What does Isaiah 22:7 mean?
ESV: Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their stand at the gates.
NIV: Your choicest valleys are full of chariots, and horsemen are posted at the city gates.
NASB: Then your choicest valleys were full of chariots, And the horsemen took positions at the gate.
CSB: Your best valleys were full of chariots, and horsemen were positioned at the city gates.
NLT: Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates.
KJV: And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
Verse Commentary:
The prophet Isaiah is reminding his people of the tumult and chaos outside of Jerusalem when the Assyrian army gathered to destroy the city (Isaiah 22:2–5). Or he could be describing, in the past tense, his vision about the future destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

In either case, Isaiah wants the people to be sobered by reality, either past or future. They cannot ignore that the valleys around Jerusalem were, or will be, packed with war chariots. At the gates of Jerusalem stood soldiers on horseback, or they will one day, ready to ride in the moment the walls were breached.

It's hard to imagine a more defenseless position for a city than what Isaiah has described. Nothing stood between the city and tens of thousands of well-equipped soldiers and fighters. They were literally at the gates. The enemy was spread out in every direction from the city during the siege. Isaiah wants the people of Jerusalem to be dependent on the Lord. One way to do that is to hold on to the feeling of helplessness such a scene would create. Only the Lord God could save them.
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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