Jeremiah 21 - 22 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes 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 36:1-2,22-23,32).
     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. Knowing that the former kings had already fallen under the Lord's judgment, how would Zedekiah 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,
      from outside the walls, into the midst of the city. cp. Jer 39:3
    • I will fight against you.
    • I will smite the residents of the city.
    • I will deliver Zedekiah into the merciless hands of Nebuchadnezzar... cp. Deu 28:50; 2Chr 36:17
      Notice Jeremiah's fearless faithfulness to speak truth to the king, especially in the light of his previous misgivings (eg., Jer 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 anyone who would believe and obey God's Word:
      Flee from the condemned city, surrender to the Chaldeans.
      The city would be destroyed, for God had determined that it must be judged.
    • 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. Jer 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, O inhabitant {inhabitress} of the valley and rock of the plain...-
        These words are against Jerusalem, which was considered secure, due to geography, fortifications, and as the place of the LORD's Name and Temple. cp. Psa 125:1-5; Jer 7:3,4
      • I will punish you 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...- (ie., the "house of the forest," 1Kin 7:1-3; Jer 22:7).
        The house of the forest, which was located adjacent to Solomon's palace and the Temple platform, included an armory (1Kin 10:17; Isa 22:8). The fires of judgment, which began there, would overflow to consume the whole city. (This was fulfilled at the fall of Jerusalem. Jer 52:12,13)
    2. Judgment is declared upon the sitting king (22:1-9)
      • Execute justice and righteousness... (22:3,4) -
        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. 22:4 and 17:24,25
           If Zedekiah refused to heed His message, the Lord Himself would execute justice and righteousness.
      • I swear by Myself... (22:5) - Contrast this immutable oath with the one in Heb 6:13-17.
      • this house shall become a desolation... (22:5,6) -
        To the LORD, the house of David (the kingly line) was like Gilead and Lebanon, Jordan's headwaters (which were places of beauty, refreshment and natural resources). But the Davidic line would be cut-off and become barren and waste.
           The Temple is the house with gates, into which the Davidic kings entered (22:4). It also would be destroyed when the kingdom fell.
      • I will prepare destroyers... (22:7) - Babylon's armies would be the instruments,
        but the judgment was from the Lord.
      • the nations would understand the reason for the judgment of Jerusalem (22:8,9).
    3. Judgment, declared upon the previous kings, had 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
          Josiah was succeeded by three sons (Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah) and a grandson (Jeconiah). Zedekiah watched as each of his royal kinfolk were deposed in judgment. Here, Jeremiah reminds him of how his brothers and nephew failed to trust the Lord, and of the consequences of their failure. Would Zedekiah go their way, or follow the example of his godly father, Josiah?
        • In contrast to Josiah, Jehoahaz, here called Shallum {ie., Retribution}, had been taken captive to Egypt for his sin (2Kin 23:34).
        • He would return to 'this land' no more. (The two similar statements emphasize the permanence of the judicial sentence.)
      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 (22:13-15a). (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 (22:15b-16; 2Kin 23:25).
        • Jehoiakim's heart, having no regard for the Lord, was eager to do the things described in 22:17 (cp. 2Kin 24:4). The shedding of innocent blood included the hideous sacrifices to false gods (Jer 19:3-5), and the murder of those who lived and spoke according to God's Word (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 (as foretold in Jer 36:30).
          [Daniel was among the captives taken at that 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 translated "the passages"), a region in Moab: to the southeast.
           The "inhabitant {lit., 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 (22:24) -
          In calling him Coniah, the Lord stripped the initial reference to His Name ('Je-', an abbreviation of Jehovah) from this king (although the last portion of the name '-iah' {HB= yah-hu} is retained). With either spelling, the meaning is thought to be 'Jehovah establishes.'
             The intent, behind the name, would have been that the LORD would establish Jeconiah in his kingdom. However, in the context, of the judgment against him, it is evident that 'the LORD established' His purpose to exclude Coniah from the kingdom.
        • a man cast out (22:25-28) -
          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 which had been curtailed by godly king Hezekiah (2Kin 18:4).
             In 22:28, 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 Coniah's deportation, were Ezekiel (Eze 1:1-3) and Mordecai and his niece Esther (Esth 2:6).]
        • write ye this man childless (22:29,30) -
          - - The Lord's proclamation is for the whole world to observe.
          - - The implications...
          • Jeconiah had eight sons (1Chr 3:17,18).
            1. But he would be considered childless in the records of the kings, because none of his sons (or their descendants) would ever occupy the throne of David (cp. Jer 36:30).
            2. Yet, the Lord had previously 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.
            1. 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}."
            2. 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. (See Luk 3:23-38 where Joseph's relationship to Heli was actually that of 'son-in-law'; see also the Book Notes on Matthew ch. 1).

Click here to continue the study in Jeremiah 23 - 24
Return to Jeremiah - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.