Room 56



Also from the time of Assyrian dominance is the amazing ‘Shebna’s Tomb’, as mentioned by the Prophet Isaiah.



 ‘To Shebna, who is in charge of the royal household, ‘What right do you have here, and whom do you have here, that you have hewn a tomb for yourself here, you who hew a tomb on the height, you who carve a resting place for yourself in the rock? 



Behold, the Lord is about to hurl you headlong, O man. And He is about to grasp you firmly and roll you tightly like a ball, to be cast into a vast country; there you will die and there your splendid chariots will be, you shame of your master’s house.’




“I will depose you from your office, and I will pull you down from your station. “Then it will come about in that day, that I will summon My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your tunic and tie your sash securely about him.”’ (Isaiah 22:15-20).


This inscription on a slab of stone was found over 100 years ago near Jerusalem, translated in the 1950s.


It was taken from above the door of a burial chamber cut out of the solid rock of a hillside. Mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, Shebna was ‘treasurer over the house’ during Hezekiah’s reign, removed from office and replaced by Eliakim the son of Hilkiah.
Shebna was finally captured by the Assyrians.


The stone slab reads:


`This is ___yahu, who is Over the House. There is no silver and gold here; only [him] and the bones of his slave-wife. Cursed be the man who opens this.’


Over the house is a term for the controller of the royal revenues.


Shebna was rebuked by Isaiah for arrogantly preparing a splendid tomb for himself. He was replaced by Eliakim son of Hilkiah


Shebna can also be written ‘Shevanyahu’, which fits perfectly.
When Sennacherib came to invade Judah, Eliakim was in office and sent as ambassador to meet the Assyrian chief official (Isaiah 36:3 and 37:2).


Isaiah Prophesies change in World Order in Isaiah 44:28; 45:1
‘‘“It is I who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd!  And he will perform all My desire.’  And he declares of Jerusalem, ‘She will be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’” 
Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand, to subdue nations before him and to loose the loins of kings; to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut.’



Chamberlain of the king’s palace, the office being filled also by Jotham (II Kings xv. 5). Shebna may be identified with the officer designated as “ha-soken” (Isa. xxii 15-19), probably a caretaker or steward


The prophet censures Shebna because he built for himself a tomb in the upper part of the rock, perhaps near the royal tombs on Mount Zion. The beginning of Isaiah’s denunciation, “What hast thou here? And whom hast thou here?” has been construed as implying that Shebna was of alien birth.



But probably the meaning implied is that Shebna was an upstart or intruder. His non-Israelitish origin, however, is indicated in the kind of punishment with which he is threatened: Yhwh will roll him like a ball into a country less mountainous than Canaan, but broad—referring to the wide plains of the Euphrates and Tigris.




Shebna favored the political connection of the kingdom of Judah with Egypt; hence it is very probable that he was taken prisoner as an enemy of the Assyrians during an invasion of the latter.




The name “Shebna” itself points to a non-Israelitish origin in the more northerly regions, either Phenicia or Syria;  Probably Shebna had risen to office under King Ahaz, who favored foreign undertakings and connections.