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A king’s responsibility (21:11-22:9)
As he has no doubt done many times, Jeremiah tells the leaders of Judah that they must correct the widespread social injustice that has corrupted their nation. If they do not, God will destroy the nation in judgment (11-12). They are deceiving themselves if they think that God will not allow anyone to attack Jerusalem. They are going to be disappointed if they think that the city’s fortified position guarantees its safety (13-14).
The king has a duty to provide justice for all, no matter what their status in life. By ruling uprightly the king will ensure the continuance of the Davidic dynasty, but by ungodliness he is only helping to bring that dynasty to an end (22:1-5). As a mighty forest is cut down and burnt, so Judah will be destroyed if it forsakes God. When the king and his people abandon the covenant and worship other gods, they have no further assurance of God’s saving power (6-9).
Concerning Shallum (22:10-12)
Jehoahaz, also known as Shallum, was made king by the people of Judah after his father Josiah was killed in battle. But after reigning three months, he was deposed and taken prisoner to Egypt (2 Kings 23:29-34). Jeremiah says that the people should mourn more for Shallum than for Josiah. At least Josiah died a hero on the battlefield, but Shallum will die a captive in a foreign land (10-12).
Concerning Jehoiakim (22:13-23)
Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, was made king by Egypt in place of the unfortunate Jehoahaz. Jehoiakim was a cruel and oppressive ruler. In a time of extreme hardship, when the people were already burdened with heavy taxes to pay the overlord Egypt, Jehoiakim built luxurious palaces for himself. He demonstrated his contempt for his people by treating them almost as slaves and forcing them to work on his grand building projects without payment. He was the complete opposite of his father, who had shown a particular concern for the poor and needy (13-17; cf. 2 Kings 23:34-37).
God’s response to Jehoiakim’s evil is to assure him of a humiliating death. No one will mourn for him and he will receive no funeral. His dead body will be thrown on to the garbage dump outside Jerusalem as if it were the remains of an unclean animal (18-19; see also 36:30). The mountainous regions from which Jehoiakim obtained the luxuries for his extravagant living will be destroyed. His allies will be crushed, and the Jerusalem leaders who cooperated with him in his corrupt government will be driven into captivity as if blown by a strong wind (20-23).
Concerning Jehoiachin (22:24-30)
On Jehoiakim’s death, his eighteen year old son Jehoiachin (also known Jeconiah, or Coniah) was made king. He was doomed to a short reign of only three months followed by a long captivity in Babylon. Other members of the royal family would also go into captivity, along with many of the leading citizens of Jerusalem (24-27; cf. 2 Kings 24:8-15). Jehoiachin died in a foreign country, and no son of his became king after him (28-30; but see also 2 Kings 25:27-30).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany