Isaiah 22:23
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place . . .—The word for “nail” is used both for the peg that fastens a tent to the ground, as in the “stakes” of Isaiah 33:20; Isaiah 54:2; Judges 4:21, or, as in Ezekiel 15:3, for a nail driven into the wall. Here the context shows that the latter meaning is preferable. It was, as the sequel shows, a symbol of the support upon which others can depend. (Comp. the “nail in his holy place” of Ezra 9:8.)

He shall be for a glorious throne . . .—Another symbol of sovereignty follows. The form, throne of glory, is found in its highest application in 1Samuel 2:8, and Jeremiah 14:21; Jeremiah 17:12. Such a throne, kingly in its state, is to be the pride of the hitherto obscure house of Eliakim.

Isaiah 22:23. I will fasten him as a nail — I will establish the power in his hands, as a nail is fixed in the strong walls or solid timber of a house. “In ancient times, and in eastern countries, as the way of life, so the houses were much more simple than ours at present. They had not that quantity and variety of furniture, nor those accommodations of all sorts, with which we abound. It was convenient, and even necessary for them, and it made an essential part in the building of a house, to furnish the inside of the several apartments with sets of spikes, nails, or large pegs, upon which to dispose of, and hang up, the several moveables and utensils in common use, and proper to the apartment. These spikes they worked into the walls at the first erection of them; the walls being of such materials that they could not bear their being driven into them afterward; and they were contrived so as to strengthen the walls by binding the parts together, as well as to serve for convenience. We see, therefore, that these nails were of necessary and common use, and of no small importance in all their apartments; conspicuous, and much exposed to observation; and if they seem to us mean and insignificant, it is because we are not acquainted with the thing itself, and have no name to express it by, but what conveys to us a low and contemptible idea. Grace hath been showed from the Lord our God, says Ezra, (Ezra 9:8,) to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place; that is, as the margin of our Bible explains it, a constant and sure abode.” Bishop Lowth. And he shall be a glorious throne to his father’s house — By his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, not only to himself, but to all that have any relation to him.

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.And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place - The word 'nail' here (יתד yâtēd) means properly a peg, pin, or spike; and is applied often to the pins or large spikes which were used to drive into the ground to fasten the cords of tents. It is also applied to the nails or spikes which are driven into walls, and on which are suspended the garments or the utensils of a family. In ancient times, every house was furnished with a large number of these pegs, or nails. They were not "driven" into the walls after the house was made, but they were "worked in" while the walls were going up. The houses were usually made of stone; and strong iron hooks, or spikes, were worked into the mortar while soft, and they answered the double purpose of nails to hang things on, and of cramp-irons, as they were so bent as to hold the walls together. These spikes are described by Sir John Chardin (Harmer's "Observations," vol. i. p. 191) as 'large nails with square heads like dice, well made, the ends being so bent as to make them cramp-irons. They commonly,' says he, 'place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they like, veils and curtains.' It was also the custom to suspend in houses, and especially temples, suits of armor, shields, helmets, swords, etc., that had been taken in war as spoils of victory, or which had been used by illustrious ancestors, and these spikes were used for that purpose also. The word is here applied to a leader, or officer; and it means that he would be fixed and permanent in his plans and office; and that as a pin in the wall sustained the ornaments of the house "safely," so all the glory of the house of David, all that was dear and valuable to the nation, might be reposed on him Isaiah 22:24.

And he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house - A glorious seat; that is, all his family and kindred would be sustained, and honored by him; or their honor and reputation might rest securely on him, and his deeds would diffuse a luster and a glory over them all. Every virtuous, patriotic, benevolent, and pious son diffuses a luster on all his kindred; and this is one of the incitements to virtuous and elevated deeds which God has presented in the government of the world.

23. nail … sure place—Large nails or pegs stood in ancient houses on which were suspended the ornaments of the family. The sense is: all that is valuable to the nation shall rest securely on him. In Ezr 9:8 "nail" is used of the large spike driven into the ground to fasten the cords of the tent to.

throne—resting-place to his family, as applied to Eliakim; but "throne," in the strict sense, as applied to Messiah, the antitype (Lu 1:32, 33).

I will fasten him; I will establish the power in his hands.

In a sure place; in the strong walls, or solid timber, in the house; which is opposed to Shebna’s instability, signified by a ball, Isaiah 22:18.

He shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house; by his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, not only to himself, but to all that have any relation to him. This also is opposed to what is said of Shebna in the end of Isaiah 22:18.

And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place,.... In a strong part of the wall or timber, where it shall not fail, or be removed, or cut down, and so let drop what is hung upon it: it denotes the stability and continuance of his government, and of the strength and support he should be of unto others; and well agrees with Christ his antitype; see Zechariah 10:4 and is expressive of the strength of Christ, as the mighty God; and as the man of God's right hand, made strong for himself; and as the able Saviour, and mighty Redeemer; and of the stability of his person, he is unchangeable, the same today, yesterday, and for ever; and of his office, as Mediator, Head, and Surety of the covenant; whose priesthood passes not from one to another, and whose kingdom is an everlasting one, and his truths and ordinances unshaken and immovable: the sure place in which he is fixed is both his church, where he is the everlasting Head, Husband, and Saviour of it; and heaven, where he is, and will be retained, until the time of the restitution of all things:

and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house; or make the throne of his father's house glorious, Eliakim being, as some have thought, of the blood royal; or he should be an honour and credit to his father's house, by his wise and faithful administration of the government committed to him. Christ is the brightness of his Father's glory; and, to them that believe, he is an honour; he is on a glorious throne himself, and he will bring all his Father's family to sit with him on the same throne, 1 Samuel 2:8.

And I will fasten him as a {y} nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house.

(y) I will establish him, and confirm him in his office, of this phrase read Ezr 9:9.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. a nail] usually a “tent-peg” (and so probably in a figurative sense, Zechariah 10:4); but also (Ezekiel 15:3) a peg on which household utensils are suspended. The latter idea (according to Isaiah 22:25) must be intended here.

a glorious throne] Better: a seat of honour.

to his father’s house]—all his nearest kindred, who are through him advanced from obscurity to great dignity.

Verse 23. - I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place (comp. Ezra 9:8; Zechariah 10:4). The idea intended to be expressed is firmness and fixity of tenure. He shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house (compare the next verse). All his relations, even the most remote, shall derive honor from him, and bask in the sunshine of his prosperity. So shall all members of the family of God, made sons of God by adoption in Christ, participate in the final glory of Christ in his eternal kingdom. Isaiah 22:23Jehovah first of all gives him the blow which makes him tremble in his post, and then pulls him completely down from this his lofty station,

(Note: וּממּעמדך has not only the metheg required by the kametz on account of the long vowel, and the metheg required by the patach on account of the following chateph patach (the latter of which also takes the place of the metheg, as the sign of a subordinate tone), but also a third metheg with the chirek, which only assists the emphatic pronunciation of the preposition, out which would not stand there at all unless the word had had a disjunctive accent (compare Isaiah 55:9; Psalm 18:45; Hosea 11:6).)

in order that another worthier man may take his place. "And it will come to pass in that day, that I call to my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and invest him with thy coat, and I throw thy sash firmly round him, and place they government in his hand; and he will become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. And I place the key of David upon his shoulder: and when he opens, no man shuts; and when he shuts, no man opens. And I fasten him as a plug in a fast place, and he becomes the seat of honour to his father's house. And the whole mass of his father's house hangs upon him, the offshoots and side-shoots, every small vessel, from the vessel of the basins even to every vessel of the pitchers." Eliakim is called the "servant of Jehovah," as one who was already a servant of God in his heart and conduct; the official service is added for the first time here. This title of honour generally embraces both kinds of service (Isaiah 20:3). It is quite in accordance with oriental custom, that this transfer of the office is effected by means of investiture (compare 1 Kings 19:19): chizzēk, with a double accusative, viz., that of the person and that of the official girdle, is used here according to its radical signification, in the sense of girding tightly or girding round, putting the girdle round him so as to cause the whole dress to sit firmly, without hanging loose. The word memshaltekâ (thy government) shows how very closely the office forfeited by Shebna was connected with that of the king. This is also proved by the word "father," which is applied in other cases to the king as the father of the land (Isaiah 9:5). The "key" signifies the power of the keys; and for this reason it is not given into Eliakim's hand, but placed upon his shoulder (Isaiah 9:5). This key was properly handled by the king (Revelation 3:7), and therefore by the "house-mayor" only in his stead. The power of the keys consisted not only in the supervision of the royal chambers, but also in the decision who was and who was not to be received into the king's service. There is a resemblance, therefore, to the giving of the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter under the New Testament. But there the "binding" and "loosing" introduce another figure, though one similar in sense; whereas here, in the "opening" and "shutting," the figure of the key is retained. The comparison of the institution of Eliakim in his office to the fastening of a tent-peg was all the more natural, that yâthēd was also used as a general designation for national rulers (Zechariah 10:4), who stand in the same relation to the commonwealth as a tent-peg to the tent which it holds firmly and keeps upright. As the tent-peg is rammed into the ground, so that a person could easily sit upon it, the figure is changed, and the tent-peg becomes a seat of honour. As a splendid chair is an ornament to a room, so Eliakim would be an honour to his hitherto undistinguished family. The thought that naturally suggests itself - namely, that the members of the family would sit upon this chair, for the purpose of raising themselves to honour - is expressed by a different figure. Eliakim is once more depicted as a yâthed, but it is as a still higher one this time - namely, as the rod of a wardrobe, or a peg driven high up into the wall. Upon this rod or peg they hang (thâlu, i.e., one hangs, or there hangs) all the câbōd of the house of Eliakim, i.e., not every one who wished to be honoured and attained to honour in this way (cf., Isaiah 5:13), but the whole weight of his family (as in Isaiah 8:7). This family is then subdivided into its separate parts, and, as we may infer from the juxtaposition of the masculine and feminine nouns, according to its male and female constituents. In צאצאים (offshoots) and צפעות ("side-shoots," from צפע, to push out; compare צפיע, dung, with צאה, mire) there is contained the idea of a widely ramifying and undistinguished family connection. The numerous rabble consisted of nothing but vessels of a small kind (hakkâtân), at the best of basons (aggânoth) like those used by the priests for the blood (Exodus 24:6), or in the house for mixing wine (Sol 7:3; Aram. aggono, Ar. iggâne, ingân, a washing bason), but chiefly of nebâlim, i.e., leather bottles or earthenware pitchers (Isaiah 30:14). The whole of this large but hitherto ignoble family of relations would fasten upon Eliakim, and climb through him to honour. Thus all at once the prophecy, which seemed so full of promise of Eliakim, assumes a satirical tone. We get an impression of the favouring of nephews and cousins, and cannot help asking how this could be a suitable prophecy for Shebna to hear.

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