Isaiah 22:24
And they shall hang on 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.
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(24) And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house . . .—The metaphor of the nail is resumed. Not without a touch of irony, as the sequel shows, the prophet paints the extent to which those who belong to Eliakim will hang upon his support. There will be the “glory” or the “weight” (the Hebrew word has both meanings) of his next-of-kin. Besides these there will be the remoter off-shoots and side-shoots of his family. But the number will increase, and upon that single nail, or peg, would hang the “vessels of small quantity,” cups such as were used by the priests for the blood of the victims in sacrificing (Exodus 24:6), or for wine in common use (Song Song of Solomon 7:2), flagons, or earthen pitchers, as in Isaiah 30:14; Lamentations 4:2, i.e., the whole crowd of the retainers of a great official. The prophet obviously paints the picture as a warning. There was the danger even for Eliakim, upright and religious as he was, as there has been for others like him, of giving way to nepotism, and the fault would not remain unpunished.

Isaiah 22:24-25. They shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house — Of his own kindred and family, who shall all depend upon him, and receive glory from him; the offspring and the issue — Great and small, the children and grand-children, of his father’s house. All vessels of small quantity — The meanest of them shall receive a lustre and advantage from their relation to him; from the vessels of cups, &c. — All sorts of vessels, great or small, mean or precious, may be hanged upon him, without any fear of falling. In that day shall the nail, &c. — This must be understood of Shebna, as a repetition and confirmation of the sentence above denounced against him; shall the nail that is fastened — That seemed to be so, both in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others; be removed and fall — As above described; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off — All those wicked officers that were advanced and supported by his power. 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 they shall hang upon him - This figure is a continuation of that commenced in the previous verse; and is derived from the custom of "hanging" clothes or ornaments on the spikes that were fixed in the walls; and, perhaps, more particularly from the custom of suspending shields, swords, suits of armor, etc., taken in battle, around the walls of a temple. A great portion of the wealth of the ancients consisted in gold and silver vessels, and in changes of raiment. These would be hung around a house in no inconsiderable degree for ostentation and parade. 'Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold; and all the vessels of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver' 1 Kings 10:21. 'The vessels in the house of the forest of Lebanon were two hundred targets and three hundred shields of beaten gold' 1 Kings 10:16-17. That these were hung on spikes or pins around the house is apparent from Sol 4:4 : 'Thy neck is like the tower of David, builded for an armory, whereon there bans a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.' Eliakim is considered as a principal support like this, whereon would be suspended all the glory of his father's family, and all the honor of his house; that is, he would be the principal support of the whole civil and ecclesiastical polity.

The offspring and the issue - All that proceeded from the family; all that were connected with it. Kimchi and Aben Ezra render it, 'Sons and daughters.' The Septuagint: 'From the least to the greatest.' The Chaldee, 'Sons and grandsons, youth and children.' The idea is, that all the prosperity, near and remote, would depend on him; and that his character would sustain and give dignity to them all. The word which is rendered 'issue' (הצפעות hatsepi‛ôt), according to Vitringa and Rosenmuller, denotes those that were of humble condition; and the passage means that honor would be conferred even on these by the virtues of Eliakim.

From the vessels of cups - literally, goblets, or bowls (אגנות 'āgânôt). The idea probably is, simply that of vessels of "small capacity," whatever was the material of which they were composed; and hence, the reference here is to those of the family of Eliakim who were of humble rank, or who were poor.

To all the vessels of flagons - Margin, 'Instruments of viols.' Hebrew, נבלים nebâliym. This word is often applied to instruments of musica the נבל nebel, viol (see it described in the notes at Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 14:11); but it properly denotes a bottle made of skin for holding wine, and which, being made of the whole skin of a goat or sheep, indicated the vessels of large dimensions. Here it refers to the members of the family of Eliakim who were more wealthy and influential than those denoted by the small vessels. The glory of the whole family would depend on him. His virtues, wisdom, integrity, and valor in defending and saving the Hebrew commonwealth, would diffuse honor over the whole family connection, and render the name illustrious.

24. Same image as in Isa 22:23. It was customary to "hang" the valuables of a house on nails (1Ki 10:16, 17, 21; So 4:4).

offspring and the issue—rather, "the offshoots of the family, high and low" [Vitringa]. Eliakim would reflect honor even on the latter.

vessels of cups—of small capacity: answering to the low and humble offshoots.

vessels of flagons—larger vessels: answering to the high offshoots.

Of his father’s house; of his own kindred and family, who shall all depend upon him, and receive glory from him; of the house of David, which is called

his father’s house, either because kings are called the fathers of all their subjects, both in Scripture, as 1 Samuel 24:11 2 Kings 5:13 16:7, and in other authors; or, as Calvin ingeniously conjectures, because he was of the blood royal. Otherwise this had been no great commendation to him, that he studied so much the advancement of his own private family. And this seems more probable, because this character is opposed to that of Shebna, who was the shame of his lord’s, to wit, the king’s, house or family, Isaiah 22:18. The offspring and the issue; great and small, the children and grandchildren of his father’s house.

All vessels of small quantity; the meanest of them shall receive a lustre and advantage from their relation to him.

From the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons; all sorts of vessels, great or small, mean or precious, may be hanged upon him, without any fear of falling; whereas ordinary nails or pins, if they be oppressed with too great weight, are easily broken down, and the vessels fall with them. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house,.... Which shows the reason of his being compared to a nail; not to one that fastens pieces of timber together, or to a nail or stake drove in the ground, to which the cords of tents are fastened, but to a nail in a wall, on which things are hung: and the meaning is, that all of his father's family would be dependent upon him, be supported by him, and receive honour and glory from him: and which also is true of Christ the antitype; the glory of building his Father's house, the church, and of saving it, and of making of it glorious, belongs to him, and is given to him; it is put upon him, and it is visible on him, and it is weighty, and will continue:

the offspring and the issue; all the descendants of his father's family, sons and daughters, children and grandchildren; so the Targum,

"and all the glorious or noble ones of his father's house shall lean upon him, children, and children's children:''

so all the children of God, and who are also Christ's spiritual seed and offspring, these depend upon him for grace, and all the supplies of it; they boast in him for righteousness and strength, and rely upon him for life and salvation:

all vessels of small quantity; from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons; meaning those of his family, that were some of lesser, others of greater capacities, for whom he provided places and posts under him, suitable thereunto; none were forgotten or neglected by him: this simile, of vessels of various sorts and sizes, is made use of, in perfect agreement with Eliakim's being compared to a nail, on which vessels in a house are hung by their handles. The Targum is,

"from young men to little ones; from the priests clothed with the ephod, to the Levites that held the psalteries.''

In the typical sense, it is to be understood of the vessels of mercy; some of which are larger, and others lesser; some capable of receiving more grace and larger gifts, and others less; to whom Christ communicates, and whom he fills, according to their capacities; all whose wants he supplies, and whose persons he supports; he fills them with his grace, and he fits them for glory; see Romans 9:23.

And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue, {z} all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons.

(z) Meaning that both small and great who will come from Eliakim, will have praise and glory by his faithful officer.

24. An under-current of satire seems unmistakeable.

all the glory] perhaps: the whole weight (see “burden” in next verse).

the offspring and the issue] the scions and the offshoots (Cheyne). The second expression is decidedly contemptuous, and so (more or less) are all that follow. It cannot be to Eliakim’s credit that the bulk of his relations are likened to the meanest kitchen utensils.

24, 25. If Isaiah 22:24 stood alone it might be barely possible to interpret it in a sense favourable to Eliakim. But taken in connexion with Isaiah 22:25 it seems to convey an imputation of the unworthy exercise of patronage on his part,—a filling of important offices with worthless relatives and dependents. Many commentators, it is true, hold that Isaiah 22:25 refers back to the fall of Shebna, but this is quite arbitrary. Shebna is not likened to a “nail in a sure place” and it is clearly implied that he had no “father’s house” in Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:16). It is hardly credible that Isaiah should have uttered such a threat along with the promises in Isaiah 22:20-23; but the last two verses may be an appendix written later, when abuses of trust in Eliakim’s family had begun to display themselves.Verse 24. - All the glory. According to scriptural notions, the "glory" of a family consists very much in its size (Genesis 15:5; Psalm 127:5, etc.). And Christ's glory in his final kingdom will consist greatly in the number of the saved (Revelation 7:4-9). The offspring and the issue; i.e. the flourishing scions, and the despised seedlings alike. The word translated "issue" is a term of contempt (see Ezekiel 4:15). From the vessels of cups; rather, of bowls (comp. Exodus 24:6). To all the vessels of flagons; rather, of pitchers. "A numerous, undistinguished, family connection" seems to be intended (Delitzsch). "Thus spake the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, Go, get thee to that steward there, to Shebna the house-mayor. What has thou here, and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewn thyself out a sepulchre here, hewing out his sepulchre high up, digging himself a dwelling in rocks? Behold, Jehovah hurleth thee, hurling with a man's throw, and graspeth thee grasping. Coiling, He coileth thee a coil, a ball into a land far and wide; there shalt thou die, and thither the chariots of thy glory, thou shame of the house of thy lord! And I thrust thee from thy post, and from thy standing-place he pulleth thee down." לך־בּ, go, take thyself in - not into the house, however, but into the present halting-place. It is possible, at the same time, that the expression may simply mean "take thyself away," as in 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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