What word did God give regarding Judah?
These verses describe the jubilant scene in Jerusalem after Sennacherib lifted the siege of the city in 701 B.C. The people became boisterous and exultant, even though their conduct during the siege had been less than commendable (22:1-3). The dangerous situation from which God delivered the people did not lead them to repent. Instead, they celebrated and remained insensitive to God. This caused Isaiah to “weep bitterly” (22:4) while the rest of the city celebrated.
Looking back on the siege of Jerusalem, Isaiah pointed out that when the enemy surrounded the city, the people worked to strengthen their own defenses rather than put their trust in God (22:5-11). Notice the language in verses 8-11: “you depended on … you saw … you collected … you counted … you tore down … you made … but you did not depend on Him … ”
They had depended on their own power and plans rather than on the Lord. Rather than responding to their deliverance with repentance and contrition, the people engaged in unrestrained feasting, shouting, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die” (22:13). They would indeed die (22:14)!
Practical Consideration: There is a time to feast and a time to fast.
After the Lord struck the Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 19:35-36), the inhabitants of Jerusalem began to celebrate rather than evaluate. They shouted for joy when they should have repented of the sin that brought the breath of judgment so close. They feasted when they should have fasted. Their attitude reflected their failure to grasp the significance of the situation.
What word did God give regarding a political opportunist named Shebna?
Shebna was an individual charged with great responsibility in Hezekiah’s administration. He was second in command. He used his political position however, to feather his nest. He had a tomb hewn in the rock in a prominent place in Jerusalem (22:16) and acquired chariots (22:18). Isaiah asked what business Shebna had in building himself a tomb in Jerusalem when he was destined to die in a foreign land (22:16-17).
Isaiah prophesied that God would pull him down (demote him) and replace him with a man named Eliakim (19-25). Refer to 2 Kings 18:18, 26, 37 and 19:2 for more information on Eliakim.