Many doors in antiquity were enormous. Keys were made in proportion to the huge locks, and were often adorned with handles of carved brass, wood or silver.
Some buildings had a peculiar security system, whereas the door could only be unlocked from the inside. This required a hole be cut into the door near the locking mechanism. With key in hand, the owner would reach through the outer opening and unlock it from the inside.
In ancient times, keys were a symbol of authority over a household or office. When an individual carried them on his shoulder, this confirmed he was a person of consequence and responsibility.
Keys were attached to a kerchief tied around the person’s neck, then positioned to drape over the back of the shoulder. Numerous keys were divided and hung over both shoulders.
Isaiah is telling us that God planned to give Eliakim the job of palace administrator. Having the key to David’s royal household would afford him a rank of great honor and unlimited power.
“My beloved extended his hand through the door opening…”
Song of Solomon 5:4
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Excerpt from “Ancient Minutus”