GOOD MORNING SIBLINGS!
Today we finish Jeremiah.
Our readings are Jeremiah 51-52
Today I’m mostly going to focus on a single paragraph from our reading.
The last two chapters of Jeremiah take us to the destruction of Jerusalem which culminates into 4600 Israelites being led into captivity. This number is staggering when you consider they once numbered in the millions. While some were left behind (the poorest of the poor, see Jeremiah chapter 40:7), the numbers still paint a bleak image of their numbers at this point in history.
But in the last paragraph we read of Jehoiachin being let out of captivity after having been imprisoned 37 years.
This is where my rabbit trail took me.
Let’s talk a little about Jehoiachin. He became king when He was 18 years old and ruled for a little over three months (2 Chronicles 36:9). However, He is counted as having been king a year because the system used to determine how long a king’s reign was considered them as a year if they ruled even a day.
Now there is some debate on whether or not he was 8 or 18 when he became king, but in Jeremiah 22:18-30 we see that YHWH is making indictments against him of a very serious nature regarding how he ruled and based on that, Ricky and I feel he was most likely 18 (or there about) when he took the throne because these charges seem aimed more towards an adult.
We need to pause a moment and talk about how much weight you should give to what Ricky and I think and the answer is absolutely none. You have a responsibility to search Scripture for yourself, do your own digging, and see what holds water, holding onto what proves true and tossing the rest aside (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Don’t ever take anyone’s word for what the Bible says.
Read it for yourself. YHWH’s words are too precious to be relegated to secondhand knowledge in the life of a believer.
I’m about to get back to my story but first we need to have a talk about names
–Merodach– So there is a king in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s son, who is named as Evil-merodach in the ESV translation but if you go check out Biblehub on that same verse, you’ll see that he has varying names among different translations. “Evil” was not his actual name but one of many translations of his actual name. Remember, God’s word is infallible but the translators are another story – and many stories at that. Here is the Biblehub link if you want to check out different translations of the same verse: https://biblehub.com/jeremiah/52-31.htm
I just want you to know that the word evil was just an attempt at translating his name, not a descriptor, although he was certainly no saint.
–Jehoaichin– While we are on names, the king we’re talking about today is a tricky one to research because he is referred to by three different names in the Bible. In addition to that, those three different names also vary among translations in how they are spelled. On top of that, his name is very similar to other names we will read about. Untangling this was a bit of a pretzel based on that alone.
Jehoaichin’s primary names are:
- Jehoiachin 2 Kgs. 24:6; 2 Chron. 36:8
- Jeconiah 1 Chron. 3:16-17; Jer. 24:1
- Coniah Jer. 22:24,28; 37:1.
- And once in the NT (We will get to that in a minute) he is referred to as Jechonias.
Again, on top of this, each of these names also vary by translation and spelling.
In the last paragraph of Jeremiah we read that Merodach released Jehoiachin from prison as soon as he came into power, gave him royal clothing, and held him above all other kings who had been captured. From then on he was held in high esteem, given a place of honor at the king’s table, and he and his household were provided for from the king’s treasury.
Why would Merodach do this? There is some hint and ideas found in other documents of the time and passed down history but we can’t be sure. Still, I think there is enough plausible credibility to entertain these ideas and I’m going to share a bit of that with you on the condition that I’m only doing so *because* it is not a salvation issue. When it comes to matters that are salvation issues I avoid looking beyond the Bible for myself and therefore I take extra precaution to make sure I don’t lead others to do so.
Having said that, let’s provide ourselves with a possible fleshing out of this story.
Merodach’s father, Nebuchadnezzar, went mad for a time (read about it in Daniel 4) and part of history that has been passed down says that during this time he imprisoned his son, Merodach. At this time, it is said that Merodach struck up a deep and sincere friendship with Jehoiachin, who he saw as unjustly imprisoned, and that is why Merodach immediately released him and gave him these honors once he came into rule.
-It is also of note that no other living king was in direct lineage of Solomon and David, so this, too, made Jehoiachin very special indeed. Even though Merodach was not a believer and therefore would likely have little use for the prophecies surrounding this line, Solomon and David were still renowned for their greatness as kings.
-Jehoiachin also had his sons with him in Babylon although I haven’t come across anything one way or another that gives me any inclination as to whether or not they were with him in prison.
However, the Babylonian’s favorite goddess, Ishtar, had this big gate named after her, the Ishtar Gate, and it has been found well preserved and has even been recreated in a museum in Berlin (here is a video about it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2iZ83oIZH0).
When they found this gate they also found stone tablets that specifically mention and keep record of Jehoachin and his sons as having received provisions and supplies from the king.
It is really fascinating to see that on these tablets he was listed as the “King of Judah”. You can read about the tablets by clicking here.
Note: I have only read this one article on this website so please use discernment with this as you would with all things.
Here is another interesting thing that you may have missed thanks to the confusing name game with regards to Jehoiachin:
Jeremiah prophesied against him in Jeremiah 22:18-30.
Some see this as a contradiction to how his life actually turned out but if you read it carefully you will see that there is no contradiction. In fact, the Bible never contradicts itself, despite a lot of folks thinking it does. Context and comprehension are the keys.
None of Jehoiachin’s sons ever inherited the throne of Judah. Instead, he was replaced by his uncle, Zedekiah. So with regards to him being written down as childless, in a royal sense this is exactly what happened.
One of my takeaways from Jehoachin’s life is that life is not over just because darkness sets in. I like to think that YHWH showed Jehoiachin some measure of grace in his older years.
•After 37 dark years in captivity, he likely had little hope of ever being released and so to be released, to be given honor and a life of relative ease and station after all of that time in prison sparks hope. Even in the darkest night, the sun is always on the horizon.
•Also, at 37 years this was about the halfway point of the 70 years in Babylonian captivity for the Jews and so his release was no doubt seen as a great sign of hope to them.
•In fact, the wording in some translations of Jeremiah 52:31 says that Merodach “lifted up the head” of Jehoiachin. Clarke’s Commentary On The Bible noted that “This phrase is taken from Genesis 40:13. It is founded on the observation that those who are in sorrow hold down their heads, and when they are comforted, or the cause of their sorrow removed, they lift up their heads. The Hebrew phrase, lift up the head, signifies to comfort, cheer, to be made happy.”
Even in the darkest nights, look to the Father and He will remind us of our hope.
When we look to Him we can’t help but think on His Grace, the Messiah and His Word.
How can we not have hope in light of these?
The Father is reaching out to us, reminding us that though we have sinned, though we have turned against Him, though we have followed our own hearts and our own ways and stiffened our neck to His ways and His instructions,
If we return to him
Why did I zero in on this guy so much?
You may have caught onto my hint earlier.
He was a special man for several reasons but this favor shown to him and his sons in his later years brought to mind Grace and could have been shown to him for other reasons as well.
He had a very special grandson many generations later.
He is mentioned in Matthew 1:11, but the variation of his name used will depend on the translation you’re reading.
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word, and may He bless you, too!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!