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. 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. 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. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.”
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?
29 O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!
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 anymore in Judah.”
(Jeremiah 22:24-30 NIV)
In previous passages, we have seen the Lord’s pronouncements against former kings of Judah:
- to all the kings of Judah in general (vv. 1-9)
- to Shallum (Jehoahaz) (vv. 10-12)
- to Eliakim (Jehoiakim) (vv. 13-19)
- to Jerusalem, the home of the kings (vv. 20-23).
In today’s text, the Lord finishes His pronouncements with the last king to sit on the throne of Judah – Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) (vv. 24-30). Other passages sometimes use “Coniah” as a shortened version of Jeconiah’s full name.
Jehoiachin, unfortunately, followed in his father’s footsteps. 2 Kings 24:8-17 says that Jehoiachin “did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done.” (v. 9). Jehoiachin was only in office three months before Nebuchadnezzar replaced him. Jehoiachin and his mother, along with many artisans, soldiers, and treasures were all taken from Jerusalem and brought back to Nebuchadnezzar’s palace in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar was ruthless and could have easily killed Jehoiachin and all his offspring, thus ending the royal lineage of Judah. However, the Lord had promised to retain a remnant of His people, including the Davidic family line. This faint glimmer of hope is carried on through Jehoiachin, even in exile. We see another glimpse of this hope in 2 Kings 25:27-30 when the ruler of Babylon releases Jehoiachin from prison and allows him to eat at the king’s table.
Verse 29 is a clarion call to be heard to the very ends of the earth – God has spoken, and the world is in shock. Judah and Jerusalem are no more.
Verse 30 takes careful reading to understand its meaning. At first reading, it may appear that the Lord is saying Jehoiachin will be childless. In fact, 1 Chronicles 3:17-18 tells us that Jehoiachin had seven sons. Upon further investigation, the Lord says that none of Jehoiachin’s sons will be king of Judah, sitting on the royal throne of their forefather David. The phrase “as if” is crucial – indicating that Jehoiachin’s sons will not sit on the king’s throne.
The lineage of Jesus fulfills the glimmer of hope mentioned earlier. The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17. Verses 11 – 12 list Josiah and Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) as part of Jesus’ family line. Even when His people were in exile, the Lord protected His own and made a way to fulfill His promise of a future King – Jesus.
May we remember that the Lord can work in us and through us, even in our “desert” times when it feels like we can do nothing or have nothing to offer.
May we learn from the long line of bad choices by Judah’s kings and choose to live according to God’s Word.and seek His heart with our entire being, to seek justice and righteousness, to love Him as He first loved us.