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Jeremiah 22:24-30

Context
Jeconiah Will Be Permanently Exiled

22:24 The Lord says, 1 

“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, 2  king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 3  22:25 I will hand you over to those who want to take your life and of whom you are afraid. I will hand you over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Babylonian 4  soldiers. 22:26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to 5  a country where neither of you were born, and you will both die there. 22:27 You will never come back to this land to which you will long to return!” 6 

22:28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.

He will be like a clay vessel 7  that no one wants. 8 

Why will he and his children be forced into exile?

Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about? 9 

22:29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah! 10 

Listen to what the Lord has to say!

22:30 The Lord says,

“Enroll this man in the register as though he were childless. 11 

Enroll him as a man who will not enjoy success during his lifetime.

For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David

or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.”

1 tn Heb “Oracle of the Lord.”

2 tn Heb “Coniah.” This is the spelling of this king’s name here and in v. 28 and 37:1. Elsewhere in Jeremiah he is called Jeconiah (24:1; 27:20; 28:4; 29:2 [see also 1 Chr 3:16, 17; Esth 2:6]) and Jehoiachin (52:31, 33 [see also 2 Kgs 24:6, 8, 12, 15; 25:27, 29; 2 Chr 36:8, 9; Ezek 1:2]). For the sake of consistency the present translation uses the name Jeconiah throughout.

sn According to 2 Kgs 24:8-9 Jeconiah (= Jehoiachin) succeeded his father Jehoiakim and evidently followed in his anti-Babylon, anti-God stance. He surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar shortly after he became king and along with his mother, his family, his officials, and some of the leading men of Jerusalem and Judah was carried into exile in 597 b.c. According to Jer 28:4, 10, there were popular hopes that he would be restored from exile and returned to the throne. This oracle flatly denies that hope. Allusion has already been made to the loss of regal authority by this king and his mother in 13:18-19.

3 tn Heb “As surely as I live, Jeconiah, King of Judah, son of Jehoiakim will not be a signet ring on my right hand. Indeed I will tear you off from it [i.e., pull you off of my finger as a signet ring].” The signet ring was the king’s seal by which he verified all his legal and political transactions. To have the signet ring was to exercise authority in the king’s name. For examples of this see Gen 41:42, 43; 1 Kgs 21:8; Esth 3:10; 8:2. The figure has been interpreted in the translation for the sake of clarity. The particles כִּי אִם (kiim) that stand after the oath formula “As I live” introduce a negative statement according to the usage of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 474 s.v. כִּי אִם 1.a and BDB 50 s.v. אִם 1.b[2] and compare 2 Sam 3:35). The particle כִּי that stands in front of “I will tear you off” introduces a positive affirmation according to the same rules of Hebrew grammar (cf. BDB 472 s.v. כִּי 1.c and compare 1 Sam 14:39, 44). The Lord is swearing emphatically that Jeconiah will not be the earthly representative of his rule; i.e., not carry the authority of the signet ring bearer. As in several other places in Jeremiah there is a sudden shift from the third person to the second person which runs throughout vv. 24-27. The pronouns are leveled in the translation to the second person to avoid confusion. The figures are interpreted in the translation to convey the proper significance. See the study note for explanation.

sn According to the Davidic covenant the Davidic king sat on God’s throne over God’s kingdom, Israel (cf. 2 Chr 29:30; 28:5). As God’s representative he ruled in God’s stead and could even be addressed figuratively as God (cf. Ps 45:6 [45:7 HT]) and compare the same phenomenon for the earthly judges, Exod 22:7-8; Ps 82:1, 6). Jeconiah is being denied the right to function any longer as the Davidic king and any hopes of ever regaining that right in his lifetime or through the succession of his sons is also denied. This oracle is reversed by the later oracle of the prophet Haggai to his grandson Zerubbabel in Hag 2:20-23 and both Jeconiah and Zerubbabel are found in the genealogy of Christ in Matt 1:12-13.

4 tn Heb “the Chaldeans.” See the study note on 21:4.

5 tn Heb “I will hurl you and your mother…into another land where…” The verb used here is very forceful. It is the verb used for Saul throwing a spear at David (1 Sam 18:11) and for the Lord unleashing a violent storm on the sea (Jonah 1:4). It is used both here and in v. 28 for the forceful exile of Jeconiah and his mother.

6 tn Heb “And unto the land to which they lift up their souls to return there, there they will not return.” Once again there is a sudden shift in person from the second plural to the third plural. As before the translation levels the pronouns to avoid confusion. For the idiom “to lift up the soul to” = “to long/yearn to/for” see BDB 670 s.v. נָשָׂא 1.b(9).

7 tn The word translated “clay vessel” occurs only here. Its meaning, however, is assured on the basis of the parallelism and on the basis of the verb root which is used for shaping or fashioning in Job 10:8. The KJV renders it as “idol,” but that word, while having the same consonants, never appears in the singular. The word is missing in the Greek version but is translated “vessel” in the Latin version. The word “clay” is supplied in the translation to clarify what sort of vessel is meant; its inclusion is justified based on the context and the use of the same verb root in Job 10:8 to refer to shaping or fashioning, which would imply clay pots or vessels.

8 tn Heb “Is this man, Coniah, a despised, broken vessel or a vessel that no one wants?” The question is rhetorical expecting a positive answer in agreement with the preceding oracle.

sn For the image of the rejected, broken vessel see Jer 19:1-13 (where, however, the vessel is rejected first and then broken) and compare also the image of the linen shorts which are good for nothing in Jer 13 (see especially vv. 10-11).

9 sn The question “Why?” is a common rhetorical feature in the book of Jeremiah. See Jer 2:14, 31; 8:5, 19, 22; 12:1; 13:22; 14:19. In several cases like this one no answer is given, leaving a sense of exasperation and hopelessness with the sinfulness of the nation that calls forth such punishment from God.

10 tn There is no certain explanation for the triple repetition of the word “land” here. F. B. Huey (Jeremiah, Lamentations [NAC], 209) suggests the idea of exasperation, but exasperation at what? Their continued apostasy which made these exiles necessary? Or exasperation at their pitiful hopes of seeing Jeconiah restored? Perhaps “pitiful, pitiful, pitiful land of Judah” would convey some of the force of the repetition without being any more suggestive of why the land is so addressed.

11 tn Heb “Write this man childless.” For the explanation see the study note. The word translated “childless” has spawned some debate because Jeconiah was in fact not childless. There is record from both the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts that he had children (see, e.g., 1 Chr 3:17). G. R. Driver, “Linguistic and Textual Problems: Jeremiah,” JQR 28 (1937-38): 115, has suggested that the word both here and in Lev 20:20-21 should be translated “stripped of honor.” While that would relieve some of the difficulties here, the word definitely means “childless” in Gen 15:2 and also in Sir 16:3 where it is contrasted with having godless children. The issue is not one of childlessness but of having “one of his sons” succeed to the Davidic throne. The term for “one of his sons” is literally “from his seed a man” and the word “seed” is the same one that is used to refer to his “children” who were forced into exile with him (v. 28).

sn The figure here is of registering a person on an official roll of citizens, etc. (cf. Num 11:26; 1 Chr 4:41; Ps 87:6). Here it probably refers to the “king list” of dynastic succession. While Jeconiah did have children (2 Chr 3:17) none of them ever returned to Judah or ruled over it. What is being denied here is his own succession and that of his immediate sons contrary to the popular hopes expressed in Jer 28:4. His grandson Zerubbabel did return to Judah, became governor (Hag 1:1; 2:2), and along with the high priest Joshua was responsible for rebuilding the second temple (e.g., Ezra 5:2).



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