Isaiah's critique of Shebna's trespass: A reconsideration of Isaiah 22.15-25

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Scholarly treatments of Isa. 22.15-25 address the action by Shebna that led to his harsh punishment, the scope of the oracle, and the related question of the nature of the affinity between vv. 15-19 and 20-25. The reconsideration in this article suggests a different understanding of this passage. Based on terminological examination of the passage, comparison to Ezek. 43.6-9, and consideration of the realia of keys and their holders, this study suggests that Shebna's transgression can be identified as encroachment on Davidic and divine authority by undertaking to hew his tomb in close proximity to the Temple. It examines Shebna's position as second to the king, his transgression and punishment, the portrayal of the transfer of authority from Shebna to Eliakim, and the role of the image of the bolt-pin in this oracle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-487
Number of pages19
JournalJournal for the Study of the Old Testament
Issue number4
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 SAGE Publications.


  • Davidic authority
  • Shebna
  • divine authority
  • transgression


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