Isaiah 22:22
And the key of the house of David will I lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder . . .—The key of the king’s treasure-chambers and of the gates of the palace was the natural symbol of the chamberlain’s or vizier’s office, and, as in Isaiah 9:6, it was solemnly laid upon the shoulder of the new official, perhaps as representing the burden of the responsibilities of the duties of his office. In the “keys of the kingdom of heaven,” in Matthew 16:19, and again in Revelation 3:7, as also in the custom of admitting a Rabbi to his office by giving him a key, we have a reproduction of the same emblem.

So he shall open, and none shall shut . . .—The words paint vividly the supremacy of the office to which Eliakim was to be called. He alone was to decide who was to be admitted into the king’s chamber, and for whom the king’s treasury was to be opened. In Revelation 3:7, the symbolism is reproduced in its higher application to the King of kings.

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.And the key - A key is that by which a house is locked or opened. To possess that is, therefore, to have free access to it, or control over it. Thus we give possession of a house by giving the "key" into the hands of a purchaser, implying that it is his; that he has free access to it; that he can close it when he pleases, and that no other one, without his permission, has the right of access to it.

Of the house of David - Of the house which David built for his royal residence; that is, of the palace. This house was on Mount Zion; and to have the key of that house was to have the chief authority at court, or to be prime minister (see the note at Isaiah 22:15). To be put in possession of that key, therefore, was the mark of office, or was a sign that he was entrusted with the chief authority in the government.

Will I lay upon his shoulder - (see Isaiah 9:6). This seems to have been designed as an emblem of office. But in what way it was done is unknown. Lowth supposes that the key was of considerable magnitude, and was made crooked, and that thus it would lie readily on the shoulder. He has observed also, that this was a well-known badge or emblem of office. Thus the priestess of Ceres is described as having a key on the shoulder (Callim. "Ceres," ver. 45); and thus in AEschyl. "Supp." 299, a female high in office is described as having a key. But it is not known in what way the key was borne. It may have been borne on the shoulder, being so made as to be easily carried there; or it may have been attached to the shoulder by a belt or strap, as a sword is; or it may have been a mere emblem or figure fashioned into the robe, and worn as a sign of office; or the figure of a key may have been worn on the shoulder as an epaulet is now, as a sign of office and authority. If the locks were made of wood, as we have reason to suppose, then the key was probably large, and would answer well for a sign of office. 'How much was I delighted when I first saw the people, especially the Moors, going along the streets with each his key on his shoulder. The handle is generally made of brass (though sometimes of silver), and is often nicely worked in a device of filigrane. The way it is carried is to have the corner of a kerchief tied to the ring; the key is then placed on the shoulder, and the kerchief hangs down in front. At other times they have a bunch of large keys, and then they have half on one side of the shoulder, and half on the other. For a man thus to march along with a large key on his shoulder, shows at once that he is a person of consequence. "Raman is in great favor with the Modeliar, for he now carries the key." "Whose key have you got on your shoulder?" "I shall carry my key on my own shoulder."' - (Roberts)

So he shall open ... - This phrase means, that he should have the highest authority in the government, and is a promise of unlimited power. Our Saviour has made use of the same expression to denote the unlimited power conferred on his apostles in his church Matthew 16:19; and has applied it also to himself in Revelation 3:7.

22. key—emblem of his office over the house; to "open" or "shut"; access rested with him.

upon … shoulder—So keys are carried sometimes in the East, hanging from the kerchief on the shoulder. But the phrase is rather figurative for sustaining the government on one's shoulders. Eliakim, as his name implies, is here plainly a type of the God-man Christ, the son of "David," of whom Isaiah (Isa 9:6) uses the same language as the former clause of this verse. In Re 3:7, the same language as the latter clause is found (compare Job 12:14).

The key; the government, the power of opening and shutting, of letting men into it or putting them out of it, whereof a key is a fit emblem; whence the delivering of the keys of a house or city into the hands of another, is a sign to signify and confirm the giving him the power and possession of it.

Lay upon his shoulder; he mentions the shoulder rather than the hand, in which keys are commonly carried, either from some ceremony then in use, of carrying a key upon the shoulder, either of the officer of state himself, or of another in his name and stead; or to signify that this was a key of greater weight than ordinary, and that government, which is designed by this key, is a heavy burden, and therefore in Scripture phrase said to be upon the shoulder, as Isaiah 9:6.

None shall shut against his will, or without his commission or consent. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder,.... In allusion either to magistrates carrying a key on their shoulder, hanging down from thence, having a hook at one end of it fit for that purpose; or having one embroidered on that part of their garment: or one carried before them by their servants. It regards either the keys of the temple; or rather the key of the king's house, which it was proper should be delivered to him as treasurer and steward of it; the Targum takes in both,

"and I will give the key of the house of the sanctuary, and the government of the house of David, into his hand.''

In the mystical sense, Christ is said to have this key, Revelation 3:7 where the following words are applied to him:

so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open; all which is expressive of the government of the church being on his shoulders, and of his absolute and uncontrollable power over it; who opens the treasures of his word, of his grace, and of wisdom and knowledge, and communicates them unto, and shuts or hides them from, whom he pleases; who opens and shuts the doors of his church, his house, and lets in, and keeps out, whom he thinks fit; and who also opens and shuts the door of the kingdom of heaven, and introduces into it his own people, and excludes others.

And the {x} key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

(x) I will commit to him the full charge and government of the king's house.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. the key of the house of David] The symbol of unlimited authority over the royal household, carrying with it a similar influence in all affairs of state; like Pharaoh’s signet-ring in the hands of Joseph, Genesis 41:40-44 upon his shoulder] Cf. Isaiah 9:6; and with the whole verse comp. Revelation 3:7.Verse 22. - The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder. A key would seem to have been the special badge of the prefect's office, which included the control of the stores (ver. 15), and the general management of the household. It was, perhaps, a part of the form of investiture, that the key should be first laid on the prefect's shoulder and then delivered into his hand. Among the Greeks the priests of Ceres are said to have borne a key on their shoulder, permanently, as a badge of office (Callimach., 'Hymn. ad Cererem,' 1. 45). The reference to this passage in Revelation 3:7 is sufficient to show that Eliakim, the "servant of Jehovah" (ver. 20), is, to a certain extent, a type of Christ; perhaps also of his faithful ministers (Matthew 16:19; John 20:23). "Thus spake the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, Go, get thee to that steward there, to Shebna the house-mayor. What has thou here, and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewn thyself out a sepulchre here, hewing out his sepulchre high up, digging himself a dwelling in rocks? Behold, Jehovah hurleth thee, hurling with a man's throw, and graspeth thee grasping. Coiling, He coileth thee a coil, a ball into a land far and wide; there shalt thou die, and thither the chariots of thy glory, thou shame of the house of thy lord! And I thrust thee from thy post, and from thy standing-place he pulleth thee down." לך־בּ, go, take thyself in - not into the house, however, but into the present halting-place. It is possible, at the same time, that the expression may simply mean "take thyself away," as in Genesis 45:17 and Ezekiel 3:4. The preposition אל is interchanged with על, which more commonly denotes the coming of a stronger man upon a weaker one (1 Samuel 12:12), and is here used to designate the overwhelming power of the prophet's word. "That steward there:" this expression points contemptuously to the position of the minister of the court as one which, however high, was a subordinate one after all. 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 words "and say to him," which are added in the Septuagint, naturally suggest themselves. 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. The participles חצבי and חקקי (with chirek compaginis: see on Psalm 113:1-9) are also part of the address. The third person which is introduced here is syntactically regular, although the second person is used as well (Isaiah 23:2-3; Habakkuk 2:15). Rock-tombs, i.e., a collection of tombs in the form of chambers in the rocks, were indeed to be found to the east of Jerusalem, on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, and in the wall of rock to the west of Jerusalem; but the word mârom ("high up"), in connection with the threefold "here" (poh), and the contemptuous "that administrator there," warrants us in assuming that mârom refers to "the height of the sepulchres of the sons of David" (2 Chronicles 32:33), i.e., the eastern slope of Zion, where the tombs of the kings were excavated in the rocks.

So high did Shebna stand, and so great did he think himself, that he helped 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 (tūl, to be long; pilpel, to throw or stretch out to a distance),

(Note: In the later form of the language, this verbal stem signifies generally to move onward; hence tiyyūl, motion, or a walk, and metaltelı̄n, furniture, i.e., moveable goods.)

גּבר טלטלה. This is either equivalent to גּבר טלטלת טלטלה, with a man's throw (Rosenmller), or גּבר is in apposition to Jehovah (Gesenius and Knobel). As taltēlah stands too baldly if the latter be adopted, for which reason the vocative rendering "O man," which is found in the Syriac, does not commend itself, and as such an elliptical combination of the absolute with the genitive is by no means unusual (e.g., Proverbs 22:21; Jeremiah 10:10), we give the preference to the former. Jerome's rendering, "as they carry off a cock," which he obtained from the mouth of his Hebraeus, cannot be taken into consideration at all; although it has been retained by Schegg (see Geiger, Lesestcke aus der Mischna, p. 106). The verb עטה does not give a suitable sense as used in Jeremiah 43:12, where it merely signifies to cover one's self, not to wrap up; nor can we obtain one from 1 Samuel 15:19; 1 Samuel 25:14; 1 Samuel 14:32, since the verbal forms which we find there, and which are to be traced to עיט (from which comes עיט, a bird of prey), and not to עטה, signify "to rush upon anything" (when construed with either בּ or אל). It is better, therefore, to take it, as Michaelis, Rosenmller, Knobel, and others do, in the sense of grasping or laying hold of. On the other hand, tzânaph, which is applied in other instances to the twisting of a turban, also signifies to wrap up, make up into a bundle, or coil up. And caddūr, like tzenēphâh, signifies that into which Shebna would be coiled up; for the Caph is not to be taken in a comparative sense, since the use of caddūr in the sense of globus or sphaera is established by the Talmud (see at Job 15:24), whereas the Arabic daur only means gyrus, periodus. Shebna is made into a round coil, or ball, which is hurled into a land stretching out on both sides, i.e., over the broad surface of Mesopotamia, where he flies on farther and farther, without meeting with any obstacle whatever.

(Note: Compare the old saying, "The heart of man is an apple driven by a tempest over an open plain.")

He comes thither to die - he who, by his exaggeration and abuse of his position, has not only dishonoured his office, but the Davidic court as well; and thither do his state carriages also come. There can be no doubt that it was by the positive command of Jehovah that Isaiah apostrophized the proud and wealthy Shebna with such boldness and freedom as this. And such freedom was tolerated too. The murder or incarceration of a prophet was a thing of rare occurrence in the kingdom of Judah before the time of Manasseh. In order to pave the way for the institution of another in Shebna's office, the punishment of deposition, which cannot be understood in any other way than as preceding the punishment of banishment, is placed at the close of the first half of the prophecy. The subject in Isaiah 22:19 is not the king, as Luzzatto supposes, but Jehovah, as in Isaiah 22:19 (compare Isaiah 10:12).

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