
    and pull you down from your station.
20 On that day I will summon my servant
    Eliakim,[i] son of Hilkiah;(E)
21 I will clothe him with your robe,
    gird him with your sash,
    confer on him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
    and to the house of Judah.(F)
22 I will place the key[j] of the House of David on his shoulder;
    what he opens, no one will shut,
    what he shuts, no one will open.(G)
23 I will fix him as a peg in a firm place,
    a seat of honor for his ancestral house;
24 On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house:[k]
    descendants and offspring,
    all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.

25 On that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg fixed in a firm place shall give way, break off and fall, and the weight that hung on it shall be done away with; for the Lord has spoken.

Footnotes

  1. 22:1–14 The title “oracle on the valley of vision,” like the other oracle headings in chaps. 13–23, was supplied by an editor and is taken from v. 5. In all probability it relates to the events of 701, the lifting of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem. The death of the Assyrian king Sargon II in 705 occasioned the revolt of many of the vassal nations subject to Assyria, a revolt in which Hezekiah joined, over Isaiah’s bitter opposition. The biblical and other data concerning the outcome of this adventure are conflicting and confusing. While 2 Kgs 19 (Is 37) tells of a miraculous deliverance of the city after the siege had been renewed, Assyrian documents and 2 Kgs 18:13–16 report that Sennacherib, Sargon II’s successor, devastated Judah (the destruction of 46 cities is mentioned in Assyrian records); Hezekiah had to surrender and paid Sennacherib a heavy indemnity, taken from the Temple treasury and adornments. The inhabitants of Jerusalem apparently took the lifting of the siege as occasion for great rejoicing, a response that Isaiah condemns. They should be mourning the dead and learning that their confidence in allies rather than in the Lord leads to disaster.
  2. 22:2–3 The retreat of Judah’s soldiers is a further reason that rejoicing is not in order.
  3. 22:5 Valley of Vision: frequently identified as the Hinnom Valley, west of Jerusalem.
  4. 22:6 Elam…Kir: the Assyrian forces presumably included auxiliary troops from various places.
  5. 22:8 Shelter over Judah is removed: the reference is obscure; it has been suggested that Judah’s protection was Jerusalem itself, and with the fall of the city the country was exposed. House of the Forest: an armory built by Solomon; its columns of wood suggested the trees of a forest; cf. 1 Kgs 7:2; 10:17.
  6. 22:9–11 Frenetic efforts made to fortify the city before the impending siege; cf. 2 Kgs 20:20; 2 Chr 32:3–4, 30. Some suggest that the description of these preparations comes from the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s assault on Jerusalem in 588. You did not look to the city’s Maker: Isaiah here makes the crucial point. Jerusalem’s safety lay not in military forces nor in alliances with other nations nor in playing power politics but in the Lord, here presented as the creator and founder of the city. Isaiah may be alluding to the belief that the city was inviolable.
  7. 22:15 Shebna: by the time of the siege of Jerusalem in 36:3, Shebna, the scribe, no longer held the office of master of the palace.
  8. 22:16 What is probably Shebna’s inscribed tomb has been discovered in the village of Silwan on the eastern slope of Jerusalem.
  9. 22:20 Eliakim: by the time of the events described in 36:3, Eliakim had replaced Shebna as master of the palace.
  10. 22:22 Key: symbol of authority; cf. Mt 16:19; Rev 3:7.
  11. 22:24–25 Apparently Eliakim proved to be a disappointment, so an oracle of judgment was added to the originally positive oracle to Eliakim.

A Prophecy About Jerusalem

22 A prophecy(A) against the Valley(B) of Vision:(C)

What troubles you now,
    that you have all gone up on the roofs,(D)
you town so full of commotion,
    you city of tumult(E) and revelry?(F)
Your slain(G) were not killed by the sword,(H)
    nor did they die in battle.
All your leaders have fled(I) together;
    they have been captured(J) without using the bow.
All you who were caught were taken prisoner together,
    having fled while the enemy was still far away.
Therefore I said, “Turn away from me;
    let me weep(K) bitterly.
Do not try to console me
    over the destruction of my people.”(L)

The Lord, the Lord Almighty, has a day(M)
    of tumult and trampling(N) and terror(O)
    in the Valley of Vision,(P)
a day of battering down walls(Q)
    and of crying out to the mountains.
Elam(R) takes up the quiver,(S)
    with her charioteers and horses;
    Kir(T) uncovers the shield.
Your choicest valleys(U) are full of chariots,
    and horsemen are posted at the city gates.(V)

The Lord stripped away the defenses of Judah,
    and you looked in that day(W)
    to the weapons(X) in the Palace of the Forest.(Y)
You saw that the walls of the City of David
    were broken through(Z) in many places;
you stored up water
    in the Lower Pool.(AA)
10 You counted the buildings in Jerusalem
    and tore down houses(AB) to strengthen the wall.(AC)
11 You built a reservoir between the two walls(AD)
    for the water of the Old Pool,(AE)
but you did not look to the One who made it,
    or have regard(AF) for the One who planned(AG) it long ago.

12 The Lord, the Lord Almighty,
    called you on that day(AH)
to weep(AI) and to wail,
    to tear out your hair(AJ) and put on sackcloth.(AK)
13 But see, there is joy and revelry,(AL)
    slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep,
    eating of meat and drinking of wine!(AM)
“Let us eat and drink,” you say,
    “for tomorrow we die!”(AN)

14 The Lord Almighty has revealed this in my hearing:(AO) “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned(AP) for,” says the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

15 This is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:

“Go, say to this steward,
    to Shebna(AQ) the palace(AR) administrator:(AS)
16 What are you doing here and who gave you permission
    to cut out a grave(AT) for yourself(AU) here,
hewing your grave on the height
    and chiseling your resting place in the rock?

17 “Beware, the Lord is about to take firm hold of you
    and hurl(AV) you away, you mighty man.
18 He will roll you up tightly like a ball
    and throw(AW) you into a large country.
There you will die
    and there the chariots(AX) you were so proud of
    will become a disgrace to your master’s house.
19 I will depose you from your office,
    and you will be ousted(AY) from your position.(AZ)

20 “In that day(BA) I will summon my servant,(BB) Eliakim(BC) son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash(BD) around him and hand your authority(BE) over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. 22 I will place on his shoulder(BF) the key(BG) to the house of David;(BH) what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.(BI) 23 I will drive him like a peg(BJ) into a firm place;(BK) he will become a seat[a] of honor(BL) for the house of his father. 24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.

25 “In that day,(BM)” declares the Lord Almighty, “the peg(BN) driven into the firm place will give way; it will be sheared off and will fall, and the load hanging on it will be cut down.” The Lord has spoken.(BO)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 22:23 Or throne

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