Verse 1 – Thus says the Lord: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word,
Verse 2 – “and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates!
Chapters 22-25, may not be in chronological order. In 21:8-10, God implied that it was too late for repentance. In 22:4, however, God said that there was still time to change. The events to which this chapter refer occurred before those of chapter 21.
Verse 3 – ‘Thus says the Lord: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do not wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.
God gave King Jehoiakim the bases for rebuilding the nation-turn from evil and do right. Good deeds do not save us, but they show our faith.
Verse 4 – “For if you indeed do this thing, then shall enter the gates of this house, riding on horses and chariots, accompanied by servants and people, kings who sit on the throne of David.
Once again, God extends mercy if the king will do what’s right and David’s dynasty would continue and the people would live securely in the land.
Verse 5 – “But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the Lord, “that this house shall become a desolation.” ‘ ”
Verse 6 – For thus says the Lord to the house of the king of Judah: “You are Gilead to Me, the head of Lebanon; yet I surely will make you a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited.
Verse 7 – I will prepare destroyers against you, everyone with his weapons; they shall cut down your choice cedars and cast them into the fire.
Verse 8 – “And many nations will pass by this city; and everyone will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this great city?’
Verse 9 – “Then they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them.’ ”
The choice cedars – The chief members of the royal lineage and the leading officers of state.
Message Against Shallum
Verse 10 – Weep not for the dead, nor bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away, for he shall return no more, nor see his native country.
Instead of weeping for the dead, King Josiah, which was killed at the Battle of Megiddo, Jeremiah told them to weep for Josiah’s son, King Shallum, also known as Jehoahaz. After a short reign of three months, Jehoahaz would be exiled to Egypt where he would die (2 Kings 23:34). Jehoahaz would be the first king of Judah to die in exile.
Verse 11 – For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, who went from this place: “He shall not return here anymore,
Verse 12 – “but he shall die in the place where they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more.
Message Against Jehoiakim
Verse 13 – “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work,
Verse 14 – who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house with spacious chambers, and cut out windows for it, paneling it with cedar and painting it with vermilion (the pigment which gives the deep color still bright and untarnished on many ancient buildings).
Verse 15 – “Shall you reign because you enclose yourself in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.
Jehoiakim thought that his beautiful buildings made him a great king, but Jeremiah sarcastically asked, “Are you a great king because you excel in Cedar?
Verse 16 – He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Was not this knowing Me?” says the Lord.
Verse 17 – “Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence.”
God passed judgment on King Jehoiakim. His father, Josiah, had been one of Judah’s greatest kings, but Jehoiakim was evil. Josiah had been faithful in showing the people God’s ways.
We might inherit our parent’s wealth, but we don’t inherit their faith. We have to build our own relationship with God.
Verse 18 – Therefore thus says the Lord concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: “They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas, my brother!’ or ‘Alas my sister!’ They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Alas master!’ or ‘Alas, his glory!’
Verse 19 – He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
A humiliating death awaited King Jehoiakim. His own sister and brother would not mourn his death. He would be buried like a donkey, dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.
Verse 20 – “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; cry from Abrarim, for all your lovers are destroyed.
Both Lebanon and Bashan were hills that looked toward Assyria, from where the Jews looked for help. Abrarim is the name of a mountain. In other words: Go and cry for help in all places, but it will be in vain, for the Egyptians and Assyrians to whom thou want help are under the power of the Chaldeans.
Verse 21 – I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth. That you did not obey My voice.
Jehoiakim had been hardheaded and hard-hearted since youth. His prosperity had always been a higher priority than a relationship with God. Sometimes people are so comfortable and confident in what they own, they forget how they got it. They put more value on what they own then a sincere relationship with Jesus Christ.
Verse 22 – The wind shall eat up all your rulers, and your lovers shall go into captivity; surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated for all your wickedness.
Verse 23 – O inhabitant of Lebanon, making your nest in the cedars, how gracious will you be when pangs come upon you, like the pain of a woman in labor?
In these nest verse, Jehoiakin (son of Jehoiakim) is condemned. He reigned for only 3 months. Jehoiakin was also called Coniah.
Verse 24 – “As I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, wear the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off;
Verse 25 – “and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear – the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans.
Verse 26 – “So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were born; and there you shall die.
The signet ring of a king was used to officiate documents. God says in figurative language that, were Jehoiakin a signet ring on His right hand, He would rip that privilege away from him. Jehoiakin was exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. (2 Kings 24:8-17; 25:27-30).
Verse 27 – “But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return.
Verse 28 – “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol? Is he a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they out, he and his descendants, and cast into a land which they do not know?
Verse 29 – O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord!
Verse 30 – Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.’ ”
Jehoiakin was the last king of David’s line to sit on the throne in Judah, even though he had 7 sons. His grandson, Zerubbabel ruled as governor after they came out of exile, but was not a king.