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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature


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Jehoi´akim (God-established), originally Eliakim, second son of Josiah, and eighteenth king of Judah. On the death of his father the people raised to the throne his younger brother Jehoahaz; but three months after, when the Egyptian king returned from the Euphrates, he removed Jehoahaz, and gave the crown to the rightful heir, Eliakim, whose name he changed to Jehoiakim. This change of name often took place in similar circumstances; and the altered name was in fact the badge of a tributary prince. Jehoiakim began to reign in B.C. 608, and reigned eleven years. He, of course, occupied the position of a vassal of the Egyptian empire, but however heavy may have been the Egyptian yoke, Jehoiakim was destined to pass under one heavier still.

In the third year of his reign, being besieged in Jerusalem, he was forced to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and was by his order laden with chains, with the intention of sending him captive to Babylon (); but eventually the conqueror changed his mind and restored the crown to him. Many persons, however, of high family, and some even of the royal blood, were sent away to Babylon. Among these was Daniel, then a mere youth. A large proportion of the treasures and sacred vessels of the temple were also taken away and deposited in the idol-temple at Babylon (). The year following the Egyptians were defeated upon the Euphrates (), and Jehoiakim, when he saw the remains of the defeated army pass by his territory, could not but perceive how vain had been that reliance upon Egypt against which he had been constantly cautioned by Jeremiah ( sq.; 45:1 sq.). In the same year the prophet caused a collection of his prophecies to be written out by his faithful Baruch, and to be read publicly by him in the court of the temple. This coming to the knowledge of the king, he sent for it and had it read before him. But he heard not much of the bitter denunciations with which it was charged, before he took the roll from the reader, and after cutting it in pieces threw it into the brasier, which, it being winter, was burning before him in the hall. The counsel of God against him, however, stood sure; a fresh roll was written, with the addition of a further and most awful denunciation against the king, occasioned by this foolish and sacrilegious act: 'He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat and in the night to the frost' (Jeremiah 36). All this, however, appears to have made little impression upon Jehoiakim, who still walked in his old paths.

After three years of subjection, Jehoiakim, finding the king of Babylon fully engaged elsewhere, and deluded by the Egyptian party in his court, ventured to withhold his tribute, and thereby to throw off the Chaldean yoke. This step, taken contrary to the earnest remonstrances of Jeremiah, was the ruin of Jehoiakim. The land was before long invaded by the armies of the Chaldeans, accompanied by a vast number of auxiliaries from the neighboring countries, the Edomites, Moabites, and others, who were for the most part actuated by a fierce hatred against the Jewish name and nation. The events of the war are not related. Jerusalem was taken, or rather surrendered on terms, which Josephus alleges were little heeded by Nebuchadnezzar. It is certain that Jehoiakim was slain, but whether in one of the actions, or, as Josephus says, after the surrender, we cannot determine. His body remained exposed and unlamented without the city, under the circumstances foretold by the prophet—'He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem' (;;;; ).

It was not the object of Nebuchadnezzar to destroy altogether a power which, as tributary to him, formed a serviceable outpost towards Egypt, which seems to have been the great final object of all his designs in this quarter. He therefore still maintained the throne of Judah, and placed on it Jehoiachin, the son of the late king. He, however, sent away another body, a second corps of the nobles and chief persons of the nation, three thousand in number, among whom was Ezekiel, afterwards called to prophesy in the land of his exile.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Jehoiakim'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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