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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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("appointed by Jehovah, or he whom Jehovah establishes or fortifies" (Keil).) JECONIAH, CONIAH. Son of Jehoiakim and Nehushta; at 18 succeeded his father, and was king of Judah for three months and ten days; 20th king from David. In 2 Chronicles 36:9 his age is made "eight" at his accession, so Septuagint, Vulgate. But a few Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac and Arabic, read "eighteen" here also; it is probably a transcriber's error. The correctness of eighteen, not eight, is proved by Ezekiel 19:5-9, where he appears as "going up and down among the lions, catching the prey, devouring men, knowing the widows" (margin) of the men so devoured; unless Jehoiakim is meant. The term "whelp" appears to apply more to his son Jehoiachin, who moreover answers better to the description of the mother (Judah) "taking another of her whelps, and making him a young lion."

Lord A. C. Hervey prefers "eight," from Matthew 1:11. "Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon," fixing his birth to the time of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion (2 Kings 24:1), namely, three years after Jehoiakim's accession, and eight before his reign ended and Jehoiachin succeeded; but Matthew's language hardly justifies this; Jeremiah's language implies Jehoiachin was a "man," and capable of having a "child" (2 Kings 22:28; 2 Kings 22:30). Jerusalem was an easy prey to Nebuchadnezzar at this time, Judah having been wasted for three or four years by Chaldaean, Ammonite, and Moabite bands, sent by Nebuchadnezzar (as Jehovah's executioner of judgment) in consequence of Jehoiakim's rebellion. Egypt, after its defeat at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, could not interpose (2 Kings 23:7-17).

After sending his servants (generals distinct from the Chaldaean and other bands) to besiege Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar in person came (2 Chronicles 36:10 margin) at the turn of the year, i.e. spring, in the eighth year of his reign, counting from the time that his father transferred the command of the army against Necho to him (so that his first coincides with the fourth of Jehoiakim, Jeremiah 25:1). Jehoiachin seeing the impossibility of resistance made a virtue of necessity by going out to Nebuchadnezzar, he, the queen mother (who, as the king was only 18, held chief power; Jeremiah 13:18 undesignedly coincides with and confirms the history, "Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves," etc.), servants, princes, and eunuchs (margin).

Nebuchadnezzar, after Jehoiakim's rebellion (notwithstanding his agreement at Nebuchadnezzar's first advance to be his vassal) (2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1), would not trust his son Jehoiachin, but carried him away, the queen mother, his wives, chamberlains, and all the men of might, 7,000, and 1,000 crafts. men and smiths; fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy (Jeremiah 22:24, etc.), He had already taken at the first siege of Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's third year part of the vessels of God's house (Daniel 1:1-2; 2 Chronicles 36:7) and put them in the house of his god in Babylon, namely, the smaller vessels of solid gold, basins, goblets, knives, tongs, etc., which Cyrus restored (Ezra 1:7, etc.). Now he cut the gold off (not "cut in pieces," 2 Kings 24:13) the larger vessels which were plated, the altar of burnt offering, the table of shewbread, and the ark, so that at the third conquest of Jerusalem under Zedekiah there were only the large brazen vessels of the court remaining, beside a few gold and silver basins and firepans (2 Kings 25:13-17).

Nebuchadnezzar also carried off the treasures of Jeconiah's house (2 Kings 24:13), "as Jehovah had spoken" to Hezekiah long before (2 Kings 20:17; Jeremiah 15:13; Jeremiah 17:3; Jeremiah 29:2). The inhabitants carried off were the best not only in means but in character. In 2 Kings 24:14 they are said to be 10,000; the details are specified in 2 Kings 24:15-16; "none remained save the poorest sort of the people of the land," having neither wealth nor skill to raise war, and therefore giving Nebuchadnezzar no fear of rebellion. The "princes" (satire) are the king's great court officials; "the mighty men of valor" (gibbowrey hachail , "mighty men of wealth," same Hebrew as 2 Kings 15:20) are men of property, rather than prowess: 2 Kings 15:14. In 2 Kings 15:16 "men of might" (anshey hachail ) may mean the same, but nowsh is a low man; I think therefore it means "men of the army," as in Ezekiel 37:10, and is defined by "all that were strong and apt for war," 7,000.

The craftsmen (masons, smiths, and carpenters) and locksmiths (including weapon makers, hamasgeer ), were 1,000; so the "princes" or king's officials, "the mighty men of wealth," and "the mighty of the land" (uley haarets ), i.e. heads of tribes and families found in Jerusalem (including the nation's spiritual heads, priests and prophets, with Ezekiel: Jeremiah 29:1; Ezekiel 1:1) must have been 2,000, to make up the "ten thousand." In Jeremiah 52:28 the number is 3,023, but that was the number carried away "in the seventh year," "in the eighth year" of Nebuchadnezzar the 10,000 were carried away. The 1,000 "craftsmen" may be exclusive of the 10,000. Evidently, the 4,600 in all mentioned (Jeremiah 52:30) as carried away do not include the general multitude and the women and children (Jeremiah 52:15; Jeremiah 39:9; 2 Kings 25:11), for otherwise the number would be too small, since the numbers who returned were 42,360 (Ezra 2; Nehemiah 7).

Jehoiachin wore prison garments for 36 years, until at the death of Nebuchadnezzar, having been for a time sharer of his imprisonment (Jeremiah 52:31-34), "in the 12th month, the 25th day of the month (in 2 Kings 25:27 'the 27th,' the day when the decree for his elevation, given on the 25th, was carried into effect) lifted up the head of Jehoiachin (compare Genesis 40:13-20; Psalms 3:3; Psalms 27:6), and brought him forth out of prison, and spoke kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments (for royal robes; compare Zechariah 3:1-5; Luke 15:22), and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life (compare 2 Samuel 9:13); and there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day its portion (compare margin 1 Kings 8:59) until the day of his death." (See EVIL-MERODACH.)

God, in sparing and at last elevating him, rewarded his having surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, which was God's will (Jeremiah 38:17; Jeremiah 27:6-12; compare 2 Kings 24:12). In the fourth year of his uncle Zedekiah (so called by Nebuchadnezzar instead of Mattaniah), false prophets encouraged the popular hope of the return of Jehoiachin to Jerusalem (Jeremiah 28:4).(See HANANIAH.) But God's oath made this impossible: "as I live, though Coniah were the signet (ring seal, Song of Solomon 8:6; Haggai 2:23) upon My right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence." "Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? (he was idolized by the Jews). Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure?" Jeremiah hereby expresses their astonishment that one from whom they expected so much should be now so utterly east aside. Contrast the believer, 2 Timothy 2:21; compare as to Israel Hosea 8:8, to which Romans 9:20-23 gives the answer.

Jeremiah (Jeremiah 22:28) mentions distinctly "his seed," therefore "childless" in Jeremiah 22:30 means having no direct lineal heir to the throne. One of his sons was Zedekiah (Zidkijah), distinct in name and fact from Zedekiah (Zidkijahu), Jeconiah's uncle, whose succession after Jehoiachin would never cause him to be called "his son" (1 Chronicles 3:16). This Zedekiah is mentioned separately from the other sons of Jehoiachin, Assir and Salathiel, because probably he was not led to Babylon as the other sons, but died in Judea (Keil). In Luke 3:27 Shealtiel (Salathiel) is son of Neri of the lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. Probably Assir left a daughter, who, according to the law of heiresses (Numbers 37:8; Numbers 36:8-9), married a man of a family of her paternal tribe, namely, Neri descended from Nathan. Shealtiel is called Assir's "son" (1 Chronicles 3:17), i.e. grandson.

So "Jechonias (it is said Matthew 1:12) begat Salathiel," i.e. was his forefather. Jecamiah Assir, as often occurs in genealogies, is skipped in Matthew. (See JECAMIAH); GENEALOGIES.) A party of the captives at Babylon also, through the false prophets, expected restoration with Jehoiachin and Nebuchadnezzar's overthrow. This accounts for the Babylonian king inflicting so terrible a punishment (compare Daniel 3), roasting to death Ahab (Jeremiah 29:4-9; Jeremiah 29:21-23; Jeremiah 29:27-32). Ezekiel dates his prophecies by Jehoiachin's captivity, the latest date being the 27th year (Ezekiel 1:2; Ezekiel 29:17; Ezekiel 40:1). The Apocrypha (Baruch 1:3, and the History of Susanna) relates dubious stories. about Jehoiachin. Kish, Mordecai's ancestor, was carried away with Jehoiachin (Esther 2:6).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Jehoiachin'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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