Jeremiah – His Kings

Jeremiah served under several kings of Judah and saw Neco and Nebuchadnezzar flex their muscles in Judah.  In Jeremiah’s book Manasseh and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, are mentioned. Jeremiah, in its present form, is not linear in construction but is grouped loosely by several different themes.  One grouping could be that in the first part of the book is that people, priests, and prophets (false) are dealt with, and the second part focuses on kings and nations.  So, in this post, I will try listing Jeremiah’s kings as they appear while doing something important. (Let me explain using Josiah.  He is frequently listed with his son’s names as an identifier but not directly involved in that story.  (In another context that is also a reminder that they could have been doing better because of his good example. Those listings I will not put in.)  Some commentary will appear and some noteworthy events, but please go to the post on Josiah for a different look at his children and grandchild.

Josiah

  1. 1:1 Jeremiah started in his thirteen-year of reign. (Jeremiah had been ministering for five years when Josiah celebrated Passover. 2 Chronicles 35:19)
  2. 3:6 A word about unfaithful Israel (northern kingdom) and unfaithful Judah.  The leader was trying to do right, the people were not.
  3. 25:3 The length of time Jeremiah had been prophesying – twenty-three years.
  4. 36:2 Jeremiah’s commission to write down his words from the Lord. (Josiah is a time marker; the event was in the 4th year of Jehoiakim.)

Jehoahaz/Shallum

22:11 The word that he would never return to Judah and Jerusalem. (He ruled three months.)

Jehoiakim/Eliakim – Possible Chronology Order

  1. 1:3 Time of his reign. (Eleven years)
  2. 22:18 No one would mourn for him.
  3. 24:1 Identified Jehoiachin as his son.  (See Josiah’s Children)
  4. 25:1 His fourth year and the first of Nebuchadnezzar reign.  Captives were taken.  Verse 11 is the first mention, by Jeremiah, about seventy years of captivity.
  5. 36:1 Jehoiakim’s fourth year and when God told Jeremiah to write down all of the words he had been given.
  6. 36: 9 – 32 He burns the scroll Baruch wrote for Jeremiah.
  7. 45:1 Refers to the writing of the scroll in 36:1.
  8. 46:2 Refers to his fourth year, but this word is against Pharaoh Neco and his defeat at Carchemish.
  9. 26:1-20 Jeremiah prophesies and is threatened with death.
  10. 26:21,22,23 He had the prophet Uriah retrieved from Egypt and killed.
  11. 35:1 When Jeremiah learned a lesson from the Recabites.
  12. 52:2 Compares Jehoiakim to Zedekiah and the evil they did.

Other references: 2 Kings 23: 34 – 36; 24: 1- 19; 1 Chronicles 3:15+16; 2 Chronicles 36: 4-8; Daniel 1: 1+2

Jehoiachin

  1. 22:24 + 28 Words that he will be cast out with his children.
  2. 24:1 The word about two baskets of figs when he, his officials, and the craftsmen and artisans were taken to Babylon. (He ruled three months and ten days or 100 days.)
  3. 27:20 The pillars, the Sea, the movable stands, and other furnishings would be taken to Babylon.
  4. 28:4 A word from a false prophet about Jehoiachin’s return to Jerusalem.
  5. 29:2 Jeremiah had sent a letter after the time marker of Jehoiachin leaving Judah. 
  6. 52:31, 33, 34 Jehoiachin was released and taken care of in Babylon.

Zedekiah – Possible Chronology Order

  1. 1:3 History of Jeremiah and Zedekiah’s eleven years. 
  2. 24:8 Word about a basket of figs and how God will deal with Zedekiah and the survivors. 
  3. 29:3 When Jeremiah sent the letter to the exiles about the seventy years of serving Babylon.  (This is hard to place but I would put it before Zedekiah’s trip to Babylon. Jehoiachin was only in power 100 days.)
  4. 49:34 A word about Elam early in the rule of Zedekiah.  Elam was an area north and east of the Persian Gulf. This is an interesting word about an ancient, long-surviving culture (see the link below).  This is an example of the non-linear editing order.  Elam/Susa is the setting for the Book of Esther. Verse 39 was fulfilled. Chapter 50:1 is a word against Babylon which subjugated Elam. 
  5. 51:59 An event in his fourth year when he went to Babylon. Jeremiah sent a letter with Seraiah about Babylon. 29:3 and this verse/event is possibly the same story.
  6. 27:1,3,12 The word that Zedekiah and other kings were to bow their neck to Nebuchadnezzar.  It was early in his reign. (28:1 has this in the same year.)
  7. 28:1 The fourth year and fifth month of Zedekiah’s rule (see 27:1-12) and a false prophet breaks the yoke.
  8. 21:1,3,7 He sent people to have Jeremiah inquire of God because of Nebuchadnezzar attacking Jerusalem.
  9. 34:2,4,6 A word about how Zedekiah would not die by the sword.
  10. 34:8 After Zedekiah gives slaves their freedom, only to enslave them again.
  11. 34:21 God retracts His offer and Zedekiah will die by the sword. (1. Pharaoh Neco had marched out of Egypt to battle Nebuchadnezzar. 2.There are several words about this topic. It seems that God was willing to give him a chance.)
  12. 37:1 – 21 The time must be after the ninth year of Zedekiah.  They are not listening to Jeremiah but the king sends a private envoy to ask him a question. (The Babylonian army withdraws because of Neco.  Jeremiah is thrown into prison because he tries to leave the city.  Zedekiah calls for him again, he is afraid of the people. He also assigns Jeremiah to a different prison with food.)
  13.  32:1,3,4,5 Jeremiah bought his cousin’s field and Zedekiah is warned again about fighting Nebuchadnezzar. This is the tenth year and Jeremiah was held prisoner in the courtyard.
  14. 38:5 Jeremiah is put in a muddy cistern because Zedekiah won’t stop his officials.
  15. 38:14 – 24 Zedekiah again sends for Jeremiah to ask him questions.  Zedekiah is afraid to follow the advice because of Jews who switched sides.  Jeremiah cannot talk about the conservation because of the haters.
  16. 39:1-7 The story of the fall of the city and Zedekiah’s attempt to escape, his capture, and his punishment.  Jeremiah was freed in this telling of the story.
  17. 52:1-11 A retelling of the fall of the city and the capturing of Zedekiah. This version goes into the destruction of the city and when more captives were removed.
  18. 44:30 This is a warning to the fleeing Jews to not go to Egypt. The association of Pharaoh and Zedekiah to the Jews was an example of what would happen to them.  (A change in Pharaohs.) 

Other references: 2 Kings 24:17 – 20, 25:1-7

https://www.ancient.eu/elam/

Josiah’s Children

Josiah’s sons and grandsons (the last kings of Israel before the Exile) are integral parts of the story that lead to the judgment of Jerusalem.  They are mentioned in several books including 2 Kings, 1 + 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah, and time stamps put them in Daniel, Esther, and Ezekiel. There is an interesting 3 months/11 year cycle that is mentioned (twice) with these men concerning their times as rulers! (another study) Actually, to fully understand these men, you should read Jeremiah along with Kings and Chronicles.

Johanan – 1 Chronicles 3: 15 states he was Josiah’s firstborn.  He is not mentioned anywhere else and an active imagination could go a long way with thinking about him.  Did he die with his father in the battle with Neco?  Was he righteous and the people did not want him so they choose Jehoahaz?

Jehoahaz/Shallum – When Josiah died the people made Jehoahaz king; this makes me wonder why?  A guess would be that Josiah had not prepared for his death or a new king.  It never says that they sought God as who the next king should have been, so it makes you wonder how and why “the people” could do this.  At twenty-three he was not the oldest of the sons, in fact, he may have been the fourth oldest son.  Josiah was sixteen when he fathered Jehoahaz.

Jehoahaz ignored the righteous work his father had done and went back to the practices of Amon and Manasseh.  This may have included sacrificing children and the return to other gods.  He lasted three months when Pharaoh Neco came in and took him to Egypt where he died.

Jehoiakim –  Pharaoh was in charge of Israel, again!  In reality, Israel was once again “slaves” of Egypt.  Neco showed his power by removing the king of “the people” and putting in one of his choosing.  In another show of power, Neco changes the king’s name; Eliakim (God establishes) was changed to Jehoiakim (Yahweh lifts up or establishes).  This is also the name that is in 1 Chronicles 3: 15 that identifies him as the second-born son of Josiah (Jehoahaz is not even mentioned instead he is called Shallum). (Name changes are a big deal in the Bible.)

He ruled eleven years and then died; he was thirty-six when he died.  He had fathered Jehoiachin at eighteen.  In 2 Kings 24, it explains some of his deeds were still due to the acts of Manasseh, and the judgment that had been pronounced.  He did burn Jeremiah’s scroll that was dictated to Baruch.

Jehoiachin – His name means “Yahweh supports” and it shows.  His rule started when he was eighteen and it lasted three months.  He was taken to Babylon and stayed in prison until he was fifty-five years old.  The reason he is so important, he is the grandfather of Zerubbabel. Kings and Chronicles don’t give much about him, so read Jeremiah 22:24 – 30.  Then temper this with Haggai 2: 23.

A signet ring lost and then restored.  Jeremiah 23 then talks about The Branch and this theme is repeated in Zechariah 3:8 (which is in the time frame of Haggai).  Jeremiah 24 completes the Lord’s thoughts about him and the other exiles.  If you only read Jeremiah 22 it is easy to get the impression that God “hates” Jehoiachin; actually, God did him a favor by bringing them out of Jerusalem.  (A side note here is that Zedekiah was also in prison with Jehoiachin but it never mentions Zedekiah receiving favor and being freed. Also, the names in 1 Chronicles are the “changed” names!  It seems everyone bought into the changes.)

Zedekiah – As Josiah’s youngest child (1 Chronicles 3: 15) he would have been born when Josiah was eighteen and was not much older than his nephew, Jehoiachin.  Jeremiah tells Zedekiah’s story, he is mention frequently starting in the 21st chapter until the end of the book.  (be careful there are other Zedekiah’s mentioned) He is the embodiment of the spiritual attitude of Judah at that time; at times he is seeking God, sometimes protecting Jeremiah, and then ready to give him to up to be abused.

His reign as king mirrors his spiritual life.  He accepts Babylon, he rejects Babylon and tries to come under Egypt; he just makes bad decisions.  So, he lasted eleven years and came to a bad end.  He had to watch his family die, and then his eyes were blinded.