A Study in the Word – Isaiah 22:1-25


Judah’s leadership was a primary concern to the prophet. Like his father Ahaz, King Hezekiah would face numerous temptations to look elsewhere for deliverance. He would show great faith and great misjudgments.

The people of Jerusalem had been in full celebration (22:1-2a). But if Judah had seen coming what Isaiah saw, the party would have stopped long ago (22:2b). He had seen Judah’s rulers abandoning the city and being captured (22:3a) and leaders and people relentlessly pursued (22:3b). Intermittently and in its fullness Isaiah’s vision did come to pass (2 Kings 25). “What is the matter with you now” gets to the heart of the trust issue (22:1b). At a moment when trust in the Lord should be at its greatest, there is only fear and panic.

For decades they have only turned deaf ears to Isaiah. What else can he say? He has no more words of hope but only tears of utter sadness (22:4). At that future time, God will remove His protection and allow enemies to attack Jerusalem (22:5-8a). The city will go to desperate measures to survive (22:8b-11a), yet never think simply to depend on the God who designed disaster if they rejected Him (22:11b).

Instead of humility, Judah would rather choose false confidence in their own abilities, even adopting the decadent practices of Babylon’s king in revelry (22:12-13). Sin is forgiven upon genuine repentance, but Judah’s actions showed humility was far from her thinking (22:14).

The severity of this judgment was not only directed at the people, but also pointedly at one of her foremost leaders, to “Shebna, who is in charge of the royal household” (22:15). A steward should bring honor to his master (Luke 12:42-48), but evidently Shebna had brought dishonor upon Judah’s royal house. Self-serving pride would be his downfall (22:16-19).

A change in leadership was needed. Shebna had abused his position to better himself while failing to serve the best interests of the kingdom. Eliakim would take the role of steward much more seriously. He would “become a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (22:20-21). He would be given full authority to administer the affairs of the king and serve with honor (22:22-24). Nevertheless, even Eliakim will succumb to the virus of power - the “peg” will come loose. Only the Lord will prove capable of sustaining the kind of trust Judah needs (22:25).

Dr. David Moore is a Baptist preacher in Pampa and an online instructor in Bible and theology for Taylor University and Nations University. Email: dm5867se@outlook.com