Isaiah 22:1-13

Isa 22:1

The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?


The valley of vision would be focused upon Jerusalem since it lies in a valley.  The term vision would point to the fact that the prophets had received visions from God for Jerusalem.  Going up on the housetops was not only for gathering or sleeping at night.  The people would gather on the housetops in a time of alarm or anxiety.  Just as people today gather in the streets, the people of Jerusalem would go to the housetops and were able to look down upon the streets, probably at this time to look for the invaders which would have been the Assyrians that were pillaging the areas west of Jerusalem.


Isa 22:2

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 word “stirs” carries with it the meaning of “loud shouting or clamor.”  “Tumultuous” carries with the meaning of “troubled or noisy.”  The joyous city was when things were going well and there was an abundance of activity going on in an environment that was not being threatened but now all the joy was being turned into anxiety as the city was awaiting their destruction and the inhabitants were anxious about the approaching Assyrian army.  The Assyrians never entered the city and those that died had died of fright or anticipation of an invasion.  They could have also died from famine as Assyria was attacking all around them and burning the fields and vineyards so food would have been scarce. But the reality was that Sennacherib’s army never entered Jerusalem and this verse shows how devastating fear can be.


Isa 22:3

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.


Then Isaiah looks to the time when the Babylonians will come and take Jerusalem.  Before that time many of the leaders of the outward cities of Judah had fled to Jerusalem for protection from the invading Assyrian army.  When the Babylonians came, the leaders had been in fear of the archers which caused them to be subservient to Babylon.  When the Babylonians came, they were bound together as slaves and taken to Babylon, even those who sought to find refuge in Jerusalem from the cities they fled from.


Isa 22:4

Therefore said I, Look away from me; I will weep bitterly, labour not to comfort me, because of the spoiling of the daughter of my people.


Isaiah had given stern warning to the people concerning what was to come and they chose to pay no heed to what he said.  He asked they look away from him because he wanted to weep in sorrow for he knew that everything he prophesied was of the Lord. This is how many Christians feel when they know what is coming upon the unsaved and those people being witnessed to are very mocking or angry.  Then Isaiah asks the people to not try and comfort him because he knew what was coming upon them.  The daughter of my people is a name sometimes given to cities and nations.  The term “spoiling” carries with the meaning of “desolation.”


Isa 22:5

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.


Here is a prophecy of the coming of Sennacherib as we go back now to the coming of the Assyrian army.  Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. (2 Kings 18:13)  Sennacherib had attacked many of the cities of Judah and had conquered them in 701 B.C. but he was divinely withheld from attacking and taking Jerusalem.  There was great perplexity or confusion in Jerusalem at this time because they did not know whether Assyria was about to attack and destroy them so many of them had fled to the mountains in hopes to find refuge in them.  They had even cried in anguish facing the mountains to the point their cry had reverberated throughout them.


Isa 22:6

And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield.


The quivers which were placed both on the backs of the archers and when attached to the chariot was placed on the side of the vehicles which made the arrows easily accessible.  The shields were often kept in cases or covers which protected them from the elements.  To uncover the shields meant a preparation for battle.  Elam if you remember are the Persians and Kir was the Medes.


Isa 22:7

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.


It seemed that Judah’s situation was hopeless where their choicest valleys which would be where their vineyards were shall be filled with the chariots of the enemy plus the valleys and hills were their defense.  The horsemen will be in military array at the gate of Jerusalem just waiting for the order to advance.  The horsemen would also be a prevention from allowing any provisions from entering the city.


Isa 22:8

And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest.


The covering of Judah were the fenced cities that were all around it which acted as defense positions for Jerusalem.  Then there was a forest close to Jerusalem which had the trees of Lebanon growing in them and was also considered a place of defense.  The temple was also known as Lebanon since much of it was made from the cedars of Lebanon.  Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars. (Zechariah 11:1)  Zechariah 11:1 speaks about the destruction of Jerusalem.  Instead of Judah looking to the LORD as their covering they placed their trust in surrounding cities to keep them safe.


Isa 22:9

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.


Jerusalem was not prepared for any type of attack.  There were many breaches or openings in the walls which made easy access for approaching enemies to be able to enter in.  Instead of keeping up the maintenance of the walls, they allowed them to go into disrepair and now they were facing a dire situation.  They made sure there was enough water storing it in the lower pool which was probably the pool of Siloam which was about 200 yards (182 Meters) below the Gihon Spring.


Isa 22:10

And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall.


In haste, they had allowed themselves to tear down some houses within Jerusalem and use the materials to fortify the walls.  Instead of taking on these projects in peacetime because there was plenty of stone available and no one’s home had to be destroyed.  Then they numbered the houses of Jerusalem to know how many men they could muster quickly when the enemy approaches.  If you notice in all these verses, they were solely depending upon human strength and wisdom and no one even mentioned seeking the LORD.


Isa 22:11

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.


For further protection they dug a ditch between the outer and inner walls.  And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? (2 Kings 20:20)  Hezekiah had built a tunnel under the city which was discovered in Israel and had writing upon it and was known as the Siloam Tunnel.  Here is a link to more on the tunnel.     As I stated in the previous verse, they were doing all kind of human preparation instead of seeking the LORD who could defend them in a heartbeat and drive off the enemy.  Their big mistake was thinking they could actually defend against the Assyrian army with just a pittance of men and a broken wall.


Isa 22:12

And in that day did the Lord GOD of hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth:


God had wanted the people of Jerusalem to weep for their sins in sincerity, not just for show.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)  Baldness and girding with sackcloth were real signs of repentance.  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (Job 1:20)  It would have been something that a truly repentant person would have done.  The LORD wanted them to repent of their sins so he could restore them but as long as they remained obstinate, he could not.


Isa 22:13

And behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine: let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.


There was a spirit of hopelessness and worldliness among them.  They had settled upon the notion that Assyria was going to attack them and destroy them so instead of a time of repentance and seeking the LORD, they decided to enjoy the time they had left by engaging in feasts and revelry.  It was the product of them living in idolatry for many years.  Judah was doing just like Babylon did when the Medes and Persians were right outside their door.  Just like in modern times, the attitude is enjoy life because you only go around once which is a lie because eternity follows this temporary life.  Focusing on the temporary and not the everlasting has caused this world to go in the direction it has.