Jeremiah 22

1 Thus says the Lord: Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word,
2 and say: Hear the word of the Lord, O King of Judah sitting on the throne of David—you, and your servants, and your people who enter these gates.
3 Thus says the Lord: Act with justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor anyone who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place.
4 For if you will indeed obey this word, then through the gates of this house shall enter kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their servants, and their people.
5 But if you will not heed these words, I swear by myself, says the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.
6 For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are like Gilead to me, like the summit of Lebanon; but I swear that I will make you a desert, an uninhabited city.
7 I will prepare destroyers against you, all with their weapons; they shall cut down your choicest cedars and cast them into the fire.
8 And many nations will pass by this city, and all of them will say one to another, "Why has the Lord dealt in this way with that great city?"
9 And they will answer, "Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshiped other gods and served them."
10 Do not weep for him who is dead, nor bemoan him; weep rather for him who goes away, for he shall return no more to see his native land.
11 For thus says the Lord concerning Shallum son of King Josiah of Judah, who succeeded his father Josiah, and who went away from this place: He shall return here no more,
12 but in the place where they have carried him captive he shall die, and he shall never see this land again.
13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbors work for nothing, and does not give them their wages;
14 who says, "I will build myself a spacious house with large upper rooms," and who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar, and painting it with vermilion.
15 Are you a king because you compete in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him.
16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? says the Lord.
17 But your eyes and heart are only on your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.
18 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah: They shall not lament for him, saying, "Alas, my brother!" or "Alas, sister!" They shall not lament for him, saying, "Alas, lord!" or "Alas, his majesty!"
19 With the burial of a donkey he shall be buried— dragged off and thrown out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers are crushed.
21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, "I will not listen." This has been your way from your youth, for you have not obeyed my voice.
22 The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity; then you will be ashamed and dismayed because of all your wickedness.
23 O inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars, how you will groan when pangs come upon you, pain as of a woman in labor!
24 As I live, says the Lord, even if King Coniah son of Jehoiakim of Judah were the signet ring on my right hand, even from there I would tear you off
25 and give you into the hands of those who seek your life, into the hands of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hands of King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon and into the hands of the Chaldeans.
26 I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die.
27 But they shall not return to the land to which they long to return.
28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken pot, a vessel no one wants? Why are he and his offspring hurled out and cast away in a land that they do not know?
29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord!
30 Thus says the Lord: Record this man as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days; for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah.

Jeremiah 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

Justice is recommended, and destruction threatened in case of disobedience. (1-9) The captivity of Jehoiakim, and the end of Jeconiah. (10-19) The doom of the royal family. (20-30)

Verses 1-9 The king of Judah is spoken to, as sitting upon the throne of David, the man after God's own heart. Let him follow his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. The way to preserve a government, is to do the duty of it. But sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes, as well as of meaner men. And who can contend with destroyers of God's preparing? God destroys neither persons, cities, nor nations, except for sin; even in this world he often makes it plain for what crimes he sends punishment; and it will be clear at the day of judgement.

Verses 10-19 Here is a sentence of death upon two kings, the wicked sons of a very pious father. Josiah was prevented from seeing the evil to come in this world, and removed to see the good to come in the other world; therefore, weep not for him, but for his son Shallum, who is likely to live and die a wretched captive. Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. Here also is the doom of Jehoiakim. No doubt it is lawful for princes and great men to build, beautify, and furnish houses; but those who enlarge their houses, and make them sumptuous, need carefully to watch against the workings of vain-glory. He built his houses by unrighteousness, with money gotten unjustly. And he defrauded his workmen of their wages. God notices the wrong done by the greatest to poor servants and labourers, and will repay those in justice, who will not, in justice, pay those whom they employ. The greatest of men must look upon the meanest as their neighbours, and be just to them accordingly. Jehoiakim was unjust, and made no conscience of shedding innocent blood. Covetousness, which is the root of all evil, was at the bottom of all. The children who despise their parents' old fashions, commonly come short of their real excellences. Jehoiakim knew that his father found the way of duty to be the way of comfort, yet he would not tread in his steps. He shall die unlamented, hateful for oppression and cruelty.

Verses 20-30 The Jewish state is described under a threefold character. Very haughty in a day of peace and safety. Very fearful on alarm of trouble. Very much cast down under pressure of trouble. Many never are ashamed of their sins till brought by them to the last extremity. The king shall close his days in bondage. Those that think themselves as signets on God's right hand, must not be secure, but fear lest they should be plucked thence. The Jewish king and his family shall be carried to Babylon. We know where we were born, but where we shall die we know not; it is enough that our God knows. Let it be our care that we die in Christ, then it will be well with us wherever we die, thought it may be in a far country. The Jewish king shall be despised. Time was when he was delighted in; but all those in whom God has no pleasure, some time or other, will be so lowered, that men will have no pleasure in them. Whoever are childless, it is the Lord that writes them so; and those who take no care to do good in their days, cannot expect to prosper. How little is earthly grandeur to be depended upon, or flourishing families to be rejoiced in! But those who hear the voice of Christ, and follow him, have eternal life, and shall never perish, neither shall any enemy pluck them out of his almighty hands.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Cn: Heb [uninhabited cities]
  • [b]. Gk Vg Syr: Heb [will be pitied]

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO JEREMIAH 22

This chapter is a prophecy of what should befall the sons of Josiah, Jehoahaz or Shallum; Jehoiakim and Jeconiah. It begins with an exhortation to the then reigning prince, Jehoiakim, his family and court, to do justice, relieve the oppressed, and refrain from doing injury to any; with a promise of prosperity upon so doing, Jer 22:1-4; but, on the contrary behaviour, the king's family, however precious they had been in the sight of the Lord, should be destroyed, by persons described as fit for such work, which would occasion others to inquire the cause of such destruction; when it would be told them, it was for their apostasy from the Lord, their breaking covenant with him, and their idolatry, Jer 22:5-9; then of Shallum, who was then carried captive, it is predicted that he should never return more, which was matter of greater lamentation than the death of his father Josiah, Jer 22:10-12; next Jehoiakim, the present king on the throne, is reproved, and a woe denounced upon him for his injustice, luxury, covetousness, rapine, and murders, Jer 22:13-17; and it is particularly threatened that he should die unlamented, and have no burial, Jer 22:18,19; and then the people of the land are called upon to mourning and lamentation, their kings one after another being carried captive, Jer 22:20-23; also Jeconiah the king's son, and who succeeded him, is threatened with rejection from the Lord, and a delivery of him up into the hand of the king of Babylon, with exile in a strange country, and death there, and that without children; so that Solomon's line should cease in him, Jer 22:24-30.

Jeremiah 22 Commentaries