What does Isaiah 22:2 mean?
ESV: you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle.
NIV: you town so full of commotion, you city of tumult and revelry? Your slain were not killed by the sword, nor did they die in battle.
NASB: You who were full of noise, You tumultuous town, you jubilant city; Your dead were not killed with the sword, Nor did they die in battle.
CSB: The noisy city, the jubilant town, is filled with celebration. Your dead did not die by the sword; they were not killed in battle.
NLT: The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease.
KJV: Thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city: thy slain men are not slain with the sword, nor dead in battle.
NKJV: You who are full of noise, A tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, Nor dead in battle.
Verse Commentary:
The oracle against Jerusalem begins with a condemnation of the people for their celebrations (Isaiah 22:1). The tight-packed town is full of cheering and rejoicing. Why was this? Commentators suggest two different interpretations.

The first possibility relates to the events of 701 BC. At that time, the people of Jerusalem had just escaped a siege by the Assyrian king Sennacherib and his army. They went to bed sure they would not have long to live and woke up to find that 185,000 Assyrians were dead and the rest were fleeing (Isaiah 37:33–38).

If this moment is what Isaiah means, then he wants the people to recognize that this is not the time for partying. Many of their countrymen outside the walls of Jerusalem had been killed or captured by Sennacherib's army. We know from Sennacherib's annals that these people did not die in battle. The Assyrian king's records indicate that he laid "siege to forty-six fortified cities, walled forts, and countless villages." Despite surviving the siege of Jerusalem, Judah suffered a great deal at the hands of the Assyrians.

The other possible interpretation is that Isaiah is describing the eventual destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC, well after his lifetime. King Nebuchadnezzar also laid siege to the city, but he succeeded where Sennacherib was stopped by the Lord. Isaiah may be asking his fellow people why they are celebrating when the Lord has predicted the eventual downfall of Jerusalem. They should get ahold of themselves now because of the future terror that will fall on them when so many die in the siege and not in battle.
Verse Context:
Chapter 22:1–14 describes how the people of Jerusalem partied and feasted in the face of certain destruction during a siege. Isaiah condemns them, especially for failing to mourn and cry out to the Lord for help when all seemed lost. He weeps for those who have died. The prophet calls the people to soberly understand what has happened to them instead of partying on their rooftops. The Lord says that the sins of the people in this moment will not be atoned for until they die.
Chapter Summary:
Isaiah presents a prophecy against the city of Jerusalem: "the valley of vision." The prophet condemns the people for partying, perhaps following an astonishing deliverance from the Lord. Instead, they should remember all who died. They should be sobered to realize how helpless they had been. When destruction seemed certain, they should have mourned and cried out to the Lord to save them. Instead, they reveled like nothing mattered. The Lord condemns the steward of the king's house for carving out his tomb instead of trusting God. He puts a man named Eliakim in that position. Eliakim serves with great integrity, faithfulness, and excellence. Yet, he, too, falls away.
Chapter Context:
Isaiah has recorded several prophecies in preceding chapters. These spoke of nations such as Egypt as well as various tribes. Chapter 22 is an oracle against the city of Jerusalem. Isaiah condemns the people for celebrating instead of mourning and seeking the Lord's help. This could be either before or after a great siege of the city. The prophet weeps for the lost and calls the people to repent. The Lord condemns the king's steward for faithlessness. His replacement, Eliakim, serves with strength and integrity. The next oracles concern Tyre and Sydon, before addressing the entire world.
Book Summary:
Isaiah is among the most important prophetic books in the entire Bible. The first segment details God's impending judgment against ancient peoples for sin and idolatry (Isaiah 1—35). The second part of Isaiah briefly explains a failed assault on Jerusalem during the rule of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36—39). The final chapters predict Israel's rescue from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40—48), the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49—57), and the final glory of Jerusalem and God's people (Isaiah 58—66).
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