Isaiah 22:25
In that day, said the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was on it shall be cut off: for the LORD has spoken it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Shall the nail that is fastened in a sure place be removed . . .—There is, the prophet says, a judgment for the misuse of power portrayed in the previous verse. The “nail” that seems so firmly fixed should be removed, i.e., Eliakim should cease to hold his high office, and with his fall should come that of all his kindred and dependents. Here, as in the case of Shebna, we have no record of the fulfilment of the prediction, but it is a natural inference, from its remaining in the collected prophecies of Isaiah, either that it was fulfilled, or that it did its work as a warning, and that the penalty was averted by a timely reformation.

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.In that day shall the nail - Not Eliakim, but Shebna. Eliakim was to be fastened, that is, confirmed in office. But Shebna was to be removed.

That is fastened in the sure place - Or, that was once fastened, or was supposed to be fastened - a phrase appropriate to an office which the incumbent supposed to be firm or secure. It here refers to Shebna. He was regarded as haying a permanent hold on the office, and was making provisions for ending his days in it.

Be removed - To a distant land Isaiah 22:17-18, or simply taken down.

And be cut down, and fall - As a spike, pin, or peg would be taken away from the wall of a house.

And the burden that was upon it - All that it sustained - as the spikes in the wall of a house sustained the cups of gold, the raiment, or the armor that belonged to the family. Here it means, all that was dependent on Shebna - the honor of his family, his emoluments, his hope of future fame, or of an honored burial. All these would fail as a matter of course, when he was removed from his office. This is one instance of the usual mode of the divine administration. The errors of a man entrusted with office entail poverty, disgrace, and misery on all who are connected with him. Not only is his own name disgraced, but his sin "diffuses itself," as it were, on all connected wit him. It involves them in want, and shame, and tears; and the design is to deter those in office from sin, by the fact that their crimes and errors "will" thus involve the innocent in calamiry, and shed disgrace and woe on those whom they love.

25. nail … fastened—Shebna, who was supposed to be firmly fixed in his post.

burden … upon it—All that were dependent on Shebna, all his emoluments and rank will fail, as when a peg is suddenly "cut down," the ornaments on it fall with it. Sin reaches in its effects even to the family of the guilty (Ex 20:5).

The nail that is fastened in the sure place; Shebna, who seemed to be so, both in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. The burden that was upon it; all those wicked officers that were advanced and supported by his power. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts,.... That Shebna is deposed, and Eliakim put in his place:

shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; meaning, not Eliakim before spoken of, who really was a nail fastened in a sure place, and not to be removed; but Shebna, who thought himself to be as a nail in a sure place, being put into it by the king, and supported by his authority, and courted by his friends and flatterers; for to him the whole preceding prophecy is directed, which is carried down to this verse; for all that is said of the glory and usefulness of his successor Eliakim was to be told to him, which would make it still the more grievous to him, to be degraded and disgraced as he would be, signified by his being removed, cast down, and falling:

and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off; those that were dependent upon him, his family, his flatterers, and friends, such whom he had raised by his influence and authority to considerable places, and whom he supported in them; these would fall with him, as is usual when a royal favourite, or prime minister of state, falls into disgrace, and is removed; an instance of this may be seen in Haman, whose family and friends were involved in the same ruin with him, Esther 9:12 and it may be observed, that many dependents, which a minister of state always has, are a burden to him. The Targum interprets this of the burden of prophecy; and Jarchi says, that some explain it thus,

"the prophecy, which thou prophesiest, concerning it, shall be confirmed;''

as follows:

for the Lord hath spoken it; and therefore it shall come to pass;

as the Targum,

"for, so it is decreed by the word of the Lord.''

In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the {a} nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.

(a) He means Shebna, who in man's judgment should never have fallen.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. The fall of Eliakim’s house, described under the same metaphor. It is not necessarily implied that the minister himself lived to see this reverse of fortune; living or dead, his name was the “peg” of the family’s nobility, and when the crash came, it might truly be said that the “peg fastened in a sure place” had been removed.Verse 25. - SEQUEL OF THE PROPHECY CONCERNING ELIAKIM. This verse has been truly called "an enigma" (Kay). It is impossible to understand it of Shebna. "The nail that was fastened in a sure place" can only refer to the nail said to have been so fastened in ver. 23. Are we, then, to understand that Eliakim too will experience a reverse of fortune? But then all the force of the contrast between him and Shebna would be gone. Is it not possible that the prophet, seeing in Eliakim a type of the Messiah, and becoming more and more Messianic in his utterances, has ended by forgetting the type altogether, and being absorbed in the thought of the antitype? He, the nail, so surely fixed in his eternal place, would nevertheless be "removed" for a time, and then "he cut down and fall" (comp. Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:8). At the same time would be "cut off" the burden which Messiah bore (Isaiah 53:12, "He bare the sin of many"). Verse 25. - In that day. Not the day of Shebna's fall, certainly (ver. 20), but some ether. Is not the day that of Christ's earthly mission, when it seemed as if his people were about to acknowledge him (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40), and his throne to be established, but suddenly Messiah was "cut off" (Daniel 9:26) - stricken for the transgression of his people (Isaiah 53:8)? The burden that was upon it shall be cut off. The great burden upon the Messiah was the load of human sin which he had to bear. "He himself bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24). By his death this burden was "cut off" (1 John 2:2; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 2:14). For the Lord hath spoken it. The double attestation, at the beginning and at the end of the verse, is a mark of the vast importance of the announcement contained in it, which is, in fact, the germ of the great doctrine of the atonement.



"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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