Jeremiah 22 Commentary: In Jeremiah 22 we see a continuation of God’s addressing the king’s household that we saw started in our lesson in Jeremiah 21. Read more about the Last Five Kings of Judah here.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Introduction
So, with the timeline of the last five kings of Judah out of the way, let’s get into the introduction to the chapter in Jeremiah 22:1-2. Read more about the Introduction to Jeremiah 22 here.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Message to the King’s House
The content of the message of Jeremiah 22 is very similar to what we heard back in Jeremiah 21, as we’ll see from Jeremiah 22:3-5. Read more from the Message to the King’s House here.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Devastating Deforestation
The Lord pictures the destruction that he’s going to need to bring on Judah as if it’s some sort of devastating deforestation in Jeremiah 22:6-9. Read more about that Devastating Deforestation here.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Shallum Shall Not Return
The Lord begins by speaking of Shallum, who by this point is already in exile in Egypt. He declares in Jeremiah 22:10-12 that Shallum shall not return.
10 Weep ye not for the dead [i.e.,king – Josiah?],
neither [bemoan/mourn for/grieve for] him:
but weep sore for [him/the king] that goeth away:
for he shall return no more,
nor see his native country.
11 ¶ For thus saith the LORD touching Shallum
the son of Josiah king of Judah,
which reigned instead of Josiah his father,
which went forth out of this place;
He shall not return [thither/there] any more: [i.e., it will never happen]
12 But he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive,
and shall see this land no more.
So that’s the Lord’s message concerning Shallum. He shall not return to Judah. He will die in exile in Egypt.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Jehoiakim Unjust Unburied
Next, the Lord speaks of Jehoiakim. And what I think is interesting about this section is that the Lord gives us a view into some of this king’s injustice in Jeremiah 22:13-19.
13 [Woe unto him/Sure to be judged is the king] that buildeth his [house/palace] by unrighteousness,
and his chambers by wrong;
that useth his neighbour’s service without [wages/paying],
and giveth him not for his work;
14 That saith,
I will build me a wide house and large chambers,
and cutteth him out windows;
and it is [ceiled/paneled] with cedar,
and painted with [vermilion/bright red].
So, apparently Jehoiakim was in the practice of not paying for services rendered him. That is a problem in God’s eyes. This is not how the Lord wants people to act. If you promise to pay someone for some amount of work then you need to pay him.
Now, it wasn’t a large palace that God was looking for in a king. It was justice and righteousness.
15 Shalt thou reign [i.e., are you more of a king for this?], because thou closest thyself in cedar?
did not thy father [i.e., Josiah] eat and drink, [i.e., and he was content with this]
and do judgment and justice,
and then it was well with him?
16 He [judged/pled/upheld] the cause of the [poor/afflicted] and needy;
then it was well with [him/Judah]:
was not this to know me? saith the LORD. [i.e., this is a good example of what it means to know me]
17 But thine [i.e., Jehoiakim] eyes and thine heart are [not but for/intent upon] thy covetousness,
and for to shed innocent blood,
and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.
18 ¶ Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah;
They shall not lament for him, saying,
[Ah/This makes me sad,] my brother! or, Ah sister!
they shall not lament for him, saying,
[Ah/Poor, poor] [lord/master]! or, Ah his [glory/splendor/majesty]!
19 He shall be buried with the burial of [an ass/a donkey], [i.e., apparently no burial]
[drawn/dragged off] and [cast forth/thrown out] beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
Now, again, this chapter is apparently written toward the end of Zedekiah’s reign. And it almost sounds as if we don’t quite know what happened yet to Jehoiakim. We were told of Shallum’s whereabouts, but all we know about Jehoiakim is that he won’t be lamented or receive a proper burial. So, it sounds as if Jehoiakim hasn’t died by this point.
Perhaps his death and burial are still future. And when he does die it will be outside of the gates of Jerusalem (probably in Babylon) and the burial to follow that death will not include mourning and will mirror the kind of dignity bestowed on a dead donkey.
But this is why I’ve said that Jehoiakim’s death is a little mysterious. Here we are in Zedekiah’s last years and the Lord is still – after almost a decade – speaking of the previous king’s death as if it’s yet a future event.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Message to Jerusalem
Well, with that, that Lord turns from considering kings to considering the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah 22:20-23. Read more about the Message to Jerusalem here.
Jeremiah 22 Commentary: Coniah Childless
And with the aside to the people of Jerusalem out of the way, the Lord continues by addressing the last king mentioned in this chapter in Jeremiah 22:24-30. The king is Coniah and he is to be marked as childless. Read more about that here.