Scripture reading – Isaiah 22; Isaiah 23

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Our study in “The Book of the Prophet Isaiah” continues with a prophetic judgment directed to “the valley of vision” (Isaiah 22:1). Because Judah was identified as the object of the prophecy (Isaiah 22:8), and the “city of David” is named as the subject of a siege (Isaiah 22:9), we know Isaiah 22 is a prophecy against Jerusalem.

God’s Judgment Against Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:1-7)

Having witnessed the devastation suffered by Israel (the northern ten tribes), one would hope the people of Judah (the southern kingdom) would have repented and humbled themselves before God. Instead, we read concerning Jerusalem, “Thou that art full of stirs [noise; shouting], a tumultuous city, a joyous city [jubilant; full of revelers] (Isaiah 22:2).  

The citizens of Jerusalem mirrored the sinful, selfish spirit of the rich fool when he said, “Eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19). The people took pleasure in their sins and rejected the warning that God’s judgment was imminent. Isaiah warned that the day of judgment was coming, and men would be slain in the streets (Isaiah 22:2), and the leaders of the people would flee before the enemy (Isaiah 22:3-7).  

The Cause for God’s Judgment and the Refusal of the People to Humble Themselves

 The Cause for God’s Judgment and the Refusal of the People to Humble Themselves (Isaiah 22:8-14)

Isaiah prophesied Jerusalem’s defenses would fail (Isaiah 22:8-11a), and still the people refused to turn to the LORD (Isaiah 22:11b).  Instead of repenting of their sin, the people resolved to “eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die” (Isaiah 22:12-14). Of Judah, the LORD declared, “Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, Saith the Lord God of hosts” (Isaiah 22:14).

A Specific Denunciation of Jerusalem’s Treasurer (Isaiah 22:15-19)

The LORD then commanded his prophet to take a personal message of judgment to the treasurer of Jerusalem named “Shebna” (Isaiah 22:15). Like politicians of our day, Shebna had enriched himself with ill-gotten gain. Flaunting his wealth, he carved out of rock an elaborate sepulcher worthy of a king (Isaiah 22:16). Isaiah warned the treasurer that he would be carried away and die in captivity (Isaiah 22:17-19). Shebna’s tomb would belong to another.

The LORD Raised Eliakim, A Godly Leader (Isaiah 22:20-25)

Replacing Shebna, the LORD promised He would raise Eliakim, a man whom He described as “my servant” (Isaiah 22:20). Unlike Shebna, who abused the trust of the people and his position, Eliakim conducted himself like “a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah” (Isaiah 22:20-21). He proved to be an honorable man (Isaiah 22:22), and the LORD promised Eliakim would serve like a “nail in a sure place” (in other words, a well-placed leader, Isaiah 22:23). He would bring “the glory of his father’s house” (Isaiah 22:24).

Closing thoughts –

For Judah, it was too late (Isaiah 22:25). Though Eliakim was a godly man serving at the forefront of Judah’s leadership, God’s judgment was inevitable (Isaiah 22:25).

Looking at our world today, I wonder if it is too late for many nations to escape God’s judgment. Like the people of Judah, I fear many believers and churches have assimilated the sins and pleasures of the world and given little thought to the promise of God’s judgment.

May you and I determine that we will not serve for the pleasure of wealth and possessions, only to hear, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)

The Judgment Day (Isaiah 23)

The Judgment Day (Isaiah 23)

 The prophet Isaiah’s message of judgment continues in the second Bible study for today’s Scripture reading. The subject of Isaiah 23 was “the burden [judgment] of Tyre” (Isaiah 23:1).


The Pronouncement of Judgment Against Trye (Isaiah 23:1-6)

Several ancient seaport cities were named in the opening verses of Isaiah 23.  By Isaiah’s day, the seaport city known as Tyre was inhabited for centuries and was an important seaport for trade.  Isaiah foretold the desolation that Tyre would suffer, declaring that it would be “laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering” (i.e., no inhabitants in what had been a bustling harbor city, Isaiah 23:1).

Because Tyre was a center for trade and commerce, its fall would impact the entire region financially (Isaiah 23:2-3). Isaiah prophesied that the “ships of Tarshish” (modern Spain) would howl or wail for Tyre. The news of Tyre’s fall would reach “the land of Chittim” (believed to be Cyprus, Isaiah 23:1). Zidon (or Sidon, an ancient Phoenician seaport, located north of ancient Tyre, Isaiah 23:2), and “Sihor” (today’s Egypt, Isaiah 23:3-4) would be diminished.

Egypt, the “bread basket” to the nations of the ancient world, would be “sorely pained at the report of Tyre” (Isaiah 23:5). Pursued by the Babylonian army, the refugees of Tyre would flee to Tarshish (Spain, Isaiah 23:6).

Why and Who Conquered Tyre? (Isaiah 23:7-14)

Why was Tyre appointed for judgment? (Isaiah 23:7)

The answer to that question is found in Isaiah 23:7. There we read: “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days? Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn” (Isaiah 23:7). Like wealthy Vienna of the Middle Ages or modern London and Washington in modern times, Tyre’s wealth had turned the population of that city into a rich, “joyous” (frivolous, narcissistic) city. The sins and wickedness of Tyre provoked God’s wrath. 

Who devastated Tyre? (Isaiah 23:8-14)

The Scriptures and history record the Babylonian invasion as the instrument of Tyre’s destruction. The Scriptures, however, leave no doubt that the fall of that city was the work of the LORD. We read, “The LORD of hosts hath purposed it…He stretched out his hand over the sea, He shook the kingdoms” (Isaiah 23:9, 11).  

Tyre’s annihilation as a city and people affected other towns and strongholds on the Mediterranean Sea (Isaiah 23:11-12). The demise of Assyria gave rise to Babylon. Still, Isaiah prophesied the Chaldeans (the nation of which Babylon was the capital city) would also be judged by the LORD (Isaiah 23:13). The sailors from Tarshish would wail and howl for the devastating economic loss they would experience (Isaiah 23:14).

Who devastated Tyre? (Isaiah 23:8-14)

Seventy Years Later, Tyre Was Rebuilt (Isaiah 23:15-17)


Though all seemed lost for Tyre, Isaiah made an amazing prophecy (Isaiah 23:15). Seventy years would pass, and at the end of the 70 years, Tyre would “sing as an harlot” (Isaiah 23:15).

How could that be? The Bible reveals, and history affirms, that in 70 years, the Chaldean nation ceased to exist when Babylon, its capital city, fell to the Medes and Persian armies (Isaiah 23:15; Daniel 5). Tyre, that wicked city, was revived, only to return to her sinful ways. Once again, “the kingdoms of the world” would be enticed to her alluring, wicked ways (2 Isaiah 3:16-17).


Closing thoughts –

The pronouncement of God’s judgment of Tyre ends with a prophecy that will not be fulfilled until the Millennial Kingdom when Christ is King (Isaiah 23:18). When Christ reigns in Jerusalem, the trade of Tyre will be dedicated to the LORD (Isaiah 23:18a). Rather than hoard their merchandise, Tyre’s goods will be a blessing to “them that dwell before the LORD” (Isaiah 23:18).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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