Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah

These three men, Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah are palace officials who speak for Hezekiah and Jerusalem when Sennacherib’s commander maligns God. This story is found in 2 Kings 18, 2 Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36. Eliakim and Shebna are also mentioned in Isaiah 22, this chapter is what really started this study. If you are going to do a word search for these names, please be aware that there are other men with these names. Joah for example is a name that is used several times in the family of Levi.

Joah – In Isaiah 36 he is identified as a son of Asaph and the recorder for Hezekiah. Asaph should be the musician that David appoints along with Heman in 1 Chronicles 6. This is a serious family line and it continues to the time of Josiah and Jeremiah.

He is a learned man because he knows the Assyrian and Aramaic languages and it is his job to record everything that goes on during the reign of Hezekiah. (It is possible that he documented this story.)

Other Levities, especially sons of Gershon, Moses’ son, and recorders are found in 1 Chronicles 6:21 and 26:4 and in 2 Chronicles 29:12 and 34:8.

Eliakim – This man was important for two reasons: 1. He was from the high priest’s family, Hilkiah. Like Jeremiah, he could have been a high priest. 2. He was the palace administrator. I believe that puts him in the same class as Daniel in Babylon under several kings, and Joseph in Egypt (under Potiphar, in the prison, and in Pharaoh’s house).  

Isaiah 22: 20-24 could sound like Shebna had been the administrator and got demoted. That is a very positive word for Eliakim. I could also see it happening between Hezekiah and Manasseh’s rule since he was only twelve when he started.  

Shebna – This name/man is mentioned only in connection with Sennacherib and Isaiah 22: 15- 19. Several titles are associated with him, so we know he was important. I find it odd that he has no family associations. Did his pride and questionable actions have anything to do with this? The chariots reference in vs 18 makes you think of Absalom’s behavior against David. Was he a royal? How much of the first part of Isaiah 22 was centered around him and his actions?

Whatever the truth is, my guess is he did not have a happy ending.

Further Study- Find the meanings of the names of Eliakim, Shebna, Joah, Hilkiah, Asaph, Hezekiah, and Isaiah. What does this add to the story?


Vision in the Bible has two means, the first is human sight and the other refers to prophetic messages.  The word chizzayown (Strong’s 2384) is one of the Hebrew words for prophecy especially if it is delivered through dreams.  Just for the record there are other words that are used for messages from God through dreams.  Chizzayown is used nine times in scriptures.  It is used the most in the book of Job but this study started in Isaiah 22 where Jerusalem is referred to the “Valley of Vision.”  Only two of the nine are actually messages (visions) while the others talk about who, what, and how of a vision.

VALLEY OF VISION  Isaiah 22 carries a message of destruction, not because Jerusalem did not prepare their defenses to defend the city but because they did not seek God and repent of their sins.  Instead they threw a party and said, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die (verse 13).”  Once again Jerusalem choose to ignore God even though they had been told the problem and that destruction was coming.

MarsavaThe word here for valley is gahee and its root word means arrogance and pride.  It is a very steep-walled valley and would present a formable challenge to either climb up or down.  Where you are in this kind of valley certainly would influence your thinking about the circumstances you are in.  If you are at the bottom of a gahee the thought of climbing out or up those steep sides would be daunting.  The reverse is true if you happen to be at the top of the valley defending your position; it would be easy against anyone trying to come up the sides but I would not want to have to escape by climbing down those cliff walls.  (See Valleys)

Being called a “Valley of Vision” is an indictment against them because by Mark’s Translation it would be a “Steep Arrogance From Dreaming Up a Prophecy.”

THE TWO VISIONS  Only twice does chizzayown actually relate a vision.  The first time is in 2 Samuel 7, Nathan got the word at night (v.4) and it is referred to as a revelation in verse 17 (NIV).  This word is telling David he will not build the Temple and that his family would endure as rulers of Israel.  The second vision is a satanic vision that was given to Eliphaz in Job 4:17 – 21.  It really dictates the conversion in the rest of the book and is even quoted again by Bildad in Job 25:4 – 6.  Vine’s Dictionary comments that it was just an ordinary dream but I think it is clear that it had a spiritual origin just the wrong spirit.

VISION IN JOB  Even though Eliphaz’s vision dominates the dialogue it is Elihu (33: 14,15) who actually defines and tells us about chizzayown; it is God speaking to man through a vision of the night.  The other two uses are Job telling about terrifying visions (7:14) and Zopher (20:8) talking about the fleeting nature of night visions.

ASHAMED AND A PROMISE   The other times chizzayown is used is in Zechariah 13:4 when prophets will be ashamed of their gift because of the spiritual cleaning the Lord will do.  The last use is a promise in Joel 2:28 that when the Spirit is poured out in the last days that young men will have visions.


In Christianese (yes, we have a language) mountains and valleys carry a lot of symbolism.  I have heard sermons where valleys are hard places to be but a mountaintop is a place of freedom.  Then other ministers will tell you that valleys are where you grow and that it is a struggle to go over a mountain.  I suppose in our Christian walk we are always going through valleys and over mountains or in non-Christianese you will have your good times and your hard times.

I was reading Isaiah 22 and Jerusalem was referred to as the “Valley of Vision.”  The picture that is painted in Isaiah 22 is not a nice one and the “Valley of Vision” term is obviously not a compliment.  But it made me wonder about the meaning and types of valleys and visions that were being talked about.

In my Strong’s Concordance, there are five terms for valleys but only four of them are used in Isaiah.  Shephelah (8219) is the one not used and it refers to the Judean hill country.  The other four are emeq (6010) and it is a vale or broad depression,elahvalley-from-azekah-t2 wadi (5158) this has a seasonal stream that flows during the rainy season, gahee (1516) is a gorge with lofty sides, and a biqah (1237) is a wide level valley between mountains.  In Isaiah, the gahee and wadi carry negative things with them while the emeq and biqah are places that are valued or are at least have a positive context.

The Valley of Vision is a gahee and its root word is gevah (1466), which means arrogance or lifting up with pride.  While watching an IMAX movie about Jerusalem they showed a version of this picture and I knew that must be a gahee. Marsava

Imagine standing at the bottom of the gahee looking up, I can see why the root word deals with arrogance and exaltation.  It would take serious skill and desire to climb out of that valley.

Vision in the phrase is chizzayown (2384) and refers to prophesy.  It is used nine times in Scripture and one of those is Joel 2: 28 were young men will see visions.

Other references of valleys in Isaiah:

  • Emeq – 17:5, 22:7, 28:21, 65:10
  • Wadi – 7:19, 57:5
  • Biqah  – 63:14, 41:18
  • Gahee – 22:1 +5, 28:1 + 4, 40:4

So the next time someone starts talking about being in a valley ask them what kind?

gahee – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marsava.jpg ,  the wide valley http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/the-valley-of-elah-and-the-shephelah/  This blog is excellent and Ferrell Jenkins is an excellent photographer, you should take a moment and check out some of his other blogs.