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Isaiah 22:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— The oracle concerning the valley of vision. What is the matter with you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou hast wholly gone up to the house-tops?
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— The oracle on the valley of vision,—What aileth thee, then, That thou art wholly gone up to the house-tops?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— The burden of the Valley of Vision. What—to thee, now, that thou hast gone up, All of thee—to the roofs?
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee also, that thou too art wholly gone up to the housetops?
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— The burden of the valley of vision. What ayleth thee now, that thou art wholly gone vp to the house toppes?
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— THE WORD OF THE VALLEY OF ZION{gr.SION}. What has happened to thee, that now ye are all gone up to the housetops which help you not?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
The burden 4853
{4853} Prime
From H5375; a burden; specifically tribute, or (abstractly) porterage; figuratively an utterance, chiefly a doom, especially singing; mental, desire.
of the valley 1516
{1516} Prime
Probably (by transmutation) from the same root as H1466 (abbreviated); a gorge (from its lofty sides; hence narrow, but not a gully or winter torrent).
of vision. 2384
{2384} Prime
From H2372; a revelation, especially by dream.
What x4100
(4100) Complement
A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses.
aileth thee now, 645
{0645} Prime
From H6311; strictly a demonstrative particle, here; but used of time, now or then.
that x3588
(3588) Complement
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou art wholly x3605
(3605) Complement
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
gone up 5927
{5927} Prime
A primitive root; to ascend, intransitively (be high) or active (mount); used in a great variety of senses, primary and secondary, literally and figuratively.
<8804> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Perfect (See H8816)
Count - 12562
to the housetops? 1406
{1406} Prime
Probably by reduplication from H1342; a roof; by analogy the top of an altar.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Isaiah 22:1

_ _ Isaiah 22:1-14. Prophecy as to an attack on Jerusalem.

_ _ That by Sennacherib, in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah; Isaiah 22:8-11, the preparations for defense and securing of water exactly answer to those in 2 Chronicles 32:4, 2 Chronicles 32:5, 2 Chronicles 32:30. “Shebna,” too (Isaiah 22:15), was scribe at this time (Isaiah 36:3) [Maurer]. The language of Isaiah 22:12-14, as to the infidelity and consequent utter ruin of the Jews, seems rather to foreshadow the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in Zedekiah’s reign, and cannot be restricted to Hezekiah’s time [Lowth].

_ _ of ... valley of vision — rather, “respecting the valley of visions”; namely, Jerusalem, the seat of divine revelations and visions, “the nursery of prophets” [Jerome], (Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 29:1; Ezekiel 23:4, Margin; Luke 13:33). It lay in a “valley” surrounded by hills higher than Zion and Moriah (Psalms 125:2; Jeremiah 21:13).

_ _ thee — the people of Jerusalem personified.

_ _ housetops — Panic-struck, they went up on the flat balustraded roofs to look forth and see whether the enemy was near, and partly to defend themselves from the roofs (Judges 9:51, etc.).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Isaiah 22:1-7

_ _ The title of this prophecy is very observable. It is the burden of the valley of vision, of Judah and Jerusalem; so all agree. Fitly enough is Jerusalem called a valley, for the mountains were round about it, and the land of Judah abounded with fruitful valleys; and by the judgments of God, though they had been as a towering mountain, they should be brought low, sunk and depressed, and become dark and dirty, as a valley. But most emphatically is it called a valley of vision because there God was known and his name was great, there the prophets were made acquainted with his mind by visions, and there the people saw the goings of their God and King in his sanctuary. Babylon, being a stranger to God, though rich and great, was called the desert of the sea; but Jerusalem, being entrusted with his oracles, is a valley of vision. Blessed are their eyes, for they see, and they have seers by office among them. Where Bibles and ministers are there is a valley of vision, from which is expected fruit accordingly; but here is a burden of the valley of vision, and a heavy burden it is. Note, Church privileges, if they be not improved, will not secure men from the judgments of God. You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you. The valley of vision has a particular burden. Thou Capernaum, Matthew 11:23. The higher any are lifted up in means and mercies the heavier will their doom be if they abuse them.

_ _ Now the burden of the valley of vision here is that which will not quite ruin it, but only frighten it; for it refers not to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, but to the attempt made upon it by Sennacherib, which we had the prophecy of, ch. 10, and shall meet with the history of, ch. 36. It is here again prophesied of, because the desolations of many of the neighbouring countries, which were foretold in the foregoing chapters, were to be brought to pass by the Assyrian army. Now let Jerusalem know that when the cup is going round it will be put into her hand; and, although it will not be to her a fatal cup, yet it will be a cup of trembling. Here is foretold,

_ _ I. The consternation that the city should be in upon the approach of Sennacherib's army. It used to be full of stirs, a city of great trade, people hurrying to and fro about their business, a tumultuous city, populous and noisy. Where there is great trade there is great tumult. It used to be a joyous revelling city. What with the busy part and what with the merry part of mankind, places of concourse are places of noise. “But what ails thee now, that the shops are quitted, and there is no more walking in the streets and exchange, but thou hast wholly gone up to the house-tops (Isaiah 22:1), to bemoan thyself in silence and solitude, or to secure thyself from the enemy, or to look abroad and see if any succours come to thy relief, or which way the enemies' motions are.” Let both men of business and sportsmen rejoice as though they rejoiced not, for something may happen quickly, which they little think of, that will be a damp to their mirth and a stop to their business, and send them to watch as a sparrow alone upon the house-top, Psalms 102:7. But why is Jerusalem in such a fright? Her slain men are not slain with the sword (Isaiah 22:2), but, 1. Slain with famine (so some); for Sennacherib's army having laid the country waste, and destroyed the fruits of the earth, provisions must needs be very scarce and dear in the city, which would be the death of many of the poorer sort of people, who would be constrained to feed on that which was unwholesome. 2. Slain with fear. They were put into this fright though they had not a man killed, but so disheartened themselves that they seemed as effectually stabbed with fear as if they had been run through with a sword.

_ _ II. The inglorious flight of the rulers of Judah, who fled from far, from all parts of the country, to Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:3), fled together, as it were by consent, and were found in Jerusalem, having left their respective cities, which they should have taken care of, to be a prey to the Assyrian army, which, meeting with no opposition, when it came up against all the defenced cities of Judah easily took them, Isaiah 36:1. These rulers were bound from the bow (so the word is); they not only quitted their own cities like cowards, but, when they came to Jerusalem, were of no service there, but were as if their hands were tied from the use of the bow, by the extreme distraction and confusion they were in; they trembled, so that they could not draw a bow. See how easily God can dispirit men, and how certainly fear will dispirit them, when the tyranny of it is yielded to.

_ _ III. The great grief which this should occasion to all serious sensible people among them, which is represented by the prophet's laying the thing to heart himself; he lived to see it, and was resolved to share with the children of his people in their sorrows, Isaiah 22:4, Isaiah 22:5. He is not willing to proclaim his sorrow, and therefore bids those about him to look away from him; he will abandon himself to grief, and indulge himself in it, will weep secretly, but weep bitterly, and will have none go about to comfort him, for his grief is obstinate and he is pleased with his pain. But what is the occasion of his grief? A poor prophet had little to lose, and had been inured to hardship, when he walked naked and barefoot; but it is for the spoiling of the daughter of his people. It is a day of trouble, and of treading down, and of perplexity. Our enemies trouble us and tread us down, and our friends are perplexed and know not what course to take to do us a kindness. The Lord God of hosts is now contending with the valley of vision; the enemies with their battering rams are breaking down the walls, and we are in vain crying to the mountains (to keep off the enemy, or to fall on us and cover us) or looking for help to come to us over the mountains, or appealing, as God does, to the mountains, to hear our controversy (Micah 6:1) and to judge between us and our injurious neighbours.

_ _ IV. The great numbers and strength of the enemy, that should invade their country and besiege their city, Isaiah 22:6, Isaiah 22:7. Elam (that is, the Persians) come with their quiver full of arrows, and with chariots of fighting men, and horsemen. Kir (that is, the Medes) muster up their arms, unsheath the sword, and uncover the shield, and get every thing ready for battle, every thing ready for the besieging of Jerusalem. Then the choice valleys about Jerusalem, that used to be clothed with flocks and covered over with corn, shall be full of chariots of war, and at the gate of the city the horsemen shall set themselves in array, to cut off all provisions from going in, and to force their way in. What a condition must the city be in that was beset on all sides with such an army!

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Isaiah 22:1

The valley — Of Judah; and especially of Jerusalem, called a valley, because great part of it flood in a valley; and the valley of vision, because of the many and clear visions or revelations of God's mind, in that place. House — tops — As they used to do in times of great consternation, that they might look, to and cry to heaven for help.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Isaiah 22:1

The burden of the (a) valley of vision. What (b) aileth thee now, that thou hast wholly gone up to the housetops?

(a) Meaning, Judea, which was compassed about with mountains, and was called the valley of visions, because of the prophets, who were always there, whom they named Seers.

(b) He speaks to Jerusalem, whose inhabitants fled up to the housetops for fear of their enemies.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
am cir, 3292, bc cir, 712

the valley:
Jerusalem being situated in the midst of surrounding hills, and the seat of Divine revelation, is here termed "the valley of vision." This prophecy foretells the invasion of Jerusalem by the Assyrians under Sennacherib; and probably also, by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar.
Psalms 125:2 As the mountains [are] round about Jerusalem, so the LORD [is] round about his people from henceforth even for ever.
Jeremiah 21:13 Behold, I [am] against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, [and] rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?

of vision:

1 Samuel 3:1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; [there was] no open vision.
Psalms 147:19-20 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. ... He hath not dealt so with any nation: and [as for his] judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.
Proverbs 29:18 Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.
Micah 3:6 Therefore night [shall be] unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.
Romans 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
Romans 9:4-5 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises; ... Whose [are] the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [came], who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.


Genesis 21:17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he [is].
Judges 18:23 And they cried unto the children of Dan. And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?
1 Samuel 11:5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What [aileth] the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.
2 Samuel 14:5 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, I [am] indeed a widow woman, and mine husband is dead.
2 Kings 6:28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow.
Psalms 114:5 What [ailed] thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, [that] thou wast driven back?

that thou:
The eastern houses are built with a court within, into which chiefly the windows open; those that open to the street being so obstructed with lattice work, that no one can see through them. Whenever, therefore, anything is to be seen or heard in the streets, any public spectacle, or any alarm, everyone immediately goes up to the house-top to satisfy his curiosity. Hence all the people running to the top of their houses, gives a lively image of a sudden general alarm.
Isaiah 15:3 In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.
Deuteronomy 22:8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.
Jeremiah 48:38 [There shall be] lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure, saith the LORD.
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 21:17. Dt 22:8. Jg 18:23. 1S 3:1; 11:5. 2S 14:5. 2K 6:28. Ps 114:5; 125:2; 147:19. Pv 29:18. Is 15:3. Jr 21:13; 48:38. Mi 3:6. Ro 3:2; 9:4.

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