Our last reading for this week is Isaiah 22:5-11
v5: Trouble…treading down…perplexity: There is a degree of confusion among the people due to an uprising. Everyone is moving about, and they have been defeated. Furthermore, they are ashamed or embarrassed about this situation that they find themselves in.
- By the L-rd G-d of hosts: The L-rd is the One who is causing/allowing this to happen to the people as He is not pleased with them.
- Breaking down the walls: This is a word of destruction and could be a foreshadowing of exile. The image here is that of the city being in ruins. There is spiritual devastation in this place, but there is also going to be physical devastation here. The people are not following the instructions of G-d but have been led by demonic influence.
- Wall: This could be referring to the city walls or the walls of the temple.
- Mountain: This mountain may be referring to Jerusalem
v6: Elam: Elam was part of the nation or empire of Assyria.
- Quiver: A reference to bearing arms. A quiver is part of weaponry.
- Chariots of men and horsemen: Soldiers.
- Kir: An important city in the nation of Moab. These two mighty nations are coming to do battle against Jerusalem.
- Uncovered the shield: Moab is preparing herself to battle against Jerusalem.
v7: In array at the gate: This all foreshadows a defeat. What we can conclude is this: when G-d is not pleased with us He allows the enemy to let us experience pain, suffering and loss. This is a call for us to repent and to begin, again, to walk in the will and purposes of G-d.
v8: Removed the protection of Judah: The enemy exposed that which shielded or protected Judah. Nothing in Judah was hidden from their enemies. Their secret sins, their weapons of warfare that they trusted in etc were all laid bare for the enemy to see.
- You: Judah
- In that day: A phrase of judgment.
- Armour: The weaponry
- House of the Forest: There are trees in a forest. The people brought lumber from the forest in order to make the temple. The people trusted in that temple. They felt that because the temple was among them that the enemy would never have victory over Jerusalem. They felt as if the temple was their security, their secret weapon against enemy attack, so to speak. The weapon that they thought would provide security to them (ie the temple) was going to be destroyed.
v9: You: Written in the plural. Many are going to see this happen.
- The damage (literally: The splitting): This speaks of a breaking through, a breach into the city.
- The city of David: This is the first verse that confirms that this prophecy in Isaiah 22 is indeed about Jerusalem.
- Gathered together the waters of the lower pool: This is an act of desperation. G-d had said that these people were going to go into exile. It would have gone better for them to have just submitted to G-d’s Word and surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar. Instead, they dug in their heels and made a stand hoping that they were going to survive in a desperate situation – the city under siege. By gathering this water, they are taking precautions in order to try to survive. A city without water cannot survive for very long.
v10: Numbered: Counted. They calculated how many homes would be needed to shelter the people and all the “extra” homes were broken up in order to make the walls stronger for less chance of them being breached. They tightened up their security.
- The houses of Jerusalem: Another clear reference that this prophecy is about Jerusalem.
- Broke down: They destroyed these homes. The people are taking matters of security and provision into their own hands.
v11: Reservoir: In Hebrew this is the word ‘Mikvah’. These ritual baths are still very much in regular use among the observant Jews in Israel today.
- Between the two walls: This mikvah (reservoir of water) was so precious that it was reinforced between the walls of the city.
- The water of the old pool: They went back to the oldest source of water, which is probably the best source of water (from a human perspective)
- Did not look: To ‘look’ is often an idiom for prayer. They did not seek the One who is the source of water, the One who actually made the water (G-dly perspective). They only saw the immediacy of their situation and, instead of seeking G-d and His plans, they made a plan with their own hands. Not looking to G-d is exactly why they are in this predicament in the first place.