How will God’s people find safety? Isaiah 22 speaks of a “valley of vision” - an intriguing idea, especially since Jerusalem is not in a valley but on a mountain. What is the vision like? What happens when we consider the vision? Does it drive us to some sort of action?
Luther, Martin, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, translated by Herbert J.A. Bowman) Luther’s Works, Vol. 16, Lectures on Isaiah Chapters 1-39. St. Louis: Concordia, 1969. Logos Electronic Edition.
“Isaiah Chapter 22” pp. 175-181.
In chapter 22 Isaiah’s prophecy turns against Jerusalem, the valley of vision. Luther observes the antiphrasis involved in referring to Jerusalem, which occupies a mountain, as a valley. The concept of a prophet as a “seer” increases the force of the statement (LW 16, 175). Despite being the place of prophets, Jerusalem has not seen what is necessary. The assault on Jerusalem will be a day which will confront the people with their own sin and failing (v. 5). All the security of Jerusalem will be breached (LW 16, 176). Verse 11 shows the futile attitude of those under attack in Jerusalem. “They want to be martyrs without God, and they strut along in their own presumption” (LW 16, 177). In verse 15 and following we see that even the faithful steward of the king, who is secure and powerful in his own right, will be threatened and deposed (LW 16, 178). What is the sin of Shebna, which leads to his trouble? Luther observes that it is very easy to find ourselves neglecting dependence on God. It leads to great loss (LW 16, 179). In verse 20, Shebna is replaced by the faithful Eliakim (LW 16, 179). He is pictured as faithful, bearing authority, caring for God’s people. The language of a “peg” from vv. 23 and 25 is interpreted by Luther as that which secures a wall or possibly a fence. Eliakim is responsible for the new and secure boundaries of Israel (LW 16, 180). Luther takes the various vessels fastened to Eliakim in verse 24 to refer allegorically to various different vocations within the ongoing nation of God’s people (LW 16, 181).
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