The siege and taking of Jerusalem. (1-7) The wicked conduct of its inhabitants. (8-14) The displacing of Shebna, and the promotion of Eliakim, applied to the Messiah. (15-25)
Verses 1-7 Why is Jerusalem in such terror? Her slain men are not slain with the sword, but with famine; or, slain with fear, disheartened. Their rulers fled, but were overtaken. The servants of God, who foresee and warn sinners of coming miseries, are affected by the prospect. But all the horrors of a city taken by storm, faintly shadow forth the terrors of the day of wrath.
Verses 8-14 The weakness of Judah now appeared more than ever. Now also they discovered their carnal confidence and their carnal security. They looked to the fortifications. They made sure of water for the city. But they were regardless of God in all these preparations. They did not care for his glory in what they did. They did not depend upon him for a blessing on their endeavours. For every creature is to us what God makes it to be; and we must bless him for it, and use it for him. There was great contempt of God's wrath and justice, in contending with them. God's design was to humble them, and bring them to repentance. They walked contrary to this. Actual disbelief of another life after this, is at the bottom of the carnal security and brutish sensuality, which are the sin, the shame, and ruin of so great a part of mankind. God was displeased at this. It is a sin against the remedy, and it is not likely they should ever repent of it. Whether this unbelief works by presumption or despair, it produces the same contempt of God, and is a token that a man will perish wilfully.
Verses 15-25 This message to Shebna is a reproof of his pride, vanity, and security; what vanity is all earthly grandeur, which death will so soon end! What will it avail, whether we are laid in a magnificent tomb, or covered with the green sod? Those who, when in power, turn and toss others, will be justly turned and tossed themselves. Eliakim should be put into Shebna's place. Those called to places of trust and power, should seek to God for grace to enable them to do their duty. Eliakim's advancement is described. Our Lord Jesus describes his own power as Mediator, ( Revelation 3:7 ) , that he has the key of David. His power in the kingdom of heaven, and in ordering all the affairs of that kingdom, is absolute. Rulers should be fathers to those under their government; and the honour men bring unto their families, by their piety and usefulness, is more to be valued than what they derive from them by their names and titles. The glory of this world gives a man no real worth or excellence; it is but hung upon him, and it will soon drop from him. Eliakim was compared to a nail in a sure place; all his family are said to depend upon him. In eastern houses, rows of large spikes were built up in the walls. Upon these the moveables and utensils were hung. Our Lord Jesus is as a nail in a sure place. That soul cannot perish, nor that concern fall to the ground, which is by faith hung upon Christ. He will set before the believer an open door, which no man can shut, and bring both body and soul to eternal glory. But those who neglect so great salvation will find, that when he shutteth none can open, whether it be shutting out from heaven, or shutting up in hell for ever.
This chapter contains two prophecies, one concerning the invasion of Judah and Jerusalem, not by the Medes and Persians, but by the Assyrian army, under which they served; and the other of the removal of Shebna, an officer in Hezekiah's court, and of the placing of Eliakim in his stead. After the title of the former of these prophecies, the distress of the people, through the invasion, is described, by their getting up to the housetops, Isa 22:1 by the stillness of the city, having left both trade and mirth; by the slain in it, not by the sword, but through fear or famine, Isa 22:2 by the flight of the rulers, and by the lamentation of the prophet, Isa 22:3-5 the instruments of which distress were the Persians and Medes serving under Sennacherib, who are described by their quivers and shields, their chariots and horsemen, Isa 22:6,7 the methods the Jews took to defend themselves, and their vain confidence, are exposed; for which, with their disrespect to the Lord, and his admonitions, their carnal security and luxury, they are threatened with death, Isa 22:8-14 then follows the prophecy of the deposition of Shebna, who is described by his name and office, Isa 22:15 whose pride is exposed as the cause of his fall, Isa 22:16 and he is threatened not only to be driven from his station, but to be carried captive into another country, suddenly and violently, and with great shame and disgrace, Isa 22:17-19 and another put in his place, who is mentioned by name, Isa 22:20 and who should be invested with his office and power, and have all the ensigns of it, Isa 22:21,22 and should continue long in it, to great honour and usefulness to his family, Isa 22:23,24 yet not always, Isa 22:25.