Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
This prophecy Jer. 22, like the preceding Jer 21:11-14, states the conditions upon which it was still possible for the house of David to ensure a long era of prosperity. It belongs therefore to the beginning of Jehoiakim's reign.
Go down - i. e., from the temple to the king's house. Compare Ch2 23:20.
Omit and. "Thou art a Gilead unto me, a summit of Lebanon."
Yet surely - literally, if not, the form of an oath with the imprecation omitted. For the full form see Num 14:23.
A wilderness, and cities - Omit and. The meaning is: If the house of David does not hear God's words, though it be now grand as Lebanon, God will make it a wilderness, even uninhabited cities; the house of David being regarded as equivalent to the kingdom of Judah.
Prepare - i. e., consecrate, see Jer 6:4 note.
Thy choice cedars - The chief members of the royal lineage and the leading officers of state.
In the two foregoing prophecies Jeremiah stated the general principle on which depend the rise and downfall of kings and nations. He now adds for Zedekiah's warning the history of three thrones which were not established.
The first is that of Shallum the successor of Josiah, who probably took the name of Jehoahaz on his accession (see the marginal references notes).
The dead - i. e., Josiah Ch2 35:25.
That goeth away - Rather, that is gone away.
Far worse is the second example. Shallum was no heartless tyrant like Jehoiakim, who lived in splendor amid the misery of the nation, and perished so little cared for that his body was cast aside without burial.
His chambers - Really, his upper chambers. From the absence of machinery the raising of materials for the upper stories was a difficult task, especially when massive stones were used.
His work - Giveth him not his wages.
Large chambers - spacious upper chambers.
It is cieled - Or, roofing it.
Vermilion - The pigment which gives the deep red color still bright and untarnished on many ancient buildings.
i. e., Will thy buildings make thy reign continue? These words imply that Jehoiakim was looking forward to, and taking measures to secure, a long continuance of power (compare Hab 2:9-13. If so, Jeremiah probably wrote this prophecy before Jehoiakim revolted Kg2 24:1; and it, therefore, probably belongs to the same date as Jer 36:30, written in the interval between Nebuchadnezzars first conquest of Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim's rebellion, and when Jeremiah was out of the reach of the tyrant's power.
Closest thyself in cedar - Rather, viest "in cedar;" i. e., viest with Solomon.
Did not thy father eat and drink ... - i. e., he was prosperous and enjoyed life. There is a contrast between the life of Josiah spent in the discharge of his kingly duties, and that of Jehoiakim, busy with ambitious plans of splendor and aggrandisement.
Covetousness - literally, gain. Besides exacting forced labor Jehoiakim, to procure the necessary means for the vast expenses he incurred, put innocent people to death on various pretexts, and escheated their property.
Boldly by name is the judgment at length pronounced upon Jehoiakim. Dreaded by all around him, he shall soon lie an unheeded corpse, with no one to lament. No loving relative shall make such wailing as when a brother or sister is carried to the grave; nor shall he have the respect of his subjects, Ah Lord! or, Ah his glory!
The burial of an ass - i. e., he shall merely be dragged out of the way, and left to decay unheeded. Nothing is known of the fulfillment of this prophecy.
The third example, Jehoiachin. With him all the best and noblest of the land were dragged from their homes to people the void places of Babylon.
The passages - Really, Abarim, a range of mountains to the south of Gilead, opposite Jericho (see Num 27:12; Deu 32:49). Jeremiah names the chief ranges of mountains, which overlook the route from Jerusalem to Babylon, in regular order, beginning with Lebanon upon the north, then Bashan on the northeast, and lastly Abarim on the southeast.
Thy lovers - i. e., the nations in alliance with Judah, especially Egypt, whose defeat at Carchemish Jer 46:2 gave all western Asia into the power of Nebuchadnezzar.
Prosperity - literally, as in the margin. God spake thus not once only, but whenever Judah was at peace.
Shall eat up all thy pastors - literally, shall depasture (Jer 2:16 note) thy pastors. Those who used to drive their flocks to consume the herbage shall themselves be the first prey of war. The "pastors" mean not the kings only, but all in authority.
Lebanon is the usual metaphor for anything splendid. and is here put for Jerusalem, but with special reference to the kings whose pride it was to dwell in palaces roofed with cedar Jer 22:14.
How gracious shalt thou be - Or, How wilt thou groan!
The words "king of Judah," belong to Coniah, and prove that he was king regnant when the prophet wrote. The prophet gives him the name by which he was known when in a private station Ch1 3:16 as he had done previously with Jehoahaz. These two kings bore their royal names for so short a time that they probably never got into general use.
The signet - The badge of office. To part with it, was to part with the royal authority.
Mother - See Jer 13:18. It was her relationship, not to the dead king, but to the king regnant, which made her powerful.
Idol - Rather, vessel. Is Coniah a mere piece of common earthenware in which the potter has no pleasure, and therefore breaks it? It is a lamentation over Jehoiachin's hard fate, and that of his seed. This and the two following verses may have been written after the king had been carried into captivity.
Earth - On the repetition compare Jer 7:4 note.
Childless - No child to sit on David's throne. See Ch1 3:17 note.
Jeconiah was the last king of David's line. His uncle indeed actually reigned after him, but perished with his sons long before Jeconiah's death (literally 10): and yet from so dead a trunk, from a family so utterly fallen, that spiritual King came forth whose name is "Yahweh our righteousness" Jer 23:5-6.