Eliakim son of Hilkiah was one of King Hezekiah’s government officials.1 His job was to be ‘over the household’ (2 Kings 18:18), ‘in charge of the palace’ (NRSV).
In some of the Biblical records, Eliakim worked closely with two of Hezekiah’s other officials: Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. They were the people whom Hezekiah sent to meet Sennacherib’s Assyrian envoy, and then, after returning to the Jewish king, were sent to report the Assyrians’ words to the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 18:18,26,37; 19:2; Isa 36:3,11,22; 37:2).
Formally, Shebnah used to have Eliakim’s job, being ‘over the household’ (Isa. 22:15). But, as prophesied in Isaiah 22:15ff., Shebnah was demoted and his job was given to Eliakim (cf. Isa 36:3,11,22). It seems Shebnah had his job taken from him because he had done something (the record doesn’t say what) that had brought disgrace onto the royal household (Isa. 22:18). In contrast, Eliakim would bring ‘honor to his father’s house’ (Isa. 22:23).
1. There are a few other Hilkiah’s in the Biblical records:
- The son of King Josiah (Pharaoh Neco changed his name to Jehoiakim and made him king in place of his brother Jehoahaz [2 Kgs 23:34; 2 Chr 36:4])
- A priest in Nehemiah’s time (Neh. 12:41).
- The son of Abiud and father of Azor, a figure in Jesus’ genealogy (Mat. 1:13)
- The father of Jonam and son of Melea, a figure in Jesus’ genealogy (Luke 3:30)