-Jeremiah gives a message directly to the king of Judah, Shallum (Jehoiakim), who was the son of Josiah (Jeremiah 22:1, 11, 18). The command given by God is for the king to “do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place (Jeremiah 22:3).” This is a common biblical set of themes for blessing and favor. If the king will abide by these requirements he would be showing compassion, mercy, love, and grace, which is of the LORD. If not, the house would become a desolation because of the king’s disobedience and rebellion against the goodness of the Almighty (Jeremiah 22:4-5). Again the prophecy of destroyers and violence as a result with shame and disgrace as other nations pass by is given. The desolation will be a direct result of breaking covenant with their LORD and worshipping other gods by serving them (Jeremiah 22:6-9). God tells the prophet not to weep or mourn for him that is dead, but to weep continually for the one going away in captivity who will never see his native land again and die in a foreign place (Jeremiah 22:10-12).
-Jeremiah pronounces judgment on those kings who have built their house without righteousness and justice. The ones who doesn’t pay their workers fairly and build only for selfish pleasures. They did not do as Josiah in pleading the cause of the needy and afflicted, which is what it means to know God (Jeremiah 22:16). The unrighteous king’s eye and heart is intent on dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, practicing oppression, and practicing extortion (Jeremiah 22:17). There is no lament for this man. He will be disgraced in burial and his people will be swept away because he did not listen in times of prosperity and goodness (Jeremiah 22:18-23). Jehoiachin (Coniah), son of Jehoiakim, will be pulled off God’s hand figuratively as a signet ring (power & authority) and given over to Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans. He will be hurled into captivity along with his mother where he will die childless and without descendants to rule on the throne of David in Judah (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Zedekiah reigned after Jehoiachin but died before him (Jeremiah 52:10-11). Jehoiachin was the last king of David’s line to sit on the throne in Judah (1 Chronicles 3:15-20). He had seven sons, but not one served as king. His grandson Zerubbabel was able to have some ruling authority upon return from exile, but it was only as governor, not a king (Ezra 2:2). *Application* God’s word is to be obeyed and applied. His call is for justice and righteousness in selfless service. Defend the rights of the afflicted, the poor, the needy, the widow, the oppressed, and the orphan. Do not shed innocent blood in violence and do not practice dishonesty in any of your dealings. This is what describes a person who truly knows the LORD.
Verse to Memorize: Jeremiah 22:3