on Isaiah 22 :23
A nail - In ancient times, and in the eastern countries, as the way of life, so the houses, were much more simple than ours at present. They had not that quantity and variety of furniture, nor those accommodations of all sorts, with which we abound. It was convenient and even necessary for them, and it made an essential part in the building of a house, to furnish the inside of the several apartments with sets of spikes, nails, or large pegs, upon which to dispose of and hang up the several movables and utensils in common use, and proper to the apartment. These spikes they worked into the walls at the first erection of them, the walls being of such materials that they could not bear their being driven in afterwards; and they were contrived so as to strengthen the walls by binding the parts together, as well as to serve for convenience. Sir John Chardin's account of this matter is this: "They do not drive with a hammer the nails that are put into the eastern walls. The walls are too hard, being of brick; or, if they are of clay, too moldering: but they fix them in the brick-work as they are building. They are large nails, with square heads like dice, well made, the ends being bent so as to make them cramp-irons. They commonly place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they like, veils and curtains." Harmer's Observ. 1 p. And we may add, that they were put in other places too, in order to hang up other things of various kinds; as appears from this place of Isaiah, and from Ezekiel 15:3, who speaks of a pin or nail, "to hang any vessel thereon." The word used here for a nail of this sort is the same by which they express that instrument, the stake, or large pin of iron, with which they fastened down to the ground the cords of their tents. We see, therefore, that these nails were of necessary and common use, and of no small importance in all their apartments; conspicuous, and much exposed to observation: and if they seem to us mean and insignificant, it is because we are not acquainted with the thing itself, and have no name to express it but by what conveys to us a low and contemptible idea. "Grace hath been showed from the Lord our God," saith Ezra, Ezra 9:8, "to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place:" that is, as the margin of our Bible explains it, "a constant and sure abode."
"He that doth lodge near her (Wisdom's) house,
Shall also fasten a pin in her walls."
The dignity and propriety of the metaphor appears from the Prophet Zechariah's use of it: -
"From him shall be the corner-stone, from him the nail,
From him the battle-bow,
From him every ruler together."
on Isaiah 22 :23
And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place - The word 'nail' here (יתד yâtēd) means properly a peg, pin, or spike; and is applied often to the pins or large spikes which were used to drive into the ground to fasten the cords of tents. It is also applied to the nails or spikes which are driven into walls, and on which are suspended the garments or the utensils of a family. In ancient times, every house was furnished with a large number of these pegs, or nails. They were not "driven" into the walls after the house was made, but they were "worked in" while the walls were going up. The houses were usually made of stone; and strong iron hooks, or spikes, were worked into the mortar while soft, and they answered the double purpose of nails to hang things on, and of cramp-irons, as they were so bent as to hold the walls together. These spikes are described by Sir John Chardin (Harmer's "Observations," vol. i. p. 191) as 'large nails with square heads like dice, well made, the ends being so bent as to make them cramp-irons. They commonly,' says he, 'place them at the windows and doors, in order to hang upon them, when they like, veils and curtains.' It was also the custom to suspend in houses, and especially temples, suits of armor, shields, helmets, swords, etc., that had been taken in war as spoils of victory, or which had been used by illustrious ancestors, and these spikes were used for that purpose also. The word is here applied to a leader, or officer; and it means that he would be fixed and permanent in his plans and office; and that as a pin in the wall sustained the ornaments of the house "safely," so all the glory of the house of David, all that was dear and valuable to the nation, might be reposed on him Isaiah 22:24.
And he shall be for a glorious throne to his father's house - A glorious seat; that is, all his family and kindred would be sustained, and honored by him; or their honor and reputation might rest securely on him, and his deeds would diffuse a luster and a glory over them all. Every virtuous, patriotic, benevolent, and pious son diffuses a luster on all his kindred; and this is one of the incitements to virtuous and elevated deeds which God has presented in the government of the world.
on Isaiah 22 :23
22:23 Fasten - I will establish the power in his hands. Sure place - In the strong walls, or solid timber, in the house. He shall be - By his prudent and righteous government he shall procure great glory, to all that have any relation to him.