Jehoiachin Ruled For 3 Months in 598 BC

As the Babylonians were approaching to besiege Jerusalem in 598 BC . . . Jehoiakim conveniently died. We don’t know exactly how it happened, but since he was rebelling against powerful Babylon he might have been assassinated (22:18-19; 36:30) in the hope that Judah might be disciplined lightly. Perhaps Babylon was pacified, for Jerusalem and the Temple were not destroyed at that time, but the city was looted. Nebuchadnezzar only wanted to teach Judah and other vassal nations the awful consequences of rebellion against Babylon. His son Jehoiachin followed Jehoiakim to the throne.

As the grandson of Josiah, Jehoiachin (Second Kings 24:6-17; Second Chronicles 36:8-9; Ezekiel 1:20), also called Jeconiah (First Chronicles 3:16-17; Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 24:1, 27:20, 28:14 and 29:2), which Jeremiah shortened to Coniah was only 18 years old when he became king of Judah. He was young enough to be controlled and simply surrendered to the Babylonians. Afterwards, because it was actually his father, Jehoiakim, who revolted against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar did not execute the young king. But he did treat Jehoiakim’s body with extreme disrespect (22:18-19) although the actual record of it is not given in Scripture.

After a three-month reign, Jehoiachin was taken into captivity with the second deportation of exiles to Babylon. Along with Jehoiachin, Nebuchadnezzar also deported the queen mother, 18,000 high government officials, skilled laborers and soldiers of Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8-16; 2 Chronicles 36:9-10). For some reason, Jeremiah was not among those exiled. It may be that he stayed outside Tziyon during the siege or that, if he was within the City, he was marginal to the circles of power whom the Babylonians chose for deportation. However, another one of those taken was twenty-five year old Ezekiel, who would then begin his prophetic ministry in Babylon.

Back in Yerushalayim, after each of the first three deportations, the pro-Egypt party was hard at work. They always seemed to think that if they could just align Judah with Egypt that they would be protected. This never materialized, but they kept trying.

In tracing Jesus’ genealogy, Matthew went back in time and began with Abraham (Matthew 1:2), and traced the line to King David (Mattityahu 1:6). From David’s many sons, he showed that the line went through Solomon (Matthew 1:6). From Solomon the genealogy came to Jeconiah (Mattityahu 1:11-12). This was a critical turning point, as Matthew traced Jeconiah down to Joseph (Mt 1:16), who was the stepfather of Jesus. According to Matthew, Yosef was a descendant of David through Solomon, but also through Jeconiah. This meant that Joseph could not be the heir-apparent to David’s throne (see the commentary on The Life of Christ Ai – The Genealogies of Joseph and Mary).

We learn this from Jeremiah 22:24-30, where we read: “As surely as I live,” declares ADONAI, “even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on My right hand, I would still pull you off. I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear – to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the Land of Judah that you long to return to. Is this man Coniah a despised broken pot, an object no one wants? Why will he and his children be hurled out, cast into the land they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of ADONAI” (Jeremiah 22:29)! This is what ADONAI says: Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah (Jeremiah 22:20).

The name Coniah is a shortened form for Jeconiah. Also called Jehoiachin, he was one of the last kings of Judah before the Babylonians took Judah into captivity. The LORD’s patience with the Jews had about run its course when Jeconiah became king at the age of 18 (2 Kings 24:8-16a). This young king did evil in the sight of God because he resisted Babylonian control of Judah that ADONAI had commanded (Jeremiah 27:5-11). For this, he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, who carried him away to Babylon together with all the treasures of the Temple. There he remained in prison for 37 years before he was released and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table (Jeremiah 52:33; Second Kings 25:29).

Ha’Shem pronounced a curse upon him in the days of Jeremiah. The curse has several facets to it, but the last one is so significant that God called the whole earth three times over to hear it (Jeremiah 22:29). Then the curse is spelled out: No descendant of Jeconiah will ever have the right to sit upon the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:30). Until Jeremiah, the first requirement was membership in the house of David. But with Yirmeyahu, that requirement was limited even further. One still had to be a member of the house of David, but he had to be apart from Jeconiah. Yosef was a descendant of David, but in the line of Jeconiah; therefore, he was disqualified from the throne of David. If Jesus had been the real son of Joseph, He too would have been disqualified from ever sitting on the throne of David. If a Jew looked at Matthew’s genealogy, he would have thought to himself, “If Yeshua really was Joseph’s son, He couldn’t be the Meshiach.” That is why Matthew begins his Gospel with the genealogy, addressed the “Jeconiah problem,” and solved it by means of the Virgin Birth (Matthew 1:18-24).241

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