And I have placed the key Of the house of David on his shoulder, And he hath opened, and none is shutting, And hath shut, and none is opening.
Isaiah 22:22 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder - As the robe and the baldric, mentioned in the preceding verse, were the ensigns of power and authority, so likewise was the key the mark of office, either sacred or civil. The priestess of Juno is said to be the key-bearer of the goddess, κλειδουχος Ἡρας· Aeschyl. Suppl. 299. A female high in office under a great queen has the same title: -
Καλλιθοη κλειδουχος Ολυμπιαδος βασιλειης.
"Callithoe was the key-bearer of the Olympian queen."
Auctor Phoronidis ap. Clem. Alex. p. 418, edit. Potter. This mark of office was likewise among the Greeks, as here in Isaiah, borne on the shoulder; the priestess of Ceres, κατωμαδιαν εχε κλαιδα, had the key on her shoulder. Callim. Ceres, verse 45. To comprehend how the key could be borne on the shoulder, it will be necessary to say something of the form of it: but without entering into a long disquisition, and a great deal of obscure learning, concerning the locks and keys of the ancients, it will be sufficient to observe, that one sort of keys, and that probably the most ancient, was of considerable magnitude, and as to the shape, very much bent and crooked. Aratus, to give his reader an idea of the form of the constellation Cassiopeia, compares it to a key. It must be owned that the passage is very obscure; but the learned Huetius has bestowed a great deal of pains in explaining it, Animadvers. in Manilii, lib. 1:355; and I think has succeeded very well in it. Homer Odyss. Isaiah 21:6, describes the key of Ulysses' storehouse as ευκαμπης, of a large curvature; which Eustathius explains by saying it was δρεπανοειδης, in shape like a reaphook. 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. Ulysses' key was of brass, and the handle of ivory: but this was a royal key. The more common ones were probably of wood. In Egypt they have no other than wooden locks and keys to this day; even the gates of Cairo have no better. Baumgarten, Peregr. 1:18. Thevenot, part ii., chap. 10. But was it not the representation of a key, either cut out in cloth and sewed on the shoulder of the garment, or embroidered on that part of the garment itself? The idea of a huge key of a gate, in any kind of metal, laid across the shoulder, is to me very ridiculous.
In allusion to the image of the key as the ensign of power, the unlimited extent of that power is expressed with great clearness as well as force by the sole and exclusive authority to open and shut. Our Savior, 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.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
and the key. As the robe and the baldrie, mentioned in the preceding verse, were the ensigns of power and authority; so likewise was the key the mark of office, either sacred or civil. To comprehend how the key could be borne on the shoulder, it will be sufficient to observe, that the ancient keys were of considerable magnitude, and much bent.
Matthew 16:18,19 And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it...
Revelation 1:18 I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Job 12:14 Behold, he breaks down, and it cannot be built again: he shuts up a man, and there can be no opening.
Matthew 18:18,19 Truly I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven...
Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David...
Isaiah 22:22 Parallel CommentariesCare David Family House Keeps Key Lay Open Opened Opening Opens Placed Shoulder Shut Shuts ShuttingCare David Family House Keeps Key Lay Open Opened Opening Opens Placed Shoulder Shut Shuts ShuttingTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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