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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 22

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-9

Jer 22:1-9

Jeremiah 22:1-9

Thus said Jehovah: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, And say, Hear the word of Jehovah, O king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people that enter in by these gates. Thus saith Jehovah: Execute ye justice and righteousness, and deliver him that is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence, to the sojourner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. For if ye do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith Jehovah, that this house shall become a desolation. For thus saith Jehovah concerning the house of the king of Judah: Thou art Gilead unto me, [and] the head of Lebanon; [yet] surely I will make thee a wilderness, [and] cities which are not inhabited. And I will prepare destroyers against thee, every one with his weapons; and they shall cut down thy choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbor, Wherefore hath Jehovah done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.

If ye will do this thing indeed...

(Jeremiah 22:4) Thompson translated this clause, If you scrupulously carry out this commission.

They shall cut down thy choice cedars...

(Jeremiah 22:7). In keeping with the figure of a forest, the destruction of Jerusalem is represented as the hewing down of the choice cedars. The destroyed city will become a monument to God’s wrath against the transgressors of his covenant.

Jeremiah 22:8 reflects the promise recorded by Moses in Deuteronomy 29:23-29. Along with the king’s palace, the whole city will be destroyed.

Because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah...

(Jeremiah 22:9). The covenant in view here is the one commonly called the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, or the Sinaitic Covenant (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7).

"The covenant violated here was not the Davidic covenant of 2 Samuel 7, but the initial covenant at Sinai, referred to recurringly in earlier portions of Jeremiah. The extensive devastation was a lesson to all nations on the perils of idolatry."

Although Jellie thought that these first nine verses were addressed to the early days of the reign of Jehoiachim, Harrison assigned them to the times of Zedekiah. As we have frequently noted, if such distinctions were very important, God would have revealed the exact situation. Here it makes little or no difference, because the words perfectly fit either one of the monarchs mentioned.

General Remarks Regarding the Royal House

Jeremiah 22:1-9

At some point during the reign of Jehoiakim God sent Jeremiah to the house of the king with an oracle directed to the royal family (Jeremiah 22:1). In this oracle Jeremiah stresses the obligations of the royal house (Jeremiah 22:2-3) and promises that if these obligations are met then the dynasty of David would continue (Jeremiah 22:4). But if the words of God are ignored then the nation is doomed to destruction (Jeremiah 22:5-9).

1. Obligations (Jeremiah 22:2-3)

The king and princes who passed through the gates of the palace each day may have been the lineal descendants of David but they certainly were not his spiritual descendants. They were not men after God’s own heart nor were they amenable to the rebuke of a prophet. With Nathan-like boldness Jeremiah meets the king on his own ground to deliver to him the word of the Lord (Jeremiah 22:2). Under the old covenant theocracy the laws of the state were the laws of God. The king was responsible for enforcing those laws and establishing social justice in the land. Specifically the king was to be the defender of the poor and the helpless. But under the tyrant Jehoiakim, the Solomon of the last days of Judah, the people were being ruthlessly oppressed through governmental taxation in order that the king might undertake lavish building projects. (see Jeremiah 22:13 ff.). Jeremiah cries out the necessity for the king to cease oppressing the helpless ones of society—the strangers, orphans and widows. Other nations looked with suspicion on strangers but the Bible teaches tolerance for those of other nationalities. Jeremiah also demands in the name of his God that Jehoiakim cease his violence and the shedding of innocent blood (Jeremiah 22:3). That innocent blood was shed during this period is evident from case of Uriah the prophet who was executed because he spoke out against the king. Jeremiah was putting his life on the line when he preached this sermon at the gates of the royal palace!

2. Promise (Jeremiah 22:4)

To his list of royal obligations Jeremiah adds a promise which he has previously made (see Jeremiah 17:25). If the monarch will only heed the message of the prophet the Davidic line will continue to reign in Jerusalem. The king and his servants and attendants would continue to pass through the gate of the palace even as they were doing while Jeremiah spoke these words.

3. Threat (Jeremiah 22:1-9)

If the royal family chooses to reject their obligations then the most dire punishments will befall Jerusalem. Because He could sware by no greater, God swears by Himself that the royal dwelling of the king of Judah would become desolate (Jeremiah 22:5). The same expression occurs in Jeremiah 49:13; Genesis 22:16; and Isaiah 45:23. A similar expression occurs in Amos 6:8 and Jeremiah 51:14. Because of the height of this building and because it was constructed from cedar-wood the prophet calls it figuratively “Gilead . the top of Lebanon.” Both Gilead and Lebanon were noted in antiquity for their stately forests. Such forests were often denuded in time of war to provide fuel and weapons for an attacking army. So God would bring destruction upon the kingdom of Judah, making that land a virtual wilderness (Jeremiah 22:6). The divinely appointed destroyers will take their weapons and cut down the choice cedars of the land i.e., the princes and leaders of the nation (Jeremiah 22:7). Foreigners who pass by the ruins of Jerusalem will ask one another why the Lord has dealt with the once proud city in this manner (Jeremiah 22:8). They will rightly conclude that the destruction has come upon the land because the people of the Lord forsook their covenant with Him and worshiped other gods (Jeremiah 22:9). Jeremiah is definitely influenced in these last two verses by Deuteronomy 29:23 ff.

Verses 10-12

Jer 22:10-12

Jeremiah 22:10-12

Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him; but weep sore for him that goeth away; for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. For thus saith Jehovah touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, [and] who went forth out of this place: He shall not return thither any more. But in the place whither they have led him captive, there shall he die, and he shall see this land no more.

These words, of course, apply to the brief period following the usurpation of the throne from Shallum by the Egyptians who placed their vassal Jehoiachim on the throne and imposed a heavy tribute of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold annually upon the people.

Shallum was the very last chance that Israel had to receive a decent king. Jehoiachim was a carbon copy of Manasseh. "He permitted pagan rites to flourish again, including even those of Egypt." The next paragraph will speak of the heartless tyranny, selfishness, extravagance and insatiable greed of this evil ruler.

Weep not for the dead. but for him that goeth away .....

(Jeremiah 22:10). This meant Do not weep for Josiah, but for Shallum. The latter was the last sad home for Judah.

Shallum was the first king of Israel to be deported and to die in exile.

Oracles Concerning Specific Kings Jeremiah 22:10-30

Three separate oracles concerning specific kings have been gathered together in Jeremiah 22:10-30. Here Jeremiah speaks of the future of Jehoahaz (Jeremiah 22:10-12), the folly of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:13-23) and the fate of Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 22:24-30).

1. The future of Jehoahaz (Jeremiah 22:10-12)

After the untimely death of the godly king Josiah at the pass of Megiddo in 609 B.C., the people of the land selected his son Jehoahaz to occupy the throne of Judah. Jehoahaz had reigned but three months when Pharaoh Necho summoned him to Riblah, put him in chains, and deported him to Egypt (2 Kings 23:30 ff.). Jeremiah’s oracle must have been delivered shortly after the deportation of Jehoahaz.

The death of Josiah was bitterly lamented. Even Jeremiah himself joined in the lamentation for this righteous man (2 Chronicles 35:25). But as far as Jeremiah was concerned, tears were more appropriate for Jehoahaz than for Josiah. By his premature death Josiah would be delivered from the horrors of those final years of Judah’s history. But Jehoahaz would live out his life as a captive in a foreign land (Jeremiah 22:10). Though some people apparently believed that Jehoahaz would shortly return from Egypt to reclaim his throne, Jeremiah knows that this will not be the case. “He shall not return,” cries the prophet. “He will never see this land again” (Jeremiah 22:11-12). That Shallum here is identical with the Jehoahaz of II Kings is made clear by 1 Chronicles 3:15. Shallum was his given name; Jehoahaz was his throne name.

Verses 13-23

Jer 22:13-23

Jeremiah 22:13-17

Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by injustice; that useth his neighbor’s service without wages, and giveth him not his hire; that saith, I will build me a wide house and spacious chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou strivest to excel in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this to know me? saith Jehovah. But thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.

There is little need to catalogue the sins of Jehoiachim. He contrived the dethroning of his own brother, resulting in his captivity and probable death. In addition to the great tribute which he promised Egypt, and which he extorted annually from the people, he initiated a very luxurious and extravagant building program for himself, using forced labor, conscripting his neighbors to work for him without any pay whatever. He was a typical Near-Eastern despot, doing all kinds of violence against any or all hapless victims of his displeasure and murdering many innocent people, including, among countless others the prophet Uriah, who was extradited from Egypt and put to death (Jeremiah 26:20-23). Not only murder, but the type of slavery mentioned in these verses, were offenses against covenant law (Leviticus 19:13). In this man and his hapless son Coniah, the house of David came to its miserable end.

That useth his neighbor for services without wages...

(Jeremiah 22:13). Here is a democratic idea, ’The king and the carpenter or neighbors.’

Did not thy father eat and drink...

(Jeremiah 22:15)? This means that, He lived well enough; he was not an ascetic.

The same words were used of Jesus by himself in a comparison with John the Baptist (Matthew 11:18-19),

Shalt thou reign because thou strivest to excel in cedar...

(Jeremiah 22:15)? Keil’s comment here was, Kingship does not consist in the erection of splendid palaces, but in the administration of righteousness and justice,

Thine eyes and thine heart are not, but for thy covetousness, etc...

(Jeremiah 22:17). This is a terrible indictment of Jehoiachim, meaning that his heart and eyes did not even exist except for the purpose of helping this evil ruler in the pursuit of wickedness. Everything that fell under his eyesight was only looked at with a view of using what he saw in some way to his advantage; and nothing ever entered his mind but some evil plan or device by which he could defraud or exploit his subjects! Satan must have been well pleased with such a son!

Was not this to know me, saith Jehovah...

(Jeremiah 22:16)? Knowing God, whether in the times of Jeremiah, or at the present time, does not consist merely of having heard of him, or having read his word, or having been associated with God-fearing people. It is the kind of knowledge that is exhibited in a pious and godly life, and in the strict obedience of his holy commandments.

Jeremiah 22:18-19

Therefore thus saith Jehovah concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: they shall not lament for him, [saying], Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! They shall not lament for him, [saying] Ah lord! or, Ah his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.

We wonder at so many writers expressing concern that "We have no confirmation of this prophecy." None is needed. God said it would happen, and it did. There’s not a line to the contrary anywhere in the Bible; and we can see no purpose in noting that when the death of Jehoiachim was mentioned in 2 Kings 24:6 there was no reference to what happened. The passage merely states that, "Jehoiachim slept with his fathers, and his son Jehoiachin reigned in his stead." Nevertheless, the passage bears witness to the fulfillment of this prophecy, because, "The complete formula for describing the death of a king of Judah was: ’He slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David.’ " There is no doubt whatever that the omission of the usual line, ’He was buried with his fathers,’ means, absolutely, that he was not so buried.

This prophecy is repeated in Jeremiah 36:30; but of its fulfillment we know nothing. However, the prophet would not have inserted it in Zedekiah’s roll, unless the circumstances of Jehoiachim’s death had been such as to give full weight to this warning.

It is believed that the fulfillment of this prophecy came as the Babylonian invaders approached Jerusalem. "The pro-Babylonian party within the city organized an assassination of Jehoiachin in a palace revolt." Under pressure of the siege, the assassins merely dragged the body of Jehoiachim, as they would have dragged a dead animal out of the city and disposed of it "beyond the gates."

Jeremiah 22:20-23

Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from Abarim; for all thy lovers are destroyed. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice. The wind shall feed all thy shepherds, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how greatly to be pitied shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail!

Both Bashan and Abarim were beyond the strict borders of Palestine, Abarim is the chain of mountains east of Jordan in which is located Mount Nebo, from which Moses viewed the Promised land. The thought seems to be that the whole land of Palestine, along with its surrounding areas, should moan, and weep and bewail the devastation coming upon Judah.

All thy lovers are destroyed...

(Jeremiah 22:20). These were Judah’s political allies.

The wind shall feed all thy shepherds...

(Jeremiah 22:22). This means, ’the wind shall round them up and drive them away.’

How greatly to be pitied shalt thou be...

(Jeremiah 22:23). The prophet loved his native land and his sinful people; and his heart was filled with pity as he delivered the tragic message regarding Judah’s destruction.

2. The folly of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:13-23)

Jehoiakim was placed on the throne of Judah by Pharaoh Necho when Jehoahaz was deported to Egypt in 609 B.C. The stupidity of this monarch was only equaled by his pride, cruelty and covetousness. Jehoiakim was not satisfied to occupy the palace which his father Josiah had occupied before him. He wanted a bigger and more luxurious home like the rulers of Egypt or Babylon. With Solomon-like zeal this puny prince set about to build a magnificent palace. Contrary to the teaching of the law and the prophets he forced his countrymen to labor on this ill-conceived project without remuneration. The Hebrew prophets denounced this practice which was common in the ancient Near East. Not even a king could demand unpaid services from his subjects! Thus Jehoiakim was building his house with “unrighteousness” and “injustice” (Jeremiah 22:13). And what a house that was to be—a roomy house with upper chambers and windows, the interior paneled with cedar and painted red (Jeremiah 22:14).

In Jeremiah 22:15 Jeremiah drives home the point that there is more to being a king than surrounding oneself with luxury. Jehoiakim need not think that he is entitled to reign merely because he can rival others in the building of cedar houses. By way of contrast to the pompous plans of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah points to the way that good king Josiah had conducted the affairs of the kingdom. Josiah ate and drank, i.e., he enjoyed the comforts of his regal status. But at the same time he established justice and righteousness in the land. He understood the responsibilities of kingship and performed those duties. He recognized the rights of other men and respected them. As a result Josiah prospered and was blessed of God because he put first things first (Jeremiah 22:15). He judged the cause of the poor and needy, i.e., he was cognizant of the rights and needs of the less fortunate. A man who really knows the Lord will see and seek to alleviate human suffering (Jeremiah 22:16).

Jehoiakim was the exact opposite of his godly father. He was determined to restore the glory of the throne and the splendor of the court. Any “little people” who stood in his way were ruthlessly eliminated. His covetous eye and wicked heart were fixed on ill-gotten gain. He would stop at nothing, even murder, to enlarge his holdings (Jeremiah 22:17).

Because of his flagrant wickedness Jehoiakim would meet with an exceedingly shameful end. It was customary in Judah as in all other countries of the ancient Near East for kings and nobles to be interred with regal pomp and to have special dirges recited over their graves. Because he was universally loved, the whole nation lamented the death of godly king Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:25). But no one will shed a tear when Jehoiakim passes from the scene. The word “Ah” is part of the vocabulary of lamentation and signifies extreme distress and sorrow. “Ah my brother!” or “Ah sister!” was no doubt a lament commonly uttered by relatives and friends of the deceased (1 Kings 13:30) while the cry “Ah lord!” or “Ah his majesty!” was presumably an expression of grief reserved for the death of a king (cf. Jeremiah 34:5). No mourners will assemble at the tomb of Jehoiakim to express sympathy for one another upon the loss of a great king. Still less would any lamentation be heard at his death that mentioned the lordship of Jehoiakim or his glory (Jeremiah 22:18). On the contrary Jehoiakim who loved to live in pomp and splendor would be buried with the burial of an ass, The burial of an ass would be no burial. The carcass of the animal would simply be left to rot in the open field. No specific passage states that this prophecy was fulfilled. But 2 Kings 24:6 does state “Jehoiakim slept with his fathers" without mentioning the Place of his burial. The same terminology is used of Ahab who died a violent death at the hands of the Syrians (1 Kings 22:40) In most cases the Book of Kings mentions where the kings of Judah were buried. The fact that in the case of Jehoiakim this detail was omitted suggests that he did not receive the customary burial. If this last indignity was heaped upon Jehoiakim after his death (and there is no good reason to think otherwise), then it was perpetrated by the people of Judah, not by the Chaldeans. Jehoiakim died just before the armies of Nebuchadnezzar arrived at the walls of Jerusalem in 597 B.C. Another, though less likely, possibility is that the Babylonians dug up the body of the recently buried Jehoiakim as a final act of vengeance against him for violating the terms of his vassal treaty with Nebuchadnezzar.

Divine punishment awaits the nation as well as the king. Under the figure of a woman, Israel is called upon to ascend the heights and bewail the fate of the country. The places named—Lebanon, Bashan, Abarim—were locations through which the Chaldeans would shortly pass on their sweep southward toward Judah. The Lebanon mountains were the northern entrance to Palestine. The Chaldeans would then pass through the hills of Bashan in the northeast. The Abarim is the mountain range southeast of the Dead Sea in which Mt. Nebo was one of the prominent peaks. Everywhere the cry of lamentation is taken Up as the enemy moves toward Jerusalem. No help arises from any quarter for all the “lovers” have been destroyed (Jeremiah 22:20). These “lovers” are nations which had foolishly banded together in some sort of political pact to withstand Nebuchadnezzar.

God had spoken to Israel in times of prosperity but the nation had stubbornly refused to hearken to His words. From the time when Israel became a nation she had refused to give heed to the word of God (Jeremiah 22:21). Judah’s shepherds, her political and religious leaders, will be driven by the wind as they are swept away into exile. Normally shepherds drive the flock before them. But God will “shepherd the shepherds” of Israel by means of the wind of divine judgment. The political lovers, allied nations in whom Israel trusted, will also go into captivity. The men of Judah will be ashamed and perplexed as they come to realize the terrible evil which they have committed against their God (Jeremiah 22:22). Hitherto Jerusalem had enjoyed security like a bird nestled among the cedars in the high mountains of the Lebanon range. For this reason Jeremiah addresses the residents of Jerusalem as “inhabitant of Lebanon.” The use of the figure Lebanon for Jerusalem is also appropriate in view of the fact that so many of the palaces and official buildings of that city were built of cedar wood from the Lebanon mountains (1 Kings 7:2; 1 Kings 10-17, 21). Jeremiah has nothing but pity for the proud city as he contemplates the terrible agony which she must shortly endure, an agony comparable only to that suffered by a woman in travail (Jeremiah 22:23).

Verses 24-30

Jer 22:24-30

Jeremiah 22:24-30

As I live, saith Jehovah, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; and I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them of whom thou art afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto their soul longeth to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? is he a vessel wherein none delighteth? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into the land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Jehovah. Thus saith Jehovah, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for no more shall a man of his seed prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling in Judah.

The prophecy here is that both Jeconiah (Coniah) and the queen mother shall go into Babylonian captivity and die in that land. This indeed came to pass; and Coniah lived thirty-seven years in captivity.

Coniah...

(Jeremiah 22:24). This man was named Jeconiah (Jeremiah 24:1) and Coniah (here and in Jeremiah 37:1); and he came to the throne under the name of Jehoiachin. Keil cited two other variations of the name which correspond to two of the three names cited here.

Payne Smith stated that Coniah was king of Judah at the time Jeremiah wrote these words, basing his opinion upon the construction, "Coniah the son of Jehoiachim king of Judah."

Thee and the mother that bare thee...

(Jeremiah 22:26). The queen mother had some official status in Judah of that period and may have worn a crown and sat on a throne adjacent to that of the king ... Jehoiachin was eventually released in Babylon by Evil-Merodach; but he was required to remain in Babylon.

They are cast out, he and his seed...

(Jeremiah 22:28-30). Some find a problem here, because Jeremiah 22:30 states that Jeconiah would die childless. The problem is solved either (1) by throwing out the last four words here as not belonging to the text (And this is supported by the LXX), or (2) by making Jeremiah 22:30 the full explanation of what is meant by write Coniah childless. It meant merely that he would not have a successor on the throne of Judah. Either solution appears to be adequate.

Practically all present-day scholars accept solution (2), above. Some very learned men of an earlier generation insist that he died, literally, without any children. Payne Smith insisted that, "There is no proof that Jehoiachin ever had any children. None are mentioned in 2 Kings 24:15; and the fact that when his father Jehoiachim died the harem of that ruler passed to Coniah, suggests that the "children" mentioned in 2 Chronicles 3:17 might merely have been his adopted children through that inheritance."

Matthew Henry also took the same view, offering as proof the fact, the oldest son of Jehoiachin was Shealtiel; but in the Lukan genealogy of Christ, Shealtiel is listed as the son of Neil, not Jehoiachin, indicating that Jehoiachin was only his adopted father.

We do not attach a great deal of importance to the question; but we prefer the views presented by the Dean of Canterbury and by Matthew Henry. There is nothing in their exegesis of this problem that is in any manner unreasonable.

Certainly, there is no Jehoiachin, Coniah, or Jeconiah in the Lukan account of the lineage of the Son of God which goes back to David, not through Solomon, but through Nathan.

Those who try to find Coniah in the ancestry of Christ will find it in Matthew 1:12; but that is only the legal ancestry of Christ through his foster father Joseph, making him the legal heir to the throne that was once held by Jeconiah.

Yes, it states in Matthew 1:12 that Jeconiah "begat Shealtiel"; but in genealogical tables distinctions such as real sons or adopted sons were not distinguished. In fact there are not even any distinctions between sons and grandsons, actual sons or Levirate sons, etc. Since Coniah was childless, Shealtiel an adopted son, inherited the non-existent throne of Judah; but Luke, unconcerned about legal rights to a throne traced Shealtiel’s ancestry through his actual father Neri.

Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah regarded Jeconiah (Coniah) as the last king of Judah; but some writers insist that Zedekiah was the last king. Of course, in a sense he was the last king; but in none of the eleven years that he reigned between 598 and 587 B.C. was he ever really "king of Judah," but a vassal of the Babylonians who had deposed and deported Jeconiah (Coniah) and placed Zedekiah on the throne as a puppet. Besides that, Nebuchadnezzar captured Zedekiah and blinded him after killing his sons before his eyes; and he was outlived many years by Jeconiah, who lived some thirty-seven years in captivity until he was released by Evil-Merodach. The Jews of Jerusalem never recognized Zedekiah as king and continually longed for the return of Jehoiachin. Therefore we follow the position of Ezekiel and of Jeremiah in considering Coniah as the last of Israel’s kings.

It has been objected to Jeremiah’s prophecy here that no one descended from Coniah would ever sit upon the throne of David; because, as premillennial advocates insist, "This would exclude Christ from sitting on David’s throne." Such an objection, however is worthless, since Luke’s genealogy makes no mention of any son of Jehoiachin in the ancestry of Christ. However, even if it was otherwise, the prohibition was not against such a descendant "sitting on David’s throne," but against his doing so "in Jerusalem!" Also, the scriptures flatly declare that the reference to some Great One to sit on David’s throne was a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:31). The fulfillment of the Messianic promise was complete when Jesus Christ, "sat down at the right hand of the majesty On High."

3. The fate of Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 22:24-30)

Having spoken of the future of Jehoahaz (Jeremiah 22:10-12) and the folly of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:13-23) Jeremiah now adds an oracle dealing with the fate of Coniah whose throne name was Jehoiachin. Jeremiah 52:31. This monarch is also designated as Jeconiah (Jeremiah 27:20), Jeconiahu (Jeremiah 24:1) and Joiakin (Ezekiel 1:2). The name in its various forms means “The Lord will establish.” Jehoiachin apparently was a carbon copy of his father (2 Kings 24:9), For this reason God declares that even if Coniah were a signet upon His finger He would pull him off and cast him away. Because of its importance the signet ring in antiquity was highly valued and guarded against any possible loss. That ring impressed into a bit of warm wax on a document made the document legally binding. The signet was the equivalent of the modern day signature. The king of Judah was the earthly representative of the invisible King of Judah, the Lord of hosts. He exercised authority in the name of the Almighty and hence could be compared to a signet on the hand of the Lord. But God swears with an oath formula (“as I live”) that Jehoiachin will be removed from this royal dignity (Jeremiah 22:24).

Not only will God remove Jehoiachin from the throne of Judah, but He will see to it that the king is delivered into the hands of the ruthless Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 22:25). He along with the queen-mother, the influential Nehushta, will be taken into the distant land of Babylon where they will die (Jeremiah 22:26). See Jeremiah 29:2; 2 Kings 24:8. An oracle has already been delivered to this prominent woman in Jeremiah 13:18. To die in a foreign land was considered one of the worst fates which could befall a man. The prophecy was fulfilled in 597, B.C. when Jehoiachin and the royal family were deported in chains to Babylon. Jehoiachin remained a captive of Babylon throughout the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. He was released after thirty-seven years of captivity by the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach (2 Kings 25:27-30). Jehoiachin must have died in Babylon before the restoration of the Jews in 537 B.C. or else he surely would have been made the leader of the returnees at that time.

Jeremiah 22:24-26 speak of the exile of king Jehoiachin as something in the future. But Jeremiah 22:27-30 presuppose that the exile has already begun. Here, as so often in prophetic literature, the prophet has projected himself into the future beyond 597 B.C. when Jehoiachin would be taken into captivity. He describes what he knows the attitude of the captives will be. They will long to return to Palestine but will not be permitted to do so (Jeremiah 22:27).

Jeremiah finds it hard to believe the words of his own prophecy. By means of a favorite literary device, a series of questions, he expresses his incredulity. Jeremiah elsewhere employs the repeated question to state an unnatural, incomprehensible fact. See Jeremiah 8:4 f.; Jeremiah 8:22; Jeremiah 14:19. In astonishment he asks, “Is Coniah no better than a cracked piece of pottery which one might cast on the top of a trash pile?” Why must Jehoiachin and his seed suffer the terrible fate of deportation to a foreign land? Jeremiah seems in Jeremiah 22:28 to be reflecting a great deal of sympathy toward the young king who was destined to reign only three months on the throne of Judah (2 Kings 24:8). Though Jehoiachin was but eighteen years old when taken captive he had wives (2 Kings 24:15) and apparently “seed”, i.e., children.

As Jeremiah reaches the climax of his pronouncement against Jehoiachin he dramatically calls the entire land to listen to the announcement of the tragic fate of this king. “O land, land, land! Hear the word of the Lord!” (Jeremiah 22:29). The three-fold repetition of “land” anticipates the solemnity of the message which follows. “Write this man childless”, i.e., enter Jehoiachin in the register of the citizens as one who has no heirs. The word “childless” is not to be taken here in the absolute sense since Jeremiah 22:28 already has mentioned the “seed” or children of Jehoiachin. Rather the meaning is that as far as the throne is concerned Jehoiachin would be childless. The rest of the verse makes this perfectly clear. No son of Jehoiachin would ever rule over Judah. It is interesting to note that Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jehoiachin, did serve as governor of the restored community once the exile in Babylon had ended.

Judgment Against Evil Kings - Jeremiah 22:1-30

Open It

1. In your opinion what are some of the best ways to teach children responsibility?

2 What do you consider the marks of greatness in a national leader?

Explore It

3. Where was Jeremiah told to proclaim God’s message? (Jeremiah 22:1)

4. What principles of good government did God list as conditions for His blessing on Judah? (Jeremiah 22:3-4)

5. What consequences were promised if the king did not obey God? (Jeremiah 22:5)

6. Although Judah and Jerusalem had been special in God’s sight, what did He swear to do to them? (Jeremiah 22:6-7)

7. What reason would be given for the disgrace and destruction of Judah? (Jeremiah 22:8-9)

8. What arrogant and selfish behavior on the part of the king angered God? (Jeremiah 22:13-14)

9. How did God feel about the notion that displays of wealth indicated greatness in a ruler? (Jeremiah 22:15)

10. How was Josiah different from Jehoiakim, his son? (Jeremiah 22:15-16)

11. How did God judge Jehoiakim’s heart? (Jeremiah 22:17)

12. What did God say would become of Jehoiakim’s "greatness" at the end of his life? (Jeremiah 22:18-19)

13. Before God allowed Judah’s enemies to crush them, what had He done to try to save them? (Jeremiah 22:20-21)

14. When did Jehoiakim’s rebellion against God begin? (Jeremiah 22:21)

15. What was going to become of the king and his splendid buildings? (Jeremiah 22:22-23)

16. To what did God compare Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin? (Jeremiah 22:28)

17. Why didn’t it matter whether Jehoiachin continued David’s line by having children? (Jeremiah 22:29-30)

Get It

18. In what sense can our godliness be measured by our treatment of fellow human beings?

19. Why is God so concerned about the poor and powerless?

20. How do human indicators of greatness differ from God’s?

21. What circumstances do we sometimes think would entitle us to God’s favor?

22. What conclusion can we draw from the case of Josiah and Jehoiakim about the certainty of godly people having godly children?

23. In what way do you need to copy the example of your parents more consciously?

Apply It

24. In what areas of your life can you act on the opportunity to do what is just and right for your fellow human beings?

25. What is one step you can take this week to learn from or copy something good that your parents did right?

Questions On Jeremiah Chapter Twenty-Two

By Brent Kercheville

1 What is the message to the king of Judah (Jeremiah 22:1-4)?

2 What will happen is the king does not obey God’s message (Jeremiah 22:5-10)? What will the people teach the nations about this event?

3 What is the message concerning Shallum (Jehoahaz) (Jeremiah 22:11-12)?

4 What is the message to God’s kings (Jeremiah 22:13-17)?

5 What is the message to Jehoakim (Jeremiah 22:18-23)?

6 What is the message to Coniah (Jehoiachin) (Jeremiah 22:24-30)?

TRANSFORMATION:

How does this relationship change your relationship with God?

What did you learn about him?

What will you do differently in your life?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Jeremiah 22". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/jeremiah-22.html.
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