Jeremiah 21 - 22 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
The Answer to Zedekiah's enquiry concerning Nebuchadnezzar
Chapter 21 marks the beginning of Jeremiah's second book, recording things which were in addition to those in the first scroll, which Jehoiakim destroyed. The previous chapters record all that the Lord spoke through Jeremiah, from the days of Josiah up to the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign (Jer 36:1-2,32). Chapters 21-39 relate primarily to the time of Zedekiah, the final king, leading up to the captivity. Much of this section was written during the final siege of Jerusalem, which lasted for a year and a half (2Kings 25:1-3). While these chapters include several events and messages which occurred during the reigns of the three prior kings, these things were recorded here for the benefit of Zedekiah and his contemporaries. The former kings had already fallen under the Lord's judgment. How would he respond to God's Word?

The last five kings of Judah were:


An Unpleasant Message for Zedekiah (Jer 21:1- 22:30)
I. Zedekiah's enquiry (21:1,2)
II. The Lord's Answer (21:3- 22:30)
  1. Directed to Zedekiah (21:3-7)
    • I will turn your weapons back against yourselves.
    • I will assemble {gather} the Babylonians inside the city. cp. 39:3
    • I will fight against you.
    • I will smite the residents of the city.
    • I will deliver Zedekiah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He shall not pity... cp. Deu 28:50; 2Chr 36:17
      Note Jeremiah's fearless faithfulness to speak truth to the king, especially in the light of his previous misgivings (eg., 20:7-9,18).
  2. Directed to the People (21:8-10)
    • I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. cp. Deu 30:19
    • A way of escape was offered to any who would believe and obey God's Word: Flee from the condemned city, surrender to the Chaldeans.
    • His life shall be a prey {a prize} unto him.- The price of believing obedience would be the loss of property and liberty. The reward of faith: life. Some did choose the way of life. cp. 38:2; 39:18; 45:5; 39:9; 52:15
  3. Directed to the House of David (21:11- 22:30)
    1. Judgment is declared upon the Davidic line of kings for their neglect of justice (21:11-14)
      • Execute judgment {justice} in the morning {ie., promptly, without delay}- The Lord's anger toward them was due to their neglect of what they knew to be right.
      • I am against thee... inhabitant {inhabitress} of the valley and rock of the plain...- ie., Jerusalem, cp. Psa 125:1-5; Jer 7:4. Jerusalem was considered secure and protected.
      • I will punish according to your doings...- lit. I will visit upon you the fruit of your doings. cp. Isa 3:10,11
      • I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof...- (perhaps referring to the "house of the forest", 1Kin 7:1-3; Jer 22:7). The judgment would begin upon the king's house and would overflow to consume the kingdom all around.
    2. Judgment is declared upon the sitting king (22:1-9)
      • Execute justice and righteousness... - The Lord's requirements, repeated once again (cp. 21:12), if fulfilled, would result in peace, prosperity and the continuation of the Davidic kingdom. cp. v.4 and 17:25. If Zedekiah refused to heed His message, the Lord Himself would execute justice and righteousness.
      • I swear by Myself... (contrast this immutable oath with the one in Heb 6:13,17)
      • this house shall become a desolation...- David's line was like Gilead and Lebanon, Jordan's headwaters, places of beauty, refreshment and natural resource, but it would become barren and waste.
      • I will prepare destroyers...- Babylon's armies would be the instruments, but the judgment was from the Lord.
    3. Judgment was declared upon the previous kings, and has already been executed (22:10-30)-
      (This section consists of excerpts of messages which Jeremiah had delivered to these kings prior to their judgments. They are recorded here for Zedekiah's benefit.)
      1. Jehoahaz (Shallum) (22:10-12)
        • Weep not for the dead...- ie., for Josiah, who died before the trouble came. 2Kin 22:20
        • In contrast, Jehoahaz, here called Shallum {ie., Retribution}, had been taken captive to Egypt (2Kin 23:34) for his sin.
        • He would return to the land no more. (The repetition of this sentence is emphatic of its permanence.)
      2. Jehoiakim (22:13-19)
        • Woe to him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness...- Jehoiakim had profited by corruption and at the expense of the poor. He thought he could secure his power through his personal wealth and abuse of power (v.13-15a). (The Lord holds us accountable for the way we obtain and use our resources. cp. James 5:1-3).
        • His ways were in stark contrast to his father (Josiah), whose reign was marked by true justice and genuine concern for the poor and needy, because he sought to know the Lord with all his heart (v.15b-16; 2Kin 23:25).
        • Jehoiakim's heart was not at all for the Lord, but was eager to do the things described in v.17 (cp. 2Kin 24:4). The shedding of innocent blood included the hideous sacrifices to false gods (19:3-5), and the murder of those who spoke against him (eg., Urijah, 26:20-23).
        • He was a king unlamented and unburied.- The details of Jehoiakim's death and burial are not recorded, but must have been well known to Zedekiah.
          2Kin 24:6 - records that he died around the time that his son succeeded him, but makes no mention of burial or mourning.
          2Chr 36:6 - records that he was bound in fetters for deportation to Babylon, but there is no record of his arrival there. It is probable that he died on the march, and his carcass was cast to the side of the road to be devoured by vultures.
          [Daniel was among the captives taken at this time. Dan 1:1-6]
      3. Parenthetic (22:20-23):
        Though there was no mourning for Jehoiakim, the Lord instructs Israel to mourn for the loss of their kings (their "pastors" and "lovers"), in whatever direction they find themselves scattered... Lebanon: to the north, Bashan: to the northeast, Abarim (a possible rendering of the word tranlated "the passages"), a region in Moab: to the southeast.
        The "inhabitant {inhabitress} of Lebanon" refers to Jerusalem, which was built with the cedars of Lebanon. Her gracious living would end with the coming of her travail.
      4. Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) (22:24-30)-
        • a man cut off {plucked off, separated} from the Lord (v.24) - In calling him Coniah, the Lord stripped the reference to His Name ('Je-') from this king.
        • a man cast out (v.25-28) - Coniah and his mother were taken captive to Babylon (2Kin 24:8-16). His mother may have exercised considerable power, since she is mentioned prominently. Her name, Nehushta, may allude to the continuation of false worship once stopped by godly king Hezekiah (2Kin 18:4). In v.28, the Lord asks rhetorically for a cause for Coniah's deportation. The implication is that his wickedness is self-evident. [Among the captives carried away at this time were Ezekiel (Eze 1:1-3) and Mordecai and his niece Esther (Esth 2:6).],
        • a man childless (v.29,30) -
          - - The Lord's proclamation is for the whole world to observe.
          - - The implications -
          • Jeconiah had 8 sons (1Chr 3:17,18).
          • But none of his sons or their descendants would ever occupy the throne of David again (cp. Jer 36:30). Yet, the Lord also declared that David would never want {lack} a man to sit upon his throne forever (Jer 33:17).
          • Both of these proclamations are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jeconiah and his son Shealtiel (Salathiel) are included in the lineage of Jesus through Joseph (Mat 1:12), demonstrating His legal right to the throne of David through Solomon. But Joseph was not the father of Jesus. Notice that the pattern of this genealogy is broken, in Mat 1:16, to show that Joseph did not beget Jesus. Rather, Joseph was merely "the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ {the Anointed One}." The blood line of Jesus is traced in His genealogy through Mary, from David, through his son Nathan, thus bypassing the line of Solomon, which included Jeconiah (Luk 3:23-38; see also the Book Notes on Matthew ch. 1).

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