Isaiah 22:1-25 (the Burden of the Valley Vision | Judah)

Evidently, it pleased God to elaborate upon Isaiah 10:28-34. Can you tell? The two prophecies - taken together - import unprecedented clarity in the envisioning of Assyria’s victorious advancement through the Kingdom of Judah unto Jerusalem (Isa. 10:28-34) and the preparatory response of the Jews in beholding the advancing adversary (Isa. 22:1-25). Remember, Judah’s victory over Assyria is implied (Isa. 10:28-11:5) and explicitly declared (Isa. 14:25) even before the death of Ahaz and the rise of Hezekiah (Isa. 14:28). Additionally, the same message was declared during the reign of Hezekiah in Isaiah 17:12-14. However, heretofore there’s never been a prophecy quite like Isaiah 22:1-25.

The prophetic vision is called “the burden of the Valley of Vision” because, God said, “…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” (Isa. 22:1, 7). Thus, the prophet is made to look upon a time in the near future when the vision given in Isaiah 10:28-34 is being accomplished. Therefore, the inhabitants of Jerusalem are ailed and gone up on to their housetops for a lookout point (Isa. 22:1). Lo and behold, the City that used to be full of commotion and joy is “now” quieted even though all remain alive in the City (Isa. 22:1-2). Why? In description of the event, the prophet asked, “What aileth thee now…?” (Isa. 22:1). The rulers of the Kingdom of Judah have fled their Cities to take refuge in Jerusalem – there to be bound together with archers for safety (Isa. 22:3). Why? The Assyrian Armies have advanced and are advancing unto Jerusalem, and its only a matter of time until they arrive there for the siege (Isa. 36-37).

The prophet is weeping to behold the scene (Isa. 22:4) and is made to entreat the LORD for divine favor and fortification, but the common people are beset by a flurry of rivalling passions: namely, the fleshly instinct of raw human survival. Thus, the inhabitants hasten to fill the breaches and fortify the walls of Jerusalem (Isa. 22:5, 9-10) so as to withstand the conflict of war. The people reroute the water supply to bring it into the City in the event of a siege (Isa. 22:9, 11). This act is expressly credited to Hezekiah’s leadership in 2 Kings 20:20. Yet, in being occupied thus, the voice of the LORD spoke, saying: “…but ye have not looked unto the Maker thereof, neither had respect unto Him that fashioned it long ago” (Isa. 22:11). The people are made to behave thus because they did not respond to the LORD in the former days when He called them to “weeping” and “mourning” and to “baldness” and the “girding with sackcloth” (Isa. 22:12). In other words, God’s judgment of Judah through Assyria could have been prevented, but when the LORD made the call it went unanswered (Isa. 22:11-14). In the days of carnal peace, the people didn’t make sufficient peace with God (Isa. 22:12-13), thus in the days of carnal trouble the people cannot depend upon God (Isa. 22:11, 14). Assyria is their just desert and herein God is gracious to purge from Judah their iniquities. Speaking of this, the prophet affirmed, “Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord GOD of hosts” (Isa. 22:14).

One source of ill-leadership in the Kingdom of Judah that led to this calamity is the man Shebna, the Treasurer (Isa. 22:15). He was taken with covetousness (Isa. 22:16) and in being thus he embodied the inordinate pursuit of prosperity the Lord was rebuking in Isaiah 22:1-14. Thus, Shebna was to be removed from his station (Isa. 22:19) via captivity, only then to suffer an inglorious death in a foreign land (Isa. 22:17-18) as a testament to the vanity of his covetous enterprise. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matt. 6:19). Moreover, the LORD chose a replacement for Shebna, a man named Eliakim (Isa. 22:20), whose exercise of authority far exceeds the realm of prophetic history! Here, in Isaiah 22:21-25, there’s an apparent shift from history to futurity! Can you tell, my reader? The glorious stature of Eliakim is comparable to the Messiah.

However, every word of Isaiah 22:21-25 did indeed have a legitimate historical fulfillment. For example, observe how the Lord said, “thy robe”, “thy girdle”, and “thy government”, speaking of taking these things from Shebna and giving them to Eliakim in Isaiah 22:21. Remember, the Lord began speaking directly to Sheba in Isaiah 22:15. Yet, it is apparent that Isaiah 22:22 is double-sensed – a declaration of history that gives typological foresight to the authority wielded by the Messiah in the Kingdom of Heaven during the Gentile Church Age, as observed in Revelation 1:18 & Revelation 3:7-8. Shockingly, the unparalleled use of authority exercised by the Messiah is described in terms credited to Eliakim of old, in the saying, “…These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the Key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it” (Rev. 3:7-8).