And I will clothe him with your robe, and strengthen him with your girdle, and I will commit your government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I will clothe him with thy robe . . .—The words point to an actual transfer of the robe and girdle which were Shebna’s insignia of office. There was to be, in this case, a literal investiture.
He shall be a father . . .—The words were, perhaps, an official title given to the king’s vizier or chamberlain. (Comp. 2Kings 5:13.) Here, however, the words indicate that the idea of the title should be fulfilled, and that the government of Eliakim should be, in the truest sense, paternal.
And strengthen him with thy girdle - That is, he shall wear the same girdle that thou didst (see the note at Isaiah 3:24). In that girdle was usually the purse, and to it was attached the sword. Often, among the Orientals, the girdle was adorned with gold and precious stones, and was regarded as the principal embellishment of the dress.
And he shall be a father ... - A counselor; a guide; one who can be trusted in time of danger and difficulty. We use, the word "father" in the same sense, when we speak of the 'father of his country.'
girdle—in which the purse was carried, and to it was attached the sword; often adorned with gold and jewels.
father—that is, a counsellor and friend.I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle: there was a peculiar sort of robe and girdle which was the badge of his office, which should be taken from him, and given to Eliakim.
He shall be a father; he shall not only have the authority of a father, which thou now hast, in which respect all rulers are called fathers, as Exodus 20:12 Numbers 36:1; but shall also govern them with fatherly care and affection, and not with rigour and cruelty, as thou dost. Revelation 1:13,
and strengthen him with thy girdle: which was a symbol both of power and of strength; both priests and princes had their girdles. Christ's girdle, in the administration of his office, is faithfulness and righteousness, Isaiah 11:5;
and I will commit thy government into his hand; the government of the king's house, typical of the government of the church, put into the hands of Christ by his Father, Isaiah 9:6,
and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah; have a fatherly care over them, and affection for them; and such an one is Christ, who stands in the relation of the everlasting Father to his church and people, and of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named; he provides for them, takes care of them, is tenderly affected towards them, pities and sympathizes with them, and affords them all supply and support. Kimchi interprets it of a faithful counsellor, and a good leader. So Ben Melech.And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. robe (“tunic”) … girdle] The palace officials seem to have worn distinctive liveries (1 Kings 10:5); the uniform of the vizier was apparently a tunic and a girdle of special pattern. The word for “girdle” is used elsewhere only of the priestly girdle (see Exodus 39:29, &c.). For strengthen, translate gird.
he shall be a father]—a beneficent administrator, as Shebna had not been. How much in the East the welfare of the people depends on the character of the vizier is known from the legends of Haroun-al-Rashid. For the expression cf. Genesis 45:8; 1Ma 11:32.Verse 21. - With thy robe... with thy girdle. The dress of office worn by Shebna would be taken from him, and Eliakim would be invested therewith. The "robe" is the long-sleeved cloak or tunic worn commonly by persons of rank; the "girdle" is probably an ornamental one, like those of the priests (Exodus 28:39), worn over the inner tunic. He shall be a father; i.e. a protector, counselor, guide (comp. Job 29:16, "I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out"). It is, perhaps, implied that Shebna had not conducted himself as a "father." 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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