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The Gospel To Israel
Book 1

Isaiah 22:1 - 23:18


The Oracle concerning The Valley of Vision
Isaiah 22:1-14

Isaiah 22:1-3
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(1) The “Valley of Vision” Pronouncement. The Word of the Valley of  Sion. The oracle…
What can have happened to you   What ailed ye then,
That you have gone, all of you, up
on the roofs,
Which help you not?  
(2)  O you who were full of tumult, The city is filled with shouting men:  
You clamorous town,
You city so gay?
Your slain are not the slain of the
sword nor the dead of battle.
(3)  Your officers have all departed,   All thy rulers were cast forth together;
They fled far away;   From before the archers were they carried into exile:`
Your survivors were all taken
  All that were found in thee were slain together,
Taken captive without their bows. The mighty men in thee have fled far
Fled afar off

From the NKJV

(1)  The burden against the Valley of Vision.
What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops,  (2)  you who are full of noise, a tumultuous city, a joyous city?  Your slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.   (3)  All your rulers have fled together; they are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; they have fled from afar.

Valley of  Vision
Chaldee has:, 'The burden of the prophecy respecting the city which dwells (that is, is built) in the valley, which the prophets have prophesied concerning it.'

There can be no doubt that Jerusalem is intended (see Isa 22:9-10). It is not usual to call it  "a valley,"  but it may be so called,  either

(1) because there were several valleys  "within"  the city and adjacent to it, as
the valley between mount Zion and Moriah
the valley between mount Moriah and mount Ophel
between these and mount Bezetha
the valley of Jehoshaphat, without the walls of the city
(2) more probably it was called  "a valley"  in reference to its being  "encompassed with hills,"  rising to a considerable elevation above the city.

Thus mount Olivet was on the east,  and overlooked the city.
Jerusalem is also called a  "valley,"  and a  "plain,"  in Jer 21:13:  'Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the Lord.'

Thus it is described in Reland's  "Palestine:" - `The city was in the mountain region of Judea, in an elevated place, yet so that in respect to the mountains by which it was surrounded, it seemed to be situated in a humble place, because mount Olivet, and other mountains surrounding it, were more elevated.'

So Phocas says, 'The holy city is placed in the midst of various valleys and hills, and this is wonderful  (thaumaston (NT:2298))  in it,  that at the same time the city seems to be elevated and depressed,  for it is elevated in respect to the region of  Judea,  and depressed in respect to the hills around it.' (Reland's "Palestine," iii. 802, in Ugolini's "Thesaurus," vi.)

It was common with Isaiah and the other prophets to designate Jerusalem and other places, not by their proper names, but by some appellation that would be descriptive (see Isa 21:1).

The word vision here means that Jerusalem was eminently the place where God made known His will to the prophets,  and manifested himself to his people by  "visions."
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The châzuuth concerning Babylon, and the no less visionary prophecies concerning Edom and Arabia,  are now followed by a massâ,  the object of  which is  "the valley of vision"  (gee' chizzâyoon) itself.  Of course these four prophecies were not composed in the tetra logical form in which they are grouped together here,  but were joined together at a later period in a group of  this kind on account of  their close affinity.  The internal arrangement of  the group was suggested,  not by the date of  their composition (they stand rather in the opposite relation to one another),  but by the idea of  a storm coming from a distance,  and bursting at last over Jerusalem;  for there can be no doubt that the  "valley of vision"  is a general name for Jerusalem as a whole,  and not the name given to one particular valley of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is called the  "inhabitant of the valley"  in Jer 21:13,  and directly afterwards the  "rock of the plain;"  just as in Jer 17:3  it is called the mountain in the fields,  whereas Zephaniah (Zeph 1:11) applies the epithet macteesh  (the mortar or cauldron)  not to all Jerusalem,  but to one portion of  it  (probably the ravine of  the Tyropaeum).

And if we add to this the fact that Isaiah's house was situated in the lower town -and therefore the standpoint of  the epithet is really there - it is appropriate in other respects still;  for the prophet had there the temple-hill and the Mount of  Olives,  which is three hundred feet higher,  on the east,  and Mount Zion before him towards the south;  so that Jerusalem appeared like a city in a valley in relation to the mountains inside,  quite as much as to those outside.  But the epithet is intended to be something more than geographical.

The massa falls in the intermediate time,  probably the time when the people were seized with the mania for liberty,  and the way was prepared for their breaking away from Assyria by their hope of  an alliance with Egypt (vid. Delitzsch-Caspari, Studien, ii. 173-4).
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The prophet exposes the nature and worthlessness of  their confidence
From the flat house-tops they all look out together at the approaching army of  the foe,  longing for battle,  and sure of victory.

How terribly they deceive themselves!
Not even the honor of  falling upon the battlefield is allowed them.
Their rulers (kâtzin,  a judge,  and then any person of  rank)  depart one and all out of  the city,  and are fettered outside  "without bow"  (mikkesheth),  i.e.,  without there being any necessity for the bow to be drawn.  All, without exception,  of  those who are attacked in Jerusalem by the advancing foe (nimzâ'aikthy captured ones, as in Isa 13:15),  fall helplessly into captivity,  as they are attempting to flee far away.  Hence (what is here affirmed indirectly) the city is besieged,  and in consequence of  the long siege hunger and pestilence destroy the inhabitants,  and every one who attempts to get away falls into the hands of the enemy,  without venturing to defend himself,  on account of  his emaciation and exhaustion from hunger.

Isaiah 22:4, 5
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(4)  That is why I say, “Let me be, I will weep bitterly.
Press not to comfort me
For the ruin of my poor people.” For the breach of the daughter of my people.
(5)  For my Lord God of Hosts had a day of tumult and
din and confusion –
For it is a day of trouble, and of destruction, and of treading down,
Kir raged in the Valley of Vision, There is perplexity sent from the Lord of hosts:
And Shoa on the hill; They wander in the valley of Sion; they wander from the least to the greatest

From the NKJV

(4)  Therefore I said, "Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; do not labor to comfort me because of the plundering of the daughter of my people."
(5)  For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity by the Lord GOD of hosts in the Valley of Vision — breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountain.

While the prophet thus pictures to himself the fate of Jerusalem and Judah,  through their infatuation,  he is seized with inconsolable anguish.

The day of divine judgment is called a day in which masses of  men crowd together with great noise (mehuumâh),  in which Jerusalem and its inhabitants are trodden down by foes (mebuusâh) and are thrown into wild confusion (mebuucâh).  This is one play upon words.

The other makes the crashing of  the walls audible,  as they are hurled down by the siege-artillery.
When this takes place,  then a cry of  woe echoes against the mountain,  i.e.,  strikes against the mountains that surround Jerusalem,  and is echoed back again.

Crying to the mountains
The mournful cry of the townsmen reaches to (Maurer translates toward) the mountains,  and is echoed back by them.  Josephus describes in the very same language the scene at the assault of  Jerusalem under Titus.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Micah 6:1-2
Hear now what the LORD says:
"Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, O you mountains, the LORD's complaint,
And you strong foundations of the earth;
For the LORD has a complaint against His people,
And He will contend with Israel.

Isaiah 22:6, 7
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(6)  While Elam bore the quiver   Elamites bore arms in the cavalcade (or, chariot) of men,
In troops of mounted men,   With them was a pair of horsemen;
And kir bared the shield – And there was a gathering for battle. Upon wall hang their shields.
(7)  And your choicest lowlands
Were filled with chariots and horsemen:
  The horsemen were posted at the gates.
They stormed at Judah’s gateway    

From the NKJV

(6)  Elam bore the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.   (7)   It shall come to pass that your choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.

The advance of  the besiegers,  which leads to the destruction of  the walls,  is first described in verses 6 & 7.
Of  the nations composing the Assyrian army,  the two mentioned are

Elam - the Persians
the Semitic nation of  Susiana (Chuzistan),  whose original settlements were the row of  valleys between the Zagros chain and the chain of  advanced mountains bounding the Assyrian plains on the east,  and who were greatly dreaded as bowmen (Ezek 32:24; Jer 49:35)
Kir - the Medes
the inhabitants of  the country of  the Cyrus river,  which was an Assyrian province,  and still retained its dependent position even in the time of  the Achaemenides,  when Armenia,  at any rate,  is expressly described in the arrow headed writings as a Persian province,  though a rebellious one.

Your ... valleys
Hebrew mibchar- `ªmaaqayik,  'The choice of thy valleys;'  meaning the most fertile and most valued lands in the vicinity of  the city.
The rich and fertile vales around Jerusalem would be occupied by the armies of  the Assyrian monarch.
What occurs in this verse and the following verses to Isa 22:14,  is a prophetic description of  what is presented historically in Isa 36, and 2 Chron 32.
The coincidence is so exact,  that it leaves no room to doubt that the invasion here described was that which took place under Sennacherib.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The valleys by which Jerusalem was encircled on the east, the west, and the south, viz., on the

East Valley of Kidron
West Valley of Gihon
South-West Valley of Rephaim
South-East Valley of Hinnom
North-East Valley of Jehoshaphat
These valleys,  more especially the finest of  them towards the south,  are now cut up by the wheels and hoofs of  the enemies' chariots and horses;  and the enemies' horsemen have already taken a firm position gatewards,  ready to ride full speed against the gates at a given signal,  and force their way into the city.

Isaiah 22:8-11
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(8)  And pressed beyond its screen. And they shall uncover the gates of Juda,  
You gave thought on that day They shall look in that day  
To the arms in the Forest House, On the choice houses of the city. Armour of treasure house
(9)  And you took note of the many
And they shall uncover the secret places  
In the City of David. Of the citadel of David:  
(10)  And you collected the water of
the Lower Pool; and you counted
the houses of Jerusalem and pulled
houses down to fortify the wall;  (11)
and you constructed a basin between
the two walls for the water of the old
pool.  But you gave no thought to
Him who planned it, you took no note
of Him who designed it long before.

From the NKJV

(8)  He removed the protection of Judah.
You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest;  (9)  you also saw the damage to the city of David, that it was great; and you gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
(10)  You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses you broke down to fortify the wall.
(11)  You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.

When Judah,  after being for a long time intoxicated with hope,  shall become aware of  the extreme danger in which it is standing,  it will adopt prudent measures,  but without God.

Protection - Mâsâk
The curtain or covering which made Judah blind to the threatening danger.
Their looks are now directed first of all to the forest-house,  built by Solomon upon Zion for the storing and display of  valuable arms and utensils and so called because it rested upon four rows of  cedar columns that ran all round  (it was in the center of  the fore-court of  the royal palace.

They also noticed in the city of David,  the southern and highest portion of  the city of  Jerusalem,  the bad state of the walls, and began to think of  repairing them.  To this end they numbered the houses of  the city,  to obtain building materials for strengthening the walls and repairing the breaches,  by pulling down such houses as were suitable for the purpose,  and could be dispensed with.

Barnes says:
Many have understood it of  the defenses,  ramparts,  or fortifications of  Judah,  meaning that they were laid open to public view,  that is,  were demolished.
But the more probable meaning,  perhaps,  is,  that the invading army exposed Judah to every kind of reproach;  stripped off  everything that was designed to be ornamental in the land;  and thus,  by the figure of  exposing one to reproach and shame by stripping off  all his clothes,  exposed Judah in every part to reproach.
Sennacherib actually came up against all the fortified cities of Judah,  and took them and dismantled them.
The land was thus laid bare,  and unprotected.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Lower Pool
At the foot of Zion was fount Shiloah, also called Gihon, on the west of  Jerusalem.
Two pools were supplied from it,

Upper Also called or "Old,"  or  "King's"
Lower Which received he superfluous waters of the upper.
The upper pool is still to be seen,  about 700 yards from the Jaffa gate.
The highway leading to the fuller's field,  which was in a position near water,  for the purposes of washing,  previous to drying and bleaching the cloth,  was probably alongside the aqueduct.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Hezekiah's peculiar work consisted in carrying the water of  the upper pool  "into the city of David."
The mikvâh between the two walls,  which is here prospectively described by Isaiah,  is connected with this water supply,  which Hezekiah really carried out.  There is still a pool of  Hezekiah (also called Birket el-Batrak, pool of the patriarchs, the Amygdalon of Josephus) on the western side of the city,  to the east of the Joppa gate.  During the rainy season this pool is supplied by the small conduit that runs from the upper pool along the surface of the ground,  and then under the wall against or near the Joppa gate.  It also lies between two walls,  viz.,  the wall to the north of Zion,  and the one which runs to the northeast round the Akra (Robinson, i. 487-489).  How it came to pass that Isaiah's words concerning  "a basin between the two walls"  were so exactly carried out,  as though they had furnished a hydraulic plan,  we do not know.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

We have here, and at chapter 37:26, i.e., within the first part of the book of  Isaiah,  the same doctrine of "ideas"  that forms so universal a key-note of  the second part,  the authenticity of  which has been denied.  That which is realized in time has existed long before as a spiritual pattern,  i.e.,  as an idea in God.  God shows this to His prophets;  and so far as prophecy foretells the future,  whenever the event predicted is fulfilled,  the prophecy becomes a proof  that the event is the work of  God,  and was long ago the predetermined counsel of  God.  The whole of  the Scripture presupposes this pre-existence of  the divine idea before the historical realization,  and Isaiah in Israel  (like Plato in the heathen world)  was the assiduous interpreter of  this supposition.  Thus,  in the case before us,  the fate of  Jerusalem is said to have been fashioned  "long ago"  in God.  But Jerusalem might have averted its realization,  for it was no decretum absolutumIf Jerusalem repented,  the realization would be arrested.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 22:12-14
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(12)  My Lord God of Hosts summoned on that day to weeping and lamenting,   Lord God (Elohim) of hosts.
To tonsuring and girding with sackcloth. And baldness, (shaving), Shaving of the head,
(13)  Instead, there was rejoicing and merriment, killing of cattle and
slaughtering of sheep,  eating of meat
and drinking of wine:
“Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
(14)  Then the Lord of Hosts revealed
Himself to my ears:
These things are revealed to the
“This iniquity shall never be forgiven
you until you die,” said my Lord God
of Hosts.
  Ye die the second death, saith the Lord God

From the NKJV

(12)  And in that day the Lord GOD of hosts called for weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth.  (13)  But instead, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating meat and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"
(14)  Then it was revealed in my hearing by the LORD of hosts, "Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death," says the Lord GOD of hosts.

And so far as it had proceeded already,  it was a call from Jehovah to repentance.
The first condition of  repentance is a feeling of  pain produced by the punishments of  God.
But upon Jerusalem they produce the opposite effect.  The more threatening the future,  the more insensibly and madly do they give themselves up to the rude,  sensual enjoyment of  the present.

The words of  the rioters themselves,  whose conduct is simply  "for tomorrow we shall die."
This does not imply that they feel any pleasure in the thought of  death,  but indicates a love of  life that scoffs at death.  Then the unalterable will of  the all-commanding God is audibly and distinctly revealed to the prophet.

Such scoffing as this,  which defies the chastisements of  God,  will not be expiated in any other way than by the death of  the scoffer.
This is done in the case of sin either by
the Justice of  God as in the present instance
by the Mercy of  God as in Isaiah 6:7

This passage is quoted by Paul in his argument on the subject of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:32.

1 Corinthians 15:30-32
[For that matter], why do I live [dangerously as I do, running such risks that I am] in peril every hour?
[I assure you] by the pride that I have in you in [your fellowship and union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self].
What do I gain if, merely from the human point of view, I fought with [wild] beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised [at all], let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we will be dead. [Isa 22:13.]

There shall be no atonement
That is,  the sin is so aggravated that it shall never be expiated or pardoned.

The Lord denounced the people for their improper response to the crisis.

Instead of  trusting in the One who founded the City of  David
They relied on their own efforts,
which included fortifying the city walls and building a new water system.
Refusing the Lord's call to repentance
They feasted and fatalistically abandoned any hope of deliverance,
implying that the Lord was not in control of the city's destiny.
For such people judgment was inevitable.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)


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Isaiah 22:15, 16
From the Tanakh From the  LXX
(15)  Thus said my Lord God of Hosts:   
Go in to see that steward, that
Shebna, in charge of the palace:
Treasurer (steward)
(16)  What have you here, and whom have you here,
That you have hewn out a tomb for yourself here? –
O you who have hewn your tomb on high;
O you who have hollowed out for yourself an abode in
the Cliff!

From the NKJV

(15)  Thus says the Lord GOD of hosts:
"Go, proceed to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the house, and say:
(16) 'What have you here, and whom have you here, that you have hewn a sepulcher here, as he who hews himself a sepulcher on high, who carves a tomb for himself in a rock?

That steward - Shebna
Shebªnaa'  (OT:7644)
Shebna is officially described as "over the house."
This was the name given to an office of  state of  great importance in both kingdoms,  in fact the highest office of  all,  and one so vastly superior to all others,  that it was sometimes filled by the heir to the throne.
It was the post of  minister of  the household,  and resembled the Merovingian office of  major domus (maire du palais).  The person  "who was over the house"  had the whole of  the domestic affairs of  the sovereign under his superintendence,  and was therefore also called the soceen or administrator,  as standing nearest to the king.

In this post of  eminence Shebna had helped to support that proud spirit of  self-security and self-indulgent forgetfulness of  God,  for which the people of  Jerusalem had in the foregoing oracle been threatened with death.  At the same time,  he may also have been a leader of  the Egyptian party of  magnates,  and with this anti-theocratical policy may have been the opponent of  Isaiah in advising the king.

Hence the general character of  Isa 22:1-14 now changes into a distinct and special prophecy against this Shebna.  The time at which it was fulfilled was the same as that referred to in  Isa 22:1-14.  There was still deep peace,  and the great minister of  state was driving about with splendid equipages,  and engaged in superintending the erection of  a family sepulchre.

We feel at once,  as we read this introduction to the divine address,  that insatiable ambition was one of  the leading traits in Shebna's character.  What Isaiah is to say to Shebna follows somewhat abruptly.
The question,  what hast thou to do here,  and whom hast thou to bury here?  is put with a glance at Shebna's approaching fate.  This building of  a sepulchre was quite unnecessary;  Shebna himself would never lie there,  nor would he be able to bury his relations there.

The threefold repetition of  the word  "here"  (poh)  is of  very incisive force:
it is not here that he will stay - here,  where he is even now placing himself on a bier,  as if it were his home.

So high did Shebna stand,  and so great did he think himself,  that he hoped after his death to rest among kings,  and by no means down at the bottom.
But how he deceived himself!  Jehovah would hurl him far away (tuul, to be long;  pilpel, to throw or stretch out to a distance).

The people's lack of devotion to the Lord was epitomized by Shebna.

Isaiah 22:17-19
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(17)  The Lord is about to shake you Will utterly destroy such a man,  
Severely, fellow, and then wrap you
around Himself.
Take away thy robe, and crown,  
(18)  Indeed, He will wind you about
Him as a headdress, a turban
  Surround thee with enemies
As an encircling wall
Off to a broad land!
There shall you die, and there shall
be the chariots bearing your body,
O shame of your master’s house! The house of thy prince to be
trodden down.
(19)  For I will hurl you from your station and you shall be torn down
from your stand.

From the NKJV

(17)  Indeed, the LORD will throw you away violently, O mighty man, and will surely seize you.
(18)  He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you shall die, and there your glorious chariots shall be the shame of your master's house.
(19)  So I will drive you out of your office, and from your position he will pull you down.

The Lord announced that Shebna would die in a foreign land and never occupy his specially built tomb.

In this message to Shebna we have,
1 (v 16) A reproof  of his pride, vanity, and security
He designed that it should be the place of his own
He set up a monument for himself in his own life-time
He set it up on high
2 (v 17-19) A prophecy of his fall and the sullying of his glory
(v 17) He will come to a violent end
(v 18) He will come to a shameful end
(v 19) He will come to a lowly end

Those are mistaken who think any place in this world a sure place,  or themselves as nails fastened in it.
Those who, when they are in power,  turn and toss others,  will be justly turned and tossed themselves when their day shall come to fall.  Many who have thought themselves fastened like a nail may come to be tossed like a ball;  for here have we no continuing city.  Shebna thought his place too strait for him,  he had no room to thrive;  God will therefore send him into a large country,  where he shall have room to wander,  but never find the way back again;  for there he shall die,  and lay his bones there,  and not in the sepulchre he had hewn out for himself.  And there the chariots which had been the chariots of  his glory,  in which he had rattled about the streets of  Jerusalem,  and which he took into banishment with him,  should but serve to upbraid him with his former grandeur,  to the shame of  his lord's house,  of  the court of  Ahaz,  who had advanced him.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Proverbs 16:18-19
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.     (NKJV)
Romans 12:3-4
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.    (NIV)

Isaiah 22:20-22
From the Tanakh
(20)  And in that day, I will summon My servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah,  (21)  and I will invest him with your tunic, gird him with your sash, and deliver your authority into his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the men of Judah.  (22)  I will place the keys of David’s palace on his shoulders; and what he unlocks none may shut, and what he locks none may open.

From the NKJV

(20) 'Then it shall be in that day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah;  (21)  I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand.  He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.   (22)  The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open.

Jehovah first of  all gives him the blow that makes him tremble in his post,  and then pulls him completely down from this his lofty station;  another worthier man may take his place.

My servant Eliakim
el-yaw-keem' - God of raising
Eliakim is called the  "servant of Jehovah,"  as one who was already a servant of  God in his heart and conduct;  the official service is added for the first time here. This title of is generally embraces both kinds of service (Isa 20:3).

Of Eliakim we know nothing more than what is stated here, and in Isa 36.
From that account it appears that he was prefect of  the palace;  that he was employed in a negotiation with the leader of the army of the Assyrians;  and that he was in all things faithful to the trust reposed in him.

Son of Hilkiah
Kimchi supposes that this was the same as Azariah the son of Hilkiah,  who might have had two names,  and who was a ruler over the house of  God in the time of Hezekiah (1 Chron 6:13).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

That Eliakim should be put into Shebna's place of  lord-chamberlain of  the household, lord-treasurer,  and prime-minister of  state. The prophet must tell Shebna this

He shall have your Robe The Badge of  Honor
He shall have your Girdle The Badge of  Power
He shall have your Responsibility The Badge of  Authority

But as Shebna is reduced to the lowest, so shall Eliakim be raised even beyond the status of Shebna

He shall be father to those in Jerusalem The Badge of Ultimate Authority
He shall have the key of David The Badge of Ultimate Honor
He shall open and close The Badge of Ultimate Power

What a beautiful type of Christ Eliakim is:

Isaiah 9:6 - the Messiah comes
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Revelations 3:7 - the power & authority belong to Him
'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens"
Matthew 16:19 - he gives power & authority to His disciples
And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Isaiah 22:23, 24
From the Tanakh
 (23)  He shall be a seat of honor to his father’s household. I will fix him as a peg in a firm place,   (24)  on which all the substance of his father’s household shall be hung: the sprouts and the leaves – all the small vessels, from bowls to all sorts of jars.

From the NKJV

(23)  I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father's house.
(24) 'They will hang on him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the posterity, all vessels of small quantity, from the cups to all the pitchers.

The comparison of  the institution of  Eliakim in his office to the fastening of  a tent-peg was all the more natural,  that yâtheed was also used as a general designation for national rulers (Zech 10:4),   who stand in the same relation to the commonwealth as a tent-peg to the tent which it holds firmly and keeps upright.

Zechariah 10:3-4
For the LORD of hosts will visit His flock, the house of Judah, and will make them as His royal horse in the battle.  From him comes the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler together.     (NKJV)

As the tent peg is rammed into the ground,  so that a person could easily sit upon it,  the figure is changed,  and the tent peg becomes a seat of  honor.  As a splendid chair is an ornament to a room,  so Eliakim would be an honor to his hitherto undistinguished family.  The thought that naturally suggests itself - namely,  which the members of  the family would sit upon this chair,  for the purpose of  raising themselves to is - is expressed by a different figure.  Eliakim is once more depicted as an yâtheed,  but it is as a still higher one this time - namely,  as the rod of  a wardrobe,  or a peg driven high up into the wall.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

To all the pitchers
Hebrew:  nªbaaliym (OT:5035).
It denotes a bottle made of  skin for holding wine,  and which,  being made of  the whole skin of  a goat or sheep,  indicated the vessels of  large dimensions.

Here it refers to the members of  the family of  Eliakim who were more wealthy and influential than those denoted by the small vessels.  The glory of  the whole family would depend on him.
His virtues,  wisdom,  integrity,  and valor in defending and saving the Hebrew commonwealth,  would diffuse honor over the whole family connection,  and render the name illustrious.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 22:25
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(25)  In that day – declares the Lord of Hosts – the peg
fixed in a firm place shall give way: it shall be cut down
and shall fall, and the weight it supports shall be
For it is the Lord who has spoken. Memra

From the NKJV

(25)  'In that day,' says the LORD of hosts, 'the peg that is fastened in the secure place will be removed and be cut down and fall, and the burden that was on it will be cut off; for the LORD has spoken.'

The prophet could not express in clearer terms the identity of  the peg threatened here with Eliakim himself;  for how is it conceivable that the prophet could turn all that he has predicated of  Eliakim in verses 23 & 24  into predicates of  Shebna?  Some say verse 25 refers to Shebna.  But Eliakim himself is also brought down at last by the greatness of  his power,  on account of  the nepotism to which he has given way.  His family makes a wrong use of him;  and he is more yielding than he ought to be,  and makes a wrong use of  his office to favor them!  He therefore falls,  and brings down with him all that hung upon the peg,  i.e.,  all his relations,  who have brought him to ruin through the rapacity with which they have grasped at prosperity.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Barnes says:
Not Eliakim, but Shebna. Eliakim was to be fastened,  that is,  confirmed in office.
But Shebna was to be removed.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The interpretation belongs to the two men (Shebna and Eliakim),  but the application refers to:

(1) To the two parties in Jerusalem
(2) To the Messiah, in Whom the prophecy will be exhausted

Clarke offers:
The nail that is fastened - This must be understood of  Shebna,  as a repetition and confirmation of  the sentence above denounced against him.
What is said of Eliakim the son of  Hilkiah,  is very remarkable;  and the literal meaning is not easy to be understood.  From Isa 9:6, and from Rev 3:7,  it seems to belong to our Lord alone.  The removal of  Shebna from being over the treasure of  the Lord's house,  and the investiture of  Eliakim with his robe,  girdle,  office,  and government, etc.,  probably point out the change of  the Jewish priesthood,  and the proclaiming of  the unchangeable priesthood of  Christ. See Ps 110:4 (Ps 110:4  "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.").
Eliakim signifies

The resurrection of the Lord, or My God, he shall arise
The Lord my portion or lot
The key of  David,  shutting and opening, etc.,  may intend
The way of salvation through Christ alone
For the hope of  salvation and eternal life comes only through Eliakim
The resurrection of  Jesus Christ from the dead
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)


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Conclusion of the Cycle of Prophecies relating to the Heathen

The Oracle concerning Tyre
Isaiah 23:1-18

Isaiah 23:1
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
The “Tyre” Pronouncement. The Word concerning Tyre. The oracle of the cup of cursing
Howl, you a-ships of Tarshish! Carthage;  
For havoc has been wrought, not a
house is left;  as they came from the
land of Kittim,
This was revealed to them. She is led captive.  

From the NKJV

(1)  The burden against Tyre.
Wail, you ships of Tarshish!  For it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no harbor; from the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.

The second leading type of  the pride of  heathen power closes the series of  prophecies against the nations,   just as Babylon opened it.

Babylon Tyre
The city of the imperial power of  the world
The center of the greatest land power
Subjugated the nations with an iron arm
Ensured its rule by means of deportation
The city of  the commerce of  the world
The greatest maritime power
Subjugated nations as peaceably as possible
Secured its advantages by colonies and factories

The Phoenician cities formed at first six or eight independent states,  the government of  which was in the hands of  kings.  Of  these,  Sidon was much older than Tyre.  The Torah and Homer mention only the Sidon.  Tyre did not rise into notoriety till after the time of  David.  But in the Assyrian era Tyre had gained a kind of  supremacy over the rest of  the Phoenician states.

It stood by the sea,  five miles from Sidon;  but when hard pressed by enemies it had transferred the true seat of  its trade and wealth to a small island,  which was three-quarters of  a mile farther to the north,   and only twelve hundred paces from the mainland.  The strait which separated this insular Tyre (Tyrus) from ancient Tyre (Palaetyrus) was mostly shallow,  and its navigable waters near the island had only a draught of  about eighteen feet,  so that on one or two occasions a siege of  singular Tyre was effected by throwing up an embankment of  earth-namely,
once by Alexander (the embankment still in existence),
and once possibly by Nebuchadnezzar,
for Tyre was engaged in conflict with the Chaldean empire as well as the Assyrian.
Now which of  these two conflicts was it that the prophet had in his mind?
In our opinion,  however,  as in that of  Vitringa and those who tread in his footsteps,  the question whether the imperial power by which Tyre was threatened was the Assyrian or the Chaldean,  is a purely exegetical question,  not a critical one.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The prophecy commences by introducing the trading vessels of  Phoenicia on their return home,  as they hear with alarm the tidings of  the fate that has befallen their home.  Even upon the open sea they hear of  it as a rumor from the ships that they meet.  For their voyage is a very long one:  they come from the Phoenician colony on the Spanish Baetis,  or the Guadalquivir,  as the Moors called it from the time of  the occupation.

Ships of Tarshish
Ships that sail to Tartessus.
It is not improbable that the whole of  the Mediterranean may have been called  "the sea to Tarshish;"  and hence the rendering adopted by the Targum,  Jerome,  and Luther.

These ships are to howl  (heeliiluu)  because of  the devastation that has taken place  (it is easy to surmise that Tyre has been the victim);  for the home and harbor,  which the sailors were rejoicing at the prospect of  being able to enter once more,  have both been swept away.

Cyprus was the last station on this homeward passage.  The Chittim (written in the legends of  coins and other inscriptions with Caph and Cheth)  are the inhabitants of  the Cyprian harbor of  Citium and its territory.  But Epiphanius,  the bishop of  Salamis in the island of  Cyprus,  says that Citium was also used as a name for the whole island,  or even in a still broader sense.

Cyprus,  the principal mart of  the Phoenicians,  was the last landing-place. As soon as they touch the island, the fact that they have only heard of  as a rumor upon the open sea,  is fully disclosed,  it now becomes a clear undoubted certainty,  for eyewitnesses who have made their escape to the island tell them of  it.

The prophet now turns to the Phoenicians at home,  who have this devastation in prospect.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Isaiah 23:2, 3
From the Tanakh
(2)  Moan, you coastland dwellers, you traders of Sidon, once thronged by seafarers,  (3)  over many waters your revenue came:  from the trade of nations.  From the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the Nile.

From the NKJV

(2)  Be still, you inhabitants of the coastland, you merchants of Sidon, whom those who cross the sea have filled.  (3)  And on great waters the grain of Shihor, the harvest of the River, is her revenue; and she is a marketplace for the nations.

Merchants of Sidon
The Phoenicians generally, as in Homer; for the "great Sidon" of antiquity (Zidon rabbâh, Josh 11:8; 19:28) was the mother-city of Phoenicia, which so thoroughly stamped its name upon the whole nation, that Tyre is called tsidnim 'm upon Phoenician coins.

Her revenue
The suffixes of  milee' (OT:4390) (to fill with wares and riches)
and tªbuw'aah (OT:8393) (the bringing in, viz., into barns and granaries)
refer to the word 'iy (OT:339),  which is used here as a feminine for the name of  a country,  and denotes the Phoenician coast,  including the insular Tyre.

The river Nile in Egypt (see Josh 13:3; 1 Chron 13:5; Jer 2:18).
The word Shichor (OT:7883)  is derived from shaachar (OT:7837),  "to be black",  and is given to the Nile from its color when it brings down the slime or mud by which Egypt is rendered so fertile.
Sichor is a Hebraic form of Siris

The Greeks gave to the river the name Melas (NT:3189) ("black"),
and the Latins call it "Melo" - (Serv. ad Virg. "Geor." iv. 291. It was called "Siris" by the Ethiopians; perhaps the same as Sihor.
The upper branches of  the Nile in Abyssinia all receive their names from the  "color"  of  the water,  and are called the White River,  the Blue River, etc.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Phoenicians actually did buy up the corn-stores of  Egypt,  that granary of  the ancient world,  and housed the cargoes that were brought to them  "upon great waters,"  i.e.,  on the great Mediterranean.

The valley of the Nile was the field for sowing and reaping,
and the Phoenician coast was the barn for this valuable corn;  and inasmuch as corn and other articles of  trade were purchased and bartered there,  it thereby became gain, i.e.,  the means of gain,  the source of  profit or provision,  to whole nations.

No place was more favorably situated for commerce; and she had engrossed the trade nearly of all the world. (see Ezekiel 27)

Isaiah 23:4, 5
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(4)  Be ashamed, O Sidon!
For the sea – this stronghold of the sea – declares,
“I am as one who has never labored, Would that I had not
Never given birth,  never raised youths or reared maidens!”  
(5)  When the Egyptians heard it, they quailed Men of Tyre heard of the smiting wherewith
As when they heard about Tyre. The Egyptians were smitten, they trembled when they heard.

From the NKJV

(4)  Be ashamed, O Sidon; for the sea has spoken, the strength of the sea, saying, "I do not labor, nor bring forth children; neither do I rear young men, nor bring up virgins."
5 When the report reaches Egypt, they also will be in agony at the report of Tyre.

The address to the whole of  the coastland now passes into an address to the ancestral city.
The sea,  or more closely considered,  the fortress of  the sea, i.e.,  the rock island on which Neo-Tyrus stood with its strong and lofty houses,  lifts up its voice in lamentation.
Sidon,  the ancestress of Canaan,  must hear with overwhelming shame how Tyre mourns the loss of  her daughters,  and complains that,  robbed as she has been of  her children,  she is like a barren woman.

For the war to have murdered her young men and maidens was exactly the same as if  she had never given birth to them or brought them up.

Who is there that does not recognize in this the language of  Isaiah (compare Isa 1:2)?
Even in Egypt the fate of  Phoenicia produces alarm.
The news of the fall of  Tyre spreads universal terror in Egypt,  because its own prosperity depended upon Tyre,  which was the great market for its corn;  and when such a bulwark had fallen,  a similar fate awaited itself.

JFB says:
As at the report concerning Egypt, (so) shall they be sorely pained at the report of  Tyre -  rather,

'When the report (namely, concerning Tyre) (shall reach) the people of Egypt, they shall be sorely pained at the report concerning Tyre' (namely, its overthrow).
So Jerome
'When the Egyptians shall hear that so powerful a neighboring nation has been destroyed, they must know their own end is near.'
So the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Arabic, (Lowth, etc.)
The disaster was to be to Tyre and Egypt in common:  both were enemies of the covenant people-
Egypt openly
Tyre secretly
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 23:6-9
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(6)  Pass on to Tarshish – Go into exile to the province of the sea;
Howl, you coastland dwellers!  
(7)  Was such your merry city Is this your mighty one, Tyre?
In former times, of yore? From the first, they used to bring gifts unto it from a far land;
Did her feet carry her off to sojourn far away? Now behold she is gone into exile to sojourn.
(8)  Who was it that planned this for crown-wearing Tyre, whose merchants were nobles, whose traders the world honored?
(9)  The Lord of Hosts planned it – to defile all glorious beauty, to shame all the honored of the world.

From the NKJV

(6)  Cross over to Tarshish; wail, you inhabitants of the coastland!  (7)  Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is from ancient days, whose feet carried her far off to dwell?  (8)  Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the honorable of the earth?
(9)  The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.

Cross over ... you inhabitants of the coastland
That is, ye inhabitants of Tyre. This is an address to Tyre,  in view of  her approaching destruction;  and is designed to signify that when the city was destroyed,  its inhabitants would flee to its colonies,  and seek refuge and safety there.

As Tarshish was one of its principal colonies,  and as the ships employed by Tyre would naturally sail to Tarshish,  the inhabitants are represented as fleeing there on the attack of  Nebuchadnezzar.  That the inhabitants of  Tyre did fire in this manner,  is expressly asserted by Jerome upon the authority of  Assyrian histories which are now lost.

 'We have read,'  says he,  'in the histories of the Assyrians, that when the Tyrians were besieged, after they saw no hope of escaping, they went on board their ships, and fled to Cartilage, or to some islands of the Ionian and AEgean Sea'  (Jerome in loco.)
And again (on Ezek 29) he says,
'When the Tyrians saw that the works for carrying on the siege were perfected, and the foundations of the walls were shaken by the battering rams, whatever precious things in gold, silver, clothes, and various kinds of furniture the nobility had, they put them on board their ships, and carried to the islands. So that the city being taken, Nebuchadnezzar found nothing worthy of his labor.'
Diodorus (xvii. 41) relates the same thing of the Tyrians during the siege of Alexander the Great,  where he says that they took their wives and children to Carthage.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The inhabitants of Tyre,  who desired to escape from death or transportation,  are obliged to take refuge in the colonies,  and the farther off  the better:  not in Cyprus,  not in Carthage (as at the time when Alexander attacked the insular Tyre),  but in Tartessus itself,  the farthest off  towards the west,  and the hardest to reach.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

To bring to dishonor...contempt
Lªchaleel gª'own to stain the pride of
The Hebrew word chaleel (OT:2490) means properly to bore,  or pierce through;  to open,  make common;  then to profane,  defile,  pollute.
Here it means that the destruction of  Tyre would show that God could easily level it all with the dust.
The destruction of  Tyre would show this in reference to all human glory, because:

(1) It was one of  the most ancient cities
(2) It was one of  the most magnificent cities
(3) It was one of  the most strong, secure, and inaccessible cities
(4) It was one of  the most commercially important cities
(5) It was one of  the most distinguished cities in the view of  nations at that time
(6) Its example would be the most striking and impressive
God often selects the most distinguished and important cities and people to make them examples to others,  and to show the ease with which He can bring all down to the earth.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 23:10
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(10)  Traverse your land like the Nile, Go into exile from thy land, like the waters of the river;
Fair Tarshish;  this is a harbore no more. Flee unto the province of the sea, there is no longer a stronghold.

From the NKJV

(10)  Overflow through your land like the River,  O daughter of Tarshish;  there is no more strength.

The consequence of  the fall of  Tyre is,  that the colonies achieve their independence,  Tartessus being mentioned by way of  example.

O daughter of Tarshish
Tyre - so called either because

it was in some degree sustained and supplied by the commerce of  Tarshish;
or because its inhabitants would become the inhabitants of  Tarshish,  and it is so called by anticipation.
The Vulgate renders this, "Filia marias" - Daughter of the sea.
Juntos supposes that the prophet addresses those who were then in the city who were natives of  Tarshish, and exhorts them to flee for safety to their own city.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

No more strength
The word strength is meezach (OT:4206) - girdle
It is applied to that which binds or secures the body;  and may be applied here perhaps to that which secured or bound the city of  Tyre;  that is,  its fortifications,  its walls,  its defenses.  They would all be leveled;  and nothing would secure the inhabitants,  as they would flow forth as waters that are pent up do,  when every barrier is removed.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 23:11, 12
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(11)  The Lord poised His arm o’er
the sea and made kingdoms quake;
Thy hand prevails no more by sea, His might is raised up against the sea to shake the kingdoms:
It was He decreed destruction A command concerning Chanaan,  
For Phoenicia’s f strongholds, To destroy the strength thereof.  
(12)  And said “You shall be gay no
And men shall say, Ye shall no longer at all continue to insult and injure  
O plundered one, Fair Maiden Sidon. The daughter of Sidon:  
Up, cross over to Kittim –
Even there you shall have no rest.”

From the NKJV

(11)  He stretched out His hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms; the LORD has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy its strongholds.
(12)  And He said, "You will rejoice no more, O you oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon. Arise, cross over to Cyprus; there also you will have no rest."

The prophet now proceeds to relate,  as it were,  to the Phoenicia-Spanish colony,  the daughter,  i.e., the population of  Tartessus,  what has happened to the mother country.

Against Canaan
Against the merchant city - Hebrew, 'el (OT:413) Kªna`an (OT:3667).
The word  'Canaan'  may here be used as in Isa 23:8,  to denote a place given to merchandise or traffic,  since this was the principal employment of  the inhabitants of  this region;  but it is rather to be taken in its obvious and usual sense in the Scriptures,  as denoting the land of  Canaan,  and as denoting that Nebuchadnezzar would be sent against that,  and especially the maritime parts of it,  to lay it waste.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

You will have no rest
It is not improbable that Nebuchadnezzar would carry his arms to Cyprus - on which the city of Citium was - where the Tyrians would take refuge first.
Megasthenes,  who lived about 300 years before Christ,  says of  Nebuchadnezzar that he subdued a great part of  Africa and Spain,  and that he carried his arms so far as the Pillars of  Hercules (see Newton, On the Prophecies, xi. 11).  But whether this refers to the oppressions which Nebuchadnezzar would bring on them or not,  it is certain that the colonies that sprung from Phoenicia were exposed to constant wars after this.  Carthage was a colony of Tyre,  and it is well known that this city was engaged in hostility with the Romans until it was utterly destroyed.  Indeed all the dependent colonies of  ancient Tyre became interested and involved in the agitations and commotions which were connected with the conquests of the Roman empire.

In verses 1-12, we find:

vs 1, 2 From Cyprus would come the melancholy tidings of  the fall of  Tyre.
This would mean ruin for the commerce of  Tarshish  (located in Sardinia or Spain)  and for the Phoenician colonies generally throughout the Mediterranean.
vs 3 From Shihor being a branch of the Nile.
No more would the produce of Egypt purchase valuable goods in the marts of Tyre.
vs 4 From Sidon would flee.
It was to be involved in the same calamity, and her decimated populace would dwindle away.
vs 11 From Canaan merchant city.
Originally the name of the red-purple wool dyed from the Phoenician murex, which formed the first basis of trade with other nations. Then the name came to be applied to merchants generally. Even in Cyprus the refugees would find no safety (for this island would become tributary to Assyria and its successors).
Jehovah would be the author of this doom (as the fulfillment of this prediction would amply demonstrate),  which would serve as a judgment not only upon Tyre but upon the whole world view it represents.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)
Isa 23:12

Isaiah 23:13, 14
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(13)  Behold the land of Chaldea – And if thou depart to the land of the
This is the people that has ceased to
  This people is as if it had not been;
Assyria, which founded it for ships, Founded it for the inhabitants of the
the Assyrian
Which raised its watchtowers,
Erected its ramparts,
Has turned it into a ruin.
(14)  Howl, O ships of Tarshish,
For your stronghold is destroyed!
  Howl, ye that go down into the ships of the sea,

From the NKJV

(13)  Behold, the land of the Chaldeans, this people which was not;  Assyria founded it for wild beasts of the desert.  They set up its towers, they raised up its palaces, and brought it to ruin.
(14)  Wail, you ships of Tarshish!  For your strength is laid waste.

The prophet now proceeds to describe the fate of  Phoenicia.
The general meaning of verse 13,  as the text now runs,  is that the Chaldeans have destroyed Kena'an,  and in fact Tyre.

Isaiah undoubtedly sees a Chaldean empire behind the Assyrian;  but this would be the only passage in which he prophesied  (and that quite by the way)  how the imperial power would pass from the latter to the former. It was the task of Nahum and Zephaniah to draw this connecting line.

The prophet points out the Chaldeans - that nation which (although of  primeval antiquity, Jer 5:15)  had not yet shown itself as a conqueror of  the world,  having been hitherto subject to the Assyrians;  but which had now gained the mastery after having first of all destroyed Asshur, i.e., Nineveh

Isaiah 23:15, 16
From the Tanakh From the  LXX From the Targum
(15)  In that day, Tyre shall remain
forgotten for seventy years, equaling
the lifetime of one king. After a lapse
of seventy years, it shall go with
As the time of a man.  
Tyre as with the harlot in the ditty: Tyre shall be as the song of a harlot  
(16)  Take a lyre, go about the town,
Harlot long forgotten;
  Thy glory has been changed, it has been cast out unto another province; the city that was as a harlot has been rejected.
Sweetly play, make much music, to
bring you back to mind.
  Turn the lute into mourning, and thy song into a lamentation;

From the NKJV

(15)  Now it shall come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot:
(16)  "Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten harlot; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered."

The prophet here foretells the rise of  Tyre again at the close of  the Chaldean worldwide monarchy.

70 years - the days of one king
The  "days of a king"  are a fixed and unchangeable period,  for which everything the one sovereign determines.
The seventy years are compared to the days of  such a king.
Seventy is well fitted to be the number used to denote a uniform period of  this kind,  being equal to 10 × 7,  i.e.,  a compact series of  heptads of  years (shabbathoth).  But the number is also historical,  prophecy being the power by which the history of  the future was  "periodized"  beforehand in this significant manner.

They coincide with the seventy years of  Jeremiah (compare 2 Chron 36:21), that is to say, with the duration of the Chaldean rule.

2 Chronicles 36:21
The land enjoyed its sabbath rests;  all the time of  its desolation it rested,  until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah.   (NIV)

During this period Tyre continued with its worldwide commerce in a state of  involuntary repose.
After the seventy years (that is to say, along with the commencement of the Persian rule) the harlot is welcomed again. She is like a troubadour going through the streets with song and guitar,  and bringing her charms into notice again.  The prophecy here falls into the tone of  a popular song,  as in Isa 5:1 and 27:2.  It will be with Tyre as with such a musician and dancer as the one described in the popular song.

Isaiah 23:17
From the Tanakh
(17)  For after a lapse of seventy years, the Lord will take note of Tyre, and she shall resume her “fee-taking” and “play the harlot” with all the kingdoms of the world, on the face of the earth.

From the NKJV

(17)  And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.

When it begins again to make love to the entire world,  it will get rich again from the gain acquired by this worldly relationship

Such mercantile trading as hers,  which is only bent upon earthly advantages,  is called zânâh,  on account of  its recognizing none of  the limits opposed by God,  and making itself common to all the world,  partly because it is a prostitution of  the soul,  and partly because from the very earliest times the prostitution of  the body was also a common thing in markets and fairs,  more especially in those of  Phoenicia (as the Phoenicians were worshippers of Astartes - the Phoenician goddess of fertility and of sexual love).

Hence the gain acquired by commerce,  which Tyre had now secured again,  is called 'ethnân, with a feminine suffix,  according to the Massorah.

The idea is, that she would be restored to her former commercial importance,  and perhaps,  also,  the prophet intends to intimate that she would procure those gains by dishonest acts,  and by fraudulent pretexts.  After the destruction of  Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar,  it remained desolate until the close of  the Babylonian monarchy.  Then a new city was built on the island,  that soon rivaled the former in magnificence.
That new city was besieged and taken by Alexander the Great,  on his way to the conquests of the East.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Isaiah 23:18
From the Tanakh From the Targum
(18)  But her profits and “hire” shall be consecrated to
the Lord.
For a covenant and a memorial before the Lord.
They shall not be treasured or stored; rather shall her
profits go to those who abide before the Lord, that they
may eat their fill and clothe themselves elegantly.

From the NKJV

(18)  Her gain and her pay will be set apart for the LORD; it will not be treasured nor laid up, for her gain will be for those who dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for fine clothing.

This restoration of  the trade of  Tyre is called a visitation on the part of  Jehovah,  because,  however profane the conduct of  Tyre might be,  it was nevertheless a holy purpose to which Jehovah rendered it subservient.

Set apart for the Lord
This undoubtedly means,  that at some future period,  after the rebuilding of  Tyre,  the true religion would prevail there,  and her wealth would be devoted to his service.
That the true religion prevailed at Tyre subsequently to its restoration and rebuilding there can be no doubt.
The Christianity was early established at Tyre.  It was visited by the Savior (Matt 15:21),  and by Paul.
Paul found several disciples of  Christ there when on his way to Jerusalem (Acts 21:3-6).
It suffered much,  says Lowth,  under the Diocletian persecution.

Eusebius (Hist. x. 4.) says that  'when the church of God was founded in Tyre,  and in other places,  much of  its wealth was consecrated to God,  and was brought as an offering to the church,  and was presented for the support of  the ministry agreeable to the commandments of the Lord.'

Jerome says, 'We have seen churches built to the Lord in Tyre;  we have beheld the wealth of  all,  which was not treasured up nor hid,  but which was given to those who dwelt before the Lord.'

It early became a Christian bishopric;  and in the fourth century of  the Christian era,  Jerome (Commentary in Ezek 26:7; 27:2)  speaks of  Tyre as the most noble and beautiful city of  Phoenicia,  and as still trading with all the world.

Reland enumerates the following list of bishops as having been present from Tyre at various councils;  namely,  Cassius, Paulinus, Zeno, Vitalis, Uranius, Zeno, Photius, and Eusebius (see Reland's Palestine, pp. 1002-101 l, in Ugolin vi.) Tyre continued Christian until it was taken by the Saracens in 639 AD; but was recovered again by Christians in 1124. In 1280, it was conquered by the Mamelukes,  and was taken by the Turks in 1516.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The Wars of  Tyre

The Assyrians were not the predicted instruments of  the punishment to be inflicted upon Phoenicia. Nor was Shalmanassar successful in his Phoenician war,  as the extract from the chronicle of Menander in the Antiquities of  Josephus (Ant. ix. 14, 2)  clearly shows.  Elulaeus,  the king of  Tyre,  had succeeded in once more subduing the rebellious Cyprians (Kittaioi). Shalmanassar made war upon Phoenicia, though a general peace soon put an end to this campaign.

Thereupon Sidon,  Ace,  Palaetyrus,  and many other cities,  fell away from Tyrus (insular Tyre),  and placed themselves under Assyrian supremacy.  But as the Tyrians would not do this,  Shalmanassar renewed the war;  and the Phoenicians that were under his sway supplied him with 600 ships and 800 rowers for this purpose.  The Tyrians,  however,  fell upon them with twelve vessels of  war,  and having scattered the hostile fleet,  took about 500 prisoners.

This considerably heightened the distinction of  Tyre.  And the king of  Assyria was obliged to content himself  with stationing guards on the river (Leontes),  and at the conduits,  to cut off  the supply of fresh water from the Tyrians.  This lasted for 5 years,  during the whole of  which time the Tyrians drank from wells that they hand sunk themselves.

But it is a question whether even Nebuchadnezzar was more successful with insular Tyre.
All that Josephus is able to tell us from the Indian and Phoenician stories of  Philostratus,  is that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years in the reign of  Ithobal (Ant. x. 11, 1).

And from Phoenician sources themselves,  he merely relates (c. Ap. i. 21)  that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years under Ithobal (viz., from the seventh year of his reign onwards).
But so much,  at any rate,  may apparently be gathered from the account of the Tyrian government that follows,  viz.,  that the Persian era was preceded by the subjection of the Tyrians to the Chaldeans,  inasmuch as they sent twice to fetch their king from Babylon.  When the Chaldeans made themselves masters of  the Assyrian empire,  Phoenicia (whether with or without insular Tyre, we do not know)  was a satrapy of  that empire (Josephus, Ant. x. 11, 1; c. Ap. i. 19, from Berosus),  and this relation still continued at the close of  the Chaldean rule.

So much is certain, however - and Berosus, in fact, says it expressly-viz. that Nebuchadnezzar once more subdued Phoenicia when it rose in rebellion;  and that when he was called home to Babylon in consequence of  the death of  his father,  he returned with Phoenician prisoners.

Old Testament Scriptures appear to state the very opposite - namely,  the failure of  Nebuchadnezzar's enterprise.  For in the twenty-seventh year after Jehoiachim's captivity (the sixteenth from the destruction of  Jerusalem)  the following word of  the Lord came to Ezekiel (Ezek 29:17-18): "Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has caused his army to perform a long and hard service against Tyre: every head is made bald, and every shoulder peeled; yet neither he nor his army has any wages at Tyre for the hard service which they have performed around the same."

It then goes on to announce that Jehovah would give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar,  and that this would be the wages of  his army.
Gesenius,  Winer,  Hitzig,  and others,  infer from this passage,  when taken in connection with other non-Israelitish testimonies given by Josephus,  which merely speak of a siege,  that Nebuchadnezzar did not conquer Tyre;  and Drechsler (Isa. ii. 166-169) maintain by arguments,  which have been passed again and again through the sieve,  that this passage presupposes the conquest of  Tyre,  and merely announces the disproportion between the profit which Nebuchadnezzar derived from it and the effort that it cost him.  Jerome (on Ezekiel) gives the same explanation.

When the army of Nebuchadnezzar had made insular Tyre accessible by heaping up an embankment with enormous exertions,  and they were in a position to make use of  their siege artillery,  they found that the Tyrians had carried away all their wealth in vessels to the neighboring islands;  "so that when the city was taken, Nebuchadnezzar found nothing to repay him for his labor; and because he had obeyed the will of God in this undertaking, after the Tyrian captivity had lasted a few years, Egypt was given to him" (Jerome).

(1)   In the great trilogy which contains Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre (Ezek 26-28),  and in which he more than once introduces thoughts and figures from Isa 23,  which he still further amplifies and elaborates (according to the general relation in which he stands to his predecessors, of whom he does not make a species of mosaic, as Jeremiah does, but whom he rather expands, fills up, and paraphrases, as seen more especially in his relation to Zephaniah),  he predicts the conquest of  insular Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar.
He foretells indeed even more than this;  but if Tyre had not been at least conquered by Nebuchadnezzar,  the prophecy would have fallen completely to the ground,  like any merely human hope.
Now we candidly confess that,  on doctrinal grounds,  it is impossible for us to make such an assumption as this.  There is indeed an element of human hope in all prophecy.

(2.) If we take a comprehensive survey of  the following ancient testimonies:

(a) that Nebuchadnezzar,  when called home in consequence of  his father's death,  took some Phoenician prisoners with him
(b) that with this fact before us,  the statement found in the Phoenician sources,  to the effect that the Tyrians fetched two of  their rulers from Babylon,  viz.,  Merbal and Eirom,  presents a much greater resemblance to  2 Kings 24:12,14, and Dan 1:3.
(c) that,  according to Josephus (c. Ap. i. 20),  it was stated  "in the archives of  the Phoenicians concerning this king Nebuchadnezzar,  that he conquered all Syria and Phoenicia"
(d) that the voluntary submission to the Persians  (Herod. Isa 3:19; Xen. Cyrop. i. 1, 4)  was not the commencement of servitude,  but merely a change of masters
- if, we say,  we put all these things together,  the conclusion to which we am brought is,  that the thirteen years' siege of  Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar ended in its capture,  possibly through capitulation.

"The prophet sees the whole enormous mass of destruction which eventually came upon the city, concentrated,  as it were,  in Nebuchadnezzar's conquest,  inasmuch as in the actual historical development it was linked on to that fact like a closely connected chain.  The power of  Tyre as broken by Nebuchadnezzar is associated in his view with its utter destruction."
Even Alexander did not destroy Tyre,  when he had conquered it after seven months' enormous exertions.

Tyre was still a flourishing commercial city of  considerable importance under both the Syrian and the Roman sway.  In the time of  the Crusades it was still the same;  and even the Crusaders,  who conquered it in 1125,  did not destroy it.  It was not till about a century and a half later that the destruction was commenced by the removal of  the fortifications on the part of  the Saracens.

The Law of Perspective

This picture of  destruction stands before the prophet's mental eye,  and indeed immediately behind the attack of  the Chaldeans upon Tyre - the two thousand years between being so compressed,  that the whole appears as a continuous event.

This is the well-known law of perspective,  by which prophecy is governed throughout.
This law cannot have been unknown to the prophets themselves,  inasmuch as they needed it to accredit their prophecies even to themselves.  Still more was it necessary for future ages,  in order that they might not be deceived with regard to the prophecy,  that this universally determining law,  in which human limitations are left unresolved,  and are miraculously intermingled with the eternal view of  God,  should be clearly known.

The meaning of the 70 is clear enough:
They are,  as we saw,  the seventy years of  the Chaldean rule.
And this is also quite enough,  if only a prelude to what is predicted here took place in connection with the establishment of  the Persian sway.  Such a prelude there really was in the fact,  that,  according to the edict of  Cyrus,  both Sidonians and Tyrians assisted in the building of  the temple at Jerusalem (Ezra 3:7, cf., Isa 1:4).
A second prelude is to be seen in the fact,  that at the very commencement of  the labors of  the apostles there was a Christian church in Tyre,  which was visited by the Apostle Paul (Acts 21:3-4),  and that this church steadily grew from that time forward.
(From Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Previous Section

Isaiah 22:1 - 23:18 - from the Amplified Version

22:1  THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning the Valley of Vision: What do you mean [I wonder] that you have all gone up to the housetops,
(2)  You who are full of shouting, a tumultuous city, a joyous and exultant city? [O Jerusalem] your slain warriors have not met [a glorious] death with the sword or in battle.
(3)  All your [military] leaders have fled together; without the bow [which they had thrown away] they have been taken captive and bound by the archers. All of you who were found were bound together [as captives], though they had fled far away.
(4)  Therefore I [Isaiah] said, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly. Do not hasten and try to comfort me over the destruction of the daughter of my people.
(5)  For it is a day of discomfiture and of tumult, of treading down, of confusion and perplexity from the Lord God of hosts in the Valley of Vision, a day of breaking down the walls and of crying to the mountains.
(6)  And [in my vision I saw] Elam take up the quiver, with troops in chariots, infantry, and horsemen; and Kir [with Elam subject to Assyria] uncovered the shield.
(7)  And it came to pass that your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their station [and set themselves in offensive array at the gate of Jerusalem]. [Fulfilled in 2 Chron 32; Isa 36:1.]
(8)  Then [God] removed the protective covering of Judah; and you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest [the king's armory] in that day. [1 Kings 7:2; 10:17,21.]
(9)  You saw that the breaches [in the walls] of the City of David [the citadel of Zion] were many; [since the water supply was still defective] you collected [within the city's walls] the waters of the Lower Pool.
(10)  And you numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses [to get materials] to fortify the [city] wall.
(11)  You also made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the Old Pool, but you did not look to the Maker of it, nor did you recognize Him Who planned it long ago.
(12)  And in that day the Lord God of hosts called you to weeping and mourning, to the shaving off of all your hair [in humiliation] and to the girding with sackcloth.
(13)  But instead, see the pleasure and mirth, slaying oxen and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine, [with the idea] Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!
(14)  And the Lord of hosts revealed Himself in my ears [as He said], Surely this unatoned sin shall not be purged from you until [you are punished--and the punishment will be] death, says the Lord God of hosts.
(15)  Come, go to this [contemptible] steward and treasurer, to Shebna, who is over the house [but who is presumptuous enough to be building himself a tomb among those of the mighty, a tomb worthy of a king], and say to him,
(16)  What business have you here? And whom have you entombed here, that you have the right to hew out for yourself a tomb here? He hews out a sepulcher for himself on the height! He carves out a dwelling for himself in the rock!
(17)  Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man; yes, He will take tight hold of you and He will surely cover you [with shame].
(18)  He will surely roll you up in a bundle [Shebna] and toss you like a ball into a large country; there you will die and there will be your splendid chariots, you disgrace to your master's house!
(19)  And I will thrust you from your office, and from your station will you be pulled down.
(20)  And in that day I will call My servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah.
(21)  And I will clothe him with your robe and will bind your girdle on him and will commit your authority to his hand; he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
(22)  And the key of the house of David I will lay upon his shoulder; he shall open and no one shall shut, he shall shut and no one shall open.
(23)  And I will fasten him like a peg or nail in a firm place; and he will become a throne of honor and glory to his father's house.
(24)  And they will hang on him the honor and the whole weight of [responsibility for] his father's house: the offspring and issue [of the family, high and low], every small vessel, from the cups even to all the flasks and big bulging bottles.
(25)  In that day, says the Lord of hosts, the nail or peg that was fastened into the sure place shall give way and be moved and be hewn down and fall, and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; for the Lord has spoken it.

23:1  THE MOURNFUL, inspired prediction (a burden to be lifted up) concerning Tyre: Wail, you ships of [Tyre returning from trading with] Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, so that there is no house, no harbor; from the land of Kittim (Cyprus) they learn of it.
(2)  Be still, you inhabitants of the coast, you merchants of Sidon, your messengers passing over the sea have replenished you [with wealth and industry],
(3)  And were on great waters. The seed or grain of the Shihor, the harvest [due to the overflow] of the Nile River, was [Tyre's] revenue, and she became the merchandise of the nations.
(4)  Be ashamed, O Sidon [mother-city of Tyre, now a widow bereaved of her children], for the sea has spoken, the stronghold of the sea, saying, I have neither travailed nor brought forth children; I have neither nourished and reared young men nor brought up virgins.
(5)  When the report comes to Egypt, they will be sorely pained over the report about Tyre.
(6)  Pass over to Tarshish [to seek safety as exiles]! Wail, you inhabitants of the [Tyre] coast!
(7)  Is this your jubilant city, whose origin dates back into antiquity, whose own feet are accustomed to carry her far off to settle [daughter cities]?
(8)  Who has purposed this against Tyre, the bestower of crowns, whose merchants were princes, whose traders were the honored of the earth?
(9)  The Lord of hosts has purposed it [in accordance with a fixed principle of His government], to defile the pride of all glory and to bring into dishonor and contempt all the honored of the earth.
(10)  Overflow your land like [the overflow of] the Nile River, O Daughter of Tarshish; there is no girdle of restraint [on you] any more [to make you pay tribute or customs or duties to Tyre].
(11)  He stretched out His hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms; the Lord has given a command concerning Canaan to destroy her strongholds and fortresses [Tyre, Sidon, etc.].
(12)  And He said, You shall no more exult, you oppressed and crushed one, O Virgin Daughter of Sidon. Arise, pass over to Kittim (Cyprus); but even there you will have no rest.
(13)  Look at the land of the Chaldeans! That people and not the Assyrians designed and assigned [Tyre] for the wild beasts and those who [previously] dwelt in the wilderness. They set up their siege works, they overthrew its palaces, and they made it a ruin!
(14)  Howl, you ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold [of Tyre] is laid waste [your strength has been destroyed].
(15)  And in that day Tyre will be in obscurity and forgotten for seventy years, according to the days of one dynasty. After the end of seventy years will Tyre sing as a harlot [who has been forgotten but again attracts her lovers].
(16)  Take a harp, go about the city, forgotten harlot; play skillfully and make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered.
(17)  And after the end of seventy years the Lord will remember Tyre; and she will return to her hire and will play the harlot [resume her commerce] with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.
(18)  But her gain and her hire [the profits of Tyre's new prosperity] will be dedicated to the Lord [eventually]; it will not be treasured or stored up, for her gain will be used for those who dwell in the presence of the Lord [the ministers], that they may eat sufficiently and have durable and stately clothing [suitable for those who minister at God's altar].

(End of  Lesson 10)




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