“The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art
wholly gone up to the housetops?”
speech the first sentence would read, “The sad prediction relative to the
valley of Hinnom,” which lay on the outskirts of Jerusalem. In other words
it was the prediction of Jerusalem’s impending destruction. Likewise the
second sentence might be rendered, “Why are all of you hurrying up to the
rooftops (which were flat)?” and one answer is that they could better
observe the movements of the besiegers; another being that the rooftops were
the last places of refuge, worthless though that refuge was. They were like
drowning men clutching at the proverbial straw.
(Zedekiah), and some of the princes, had fled the city, but were caught.
“Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain
men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.”
The first half
of this verse describes Jerusalem as being “uproarious, boisterous,
pleasure-loving, frenzied, wanton,” but the second half is dramatically and
ominously different: the laughter of revelry is replaced with the wail of
lament as the plague sweeps multitudes into eternity, leaving the carcases
of many to rot on the streets.
“All thy rulers are fled together, they are bound by the archers: all that
are found in thee are bound together which have fled from far.”
panic-stricken flight of the elders of Jerusalem in the past, foreshadows
what will be in the coming Great Tribulation. Their being “bound by the
archers” is generally understood to mean that they were pursued and captured
without resistance. And so will it be during the reign of the
Tribulation-age Beast who will attempt to stamp out the worship of God,
while demanding that he himself alone be worshiped, under pain of death.
“Therefore said I, Look away from me: I will weep bitterly, labor not to
comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.”
translates this verse, “Therefore I say, Leave me alone, Let me weep bitter
tears, Stop trying to console me, for all my people are wiped out.”
sorrow for Jerusalem languishing under Divine judgment adumbrates that of
God relative to this world which has made itself the legatee of His judgment
rather than His blessing, as it is written, As I live, saith the Lord God, I
have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from
his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die,
O house of Israel?”
“For it is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity by the
Lord God of hosts in the valley of vision, breaking down the walls, and of
crying to the mountains.”
continues to be of the terrible judgments incurred by the rebellious
citizens of Jerusalem, and of the whole land of Israel, “the valley of
vision” being synonymous with Jerusalem; and Assyria being God’s instrument
“... crying to
the mountains” is also translated “echoing from or among the mountains,” and
while this may be taken literally, it is to be remembered that virtually
every hilltop had its idolatrous shrine, so that the reference may also be
to the people’s pleading with their false gods to save them.
“And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir
uncovered the shield.
the archers; Syrians drive the chariots; the men of Kir hold up the
shields,” is Taylor’s rendering of this verse. It indicates the strength of
those who meant to destroy Jerusalem; and is symbolic of the powers of
darkness arrayed against the Lord and His people today.
“And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of
chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.”
superiority of the enemy reflects the legions of evil spirits under Satan’s
command; but we who belong to Christ are beyond their power to destroy, our
assurance being declared by the Lord Himself, “My sheep hear my voice, and I
know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they
shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My
Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck
them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one,” John 10:27-30.
disobedience however, had forfeited that divine protection, and only the
spiritually blind will fail to see that the apostasy of professing
Christendom has rendered her similarly vulnerable today.
“And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to
the armor of the house of the forest.”
discovering “the covering of Judah” means that He was removing His
protection, and delivering disobedient Judah into the hand of the enemy.
Our disobedience will also forfeit His protecting care.
The “house of
the forest” was the armory, and Judah’s seizing those weapons, instead of
trusting in her omnipotent God, was utter folly; but before condemning her
madness, we should remember that, not just once, but countless times, we
have duplicated it - and always to our own undoing. He who puts his trust
in anyone or anything other than God, is a fool.
“Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many:
and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool.”
here is to the many breaches in the city wall; and their gathering together
“the waters of the lower pool” refers to their having sought to store the
water of the large lower pool in as many other places as possible.
“And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken
down to fortify the wall.”
is also translated listed or surveyed, i.e., they had marked
certain houses for demolition so that the rubble could be used to repair the
breaches in the walls.
“Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool:
but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him
that fashioned it long ago.”
In the area
between the inner and the outer walls they had dug a large reservoir in
which to store water from the old pool; but the prophet rebuked them for
having failed to seek Jehovah’s help and guidance, it being He who had
originally built the city, using men as His instruments. Had they confessed
their sin, and cast themselves upon His mercy they need have had no anxious
care, for He would have delivered them. Before condemning their folly
however, we would do well to ponder whether we ourselves have not been all
too often guilty of the same foolishness.
compels us to acknowledge that almost invariably we make our plans without
consulting God, and often learn to our sorrow how much grief we would have
saved ourselves by first seeking His guidance as directed in James 4:13-15,
“Go to now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and
continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: whereas ye know not
what shall be on the morrow, For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to
say, If the Lord will, we shall live and do this, or that.”
“And in that day did the Lord God of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning,
and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:”
In that day
when they were busy fortifying Jerusalem, God was calling them to repentant
confession of sin, and trust in Him; but they ignored Him.
“And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh,
and drinking wine: let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.”
In their folly
they caroused, saying, “Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we
die,” their attitude being exactly the same as that of many today, who live
only for present pleasure, heedless of the fact that the few brief years of
earthly life are followed by the endless torment of hell and the lake or
fire - or the eternal bliss of heaven, depending on whether they had
accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.
“And it was revealed in mine ears by the Lord of hosts, Surely this iniquity
shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts.”
This may not
be taken to mean that at death all sin will be forgiven by God; but rather
that death will end the ability to indulge in sin, and will instead begin
the eternal torment of hell and the lake of fire, for all who die without
having confessed their sin, and having trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as
repeated “Lord of hosts” is the assurance that God has the power to punish
sin, and to continue for ever the punishment of all who die in unbelief.
“Thus saith the Lord God of hosts, Go, get thee unto this treasurer, even
unto Shebna, which is over the house, and say,”
meaning who built: tarry, I pray, was the master or comptroller of
Hezekiah’s palace, the meanings of his name disclosing his resolve to have
his name kept in perpetual remembrance by means of a magnificent mausoleum;
the record of his evil aspiration making it clear that he is a type of the
Tribulation age Beast, for few will have difficulty seeing in his desire for
glory, a duplicate of Satan’s, the Beast’s spiritual master, whose wicked
ambition is recorded in Isaiah, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,
son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken
the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I
will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount
of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the
heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:12-14.
“What hast thou here? And whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out
a sepulcher here, as he that heweth him out a sepulcher on high, and that
graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?”
It seems that
Shebna, like many another before and after him, had made elaborate
preparations for the continuation of his glory even after his death, by the
erection of an elaborate and costly mausoleum hewn out of rock. Nor is he
alone in his folly! The burial places of the world’s rich and famous bear
eloquent testimony to man’s determination to perpetuate his own glory, even
though the vast majority of such men are writhing in the torment of hell
pending transfer to the awful lake of fire, where their agony will continue
“Behold, the Lord will carry thee away with a mighty captivity, and will
surely cover thee.”
This was God’s
assurance that Shebna’s corpse would never lie in the magnificent tomb he
had prepared at much cost; nor would it have eased his torment even had his
remains been laid there, for it matters not what becomes of our bodies, for
they feel nothing after death. It is only in resurrection that we will
suffer everlasting torment, or enjoy eternal bliss, depending on whether we
are raised again at the resurrection of life, or at the resurrection of
John 5:28-29, that resurrection depending on whether we die as believers
or as unbelievers.
captivity into which Shebna was carried (probably by the Assyrians), would
end his glory, God’s “covering” him being generally understood to mean that
he would become a man of no account, a nobody.
And so is it
with the world’s great ones who die in unbelief. Their earthly glory
doesn’t follow them into eternity. What folly then for a man to seek the
adulation of men, instead of the commendation of God!
“He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large
country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be
the shame of thy lord’s house.”
The “He” here
is Jehovah, the violent turning and tossing like a ball, being a metaphoric
allusion to the war that would result in Shebna’s being carried away
prisoner to die in obscurity. The “large country” to which he was taken is
generally believed to have been Assyria. The latter part of the verse means
that the chariots in which he had trusted, and of which he had been so
inordinately proud, would be captured by the enemy, to the shame of his
master king Hezekiah.
“And I will drive thee from thy station, and from thy state shall he pull
God was about
to remove Shebna from office, and from his high position, the Assyrian king
being the instrument God would use to execute His purposes.
difficult to see in Shebna’s fall the foreshadowing of Satan’s and of the
Beast’s at the end of the Great Tribulation.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim
the son of Hilkiah:”
“... that day”
is the one described in the preceding verse relative to God’s destruction of
God will establish; and Hilkiah, the portion of Jehovah. He
is a type of Christ, for clearly that day of Eliakim’s promotion foreshadows
the now imminent Millennium in which his great antitype the Lord Jesus
Christ will reign as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
“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.”
clothed with “thy robe” means that Eliakim would be invested with the
authority of the fallen Shebna; while the girdle speaks of the Divine
enablement with which God would endow him. This continues to foreshadow
Christ’s millennial glory, for clearly Eliakim is a type of Christ.
In the present
context Jerusalem speaks of the political power and wisdom with which
Eliakim would be invested; while the mention of Judah, meaning praise,
points to his also being endowed with the spiritual discernment that would
result in his ascribing to God all the glory.
His being “a
father” to the people is the assurance that his rule would be characterized
by benevolent wisdom and love.
“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall
open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open.”
would be benign, but absolute, as is also that of the Lord Jesus Christ, of
Whom virtually the same words are used in Revelation 3:7, “... these things
saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he
that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.”
“And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a
glorious throne to his father’s house.”
customary in that day to drive a strong peg into a wall of a dwelling, and
to hang upon it items that were of value, or that were used frequently in
connection with the operation of the house. Eliakim’s being likened to such
a peg points to his dependability and wisdom as governor of the people, the
ultimate application, of course, being to the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the
offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of
cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.”
pertaining to the glory of God, and the well-being of the people, could be
safely reposed in Eliakim; and what was true of him has its perfect
fulfillment in Christ.
“In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in
the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that
was upon it shall be cut off: for the Lord hath spoken it.”
understand this verse to refer, not to Eliakim, but to his descendants, the
fall of Judah coming during the future invasion of the land by the