Eliakim - God Establishes

The story of Eliakim found in the book of Isaiah seems a bit out of the place. Eliakim is not a king and there is very little written about him, but what it does say is phenomenal:
And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honour to his father's house (Is. 22:22).
Before we can understand why this is said about Eliakim, we first need to understand what is said about him. The function of a key is obvious, but what is the significance of the house of David. King David is an important figure in the Bible. Let's take a look at a couple salient factors that make King David remarkable:

  • King David was anointed by God for Himself (1 Sam. 16:1): Other kings where anointed for the people, but David was chosen by God for himself. David was not chosen because of his outward appearance, but because of his heart. "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)"
  • God made a covenant with David (2 Sam. 7): David desired to build God a house, but God had other plans. Instead God made a covenant to build David a house that would be established forever. "I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sword to David my servant: I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations (Ps. 89:3-4)."
Putting this together we see that the house of David is a kingdom ruled by a righteous king established by God forever. Eliakim was a righteous leader compared to the corrupt and self-aggrandizing leadership of Shebna who was over the household at the time (Is. 22:15-19).  We see in Isaiah 36 that Eliakim is indeed promoted to being over the household and presumably had much power to rule over the house of Judah. 

However, this story is not really about Eliakim it is about Jesus Christ, which is perhaps why it is difficult to say definitively how it applies to Eliakim. Jesus is the son of David and the rightful king who established forever God's kingdom in righteousness. He is sovereign (i.e. has the keys) over the house of David. A kingdom not measured by appearances, but by the heart. The name Eliakim means God establishes. It was not for David to establish a house for God, but for God to establish a house for Himself.

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