vs. 1-14 - A PROPHECY AGAINST
inhabitants crowded together upon the housetops, in a state of boisterous
merriment (vs. 1, 2). Outside the walls is a foreign army threatening the
town (vs. 5-7). Preparations have been made for resistance, which are
described (vs. 8-11); but there has been no turning to God. On the
contrary, the danger has but made the bulk of the people reckless. Instead
of humbling themselves and putting on sackcloth, and weeping, and
appealing to God’s mercy, they have determined to drown care in drink
and sensual enjoyment (vs. 12, 13). Therefore the prophet is bidden to
denounce woe upon them, and threaten that Jehovah will not forgive their
recklessness until their death (v. 14). There is nothing to mark very
distinctly the nationality of the foreign army. It is almost impossible to
imagine any other army than the Assyrian besieging
time. Moreover, the particulars concerning the preparations made against
the enemy (vs. 9-11) agree with those mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32:3-5
and 30 as made by Hezekiah against Sennacherib. And the second
section of the chapter has certainly reference to this period. It seems,
therefore, reasonable to regard the siege intended as that conducted by
Sennacherib in his fourth year (B.C. 701), of which we have a brief
account in his annals (G. Smith, ‘Eponym Canon,’ p. 135, 11. 15-18).
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vs. 4-5 – "I will weep bitterly" because of the spoiling of God's
Patriotism moved the spirit of the mourner!
“a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity
by the Lord God of hosts” – see also Luke 21:25
v. 9 - "Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of
David, that they are many"
In 2 Chronicles 32:5 we read that Hezekiah at this time “built up
all the wall that was broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another
wall without, and repaired
Mille in the city of
vs. 11b-14 - there has been no turning to God - instead
the danger had made the bulk of the people (polls)
reckless - instead of humbling themselves and
putting on sackcloth and weeping and appealing
to God's mercy - they have determined to drown
care in drink and sensual enjoyment.
v. 12 - Baldness (Isaiah15:2; Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10). It has been said that
“baldness” was forbidden by the Law; but this is not so, absolutely. Baldness
was wholly forbidden to the priests (Leviticus 21:5; Ezekiel 44:20); and certain
peculiar modes of shaving the hair, the beard, and the eyebrows, practiced by
idolatrous nations, were prohibited to all the people (Leviticus 19:27;
Deuteronomy 14:2). But such shaving of the head as was practiced by Job
(Job 1:20) and other pious men, was not forbidden to laymen, any more than
the wearing of sackcloth. It was regarded as a natural mode of exhibiting grief.
v. 14 - therefore God will not forgive their recklessness until their death –
the sin of turning a call to repentance into an excuse for rioting
and drunkenness is one which God will not pardon. It implies
a hardness of heart which issues in final impenitence.
vs. 15-24 - PROPHECY ON THE DEPOSITION OF SHEBNA
AND THE ELEVATION OF ELIAKIM. In its first and simplest
application, this section predicts the fall of one state official and the
advancement of another — matters, no doubt, of some importance in the
court history of the time, but scarcely (with reverence be it said) of such
moment as to be worthy either of prophetic announcement or of divinely
inspired record. It has, therefore, been generally felt that there must be a
secondary application of the passage. According to some, the two officials
represent respectively the two covenants, the old and the new; according
to others, they stand for the two great parties in the Jewish slate of the time
— that which put its trust in Jehovah, and that which leant upon heathen
vs. 15 - 18 - Shebna - worldly, leaned on heathen alliances,
secular? Disposed - made obscure as he sought to
attract attention to himself and sought to become
v. 19 - Vices have natural punishments
vs. 20-21 - Eliakim - trusted in Jehovah - established - firm with
tenure - given honor - prosperity - so shall all members
of the family of God participate in the final glory of
Christ in His eternal kingdom - Rev. 7:9
Virtues have natural rewards
(See Isaiah 13-23 Pulpit appendage)
vs. 22-24a - The reference to this passage in Revelation 3:7 is sufficient
to show that Eliakim, the “servant of Jehovah” (v. 20), is, to a
certain extent, a type of Christ; perhaps also of his faithful
ministers (Matthew 16:19; John 20:23).
“and they shall hang upon Him all the glory”
According to scriptural notions, the “glory” of a family consists very much
in its size (Genesis 15:5; Psalm 127:5). And Christ’s glory in His final
kingdom will consist greatly in the number of the saved (Revelation 7:4-9).
v. 25 – “In that day”
"the burden that was upon it shall be cut off" - the load of
sin which Christ bore
"For the Lord hath spoken it" - the double attestation, at the
beginning and the end of the verse marks the vast importance
of the announcement contained in it - THE GERM OF THE
GREAT DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT
Christ is the Propitiation for our sins - we do not understand
it but it seems to be IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE SINS OF MAN
TO BE FORGIVEN UNLESS GOD DIED FOR THEM.
When I think of my sin, it seems impossible that any atonement
should ever be adequate; but when I think of Christ’s death it
seems impossible that any sin should ever be great enough
to need such an atonement as that - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Then, think of all the sins of every person from the beginning
of time - The Lamb of God atoned for them - no wonder He
sweat great drops of blood in
How hateful for sin to cause the death of the CREATOR!
We should love God "with all our heart, mind, soul and
strength" for dying for us!
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His
only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish, but have everlasting life”!
If we do not accept this great salvation - we are no
doubt "past feeling" - Eph. 4:19 - and are no better than
"brute beasts" - Jude 10
vs. 15-24 – Shebna and Eliakim
I. A MORAL CONTRAST.
A. Shebna, selfish, isolated, vain-glorious; noted for his display of chariots,
like Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1); no “father” to the people under his
charge; no good adviser of the king his master; chiefly desirous of handing
his name down to posterity by a magnificent tomb; perhaps not even a
worshipper of Jehovah.
B. Eliakim, God’s “servant;” kind and thoughtful for others; regarded as “a
father,” not only by the people of
were poor and of low rank, and willingly sharing his prosperity with them;
an honest and prudent counselor to his king; a faithful worshipper of the
One God, whose unity his name proclaimed. No two dwellers at the same
court, no two servants of the same king, could well be more different in
character, in circumstances, in moral desert.
II. A CONTRAST OF RESULT.
A. Shebna, degraded from his office, is forced for a time to serve in one of
very inferior dignity. Then he is either further degraded or so dissatisfied
with his position that he cannot bear to retain it. He becomes a refugee in a
distant land, an exile, an outcast.
B. Eliakim, advanced into Shebna’s place, has the key of the house of
David placed upon his shoulder, becomes his king’s most trusty counselor
and representative, is a glory and a support to his father’s house, and
retains his position, if not till his death, at any rate for a long period. In
estimating the extent to which God’s moral government is carried on in this
world, such instances as those of Haman and Mordecai, Shebna and
Eliakim, should by no means be omitted from our calculation. History
contains very many such cases.
Shebna and Eliakim: an Allegory.
Shebna, set over the house of the Hezekiah by the king himself, but unfaithful
in his office, worldly, carnal, fond of grandeur and display, typifies the old
covenant, and the priesthood to which it was committed — a priesthood
which looked more to the enrichment of the treasury than to the pure
service of God (Mark 7:11), and which was not above the weakness of
raising up grand sepulchers for its members in a conspicuous place
(1 Macc. 13:27-30). This priesthood, found wanting, had to be cast away, and
a better priesthood, after a different order, to be instituted. Eliakim typifies
this new priesthood — a priesthood “made, not after the law of a carnal
commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Hebrews 7:16).
Primarily, he typifies Christ himself, the true “Servant of the Lord”
(Isaiah 42:1-4; 43:10; 49:3, 6; 52:13,), the perpetual High Priest of
His Church, the eternal Possessor of “the key of David, who openeth, and
no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” (Revelation 3:7),
who “hath the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18). Eliakim
“a father” to
“Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6). Eliakim was “as a nail fastened in a
sure place;” Christ is gone up where he “forever sitteth on the right hand of
God” (Hebrews 10:12). Eliakim had a “glorious throne;” Christ’s
throne is that “great white” one, which is set in heaven (Revelation 20:11),
out of which “come lightnings, and thunderings, and voices”
(Revelation 4:5). On Eliakim hung all the members of his father’s
house; on Christ depends, for pardon, for peace, for life, for glory, every
true Christian. Secondarily, Eliakim may be regarded as typifying the
faithful minister of Christ, to whom the power of the keys is communicated
in a certain modified sense (Matthew 16:19), who, binding and loosing
according to Christ’s ordinance, binds and looses effectively, so that none
can undo his work, and, as a faithful steward in the household of Christ,
dispenses the good things committed to his charge by his King and Master.
The faithful minister will not blench before the powers of evil, any more
than Eliakim did before Rabshakeh (Isaiah 36:11, 21); he will be “a
father” to the people of God, i.e. a protector, a guide, a friend; and with
those who “hang upon him” he will always be ready to share both his
material and his spiritual blessings.
v. 25 - Messiah’s burden and Messiah’s death.
How Christ’s death atones for sin we know not, and need not too curiously
inquire. But, if plain words have a plain meaning, it is impossible to doubt
that this is the teaching of Scripture. “By his stripes we are healed”
(Isaiah 53:5); “He is the Propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2);
“One died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:14). It is quite possible that there is
something in the nature of things, which we cannot fathom, that made it
impossible for man’s sins to be forgiven unless God died for them. Our
wisdom is to avoid curious speculation, and to view the matter on its
practical side. Thus viewed, it manifestly calls on us for three things.
I. INTENSE HATRED OF SIN, ON ACCOUNT OF ITS HAVING
CAUSED MESSIAH’S DEATH. If an animate, or even an inanimate,
thing has caused the death of one we loved, how bitterly we detest it!
Often we cannot bear to look upon it, nay, even to see a thing of the same
kind. How, then, should we hate sin — hateful in itself, hateful in its
effects, hateful in its origin, most hateful in that it caused the death of the
one Man who alone of all that have ever lived did not deserve to die! And
He, moreover, One who dearly loved us, who came down from heaven for
us, lived a life of privation and suffering for us, at last died for our sakes.
II. INTENSE LOVE OF CHRIST, ON ACCOUNT OF HIS HAVING
DIED FOR US. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) But Christ died for his enemies. Sin is
an insuperable barrier between God and man, sets them at variance, makes
them adversaries. And till Christ died man could not be forgiven. So He
died for those with whom he was at enmity! And died by what a death!
III. INTENSE LOVE OF GOD THE FATHER, ON ACCOUNT OF HIS
GIVING HIS SON TO DIE FOR US. We cannot realize the love of the
Father for the Son; but we cannot doubt that it transcends any love known
on earth. Yet He gave Him to suffer all that He suffered — and why? For us.
Because He loved us. As our Lord Himself says, “God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). If the knowledge of
this fact fails to stir up love towards the Father in our souls, we must be
“past feeling” (Ephesians 4:19), utterly dead to any high motive,
scarcely better than “brute beasts” (Jude 1:10).
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