Isaiah 22:17
Behold, the LORD will carry you away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover you.
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(17) The Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity.—Better, will hurl thee with the hurling of a mighty mani.e., strongly and effectually. The words have, however, been rendered (Cheyne), “will hurl, will hurl thee, O mighty man.” The marginal rendering rests on no sufficient grounds.

Will surely cover thee.—Better, Will surely grasp thee, so that thou shalt not escape.

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.Behold, the Lord will carry thee away - Of the historical fact here referred to we have no other information. To what place he was to be carried, we know not. It is probable, however, that it was to Assyria.

With a mighty captivity - Hebrew, גבר geber - 'Of a man,' or perhaps, 'O man.' If it means 'the captivity of a man,' the sense is, a strong, irresistible, mighty captivity where the word "man" is emphatic, and means such as a mighty man would make. Compare Job 38:3 : 'Gird up now thy loins like a man.' The margin reads this, he 'who covered thee with an excellent covering, and clothed thee gorgeously, shall surely turn and toss thee.' But the text conveys more nearly the idea of the Hebrew word, which denotes the action of "casting away, or throwing" from one as a man throws a stone. See the same use of the word טול ṭûl in 1 Samuel 18:2; 1 Samuel 20:33; Jeremiah 17:13; Jeremiah 22:26, Jeremiah 22:28; Jonah 1:5, Jonah 1:12, Jonah 1:16. "And will surely cover thee." 'Thy face,' says Lowth, for this was the condition of mourners. The Chaldee is, 'Shall cover thee with confusion.' So Vitringa, who supposes that it means that although Shebna was endeavoring to rear a monument that should perpetuate his name and that of his family, God would cover them with ignominy, and reduce them to their primitive, obscure, and humble condition.

17. carry … away with … captivity—rather, "will cast thee away with a mighty throw" [Maurer]. "Mighty," literally, "of a man" (so Job 38:3).

surely cover—namely, with shame, where thou art rearing a monument to perpetuate thy fame [Vitringa]. "Rolling will roll thee," that is, will continually roll thee on, as a ball to be tossed away [Maurer]. Compare Isa 22:18.

I will carry thee away with a mighty captivity; will cause thee to be carried into captivity by a strong hand, or by the hand of a mighty man, from which therefore thou shalt not be able to escape. Or, will cast thee away with the casting of a mighty man, i.e. with great force; or, in casting will cast thee away, O thou mighty man. Will surely cover thee, to wit, with confusion, as is here implied, and as this phrase is more fully expressed, Psalm 89:40 109:29. Or

covering may be put for obscuring his glory, which he designed to publish, and to that end erected stately monuments, &c. Or this may be an allusion to the ancient custom of covering the faces of condemned persons; of which see Esther 7:8. Compare Job 9:24 Ezekiel 12:6,12. Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity,.... Or with the captivity of a man; so the Targum, of a mighty man, Sennacherib king of Assyria; who, as the Jews say (z), when he went from Jerusalem, upon the rumour of Tirhakah king of Ethiopia coming against him, carried away Shebna and his company, as with an inundation: or as a man is carried captive, whose captivity is harder, and more severe and cruel, than a woman's, as the Rabbins (a) observe; a woman finding more mercy in captivity usually than a man does. Some of the Jewish writers render the word "geber" a cock, as they do elsewhere; and gloss it, as a cock is carried away, and goes from place to place (b); and so the Vulgate Latin version,

"behold, the Lord shall cause thee to be carried away, as a cock is carried away;''

but it seems best, with Aben Ezra and Kimchi, to read the word "man" in the vocative case; the Lord will carry thee away, "O man", O mighty man (c); as mighty a man as thou art in office, in power, in riches, God shall carry thee away with the greatest ease imaginable:

and will surely cover thee: or, "in covering cover thee"; with confusion, as the Targum. Jarchi says the word has the signification of flying; and so interprets it, he shall cause thee to fly like a bird into captivity; that is, very speedily and swiftly. The Rabbins gather from hence that Shebna was struck with leprosy, because the leper was obliged to put a covering upon his upper lip; and this sense is embraced by Grotius; but the allusion seems to be to persons in disgrace, or condemned to die, whose faces used to be covered, Esther 7:8.

(z) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 23. p. 64. (a) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 26. 2.((b) Jarchi in loc. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 5. fol. 150. 2.((c) "O vir poteus", Grotius; "O tu heros", Tigurine version.

Behold, the LORD will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will surely cover thee.
17. will carry thee away … captivity] Translate: will fling thee forth violently, O thou man. The A.V. preserves the sense but entirely misses the bold metaphor, which is carried on to the middle of Isaiah 22:18. The next words and will surely cover thee, when so rendered, hardly suit the context. The verb may be the equivalent of an Arabic verb, meaning “seize,” which gives an appropriate idea, although it is the solitary instance in the O.T. Render accordingly: and will seize thee firmly (lit. “with a seizing”).

17, 18. The doom of Shebna is set forth in language of extraordinary force and passion.Verse 17. - The Lord win carry thee away with a mighty captivity; rather, the Lord will hurl thee away, O man, with a hurling; i.e. "will hurl thee away to a distance." It is not said that Shebna would be a captive. Will surely cover thee; literally, will cover thee with a covering; i.e. "will make thee obscure" (Rosenmüller) - a fitting punishment for one who aimed at attracting attention and making himself famous (ver. 16). When Judah, after being for a long time intoxicated with hope, shall become aware of the extreme danger in which it is standing, it will adopt prudent measures, but without God. "Then he takes away the covering of Judah, and thou lookest in that day to the store of arms of the forest-house; and ye see the breaches of the city of David, that there are many of them; and ye collect together the waters of the lower pool. And ye number the houses of Jerusalem, and pull down the houses, to fortify the wall. And ye make a basin between the two walls for the waters of the old pool; and ye do not look to Him who made it, neither do ye have regard to Him who fashioned it long ago." Mâsâk is the curtain or covering which made Judah blind to the threatening danger. Their looks are now directed first of all to the forest-house, built by Solomon upon Zion for the storing and display of valuable arms and utensils (nēshĕk, or rather, according to the Masora on Job 20:24, and the older editions, nĕshĕk), and so called because it rested upon four rows of cedar columns that ran all round (it was in the centre of the fore-court of the royal palace; see Thenius, das vorexil. Jerusalem, p. 13). They also noticed in the city of David, the southern and highest portion of the city of Jerusalem, the bad state of the walls, and began to think of repairing them. To this end they numbered the houses of the city, to obtain building materials for strengthening the walls and repairing the breaches, by pulling down such houses as were suitable for the purpose, and could be dispensed with (vattithtzu, from nâthatz, with the removal of the recompensative reduplication). The lower pool and the old pool, probably the upper, i.e., the lower and upper Gihon, were upon the western side of the city, the lower (Birket es-Sultan) to the west of Sion, the upper (Birket el-Mamilla) farther up to the west of Akra (Robinson, i.-483-486; V. Raumer, Pal. pp. 305-6). Kibbētz either means to collect in the pool by stopping up the outflow, or to gather together in the reservoirs and wells of the city by means of artificial canals. The latter, however, would most probably be expressed by אסף; so that the meaning that most naturally suggests itself is, that they concentrate the water, so as to be able before the siege to provide the city as rapidly as possible with a large supply. The word sâtham, which is used in the account of the actual measures adopted by Hezekiah when he was threatened with siege (2 Chronicles 32:2-5), is a somewhat different one, and indicates the stopping up, not of the outflow but of the springs, and therefore of the influx. But in all essential points the measures adopted agree with those indicated here in the prophecy. The chronicler closes the account of Hezekiah's reign by still further observing that "Hezekiah also stopped the outflow of the upper Gihon, and carried the water westwards underground to the city of David" (2 Chronicles 32:30, explanatory of 2 Kings 20:20). If the upper Gihon is the same as the upper pool, there was a conduit (teeâlâh), connected with the upper Gihon as early as the time of Ahaz, Isaiah 7:3. And Hezekiah's peculiar work consisted in carrying the water of the upper pool "into the city of David." The mikvâh between the two walls, which is here prospectively described by Isaiah, is connected with this water supply, which Hezekiah really carried out. There is still a pool of Hezekiah (also called Birket el-Batrak, pool of the patriarchs, the Amygdalon of Josephus) on the western side of the city, to the east of the Joppa gate. During the rainy season this pool is supplied by the small conduit which runs from the upper pool along the surface of the ground, and then under the wall against or near the Joppa gate. It also lies between two walls, viz., the wall to the north of Zion, and the one which runs to the north-east round the Akra (Robinson, i.-487-489). How it came to pass that Isaiah's words concerning "a basin between the two walls" were so exactly carried out, as though they had furnished a hydraulic plan, we do not know. But we will offer a conjecture at the close of the exposition. It stands here as one of those prudent measures which would be resorted to in Jerusalem in the anticipation of the coming siege; but it would be thought of too late, and in self-reliant alienation from God, with no look directed to Him who had wrought and fashioned that very calamity which they were now seeking to avert by all these precautions, and by whom it had been projected long, long before the actual realization. עשׂיה might be a plural, according to Isaiah 54:5; but the parallel יצרהּ favours the singular (on the form itself, from עשׂי equals עשׂה, see Isaiah 42:5, and at Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 1:30). We have here, and at Isaiah 37:26, i.e., within the first part of the book of Isaiah, the same doctrine of "ideas" that forms so universal a key-note of the second part, the authenticity of which has been denied. That which is realized in time has existed long before as a spiritual pattern, i.e., as an idea in God. God shows this to His prophets; and so far as prophecy foretells the future, whenever the event predicted is fulfilled, the prophecy becomes a proof that the event is the work of God, and was long ago the predetermined counsel of God. The whole of the Scripture presupposes this pre-existence of the divine idea before the historical realization, and Isaiah in Israel (like Plato in the heathen world) was the assiduous interpreter of this supposition. Thus, in the case before us, the fate of Jerusalem is said to have been fashioned "long ago" in God. But Jerusalem might have averted its realization, for it was no decretum absolutum. If Jerusalem repented, the realization would be arrested.
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