Isaiah 22:20
And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Eliakim the son of Hilkiah.—Nothing is known of Eliakim’s previous history, but the epithet, “my servant,” bears witness to his faith and goodness; and we may well believe him to have been in heart, if not openly, one of Isaiah’s disciples. He was apparently, at the time, in some subordinate office.

Isaiah 22:20-22. I will call my servant Eliakim — By my Spirit fitting him for the work, and moving the heart of Hezekiah to call him to it. And I will clothe him with, thy robe, &c. — There was a peculiar sort of robe and girdle, which was the badge of his office, which should be taken from him and given to Eliakim. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem — He shall not only have the authority of a father, which thou now hast, but he shall govern them with fatherly care and affection. And the key, &c. — As the robe and the girdle or baldric, mentioned in the preceding verse, were the ensigns of power and authority, so likewise was the key; being a significant emblem of the power of opening and shutting, of binding and loosing, of letting inferiors into an office, or putting them out of it; whence the delivering of the keys of a house or city into a person’s hands signifies the giving him the power and possession of it, or the confirming to him such a grant. “To comprehend,” says Bishop Lowth, “how the key could be borne on the shoulder, it will be necessary to observe, that one sort of keys, used by the ancients, was of considerable magnitude, and, as to the shape, very much bent and crooked. Homer (Odyss., 21:6) describes the key of Ulysses’s storehouse as ευκαμπης, a large curvature, which Eustathius explains by saying it was δρεπανοειδης, in shape like a reap-hook. Huetius says, the constellation Cassiopeia answers to this description; the stars to the north making the curve part, that is, the principal part of the key; the southern stars the handle. The curve part was introduced into the key-hole, and, being properly directed by the handle, took hold of the bolts within, and moved them from their places. We may easily collect from this account, that such a key would lie very well upon the shoulder; that it must be of some considerable size and weight, and could hardly be commodiously carried otherwise. In allusion to the key as the ensign of power, the unlimited extent of that power is expressed here with great clearness as well as force by the sole and exclusive authority to open and to shut. Our Saviour, therefore, has, upon a similar occasion, made use of a like manner of expression, Matthew 16:19; and in Revelation 3:7 has applied to himself the very words of the prophet.”22:15-25 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, Re 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.My servant Eliakim - A man who will be faithful to me; who will be trustworthy, and to whom the interests of the city may be safely confided; a man who will not seek to betray it into the hands of the enemy. Of Eliakim we know nothing more than what is stated here, and in Isaiah 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.

The 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 Chronicles 6:13.

20. son of Hilkiah—supposed by Kimchi to be the same as Azariah, son of Hilkiah, who perhaps had two names, and who was "over the household" in Hezekiah's time (1Ch 6:13). I will call, by my Spirit fitting him, and by my powerful providence moving Hezekiah’s heart to call him. And it shall come to pass in that day,.... At the same time that Shebna was deposed from his high station:

that I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah; whom Kimchi thinks was the same with Azariah the son of Hilkiah, who might have two names, and was a ruler over the house of God in the times of Hezekiah, 1 Chronicles 6:13 this man, by the character given him, was a good man, a faithful, diligent, and constant servant of the Lord, and therefore he delighted to raise him to great honour and dignity: he did not seek great things for himself, nor did he thrust himself into the office, but the Lord called him to it in his providence, and put him into it; he did, as Kimchi observes, put it into the heart of Hezekiah to appoint him governor in the room of Shebna. This man was a type of Christ; his name agrees with him which signifies, "my God will raise up"; that is, the dead by him, 1 Corinthians 6:14 and so does the character of a servant, frequently given to Christ in this book; see Isaiah 42:1 nor did Christ take any office to himself, but was called unto it by his Father, Hebrews 5:4.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will {u} call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah:

(u) To be steward again, out of which office he had been put, by the craft of Shebna.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. Eliakim is called my servant as Isaiah is in ch. Isaiah 20:3.

20–23. The elevation of the head of the prophetic party at court.Verse 20. - In that day. In the day of Shebna's deposition from his office of prefect of the palace. My servant Eliakim. On the dignity of this title, when given by God himself, see the comment on Isaiah 20:3. And so far as it had proceeded already, it was a call from Jehovah to repentance. "The Lord, Jehovah of hosts, calls in that day to weeping, and to mourning, and to the pulling out of hair, and to girding with sackcloth; and behold joy and gladness, slaughtering of oxen and killing of sheep, eating of flesh and drinking of wine, eating and drinking, for 'tomorrow we die.' And Jehovah of hosts hath revealed in mine ears, Surely this iniquity shall not be expiated for you until ye die, saith the Lord, Jehovah of hosts." 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. Shâthoth is interchanged with shâthō (which is only another form of שׁתה, as in Isaiah 6:9; Isaiah 30:19), to ring with shâchōt (compare Hosea 10:4). There are other passages in which we meet with unusual forms introduced for the sake of the play upon the words (vid., Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 8:6; Isaiah 16:9, and compare Ezekiel 43:11, and the keri of 2 Samuel 3:25). The words of the rioters themselves, whose conduct is sketched by the inf. abs., which are all governed by hinnēh, are 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 which 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 (cuppar, from câphar, tegere, means to be covered over, i.e., expiated). This is done in the case of sin either by the justice of God, as in the present instance, or by the mercy of God (Isaiah 6:7), or by both justice and mercy combined (as in Isaiah 27:9). In all three cases the expiation is demanded by the divine holiness, which requires a covering between itself and sin, by which sin becomes as though it were not. In this instance the expunging act consists in punishment. The sin of Jerusalem is expiated by the giving up of the sinners themselves to death. The verb temūthūn (ye shall die) is written absolutely, and therefore is all the more dreadful. The Targum renders it "till ye die the second (eternal) death" (mōthâh thinyânâh). So far as they prophecy threatened the destruction of Jerusalem by Assyria, it was never actually fulfilled; but the very opposite occurred. Asshur itself met with destruction in front of Jerusalem. But this was by no means opposed to the prophecy; and it was with this conviction that Isaiah, nevertheless, included the prophecy in the collection which he made at a time when the non-fulfilment was perfectly apparent. It stands here in a double capacity. In the first place, it is a memorial of the mercy of God, which withdraws, or at all events modifies, the threatened judgment as soon as repentance intervenes. The falling away from Assyria did take place; but on the part of Hezekiah and many others, who had taken to heart the prophet's announcement, it did so simply as an affair that was surrendered into the hands of the God of Israel, through distrust of either their own strength or Egyptian assistance. Hezekiah carried out the measures of defence described by the prophet; but he did this for the good of Jerusalem, and with totally different feelings from those which the prophet had condemned. These measures of defence probably included the reservoir between the two walls, which the chronicler does not mention till the close of the history of his reign, inasmuch as he follows the thread of the book of Kings, to which his book stands, as it were, in the relation of a commentary, like the midrash, from which extracts are made. The king regulated his actions carefully by the prophecy, inasmuch as after the threats had produced repentance, Isaiah 22:8-11 still remained as good and wise counsels. In the second place, the oracle stands here as the proclamation of a judgment deferred but not repealed. Even if the danger of destruction which threatened Jerusalem on the part of Assyria had been mercifully caused to pass away, the threatening word of Jehovah had not fallen to the ground. The counsel of God contained in the word of prophecy still remained; and as it was the counsel of the Omniscient, the time would surely come when it would pass out of the sphere of ideality into that of actual fact. It remained hovering over Jerusalem like an eagle, and Jerusalem would eventually become its carrion. We have only to compare the temūthūn of this passage with the ἀποθανείσθε of John 8:21, to see when the eventual fulfilment took place. Thus the "massa of the valley of vision" became a memorial of mercy to Israel when it looked back to its past history: but when it looked into the future, it was still a mirror of wrath.
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