Isaiah 22:16

ESV What have you to do here, and whom have you here, that you have cut out here a tomb for yourself, you who cut out a tomb on the height and carve a dwelling for yourself in the rock?
NIV What are you doing here and who gave you permission to cut out a grave for yourself here, hewing your grave on the height and chiseling your resting place in the rock?
NASB ‘What right do you have here, And whom do you have here, That you have cut out a tomb for yourself here, You who cut out a tomb on the height, You who carve a resting place for yourself in the rock?
CSB What are you doing here? Who authorized you to carve out a tomb for yourself here, carving your tomb on the height and cutting a resting place for yourself out of rock?
NLT 'Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself — a monument high up in the rock?
KJV What hast thou here? and whom hast thou here, that thou hast hewed thee out a sepulchre here, as he that heweth him out a sepulchre on high, and that graveth an habitation for himself in a rock?

What does Isaiah 22:16 mean?

The words of this verse are given through Isaiah to Shebna, the steward of the king's house (Isaiah 22:15). A man with the same name is called Hezekiah's secretary in 2 Kings 18:18. Jerusalem was faced with certain death at the hands of the Assyrians once the city walls were breached. Shebna doesn't seem to have joined the rest of Jerusalem in mind-numbing pleasures (Isaiah 22:1–2). Instead, he seems to focus on finishing his crypt. This might have been to secure some kind of legacy after death: to be a man buried in an expensive, noteworthy tomb.

Isaiah finds Shebna and challenges him about this choice. Why has he done this? Shebna seems to have cared more about his reputation as an important person than turning to the Lord in repentance in a time of need. He would rather future generations remember him for his impressive crypt, instead of being on his knees quietly seeking help from the Lord. Even though he was not partying as others in Jerusalem had been, his reaction was still one not of faith in their God.

In fact, the gravesite may have already been finished. A tomb was found in southeastern Jerusalem in 1870 in the village of Silwan. It included an inscription: "This is the tomb of […iah] who is over the house. There is no silver or gold here, just his bones and the bones of his maidservant with him. Cursed is the man who opens this." Other verses in the Bible (Nehemiah 9:4; 1 Chronicles 15:24) suggest that Sebnā, or Shebna, might be a shorter version of Sebanyāhu, or Shebaniah. Based on context, the inscription may have been recorded around the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah. Scholars are split on whether this is likely to mark Shebna's actual tomb.

Also interesting is that Isaiah's is about to suggest that Shebna was never buried in his intended crypt (Isaiah 22:17).
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