Isaiah (Ch 21-22)

“Putin may circle Kyiv with tanks but he’ll never gain the hearts and souls of the Iranian people,” President Biden said during his State of the Union speech (March 1, 2022).

Chapter 20 continues with a prophecy of the burden of Babylon, Edom and Arabia; but in a rare incidence, Chapter 22 contains a prophecy of Judah and Jerusalem and none of the house of Israel. Why Jerusalem would be such a place of terror? Her slain men are not slain with the sword, but with famine; or slain with fear, disheartened. Q. could this be the prophecy of Judah’s iniquity for forty years bored by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 4?

Isaiah 21

1 The burden of the Desert of the Sea: As whirlwinds in the South pass through, so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. — the burden of Babylon, Edom and Arabia; the Targum says, “the burden of the armies, which come from the wilderness, as the waters of the sea.”

A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media! All the sighing thereof have I made to cease. — dealeth treacherously; referring to the military stratagem employed by Cyrus in taking Babylon; Go up; Isaiah abruptly recites the order which he hears God giving to the Persians, the instruments of His vengeance (Isa 13:3,17).

Therefore are my loins filled with pain; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth. I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it. — Isaiah imagines himself among the exiles in Babylon and cannot help feeling pains moved by the calamities which come on it; the pangs of a woman that travails; which come suddenly and at once, sharp and strong.

My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me; the night of my pleasure hath He turned into fear unto me. — my heart panted or fluttered about and could hardly keep its place; fearfulness affrighted me; the terror of Cyrus’s army seized him; the writing on the wall threw him into a panic and the news of the Medes and Persians having entered the city increased it.

Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink; arise, ye princes and anoint the shield. — the night the city was taken: these words are directed to the king (and princes) of Babylon by his courtiers or queen in order to remove his fears.

For thus hath the Lord said unto me: “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” — God’s direction to Isaiah to set a watchman to “declare” what he sees. “Come, let him who stands on the watchtower report what he sees.”

And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed. — a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; by the former may be meant the Persians, who very much used mules or asses; and the Medes by the latter, who abounded in camels: hence as a whole may signify the whole army of the Medes and Persians.

And he cried, “A lion! My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set at my post whole nights. — the lion’s eyelids are short, so that even when asleep, he seems to be on the watch, awake; hence he was painted on doors of temples as the symbol of watchfulness, guarding the place.

And behold, here cometh a chariot of men with a couple of horsemen!” And he answered and said, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the graven images of her gods He hath broken unto the ground!” — Babylon is fallen, is fallen: which is repeated to show the certainty of it. The same words are used of the fall of mystical Babylon, Revelation 14:8; the Targum says, “it is fallen, and also it shall be, that Babylon shall fall” that is, a second time, and hereafter;

— and so it has two falls, one by the Medes and Persians, and the other by the hand of heaven or God himself: literal Babylon fell by the former; mystical Babylon will fall by the latter, even by the breath of the Messiah and the brightness of his coming and so put an end to idolatry; such as (1) Astarte, the queen of heaven; from whom Easter is derived; and (2) Mithra, worshipping the sun-god, when a mystical white Christmas Babylon will be destroyed.

10 O my threshing and the corn of my floor, that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you. — O my threshing, and the corn of my floor; which could be understood to be the Babylonians, now threshed or punished by the Lord, and whom he had made use of as instruments for the punishment of others.

11 The burden of Dumah: He calleth to me out of Seir, “Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?” — the burden of Dumah; whether this prophecy concerns the Edomites or Idumeans, or whether the Arabians, particularly the Dumean Arabians, is a question, since Dumah was a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:14;

— Seir; a mountain inhabited by the Edomites, the posterity of Esau; the principal mountain in Idumea, South of the Dead Sea, a prophecy concerning Edom; that lay to the South.

12 The watchman said, “The morning cometh, and also the night. If ye will inquire, inquire ye; return, come.”

13 The burden upon Arabia: In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye traveling companies of Dedanites. — the burden upon Arabia; which lay heavy upon it, as a burden upon a beast; or “concerning” it, or “against” it, which Arabia or what part thereof is meant may be gathered from the names after mentioned. The Targum says “the burden of the cup of cursing, to give the Arabians to drink.”

14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty; they were ready with their bread for him that fled. — the inhabitants of the land of Tema; this country had its name from Tema, one of the sons of Ishmael, Genesis 25:15. The Targum calls it the land of the south, as if it was Teman.

15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow and from the grievousness of war. — they fled from the swords; the fugitive Dedanites and other Arabs.

16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me: “Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, all the glory of Kedar shall fail. — and all the glory of Kedar shall fail; these were another sort of Arabians as the Targum calls them: they descended from Kedar, a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:13.

17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished. For the Lord God of Israel hath spoken it.” — the mighty men of the children of Kedar shall be diminished; their military men, the most expert at the use of the bow, and the most valiant and courageous; the few of those that were left, and did not fall by the sword of the Assyrians, should gradually diminish, and be fewer and fewer.

Isaiah 22

In a rare incidence, Chapter 22 contains a prophecy of Judah and Jerusalem but none of the house of Israel. Why is Jerusalem in such terror? Their rulers fled, but were overtaken. All the horrors of a city taken by storm, faintly shadow forth the terrors of the day of wrath. Q. could this be the prophecy of Judah’s iniquity for forty years bored by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 4?

1 The burden of the Valley of Vision: What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? — the burden of the valley of vision; a prophecy concerning Jerusalem, so called because it lay in a valley, encompassed about with mountains and which was the habitation of the prophets or seers, and the seat of vision and prophecy; and perhaps there is an allusion to its name, which signifies the vision of peace or they shall see peace;

— the Septuagint version calls it, “the word of the valley of Sion” and the Arabic version, “a prophecy concerning the inhabitants of the valley of Sion, to wit, the fields which are about Jerusalem.” While the Targum says, “the burden of the prophecy concerning the city which dwells in the valley, of which the prophets prophesied,” by all which it appears, that not the whole land of Judea is meant.

— that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops? they went up on the flat balustraded roofs to look forth and see whether the enemy was near, and partly to defend themselves from the roofs. 

Thou that art full of stirrings, a tumultuous city, a joyous city; thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle. — thy slain men are not slain by the sword, nor dead in battle; therefore those that died were put into or through famine or pandemic like what we are having Covid-19 today that make our once joyous cities and high streets desolate.

All thy rulers have fled together; they are bound by the archers. All that are found in thee are bound together, who have fled from afar.

Therefore said I, “Look away from me; I will be bitter in weeping. Labor not to comfort me, because of the despoiling of the daughter of my people.” — therefore said Isaiah, the prophet to those that were about him, his relations, friends, and acquaintance:

— look away from me; turn away from me, look another way; cease from me, let me alone; leave me to myself, that I may weep in secret, take my fill of sorrow, and give full vent to it;

— because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people; Isaiah’s countrymen, which were as dear to him as a daughter to a tender father, now spoiled, plundered and made desolate by the ravages of the enemy, in many cities of Judea.

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. — referring to a day of trouble of the valley of vision; a prophecy concerning Jerusalem; could this be the prophecy of Judah’s iniquity for forty years bored by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 4?

— breaking down the walls: of the fenced cities, with their battering rams, at the time they besieged and took them; and of crying to the mountains: looking and running to them for help and succour, for shelter and protection; and crying so loud, by reason of their distress, as that it reached the distant mountains, and made them echo with it.

And Elam bore the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. — Elam and Kir; two nations are named as the chief elements of a composite army when invading Judea; Elam; or the Elamites as the Targum and Septuagint say, that is, the Persians; and Kir uncovered the shield; this was a city in Media, and signifies the Medes;

— the Medes and Persians have never fulfilled this prophecy against the house of Judah in the past, indicating that modern Persia, IRAN, will fulfil this; if not why not; who else?

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. — and it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys; the valleys that were near Jerusalem that used to be covered with the choicest corn or vines or with grass and flocks of sheep and used to be exceeding delightful and pleasant:

— shall be full of chariots; where they can be more easily driven than on mountains; these were chariots not for pleasure but for war; chariots full of soldiers to fight against and besiege Jerusalem:

— and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate of Jerusalem: to take them that come out of the city and to force their way into it; as well as to protect and defend the foot while they made the assault and scaled the walls and to be ready when the gates were opened to them.

And He uncovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest. — and he uncovered the covering of Judah, by God himself, who uncloaked them of their sins and secret dealings; or took away his protection of them and expose their weakness;

— and thou, didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest; to see what store of ammunition the house of Judah has in their secret warehouses, in what condition they are and to take from hence and be ready to furnish their soldiers with them.

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. — of the city of David; that is, of Jerusalem, so called because it was the royal residence of David. Zion was usually called the city of David, but the name was given also to the entire city;

— and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool: the Septuagint version is, “and he turned the water of the old pool into the city” but the old pool was another pool hereafter mentioned, and was outside the city, the same with the upper pool; whereas this was the lower, and was in the city. The Targum says, “and ye gathered the people to the waters of the lower pool.”

10 And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall. — and ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem; to know what number of men were in them, and how many could be spared to do duty, either as watchmen or soldiers; to spread the charge of defending the city;

— and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall; either such as were outside the wall, which, had they let them stand would either have been destroyed by the enemy, or have been a harbour for them; or those inside the city, with the stones and timber of which houses, when broken down they could strengthen the wall and so served a better purpose than if they had stood.

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. — for the water of the old pool; which, being outside the city, was by this means drained into this ditch or receptacle; and so their then enemy Assyrians were deprived of it, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem more abundantly supplied; this was wisely contrived to distress the enemy, and to enable themselves to hold out the siege the longer; and for this and other methods they took they are not blamed;

— but ye have not looked unto the Maker thereof; either of the distress and calamity which came upon them for their sins, with the will and by the decree of God; or of the water of the pool, which is a creation of his; for who can give rain or water but God?

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 to weeping and to mourning; to confess and mourn over their sins, the cause of these calamities; to lament their unhappy case; to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and by prayer and supplication with tears to implore his help and assistance and grant them deliverance;

— and to baldness and to girding with sackcloth; these were external signs and tokens of inward sorrow and repentance; the former of which was done by shaving the head or plucking off the hair and was forbidden on private occasions, yet might be allowed in a public case.

13 But behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine! “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die!” — and behold joy and gladness; as if it was a time of rejoicing, after days of weeping and mourning; as if they were at a festival of lamb and wine and in the greatest prosperity and liberty and not besieged by a powerful army.

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. — the Targum says, “the prophet said with mine ears I was hearing when this was decreed from before the Lord of hosts”

— surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die; it being of heinous nature, so daring, insolent and affronting, such a contempt of God and his word and discovering such impenitence and hardness of heart; it should not be forgiven; till they died.

15 Thus saith the Lord God of hosts: “Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even unto Shebna, who is over the house, and say: — get thee unto this treasurer or governor, as the Targum says; treasurer in the house of King; even unto Shebna, which is over the house; that is, over the king’s house; so the steward that had the ordering of all the affairs civil and domestic in it, which was a very high post; he had the keys of the money, stores and provisions of the state.

16 What hast thou here? And whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulcher here, as he that heweth him out a sepulcher on high and that carves out a habitation for himself in a rock? — what hast thou here? The prophet’s indignation is roused by Shebna’s last act of arrogance, who had no “sepulchre of his fathers” to deck with fresh stateliness as like the kings had built one for himself, hollowed out a cave on one of the hills of Jerusalem, to be his own everlasting “habitation.”

— Q. Could Shebna be a type for Lucifer, the fallen one?

17 Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee. — instead of a sepulchre for himself inside a rock, behold, the Lord will carry Shebna with a mighty captivity; as the Targum indicates, the phrase has the signification of flying; and so interprets it: he shall cause thee to fly like a bird into captivity; that is, very speedily and swiftly; or so the Vulgate version says, “behold, the Lord shall cause thee to be carried away as a cock is carried away.”

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. — violently turn and toss—literally, “whirling He will whirl thee,” that is, He will whirl thee. “He will whirl thee round and round, and (then) cast thee away,” as a stone in a sling is first whirled round repeatedly, before the string is let go;

— the “large country” is probably one along the plain of Mesopotamia, where Shebna is to end his days in exile; in the land of the Medes and Persians? (verse 6)

19 And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull thee down. — shall he pull thee down; that is, “God” shall do it; the prophet here uses the third person.

20 “And it shall come to pass in that day that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah. — My servant Eliakim; on the dignity of this title when given by God himself, that is, prophetically a man who will be faithful to God who will be trustworthy and to whom the interests of God and the city may be safely confided; a man who will not seek to betray it into the hands of the enemy.

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. — and God will clothe Eliakim with Isaiah’s robe; which was a badge and token of his office. If he was a priest, this was his priestly robe, by which the high priest was distinguished from others; but Eliakim seems to be a civil officer, who wore a garment distinctive of it; in which he would be a type of Zerubbabel of a kingly office, crowned with glory and honour;

— the Targum takes in both, “and I will give the key of the house of the sanctuary, and the government of the house of David, into his hand.”

— Q. Could Shebna be a type for Lucifer, the fallen one? And Eliakim, My servant, be a type of the Logos, the righteous one?

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. — in the sense, the Messiah or Christ is said to have this key, Revelation 3:7 where the following words are applied to him: so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open;

— all which is expressive of the Godly government being on his shoulders, and of his absolute and uncontrollable power over it; who opens the treasures of his Word, of his wisdom and knowledge and communicates them and shuts or hides them from, whom he pleases; who opens and shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven, and introduces into it his own people, and excludes others.

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. — this is an expressive of the strength of the Messiah, the Christ, as the mighty Son; and as the man of God’s right hand, made strong to be the Saviour and mighty Redeemer.

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 building his Father’s house; the Targum says, “and all the glorious or noble ones of his father’s house shall lean upon him, children and children’s children:”

— all vessels of small quantity; from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons; meaning those of his family, that were some of lesser, others of greater capacities, for whom he provided places and posts under him, suitable thereunto; none were forgotten or neglected by him: this simile, of vessels of various sorts and sizes, is made use of, in perfect agreement with Eliakim’s being compared to a nail, on which vessels in a house are hung by their handles.

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.” — in that day, saith the Lord of hosts’that is, when Eliakim put in his place:

— shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; meaning, not Eliakim before spoken of, who really was a nail fastened in a sure place, and not to be removed; but Shebna, who thought himself to be as a nail in a sure place, being put into it by the king, and supported by his authority, and courted by his friends and flatterers; for to him the whole preceding prophecy is directed, which is carried down to this verse; for all that is said of the glory and usefulness of his successor Eliakim was to be told to him, which would make it still the more grievous to him, to be degraded and disgraced as he would be, signified by his being removed, cast down, and falling;

— and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; those that were dependent upon him, his family, his flatterers, and friends, such whom he had raised by his influence and authority to considerable places, and whom he supported in them; these would fall with him, as is usual when a royal favourite, or prime minister of state, falls into disgrace, and is removed; an instance of this may be seen in Haman, whose family and friends were involved in the same ruin with him, Esther 9:12 and it may be observed, that many dependents, which a minister of state always has, are a burden to him. The Targum interprets this of the burden of prophecy; “for, so it is decreed by the word of the Lord.”

~ by Joel Huan on March 4, 2022.

One Response to “Isaiah (Ch 21-22)”

  1. […] Study of Chapters 21 and 22 HERE ~ —— […]

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