Isaiah 22: Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Have you heard this phrase before? It's a little different than the version in Ecclesiastes 8:15, which has a much cheerier message. How did we go from "a man hath no better thing under the sun" to "tomorrow we die?" Also in this chapter, is a Messianic prophecy!


Isaiah 22 is written to the valley of vision, aka Jerusalem. We know this from Isaiah 22:4, in which God refers to the city as the daughter of my people. This is akin to the phrase "daughter of Zion," since we know Zion is God's people, therefore we can conclude Isaiah is addressing Jerusalem. This is later confirmed by the description of the city and the reference to the city of David. The Israelites were notorious for breaking their covenant with God so it is of no surprise that there is a vision of judgment for the city that was contained God's Earthly home.

The final bit of the chapter covers a prophecy about a man named Eliakim, which turns out to be a double prophecy fulfilled in Jesus as well!


Within the first passage, Isaiah informs us that the army of Israel isn't dead, but rather they've all fled into a corner. The leaders of the city have abandoned the people! A good leader is on the front lines of the battle; this is why God often reminds us that we aren't to fight the battle, we are to let Him do the fighting. God would never flee into a corner and leave us to defend ourselves against Satan. Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue if a foreign country attacked us right now and president, vice president and all of the house and senate fled the country? That's basically what Isaiah was predicting would happen to Jerusalem.

Elam and Kir

Elam and Kir are cities mentioned as fighting against Israel, in Isaiah 22:6. Elam is likely named after one of Shem's sons who also bore the name Elam.[1] It would have been located East of Israel, just past Babylon. Kir was a city in Moab.[2]

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

Photocredit: Elmes
On the eve an exam you're pretty sure you're going to fail, do you spend the night before cramming as much as you can or going out with your friends? If you have the tiniest smidgen of hope, you cram like your life depends on it. If you've given up and checked-out, you probably go out with your friends. In Isaiah 22:8-14, the people of Jerusalem are quickly losing a war. Instead of turning to God for help, they are feasting and drinking with the knowledge that they will eventually lose. Unlike the situation in Ecclesiastes 8:15, this is a celebration of conceding before the end and unnecessary acceptance of failure.

The contrast between their behavior and Jesus' is worth noting. The people of Jerusalem abandon God in the time they need Him most; had they been in communion with God, the enemy would never have gained so much crowd. Accepting their defeat, they decide to drown their worries out with the worldly act of partying. In contrast, just before His crucifixion, Jesus goes to pray. He fasts and spends the evening reflecting what is coming next.

Foretelling the Captivity

Isaiah warns Israel of the coming captivity that will result from the their defeat.


Shebna was a scribe in the king's household (2 Kings 18:37). Like the pharaoh's of Egypt, he had spent time and money building a grand burial site for himself. This would be a monument for those for generations to come to remember him by. I think it's fairly obvious that this would be considered vain and displeasing to God, so it doesn't come as surprise to me that God uses this as the punchline for the coming judgment. God informs them that they've done all of this preparation for nought. Captivity was upon them and they were to die in a foreign land in shame.


God calls on a man named Eliakim, who served Israel during the reign of King Hezekiah, to be the leader during the fall of the city. Eliakim means "ressurection of God" or "raised up by God."[3] It's interesting, because another Eliakim, is actually one of the last kings of Israel and is placed on the throne to replace his father (Josiah) by an Egyptian pharaoh. Isaiah is clearly speaking of the specific Eliakim of his era, but it can't be coincidence that the king during the beginning of Judah's loss of sovereignty was also named Eliakim

Another interesting point about Eliakim, is that his description sounds a lot like Jesus. Both Jesus and Eliakim are:
  1. Clothed in a robe (John 19:2, Revelation 19:13, 16)
  2. Over the government (Isaiah 9:6, Luke 23:42, Revelation 17:14)
  3. House of Judah (Matthew 1)
  4. Key to the House of David (Revelation 3:7)
  5. Power to open and shut such that no one else can change (Revelation 3:7-8)
  6. Fastened as a nail (John 20:24-27, Colossians 2:14)
  7. A throne for his father's house (Matthew 10:32, Revelation 3:21)
  8. Cut off (Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 27)


  1. "Elam". Bible Atlas; visited December 2018
  2. "Kir". Bible Atlas; visited December 2018
  3. "Eliakim". Bible Hub; visited December 2018

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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