Isaiah 22:23
And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place . . .—The word for “nail” is used both for the peg that fastens a tent to the ground, as in the “stakes” of Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 54:2; Judges 4:21, or, as in Ezekiel 15:3, for a nail driven into the wall. Here the context shows that the latter meaning is preferable. It was, as the sequel shows, a symbol of the support upon which others can depend. (Comp. the “nail in his holy place” of Ezra 9:8.)

He shall be for a glorious throne . . .—Another symbol of sovereignty follows. The form, throne of glory, is found in its highest application in 1Samuel 2:8, and Jeremiah 14:21; Jeremiah 17:12. Such a throne, kingly in its state, is to be the pride of the hitherto obscure house of Eliakim.

Isaiah 22:23. I will fasten him as a nail — I will establish the power in his hands, as a nail is fixed in the strong walls or solid timber of a house. “In ancient times, and in eastern countries, as the way of life, so the houses were much more simple than ours at present. They had not that quantity and variety of furniture, nor those accommodations of all sorts, with which we abound. It was convenient, and even necessary for them, and it made an essential part in the building of a house, to furnish the inside of the several apartments with sets of spikes, nails, or large pegs, upon which to dispose of, and hang up, the several moveables and utensils in common use, and proper to the apartment. These spikes they worked into the walls at the first erection of them; the walls being of such materials that they could not bear their being driven into them afterward; and they were contrived so as to strengthen the walls by binding the parts together, as well as to serve for convenience. We see, therefore, that these nails were of necessary and common use, and of no small importance in all their apartments; conspicuous, and much exposed to observation; and if they seem to us mean and insignificant, it is because we are not acquainted with the thing itself, and have no name to express it by, but what conveys to us a low and contemptible idea. Grace hath been showed from the Lord our God, says Ezra, (Ezra 9:8,) to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place; that is, as the margin of our Bible explains it, a constant and sure abode.” Bishop Lowth. And he shall be a glorious throne to his father’s house — By his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, not only to himself, but to all that have any relation to him.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 I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place - The word 'nail' here (יתד yâtēd) means properly a peg, pin, or spike; and is applied often to the pins or large spikes which were used to drive into the ground to fasten the cords of tents. It is also applied to the nails or spikes which are driven into walls, and on which are suspended the garments or the utensils of a family. In ancient times, every house was furnished with a large number of these pegs, or nails. They were not "driven" into the walls after the house was made, but they were "worked in" while the walls were going up. The houses were usually made of stone; and strong iron hooks, or spikes, were worked into the mortar while soft, and they answered the double purpose of nails to hang things on, and of cramp-irons, as they were so bent as to hold the walls together. These spikes are described by Sir John Chardin (Harmer's "Observations," vol. i. p. 191) as 'large nails with square heads like dice, well made, the ends being so bent as to make them cramp-irons. They commonly,' says he, 'place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they like, veils and curtains.' It was also the custom to suspend in houses, and especially temples, suits of armor, shields, helmets, swords, etc., that had been taken in war as spoils of victory, or which had been used by illustrious ancestors, and these spikes were used for that purpose also. The word is here applied to a leader, or officer; and it means that he would be fixed and permanent in his plans and office; and that as a pin in the wall sustained the ornaments of the house "safely," so all the glory of the house of David, all that was dear and valuable to the nation, might be reposed on him Isaiah 22:24.

And he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house - A glorious seat; that is, all his family and kindred would be sustained, and honored by him; or their honor and reputation might rest securely on him, and his deeds would diffuse a luster and a glory over them all. Every virtuous, patriotic, benevolent, and pious son diffuses a luster on all his kindred; and this is one of the incitements to virtuous and elevated deeds which God has presented in the government of the world.

23. nail … sure place—Large nails or pegs stood in ancient houses on which were suspended the ornaments of the family. The sense is: all that is valuable to the nation shall rest securely on him. In Ezr 9:8 "nail" is used of the large spike driven into the ground to fasten the cords of the tent to.

throne—resting-place to his family, as applied to Eliakim; but "throne," in the strict sense, as applied to Messiah, the antitype (Lu 1:32, 33).

I will fasten him; I will establish the power in his hands.

In a sure place; in the strong walls, or solid timber, in the house; which is opposed to Shebna’s instability, signified by a ball, Isaiah 22:18.

He shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house; by his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, not only to himself, but to all that have any relation to him. This also is opposed to what is said of Shebna in the end of Isaiah 22:18. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place,.... In a strong part of the wall or timber, where it shall not fail, or be removed, or cut down, and so let drop what is hung upon it: it denotes the stability and continuance of his government, and of the strength and support he should be of unto others; and well agrees with Christ his antitype; see Zechariah 10:4 and is expressive of the strength of Christ, as the mighty God; and as the man of God's right hand, made strong for himself; and as the able Saviour, and mighty Redeemer; and of the stability of his person, he is unchangeable, the same today, yesterday, and for ever; and of his office, as Mediator, Head, and Surety of the covenant; whose priesthood passes not from one to another, and whose kingdom is an everlasting one, and his truths and ordinances unshaken and immovable: the sure place in which he is fixed is both his church, where he is the everlasting Head, Husband, and Saviour of it; and heaven, where he is, and will be retained, until the time of the restitution of all things:

and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house; or make the throne of his father's house glorious, Eliakim being, as some have thought, of the blood royal; or he should be an honour and credit to his father's house, by his wise and faithful administration of the government committed to him. Christ is the brightness of his Father's glory; and, to them that believe, he is an honour; he is on a glorious throne himself, and he will bring all his Father's family to sit with him on the same throne, 1 Samuel 2:8.

And I will fasten him as a {y} nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house.

(y) I will establish him, and confirm him in his office, of this phrase read Ezr 9:9.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. a nail] usually a “tent-peg” (and so probably in a figurative sense, Zechariah 10:4); but also (Ezekiel 15:3) a peg on which household utensils are suspended. The latter idea (according to Isaiah 22:25) must be intended here.

a glorious throne] Better: a seat of honour.

to his father’s house]—all his nearest kindred, who are through him advanced from obscurity to great dignity.Verse 23. - I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place (comp. Ezra 9:8; Zechariah 10:4). The idea intended to be expressed is firmness and fixity of tenure. He shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house (compare the next verse). All his relations, even the most remote, shall derive honor from him, and bask in the sunshine of his prosperity. So shall all members of the family of God, made sons of God by adoption in Christ, participate in the final glory of Christ in his eternal kingdom. "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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