Key

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Used symbolically for authority to open or to shut. Spoken of Eliakim, “established by God,” as having the key of the house of David laid upon his shoulder: “he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Isa. 22:2222And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:22)). He is a type of the Lord Jesus, as spoken of in Revelation 3:77And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; (Revelation 3:7), who has also the keys of hades and of death (Rev. 1:1818I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:18)). To Peter were given the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:1919And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)), which he opened to the Jews in Acts 2, and to the Gentiles in Acts 10. The Lord charged the doctors of the law with taking away the key of knowledge (Luke 11:5252Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52)). This they did by their traditions and by hindering those who would have entered in to the blessings brought by Christ.

“224. Keys” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The key was usually of wood, though some have been found in Egypt of iron and bronze. The ordinary wooden key is from six inches to two feet in length, often having a handle of brass or silver, ornamented with filagree work. At the end there are wire pins, which are designed to loosen the fastenings of the lock. The key was anciently borne on the shoulder. See note on Isaiah 22:2222And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isaiah 22:22) (#502).

“502. Keys, How Carried” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Oriental keys being usually large (see note on Judges 3:2525And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlor; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. (Judges 3:25), #224), it is often a matter of convenience to carry them on the shoulder. As the possession of a key may be taken as evidence of property or of trust, the key became an emblem of wealth or authority. Eastern merchants are often seen carrying keys on the shoulder. In the text, Shebna, the treasurer of Hezekiah, is warned that Eliakim shall carry “the keys of the house of David”; that is, that he should become treasurer in Shebna’s place. This is a figurative way of expressing what is said in the twenty-first verse: “I will commit thy government into his hand,” which expression is itself partly figurative, the hand being the emblem of power. The idea contained in both these passages is expressed in Isaiah 9:66For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6), where it is said of the Messiah, “The government shall he upon his shoulder.” The word keys is used figuratively to denote authority in Matthew 16:1919And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19), where Christ says to Peter: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”