An Oracle Concerning Jerusalem
“It is strange to find a prophecy against Judah and Jerusalem in a section that deals with the nations. But since Judah had chosen to behave like her neighbors and to desert the Lord, she deserved to be judged.”
–Herbert M. Wolf
The oracle concerning the valley of vision.
Since Jerusalem was a center for the worship of God and some of the prophets of God (including Isaiah), it is called the Valley of Vision.
–David Guzik (and all comments following)
What do you mean that you have gone up,
all of you, to the housetops,
2 you who are full of shoutings,
tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain with the sword
or dead in battle.
When Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, the men of Judah did not bravely die in battle. They died either being starved to death in the siege of the city, or as they fled in cowardly retreat.
3 All your leaders have fled together;
without the bow they were captured.
All of you who were found were captured,
though they had fled far away.
4 Therefore I said:
“Look away from me;
let me weep bitter tears;
do not labor to comfort me
concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.”
5 For the Lord God of hosts has a day
of tumult and trampling and confusion
in the valley of vision,
a battering down of walls
and a shouting to the mountains.
Isaiah sees an army full of arrows and chariots coming against Jerusalem. This prophesies the attack and overthrow of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
6 And Elam bore the quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,
and the horsemen took their stand at the gates.
8 He has taken away the covering of Judah.
In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, 9 and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.
When Jerusalem was faced with this subsequent attack, they prepared the city for battle and for siege, strengthening the wall of the city and making sure there was adequate water for a siege.
11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.
12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
called for weeping and mourning,
for baldness and wearing sackcloth;
Instead of preparing Jerusalem for an attack, they should have turned their hearts in humble repentance to the Lord.
13 and behold, joy and gladness,
killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
eating flesh and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
“Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,”
says the Lord God of hosts.
15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts, “Come, go to this steward, to Shebna, who is over the household,
Shebna was a servant of King Hezekiah, both a steward . . . over the household and a scribe (1 Kings 18:18, Isaiah 37:2). These were both positions of honor and responsibility. Shebna was one of King Hezekiah’s chief assistants.
and say to him: 16 What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock?
What did Shebna do with his position of honor and authority? He made himself a fancy and prestigious tomb! In that day, this was a display of significant power and wealth. In this, Shebna personifies all of Jerusalem with his obsessive self-interest. Isaiah had prophesied that the people of Judah and Jerusalem would be carried away into exile, but Shebna didn’t believe it. He built this elaborate tomb to himself in Jerusalem, as if to say, “I will never be carried away in exile. I am so certain that I will die here that I will build my tomb here.”
17 Behold, the Lord will hurl you away violently, O you strong man. He will seize firm hold on you 18 and whirl you around and around, and throw you like a ball into a wide land. There you shall die, and there shall be your glorious chariots, you shame of your master’s house. 19 I will thrust you from your office, and you will be pulled down from your station.
20 In that day I will call my servant Eliakim
“My servant” — what a glorious title for Eliakim! Both Shebna and Eliakim were servants of Hezekiah, but Shebna’s heart was directed towards selfish ambition and glory, and Eliakim’s heart was turned towards the Lord.
the son of Hilkiah, 21 and I will clothe him with your robe, and will bind your sash on him, and will commit your authority to his hand. And he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. 22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.
Revelation 3:7 (NIV)
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”
23 And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house. 24 And they will hang on him the whole honor of his father’s house, the offspring and issue, every small vessel, from the cups to all the flagons. 25 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, the peg that was fastened in a secure place will give way, and it will be cut down and fall, and the load that was on it will be cut off, for the Lord has spoken.”
A simple and sincere repentance and confession would have made all the difference. Here is one you can pray now, in the song “Lead Me to the Cross” by Hillsong United. Click HERE.