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FRAMEWORKS: Jeremiah 22: Judgment against three wicked kings


[Preliminary Comment: This word, in what is a complex chapter, comes almost as an overview of the unrighteous reigns of:

- v.11 Jehoahaz [2 Chron 36:2,3 reigned 3 months in 609, taken to Egypt where he died] and

- v.18 Jehoiakim [2 Chron 36:5-8 reigned 11 years, 609-597]

but note

- v.24 Jehoiachin [2 Chron 36:9,10] who subsequently reigned 3 months in 597 taken to Babylon. Jehoiachin is the last one mentioned but the prophecy appears to be in his father's reign and acts as a warning to him when he follows his father.


Verse 1 to 9 are addressed to an unnamed king.

Verse 10 must refer to Josiah, an example in the past

Verses 11 & 12 are specifically about Shallum [or Jehoahaz]- now in Egypt

Verses 13 to 17 appear as general warnings

Verse 18 & 19 are specifically about Jehoiakim, presumably near the end of his reign

Verses 20 to 23 may apply to him or Jehoiachin who follows, or may simply be general warnings again

Verses 24 to 30 appear specifically to Jehoiachin, before his father is killed and before he actually rules, also presumably a warning before he is eventually taken by Nebuchadnezzar after a 3 month reign.]



v.1-3 The Lord calls on the king to act justly and righteously

v.1   This is what the Lord says: ‘Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there:

v.2  “Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David's throne – you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.

v.3  This is what the Lord says: do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.


v.4,5 Obedience will bring blessing, disobedience will bring disaster

v.4  For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people.

v.5  But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord , I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.”'


v.6,7 That ruin will be caused by invaders who will clear the land

v.6  For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:

‘Though you are like Gilead to me,
     like the summit of Lebanon,
I will surely make you like a wasteland,
     like towns not inhabited.
v.7  I will send destroyers against you,
     each man with his weapons,
and they will cut up your fine cedar beams
     and throw them into the fire.


v.8,9 The world will see and understand it's because of their covenant breaking

v.8  ‘People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?”

v.9  And the answer will be: “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshipped and served other gods.”'


v.10-12 Don't weep for the fallen king [Josiah] or his exiled son who will die in Egypt

v.10  Do not weep for the dead king or mourn his loss;
     rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
because he will never return
     nor see his native land again.

v.11  For this is what the Lord says about Shallum [otherwise known as Jehoahaz] son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: ‘He will never return. [see 2 Kings 23:31-34 taken to Egypt where he eventually died]

v.12  He will die in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again.'


v.13-15 A challenge to the unrighteous reign and pride of Jehoiakim

v.13  ‘Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
     his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
     not paying them for their labour.
v.14  He says, “I will build myself a great palace
     with spacious upper rooms.”
So he makes large windows in it,
     panels it with cedar
     and decorates it in red.

v.15  ‘Does it make you a king
     to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
     He did what was right and just,
     so all went well with him.
[clearly Josiah the only good recent king]

v.16,17 He doesn't compare well with his father, Josiah

v.16  He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
     and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?'
     declares the Lord .
v.17  ‘But your eyes and your heart
     are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
     and on oppression and extortion.'


v.18,19 Don't mourn for Jehoiakim to be carried off to Babylon [see 2 Chron 36:5,6]

v.18  Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

‘They will not mourn for him:
     “Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!”
They will not mourn for him:
     “Alas, my master! Alas, his splendour!”
v.19  He will have [note the future tense] the burial of a donkey –
     dragged away and thrown
     outside the gates of Jerusalem.'


v.20 Realise any allies you had in the north are gone

v.20  ‘Go up to Lebanon and cry out,
     let your voice be heard in Bashan,
cry out from Abarim,
[three place names in the north]
     for all your allies are crushed.

v.21-23 You feel secure in your fine timber houses but it is a false security

v.21  I warned you when you felt secure,
     but you said, “I will not listen!”
This has been your way from your youth;
     you have not obeyed me.
v.22  The wind will drive all your shepherds away,
     and your allies will go into exile.
Then you will be ashamed and disgraced
     because of all your wickedness.
v.23  You who live in “Lebanon,”
     who are nestled in cedar buildings,
[i.e. in wonderful cedar timber from Lebanon]
how you will groan when pangs come upon you,
     pain like that of a woman in labour!


v.24-27 Jehoiachin's life hangs in the balance – a warning for the near future

v.24  ‘As surely as I live,' declares the Lord , ‘even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off.

v.25  I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear – Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians.

v.26  I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die.

v.27  You will never come back to the land you long to return to.'


v.28-30 A lament over Jehoiachin

v.28  Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
     an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
     cast into a land they do not know?
v.29  O land, land, land,
     hear the word of the Lord !
v.30  This is what the Lord says:
‘Record this man as if childless,
     a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
     none will sit on the throne of David
     or rule any more in Judah.'
[note: 18 when he ruled and taken, followed by his uncle]



Continue to Chapter 23