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Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at

Jeremiah Chapter 22


jer 22:0

Rebuke of the Ungodly Kings Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, and Promise of a Righteous Branch of David. - This discourse begins with an exhortation to the king, his servants, and the people to do right and justice, and to eschew all unrighteousness, and with the warning, that in case of the contrary the royal palace will be reduced to ruins and Jerusalem destroyed by fire. After touching briefly on the fate of Jehoahaz, who has been deported to Egypt (Jer 22:10-12), the discourse turns against Jehoiakim, rebukes his tyranny, in that he builds his house with unrighteousness and schemes only bloodshed and violence, and threatens him with ignominious ruin (Jer 22:13-19). Then, after a threatening against Jerusalem (Jer 22:20-23), it deals with Jechoniah, who is told he shall be carried to Babylon never to return, and without any descendant to sit on his throne (Jer 22:24-30). Next, after an outcry of grief at the wicked shepherds, follows the promise that the Lord will gather the remnant of His flock out of all the lands whither they have been driven, that He will restore them to their fields and multiply them, and that He will raise up to them a good shepherd in the righteous branch of David (Jer 23:1-8). - According to Jer 21:1, Jeremiah spoke these words in the house of the king of Judah; whence we see that in this passage we have not merely ideas and scraps of addresses gathered together, such as had been on various occasions orally delivered by the prophet. It further appears from Jer 22:10 and Jer 22:13-17, that the portion of the discourse addressed to Jehoiakim was uttered in the first year of his reign; and from Jer 22:24, where Jechoniah is addressed as king, that the utterance concerning him belongs to the short period (only three months long) of his reign. But the utterance concerning Jechoniah is joined with that concerning Jehoiakim on account of the close relationship in matter between them. The exhortation and warning against injustice, forming the introduction, as regards it contents, fits very well into the time of Jehoiakim (cf. Jer 22:17 with Jer 22:3). The promise with which the discourse concludes was apparently not spoken till the time of Jechoniah, shortly before his being taken to Babylon. So that we have here the discourses of Jeremiah belonging to the times of Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin respectively, joined into one continuous whole.

Jeremiah 22:1

jer 22:1

The king is warned against injustice, and the violent oppression of the poor and defenceless. - Jer 22:1. "Thus said Jahveh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word, Jer 22:2. And say: Hear the word of Jahveh, thou king of Judah, that sittest upon the throne of David, thou, and thy servants, and thy people, that go in by these gates. Jer 22:3. Thus hath Jahveh said: Do ye right and justice, and save the despoiled out of the hand of the oppressor; to stranger, orphan, and widow do no wrong, no violence; and innocent blood shed not in this place. Jer 22:4. For if ye will do this word indeed, then by the gates of this place there shall come in kings that sit upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. Jer 22:5. But if ye hearken not to these words, by myself have I sworn, saith Jahve, that this house shall become a desolation. Jer 22:6. For thus hath Jahveh said concerning the house of the king of Judah: A Gilead art thou to me, a head of Lebanon; surely I will make thee a wilderness, cities uninhabited; Jer 22:7. And will consecrate against thee destroyers, each with his tools, who shall hew down the choice of thy cedars and cast them into the fire. Jer 22:8. And there shall pass may peoples by this city, and one shall say to the other: Wherefore hath Jahveh done thus unto this great city? Jer 22:9. And they will say: Because they have forsaken the covenant of Jahveh their God, and worshipped other gods and served them."

Go down into the house of the king. The prophet could go down only from the temple; cf. Jer 36:12 and Jer 26:10. Not only the king is to hear the word of the Lord, but his servants too, and the people, who go in by these gates, the gates of the royal castle. The exhortation: to do right and justice, etc., is only an expansion of the brief counsel at Jer 21:12, and that brought home to the heart of the whole people in Jer 7:6, cf. Eze 22:6. The form עשׁוק for עושׁק, Jer 21:12, occurs only here, but is formed analogously to גּדול, and cannot be objected to. אל־תּנוּ is strengthened by "do no violence." On "kings riding," etc., cf. Jer 17:25. - With Jer 22:5 cf. Jer 17:27, where, however, the threatening is otherwise worded. בּי , cf. Gen 22:16. כּי introduces the contents of the oath. "This house" is the royal palace. לחרבּה as in Jer 7:34, cf. Jer 27:17. The threatening is illustrated in Jer 22:6 by further description of the destruction of the palace. The royal castle is addressed, and, in respect of its lofty situation and magnificence, is called a Gilead and a head of Lebanon. It lay on the north-eastern eminence of Mount Zion (see on Kg1 7:12, note 1), and contained the so-called forest-house of Lebanon (Kg1 7:2-5) and various other buildings built of cedar, or, at least, faced with cedar planks (cf. Jer 22:14, Jer 22:23); so that the entire building might be compared to a forest of cedars on the summit of Lebanon. In the comparison to Gilead, Gilead can hardly be adduced in respect of its great fertility as a pasturing land (Num 32:1; Mic 7:14), but in virtue of the thickly wooded covering of the hill-country of Gilead on both sides of the Jabbok. This is still in great measure clothed with oak thickets and, according to Buckingham, the most beautiful forest tracts that can be imagined; cf. C. v. Raumer, Pal. S. 82.

(Note: In 1834 Eli Smith travelled through it, and thus writes: "Jebel 'Ajlun presents the most charming rural scenery that I have seen in Syria. A continued forest of noble trees, chiefly the evergreen oak, covers a large part of it, while the ground beneath is clothed with luxuriant grass and decked with a rich variety of wild flowers. As we went from el-Husn to 'Ajlun our path lay along the summit of the mountain; and we often overlooked a large part of Palestine on one side and the whole of Haurn." - Rob. Phys. Geog. p. 54.)

אם לא is a particle of asseveration. This glorious forest of cedar buildings is to become a מדבּר, a treeless steppe, cities uninhabited. "Cities" refers to the thing compared, not to the emblem; and the plural, as being the form for indefinite generality, presents no difficulty. And the attachment thereto of a singular predicate has many analogies in its support, cf. Ew. 317, a. The Keri נושׁבוּ is an uncalled for emendation of the Chet. נושׁבה, cf. Jer 6:5. - "I consecrate," in respect that the destroyers are warriors whom God sends as the executors of His will, see on Jer 6:4. With "a man and his weapons," cf. Eze 9:2. In keeping with the figure of a forest, the destruction is represented as the hewing down of the choicest cedars; cf. Isa 10:34. - Thus is to be accomplished in Jerusalem what Moses threatened, Deu 29:23; the destroyed city will become a monument of God's wrath against the transgressors of His covenant. Jer 22:8 is modelled upon Deu 29:23., cf. Kg1 9:8., and made to bear upon Jerusalem, since, along with the palace, the city too is destroyed by the enemy.

From Jer 22:10 onwards the exhortation to the evil shepherds becomes a prophecy concerning the kings of that time, who by their godless courses hurried on the threatened destruction. The prophecy begins with King Jehoahaz, who, after a reign of three months, had bee discrowned by Pharaoh Necho and carried captive to Egypt; Kg2 23:30-35; Ch2 36:1-4.

Jeremiah 22:10

jer 22:10

On Jehoahaz. - Jer 22:10. "Weep not for the dead, neither bemoan him; weep rather for him that is gone away, for he shall no more return and see the land of his birth. Jer 22:11. For thus saith Jahveh concerning Shallum, the son of Josiah king of Judah, who became king in his father Josiah's stead, and who went forth from this place: He shall not return thither more; Jer 22:12. but in the place whither they have carried hi captive, there shall he die and see this land no more." The clause: weep not for the dead, with which the prophecy on Shallum is begun, shows that the mourning for King Josiah was kept up and was still heartily felt amongst the people (Ch2 35:24.), and that the circumstances of his death were still fresh in their memory. למת without the article, although Josiah, slain in battle at Megiddo, is meant, because there was no design particularly to define the person. Him that goes or is gone away. He, again, is defined and called Shallum. This Shallum, who became king in his father Josiah's place, can be none other than Josiah's successor, who is called Joahaz in Kg2 23:30., Ch2 36:1; as was seen by Chrysost. and Aben-Ezra, and, since Grotius, by most commentators. The only question is, why he should here be called Shallum. According to Frc. Junius, Hitz., and Graf, Jeremiah compares Joahaz on account of his short reign with Shallum in Israel, who reigned but one month (Kg2 15:13), and ironically calls him Shallum, as Jezebel called Jehu, Zimri murderer of his lord, Kg2 9:31. This explanation is unquestionably erroneous, since irony of such a sort is inconsistent with what Jeremiah says of Shallum. More plausible seems Hgstb.'s opinion, Christ. ii. p. 401, that Jeremiah gives Joahaz the name Shallum, i.e., the requited (cf. שׁלּם, Ch1 6:13, = משׁלּם, Ch1 9:11), as nomen reale, to mark him out as the man the Lord had punished for the evil of his doings. But this conjecture too is overthrown by the fact, that in the genealogy of the kings of Judah, Ch1 3:15, we find among the four sons of Josiah the name שׁלּוּם instead of Joahaz. Now this name cannot have come there from the present passage, for the genealogies of Chronicles are derived from old family registers. That this is so in the case of Josiah's sons, appears from the mention there of a fourth, Johanan, over and above the three known to history, of whom we hear nothing more. In the genealogical tables persons are universally mentioned by their own proper names, not according to "renamings" or surnames, except in the case that these have received the currency and value of historical names, as e.g., Israel for Jacob. On the ground of the genealogical table 1 Chron 3 we must accordingly hold that Joahaz was properly called Shallum, and that probably at his accession he assumed the name יואחז, "Jahveh sustains, holds." But Jeremiah might still have used the name Shallum in preference to the assumed Joahaz, because the former had verified itself in that king's fate. With Jer 22:11 and Jer 22:12, cf. Kg2 23:33-35. - The brief saying in regard to Joahaz forms the transition from the general censure of the wicked rulers of Judah who brought on the ruin of the kingdom, to the special predictions concerning the ungodly kings Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, in whose time the judgment burst forth. In counselling not to weep for the dead king (Josiah), but for the departed one (Joahaz), Jeremiah does not mean merely to bewail the lot of the king carried prisoner to Egypt, but to foreshadow the misery that awaits the whole people. From this point of view Calv. well says: si lugenda est urbis hujus clades, potius lugendi sunt qui manebunt superstites quam qui morientur. Mors enim erit quasi requies, erit portus ad finienda omnia mala: Vita autem longior nihil aliud erit quam continua miseriarum series; and further, that in the words: he shall no more return and see the land of his birth, Jeremiah shows: exilium fore quasi tabem, quae paulatim consumat miseros Judaeos. Ita mors fuisset illis dulcior longe, quam sic diu cruciari et nihil habere relaxationis. In the lot of the two kings the people had to recognise what was in store for itself.

Jeremiah 22:13

jer 22:13

The woe uttered upon Jehoiakim. - Jer 22:13. "Woe unto him that buildeth his house with unrighteousness and his upper chambers with wrong, that maketh his fellow labour for nought, and giveth him not his hire; Jer 22:14. That saith: I will build me a wide house and spacious upper chambers, and cutteth him out many windows, and covereth it with cedars, and painteth it with vermilion. Jer 22:15. Art thou a king of thou viest in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do right and justice? Then it went well with him. Jer 22:16. He did justice to the poor and wretched, then it was well. Is not this to know me? saith Jahveh. Jer 22:17. For on nothing are thine eyes and thy heart set but on gain and on the blood of the innocent, to shed it, and on oppression and violence, to do them. Jer 22:18. Therefore thus saith Jahveh concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah: They shall not mourn for him, saying: Alas, my brother! and alas, sister! they shall not mourn for him: Alas, lord! and alas for his glory! Jer 22:19. An ass's burial shall his burial be, dragged and cast far away from the gates of Jerusalem."

The prediction as to Jehoiakim begins with a woe upon the unjust oppression of the people. The oppression consisted in his building a magnificent palace with the sweat and blood of his subjects, whom he compelled to do forced labour without giving the labourers wages. The people must have felt this burden all the more severely that Jehoiakim, to obtain the throne, had bound himself to pay to Pharaoh a large tribute, the gold and silver for which he raised from the population according to Pharaoh's own valuation, Kg2 23:33. With "Woe to him that buildeth," etc., cf. Hab 2:12; Mic 3:10. "That maketh his fellow labour," lit., through his neighbour he works, i.e., he causes the work to be done by his neighbour (fellow-man) for nought, without giving him wages, forces him to unpaid statute-labour. עבד בּ as in Lev 25:39, Lev 25:46. פּעל, labour, work, gain, then wages, cf. Job 7:2. Jehoiakim sought to increase the splendour of his kingship by palace-building. To this the speech points, put in his mouth at Jer 22:14 : I will build me בּית מדּות, a house of extensions, i.e., a palace in the grand style, with spacious halls, vast chambers. מרוּח from רוח, to find vent, cheer up, Sa1 16:23; not airy, but spacious, for quite a modest house might have airy chambers. וקרע is a continuation of the participle; literally: and he cuts himself out windows, makes huge openings in the walls for windows. This verb is used in Jer 4:30 of opening up the eyes with paint. חלּוני presents some difficulty, seeing that the suffix of the first person makes no sense. It has therefore been held to be a contracted plural form (Gesen. Lehrgeb. S. 523) or for a dual (Ew. 177, a), but without any proof of the existence of such formations, since גּובי, Amo 7:1; Nah 3:17, is to be otherwise explained (see on Amo 7:1). Following on the back of J. D. Mich., Hitz., Graf, and Bttcher (ausf. Gramm. 414) propose to connect the ו before ספוּן with this word and to read חלּוניו: and tears open for himself his windows; in support of which it is alleged that one cod. so reads. But this one cod. can decide nothing, and the suffix his is superfluous, even unsuitable, seeing that there can be no thought of another person's building; whereas the copula cannot well be omitted before ספוּן. For the rule adduced for this, that the manner of the principal action is frequently explained by appending infinitives absoll. (Ew. 280, a), does not meet the present case; the covering with cedar, etc., does not refer to the windows, and so cannot be an explanation of the cutting out for himself. We therefore hold, with Bttcher (Proben, S. 40), that חלּוני is an adjective formation, with the force of: abundant in windows, since this formation is completely accredited by כּילי and חרי (cf. Ew. 164, c); and the objection alleged against this by Graf, that then no object is specified for "cutteth out," is not of much weight, it being easy to supply the object from the preceding "house:" and he cuts it out for himself abounding in windows. There needs be no change of וספוּן into וספון. For although the infin. absol. would be quite in place as continuation of the verb. fin. (cf. Ew. 351, c), yet it is not necessary. The word is attached in zeugma to וקרע or חלּוני: and he covers with cedar, to: faces or overlays, for this verb does not mean to plank or floor, for which צפּה is the usual word, but hide, cover, and is used Kg1 6:9; Kg1 7:3, for roofing. The last statement is given in infin. absol.: וּמשׁוח :.los, and besmears it, paints it (the building) with שׁשׁר, red ochre, a brilliant colour (lxx μίλτος, i.e., acc. to Kimchi, red lead; see Gesen. thess s.v.).

Jeremiah 22:15

jer 22:15

In Jer 22:15 Jeremiah pursues the subject: kingship and kingcraft do not consist in the erection of splendid palaces, but in the administration of right and justice. The reproachful question התמלך has not the meaning: wilt thou reign long? or wilt thou consolidate thy dominion? but: dost thou suppose thyself to be a king, to show thyself a king, if thy aim and endeavour is solely fixed on the building of a stately palace? "Viest," as in Jer 12:5. בּארז, not: with the cedar, for תחרה is construed with the accus. of that with which one vies, but: in cedar, i.e., in the building of cedar palaces. It was not necessary to say with whom he vied, since the thought of Solomon's edifices would suggest itself. The lxx have changed בארז by a pointless quid pro quo into באחז, ἐν ̓́Αχαζ, for which Cod. Alex. and Arabs have ἐν ̓Αχαάβ. The fact that Ahab had built a palace veneered with ivory (Kg1 22:39) is not sufficient to approve this reading, which Ew. prefers. Still less cause is there to delete בארז as a gloss (Hitz.) in order to obtain the rendering, justified neither by grammar nor in fact, "if thou contendest with thy father." To confirm what he has said, the prophet sets before the worthless king the example of his godly father Josiah. "Thy father, did not he eat and drink," i.e., enjoy life (cf. Ecc 2:24; Ecc 3:13)? yet at the same time he administered right and justice, like his forefather David; Sa2 8:15. Then went it well with him and the kingdom. אז, Jer 22:16, is wider than אז טו: in respect that he did justice to the poor and wretched, things went well, were well managed in the kingdom at large. In so doing consists "the knowing of me." The knowledge of Jahveh is the practical recognition of God which is displayed in the fear of God and a pious life. The infinitive nomin. דּעת has the article because a special emphasis lies on the word (cf. Ew. 277, c), the true knowledge of God required to have stress laid on it. - But Jehoiakim is the reverse of his father. This thought, lying in Jer 22:16, is illustrated in Jer 22:17. For thine eyes are set upon nothing but gain. בּצע, gain with the suggestion of unrighteousness about it, cf. Jer 6:13; Jer 8:10. His whole endeavour was after wealth and splendour. The means of attaining this aim was injustice, since he not only withheld their wages from his workers (Jer 22:13), but caused the innocent to be condemned in the judgment that he might grasp their goods to himself, as e.g., Ahab had done with Naboth. He also put to death the prophets who rebuked his unrighteousness, Jer 26:23, and used every kind of lawless violence. "Oppression" is amplified by המרוּצה (from רצץ, cf. Deu 28:33; Sa1 12:3), crushing, "what we call flaying people" (Hitz.); cf. on this subject, Mic 3:3.

Jeremiah 22:18

jer 22:18

As punishment for this, his end will be full of horrors; when he dies he will not be bemoaned and mourned for, and will lie unburied. To have an ass's burial means: to be left unburied in the open field, or cast into a flaying-ground, inasmuch as they drag out the dead body and cast it far from the gates of Jerusalem. The words: Alas, my brother! alas, etc.! are ipsissima verba of the regular mourners who were procured to bewail the deaths of men and women. The lxx took objection to the "alas, sister," and left it out, applying the words literally to Jehoiakim's death; whereas the words are but a rhetorical individualizing of the general idea: they will make no death-laments for him, and the omission destroys the parallelism. His glory, i.e., the king's. The idea is: neither his relatives nor his subjects will lament his death. The infinn. absoll. סחוב והשׁלך, dragging forth and casting (him), serve to explain: the burial of an ass, etc. In Jer 36:30, where Jeremiah repeats this prediction concerning Jehoiakim, it is said: His dead body shall be cast out (exposed) to the heat by day and to the cold by night, i.e., rot unburied under the open sky.

As to the fulfilment of this prophecy, we are told, indeed, in Kg2 24:6 that Jehoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin, his son, was king in his stead. But the phrase "to sleep with his fathers" denotes merely departure from this life, without saying anything as to the manner of the death. It is not used only of kings who died a peaceful death on a sickbed, but of Ahab (Kg1 22:40), who, mortally wounded in the battle, died in the war-chariot. There is no record of Jehoiakim's funeral obsequies or burial in 2 Kings 24, and in Chr. there is not even mention made of his death. Three years after the first siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, and after he had become tributary to the king of Babylon, Jehoiakim rose in insurrection, and Nebuchadnezzar sent against him the troops of the Chaldeans, Aramaeans, Moabites, and Ammonites. It was not till after the accession of Jehoiachin that Nebuchadnezzar himself appeared before Jerusalem and besieged it (Kg2 24:1-2, and Kg2 24:10). So it is in the highest degree probable that Jehoiakim fell in battle against the Chaldean-Syrian armies before Jerusalem was besieged, and while the enemies were advancing against the city; also that he was left to lie unburied outside of Jerusalem; see on Kg2 24:6, where other untenable attempts to harmonize are discussed. The absence of direct testimony to the fulfilment of the prophecy before us can be no ground for doubting that it was fulfilled, when we consider the great brevity of the notices of the last kings' reigns given by the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles. Graf's remark hereon is excellent: "We have a warrant for the fulfilment of this prediction precisely in the fact that it is again expressly recounted in Jer 36, a historical passage written certainly at a later time (Jer 36:30 seems to contain but a slight reference to the prediction in Jer 22:18-19, Jer 22:30); or, while Jer 22:12, Jer 22:25. tallies so completely with the history, is Jer 22:18. to be held as contradicting it?"

Jeremiah 22:20

jer 22:20

The ruin about to fall on Judah. - Jer 22:20. "Go up on Lebanon and cry, and lift up thy voice in Bashan and cry from Abarim; for broken are all thy lovers. Jer 22:21. I spake to thee in thy prosperity; thou saidst: I will not hear; that was thy way from thy youth up, that thou hearkenedst not to my voice. Jer 22:22. All thy shepherds the wind shall sweep away, and thy lovers shall go into captivity; yea, then shalt thou be put to shame and ashamed for all thy wickedness. Jer 22:23. Thou that dwellest on Lebanon and makest thy nest on cedars, how shalt thou sigh when pangs come upon thee, pain as of a woman in travail!" - It is the people personified as the daughter of Zion, the collective population of Jerusalem and Judah, that is addressed, as in Jer 7:29. She is to lift up her wailing cry upon the highest mountains, that it may be heard far and near. The peaks of the mountain masses that bordered Palestine are mentioned, from which one would have a view of the land; namely, Lebanon northwards, the mountains of Bashan (Psa 86:16) to the north-east, those of Abarim to the south-east, amongst which was Mount Nebo, whence Moses viewed the land of Canaan, Num 27:12; Deu 32:49. She is to lament because all her lovers are destroyed. The lovers are not the kings (Ros., Ew., Neum. Ng.), nor the idols (Umbr.), but the allied nations (J. D. Mich., Maur., Hitz.), for whose favour Judah had intrigued (Jer 4:30) - Egypt (Jer 2:36) and the little neighbouring states (Jer 27:3). All these nations were brought under the yoke by Nebuchadnezzar, and could not longer give Judah help (Jer 28:14; Jer 30:14). On the form צעקי, see Ew. 41, c.

Jer 22:21-23

The cause of this calamity: because Judah in its prosperity had not hearkened to the voice of its God. שׁלות, from שׁלוה, security, tranquillity, state of well-being free from anxiety; the plur. denotes the peaceful, secure relations. Thus Judah had behaved from youth up, i.e., from the time it had become the people of God and been led out of captivity; see Jer 2:2; Hos 2:17. - In Jer 22:22 תּרעה is chosen for the sake of the word-play with רעיך, and denotes to depasture, as in Jer 2:16. As the storm-wind, especially the parching east wind, depastures, so to speak, the grass of the field, so will the storm about to break on Judah sweep away the shepherds, carry them off; cf. Jer 13:24, Isa 27:8; Job 27:21. The shepherds of the people are not merely the kings, but all its leaders, the authorities generally, as in Jer 10:21; and "thy shepherds" is not equivalent to "thy lovers," but the thought is this: Neither its allies nor its leaders will be able to help; the storm of calamity will sweep away the former, the latter must go captive. So that there is no need to alter רעיך into רעיך (Hitz.). With the last clause cf. Jer 2:36. Then surely will the daughter of Zion, feeling secure in her cedar palaces, sigh bitterly. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are said to dwell in Lebanon and to have their nests in cedars in reference to the palaces of cedar belonging to the great and famous, who at the coming destruction will suffer most. As to the forms ישׁבתּי and מקנּנתּי, see on Jer 10:17. The explanation of the form נחנתּי is disputed. Ros., Ges., and others take it for the Niph. of חנן, with the force: to be compassionated, thus: who deserving of pity or compassion wilt thou be! But this rendering does not give a very apt sense, even if it were not the case that the sig. to be worthy of pity is not approved by usage, and that it is nowhere taken from the Niph. We therefore prefer the derivation of the word from אנץ, Niph. נאנח .hpi, contr. ננח, a derivative founded on the lxx rendering: τὶ καταστενάξεις, and Vulg. quomodo congemuisti. The only question that then remains is, whether the form נחנתּ has arisen by transposition from ננחתּ, so as to avoid the coming together of the same letter at the beginning (Ew., Hitz., Gr.); or whether, with Bttch. ausf. Gramm. 1124, B, it is to be held as a reading corrupted from ננחתּי. With "pangs," etc., cf. Jer 13:21; Jer 6:24.

Jeremiah 22:24

jer 22:24

Against Jehoiachin or Jechoniah. - Jer 22:24. "As I live, saith Jahveh, though Conjahu, the son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, yet would I pluck him thence, Jer 22:25. And give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them of whom thou art afraid, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans; Jer 22:26. And will cast thee and thy mother that bare thee into another land where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. Jer 22:27. And into the land whither they lift up their soul to return, thither shall they not return. Jer 22:28. Is this man Conjahu a vessel despised and to be broken, or an utensil wherein one has no pleasure? Jer 22:29. O land, land, land, hear the word of Jahveh! Jer 22:30. Thus hath Jahveh said: Write down this man as childless, as a man that hath no prosperity in his life; for no man of his seed shall prosper that sitteth upon the throne of David and ruleth widely over Judah."

The son and successor of Jehoiakim is called in Kg2 24:6., Ch2 36:8., Jer 52:31, Jehojachin, and in Eze 1:2, Jojachin; here, Jer 22:24, Jer 22:28, and Jer 37:1, Conjahu; in Jer 24:1, Jeconjahu; and in Jer 27:20; Jer 28:4; Jer 29:2, Est 2:6; Ch1 3:16, Jeconjah. The names Jeconjahu and abbreviated Jeconjah are equivalent to Jojachin and Jehojachin, i.e., Jahveh will establish. Jeconjah was doubtless his original name, and so stands in the family register, Ch1 3:16, but was at his accession to the throne changed into Jehojachin or Jojachin, to make it liker his father's name. The abbreviation of Jeconjahu into Conjahu is held by Hgstb. Christol. ii. p. 402, to be a change made by Jeremiah in order by cutting off the y (will establish) to cut off the hope expressed by the name, to make "a Jeconiah without the J, a 'God will establish' without the will." For two reasons we cannot adopt this as the true view: 1. The general reason, that if Jeremiah had wished to adumbrate the fate of the three kings (Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin) by making changes in their names, he would then have changed the name of Jehoiakim in like manner as he did that of Jehoahaz into Shallum, and that of Jehoiachin into Conjahu. The argument by which Hgstb. seeks to justify the exception in the one case will not hold its own. Had Jeremiah thought it unseemly to practise a kind of conceit, for however solemn a purpose, on the name of the then reigning monarch, then neither could he have ventured on the like in the case of Jehoiachin; for the present prediction was not, as Hgstb. assumed, uttered before his accession, but, as may be seen from the title king of Judah, Jer 22:24, after he had ascended the throne, was actually king. Besides. 2. the name Conjahu occurs also at Jer 37:1, in a historical heading, as of equal dignity with Jeconjahu, Jer 29:2; Jer 28:4, etc., where a name proper only to prophetic discourse would not have been in place. The passages in which the prophets express the character and destiny of a person in a name specially formed for the purpose, are of another kind. There we have always: they shall call his name, or: his name shall be; cf. Jer 33:16; Isa 9:5; Isa 62:4; Eze 48:35. That the name Jeconjah has not merely the prophet's authority, is vouched for by Ch1 3:15; Est 2:6, and by the historical notices, Jer 24:1; Jer 27:20; Jer 28:4; Jer 29:2. And the occurrence of the name Jojachin only in 2 Kings 24; Ch2 36:1; Jer 52:31, and Eze 1:2 is in consequence of the original documents used by the authors of these books, where, so to speak, the official names were made use of; whereas Jeremiah preferred the proper, original name which the man bore as the prince-royal and son of Jehoiakim, and which was therefore the current and best known one.

The utterance concerning Jechoniah is more distinct and decided than that concerning Jehoiakim. With a solemn oath the Lord not only causes to be made known to him that he is to be cast off and taken into exile, but further, that his descendants are debarred from the throne for ever. Nothing is said of his own conduct towards the Lord. In Kg2 24:9 and Ch2 36:9 it is said of him that he did that which was displeasing to the Lord, even as his father had done. Ezekiel confirms this sentence when in Eze 19:5-9 he portrays him as a young lion that devoured men, forced widows, and laid cities waste. The words of Jahveh: Although Conjahu were a signet ring on my right hand, convey no judgment as to his character, but simply mean: Although he were as precious a jewel in the Lord's eyes as a signet ring (cf. Hag 2:23), the Lord would nevertheless cast him away. כּי before אם introduces the body of the oath, as in Jer 22:5, and is for rhetorical effect repeated before the apodosis, as in Sa2 3:9; Sa2 2:27, etc. Although he were, sc. what he is not; not: although he is (Graf); for there is no proof for the remark: that as being the prince set by Jahveh over His people, he has really as close a connection with Him. Hitz.'s explanation is also erroneous: "even if, seeking help, he were to cling so closely to me as a ring does to the finger." A most unnatural figure, not supported by reference to Sol 8:6. As to אתּקנךּ, from נתק with ן epenth., cf. Ew. 250, b. - From Jer 22:25 on, the discourse is addressed directly to Jechoniah, to make his rejection known to him. God will deliver him into the hand of his enemies, whom he fears, namely, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans, and cast him with his mother into a strange land, where he shall die. The mother was called Nehushta, Kg2 24:8, and is brought forward in 29:2 as גּבירה. On the fulfilment of this threatening, see Kg2 24:12, Kg2 24:15; Jer 24:1; Jer 29:2. The construction הארץ is like that of הגּפן נכריּה, Jer 2:21; and the absence of the article from אחרת is no sufficient reason for holding it to be a gloss (Hitz.), or for taking the article in הארץ to be a slip caused by על הארץ, Jer 22:27. To lift up their souls, i.e., to direct their longings, wishes, towards a thing, cf. Deu 24:15; Hos 4:8, etc. - The further sentence on Jechoniah was not pronounced after he had been carried captive, as Ng. infers from the perfects הוּטלוּ and השׁלכוּ. The perfects are prophetic. The question: Is this man a vessel despised and to be broken (עצב, vas fictile)? is an expression of sympathising regret on the part of the prophet for the unhappy fate of the king; but we may not hence conclude that Jeremiah regarded him as better than his father. The prophet's sympathy for his fate regarded less the person of the unfortunate king than it did the fortunes of David's royal seed, in that, of Jechoniah's sons, none was to sit on the throne of David (Jer 22:30). Ew. has excellently paraphrased the sense: "Although there is many a sympathising heart in the land that bitterly laments the hard fate of the dear young king, who along with his infant children has been (? will be) dragged away, yet it is God's unchangeable decree that neither he nor any of his sons shall ascend the throne of David." נפוּץ, not: broken, but: that shall be broken (cf. Ew. 335, b). Wherefore are they - he and his seed - cast out? At his accession Jehoiachin was eighteen years old, not eight, as by an error stands in Ch2 36:9, see on Kg2 24:8; so that when taken captive, he might well enough have children, or at least one son, since his wives are expressly mentioned in the account of the captivity, Kg2 24:15. That the sons mentioned in Ch1 3:16 and Ch1 3:17 were born to him in exile, cannot be inferred from that passage, rightly understood, see on that passage. The fact that no sons are mentioned in connection with the carrying captive is simply explained by the fact that they were still infants.

Jeremiah 22:29

jer 22:29

The land is to take the king's fate sore to heart. The triple repetition of the summons: Land, gives it a special emphasis, and marks the following sentence as of high importance; cf. Jer 7:4; Eze 21:32; Isa 6:3. Write him down, record him in the family registers, as childless, i.e., as a man with whom his race becomes extinct. This is more definitely intimated in the parallel member, namely, that he will not have the fortune to have any of his posterity sit on the throne of David. This does not exclude the possibility of his having sons; it merely implies that none of them should obtain the throne. ערירי sig. lit., solitary, forsaken. Thus a man might well be called who has lost his children by death. Acc. to Ch1 3:16., Jechoniah had two sons, Zedekiah and Assir, of whom the former died childless, the second had but one daughter; and from her and her husband, of the line of Nathan, was born Shealtiel, who also died childless; see the expos. of Ch1 3:16. Jechoniah was followed on the throne by his uncle Mattaniah, whom Nebuchadnezzar installed under the name of Zedekiah. He it was that rose in insurrection against the king of Babylon, and after the capture of Jerusalem was taken prisoner while in flight; and being carried before Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah, saw his sons put to death before his eyes, was then made blind, thrown in chains, and carried a prisoner to Babylon, Kg2 25:4.

Next: Jeremiah Chapter 23