Chapter twenty-two seems to continue from chapter twenty-one, with Jeremiah going to see King Zedekiah. It is not until Jeremiah 22:18 that we discover this chapter has actually gone twenty years back in time to King Jehoiakim, son of godly King Josiah. Because Josiah followed God’s law, God promised that he would die in peace, never to see the coming destruction (2 Kings 22). Jehoiakim rejected his father’s obedience to God, though, and it was under his reign that Nebuchadnezzar first entered Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:1; Daniel 1:1-2). In this chapter, God had Jeremiah confront Jehoiakim with his rebellion and announce the destruction that would be coming if they did not turn back to Jehovah (Jeremiah 22:1-5).
God was quick to remind them that this destruction was not because he hated Israel or Jerusalem but because of their rebellion against him, especially their idolatry, as even the pagan nations would realize (Jeremiah 22:6-9). Not only did Jehoiakim rebel against God, he abused God’s people, taxing them heavily so that he could live far above them, killing and defrauding them rather than exercising humility (Jeremiah 22:10-19). For this reason, he would never return to Jerusalem but die in captivity. All Israel had reason to weep because of the devastation they were about to experience, knowing that God had brought it upon them as punishment for their sin (Jeremiah 22:20-23).
Jeremiah 22:24-30 moves ahead in time about 8 years to Jehoiakim’s son, Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah or Coniah). He followed his father’s path of rebellion against God and, because of this, saw Nebuchadnezzar take a second wave of captives during his rule (2 Kings 24:8-17). Jeconiah was particularly wicked, so God placed an additional curse on him and his family: he would go into the books as if he were childless, that is, none of his descendants would ever rule on David’s throne.1
- This curse on Jeconiah and his family is particularly significant because Jesus’ stepfather, Joseph, was a descendant of Jeconiah (Matthew 1:12-16). Had Joseph been Jesus’ biological father, Jesus would have been disqualified from being the Messiah, David’s eternal heir. Instead, he was biologically linked only to Mary, who descended from David through Nathan rather than Solomon (Luke 3:31). Thus, Jesus could claim the biological link to David through Nathan but the spiritual (adopted) link through Solomon, fulfilling God’s promise that both David and Solomon would have a permanent dynasty (2 Samuel 7:8-16). ↩