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Jehoiachin

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Jehoiachin (Hebrew: יהויכין, Yehōyāḵīn; "Name means::YHWH has established"[1]) or Jeconiah (Hebrew: יכניה, Yeḵonyāh; Greek: Ἰεχονίας, Iechonias; "Name means::YHWH shall fortify") or Coniah (Hebrew: כניה, Konyāh) (617 BC-vr. 609 BC?-r. 599 BC-599 BC- d. 560 BC according to Ussher[2], or 615 BC-vr. 607 BC?-r. 598 BC-597 BC-d. ca. 560 BC according to Thiele[3][4][5]) was the eighteenth king of the Kingdom of Judah. His reign was short and, by at least one account, ugly and tragic.

Early Life and Family

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
descendant of::Jedidah
 
descendant of::Amon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unknown
 
 
 
 
 
grandson of::Zebidah
 
grandson of::Josiah
 
 
 
Hamutal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Johanan
 
son of::Nehushta
 
son of::Jehoiakim
 
Zedekiah
 
Jehoahaz II
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jehoiachin

Jehoiachin was the son of King Jehoiakim by Jehoiakim's wife Nehushta.[6][4] (2_Kings 24:8 ) The names of his wives are not recorded in the Bible.

He is known to have had at least one son, named Shealtiel.[4] (I_Chronicles 3:17 ). The Chronicler lists other descendants of his, but does not give a definitive genealogical relationship: ancestor of::Malkiram, ancestor of::Pedaiah, ancestor of::Shenazzar, ancestor of::Jekamiah, ancestor of::Hoshama, and ancestor of::Nedabiah (I_Chroncles 3:18 )

He might or might not have been viceroy (i.e. pro-rex) under his father Jehoiakim for most of the latter's reign.[7][8][9] His viceroyalty, if he had one, is the subject of speculation concerning two different reports of his age-at-accession. Details of the controversy are presented below.

Accession

On 1 Teveth 3407 AM (December 17, 598 BC) Jehoiachin became king, or at least sole ruler, at eighteen, this after his father's probable execution.[2][10][11][4][12][13][14][15] The author of Kings gives his length of reign at three months. The Chronicler gives a more specific period: three months and ten days. (2_Chronicles 36:9 )

Political situation

Eight years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar II had expelled Egypt's Pharaoh Necho II from Carchemish and chased him all the way back to Egypt.[16] Babylonia was now the dominant power in the region—which is to say, the known world from the point-of-view of the ancient Israelites. Nebuchadnezzar had allowed Jehoiakim (who had been Necho's vassal) to remain on his throne, on condition that Jehoiakim should pay homage and tribute to Nebuchadnezzar, not Necho.[17] Jehoiakim had rebelled within three years, and perhaps the only reason why Nebuchadnezzar had not dealt with Jehoiakim at once was that Necho had challenged him one last time.[3] Necho lost, and thus his influence in the region was at an end. (2_Kings 24:7 )

In any case, Nebuchadnezzar removed Jehoiakim by force of arms and installed Jehoiachin as king in his place. (2_Kings 24:6 )

Domestic Policy

Of Jehoiachin's specific domestic policy, the Bible says little, beyond declaring that he "did evil in the sight of the Lord" after the fashion of his father, Jehoiakim.[14][15] But of the reaction of God, the Bible says much. Jeremiah says that God wouldn't have fellowship with Jehoiachin if that man were God's own signet ring. (Jeremiah 22:24 ) God also regarded Jehoiachin as

"a despised, broken pot, a vessel no one cares for" - Jeremiah 22:28 (ESV)

Jeremiah specifically predicted that Jehoiachin would be handed over to the man he most feared, the man who, according to all his advisers, wanted him dead: Nebuchadnezzar. (Jeremiah 22:25 ) Furthermore, Jehoiachin's mother would join him in exile, where they would both die. (Jeremiah 22:26-27 ) But by far the worst prophecy was this:

"Thus says the LORD: 'Write this man down 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 22:30 (ESV)

This curse would have an effect that was somewhat further-reaching than Jehoiachin, perhaps, was able to appreciate.

Exile and Succession

Jehoiachin
Born: Born:: Abib 3388 AM Died: Died:: Abib 3444 AM
Preceded by
Successor of::Jehoiakim
King of Ruler of::Kingdom of Judah
Accession::1 Teveth 3407 AMEnded::10 Abib 3407 AM
Succeeded by
Succeeded by::Zedekiah

All of Jeremiah's baleful prophecies came true. Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem yet again; the Chronicler says that he did this "when the year was expired." (2_Chronicles 36:10 ). The New International Version says "in the spring," which corresponds to the new year. Jones gives the date as 10 Abib 3407 AM, as suggested by Ezekiel 40:1 .

Jehoiachin surrendered almost at once.[14] (2_Kings 24:12 ) Nebuchadnezzar deported a total of ten thousand captives, including seven thousand soldiers, a thousand skilled craftsmen, and two thousand other prisoners also of military age. He also deported Jehoiachin himself, and Nehushta, and Jehoiachin's unnamed wives, and the magistrates, in addition to appropriating a large amount of treasure from the palace and from the Temple of Jerusalem.[2][10][11][4][12][13][14] (2_Kings 24:13-16 )

Nebuchadnezzar left only the poorest of the poor in the land, and nominated Jehoiachin's uncle Zedekiah to be king in his place.[11][13][14] (2_Kings 24:17 )

Life in Exile and Eventual Death

When Nebuchadnezzar died, his son Evil-Merodach began to reign. Almost all authorities agree that this occurred in 562 to 561 BC. The Bible says that this was the thirty-seventh year of Jehoiachin's captivity. Evil-Merodach had him released from prison and given a pension for the rest of his life.[10][11][4][12][13][14] (2_Kings 25:27-30 , Jeremiah 52:31-34 )

This probably did not last long, however. Evil-Merodach was murdered within two years by his brother-in-law Neriglissar.[5] Ussher says that the only reasonable inference is that Jehoiachin was executed at that time.[18]

Controversies

Jehoiachin's Age

Jehoiachin's age-at-reign is a source of continuing controversy. The author of Kings says that Jehoiachin became king at eighteen. However, the original version of the Chronicles states that Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign.[4] (2_Chronicles 36:9 )

Almost no scholar assumes that Jehoiachin began a lone reign at the age of eight.[19] Ussher himself said that Jehoiachin was born eighteen years before his accession. Fred Butler, however, suggests that Jehoiachin could have begun to reign at the age of eight, with his mother as regent.[7]

The major point of controversy concerns the difference in Jehoiachin's reported age between the accounts given in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Different authorities offer three possible resolutions:

  1. The copyist who copied the Chronicles made an error—or to be more specific, an omission of the Hebrew letter yodh which stands for "ten."[8][3] That the New International Version, perhaps drawing from the Septuagint, changes the verse in Chronicles to bring it into accord with the verse in Kings, might or might not be significant.[20]
  2. Two different men are in view as the antecedents of the two uses of the pronoun rendered "he" in English. The first of these is not Jehoiachin at all, but his father Jehoiakim. According to this suggestion, the verse in Chronicles should read, "Jehoiachin was eight years old when Jehoiakim began to reign, and Jehoiachin reigned for three months and ten days."[7][9]
  3. Jehoiachin was eight years old when he was made viceroy of the Kingdom of Judah, and became sole ruler at the age of eighteen.[7][8][9]

Floyd Nolen Jones offers three more solutions, based on an actual read of the Chronicles verse as "a son of eight years," not "eight years old was he."

  1. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old at his accession, but Nebuchadnezzar II had been the domineering power over Judah for eight years.
  2. Jehoiakim made Jehoiachin his pro-rex when Jehoiachin was eight years old. Jehoiakim would have done this in his first official regnal year.
  3. King Josiah anointed Jehoiachin as his preferred successor immediately prior to the Battle of Megiddo. Jehoiachin was eight years old at that time, and Josiah himself had been eight years old when he himself had acceded to the throne.[21]

Synchrony with Nebuchadnezzar

The Bible says that Nebuchadnezzar arrested Jehoiachin "in the eighth year of his reign." The Bible also says that Nebuchadnezzar's son Evil-Merodach began to reign "in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah." Both Ussher's and Thiele's chronologies agree on this first point and disagree on the second. Ussher's system agrees with thirty-seven years for Jehoiachin's captivity, by assuming that Nebuchadnezzar began as viceroy in 607 BC, two years before his father died. But Thiele's system assumes that Nebuchadnezzar began to reign at 605 BC, in the same year that his father died.

This requires one of three resolutions:

  1. Evil-Merodach had to wait for a two-year interregnum before solidifying his hold on the throne in Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar died.
  2. The Biblical Evil-Merodach is not Nebuchadnezzar's son at all, but Neriglissar, who murdered Evil-Merodach two years after Nebuchadnezzar had died.
  3. Jehoiachin's captivity did not last a full thirty-seven years. This does not mean, however, that the copyists made a mistake. It simply means that Ussher miscounted the years. If Jehoiachin had been held captive for thirty-seven years before the accession of Evil-Merodach, then "the thirty-seventh year" would have to be the thirty-seventh year following a "zeroth" or "starting" year. That kind of reckoning is appropriate only in the context of accession dating of a reign. It would not be appropriate here. The thirty-seventh year would occur thirty-six years after he had been taken captive. This alone removes one year from the discrepancy, and to remove the rest, one simply must reckon the years of Nebuchadnezzar and Evil-Merodach according to accession rules.[5]

Extrabiblical Evidence

In 1900, archaeologist Robert Koldewey found a number of cuneiform tablets attesting to, and giving the amount of, the pension paid to Jehoiachin and to his sons.[4] Five sons are mentioned, rather than the seven descendants named above. This suggests that two of the sons were dead by then, or that those two sons had independent means.[22][23]

In addition to Jehoiachin, those tablets mention similar pensions paid to the king of the city-state of Ashkelon and to other skilled craftsmen among Nebuchadnezzar's many captives.

Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Jehoiachin, or rather his Greek name Jechonias, is named twenty-eighth in the list of the ancestors of Joseph of Nazareth.[4] (Matthew 1:11-12 ) Jeremiah, however, reports that God directed him to "write this man childless." (Jeremiah 22:30 ) The resolution is that Jesus Christ was not a direct descendant of Jehoiachin at all because He was the son of Joseph legally (though not biologically), overriding the curse on Jehoiachin. It is also known that God cut off the line of Solomon from bringing forth the Messiah for their constant rebellion against Him and His Laws. The Messianic promise to the line of Solomon was only conditional, provided that they keep all of God's statutes. (1_Kings 9:3-5 , 1_Kings 2:1-4 , Psalm 132:12 ) However, Solomon and his descendants failed this task. (1_Kings 11:1-10 , 2_Kings 16:2 , 2_Kings 24:18-19 ) Also seeing that the line of Zedekiah was likewise cut off (as all of sons of Zedekiah were killed) this meant that God himself had to become the father of the Messiah. (Isaiah 7:14 ) At least one commentator, however, suggests that God had rescinded the curse on Jehoiachin's line two generations later.[24]

See Also


References

  1. Mike Campbell, Behind the Name: Jehoiachin, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 795-7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 317-8
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 "Jeconiah." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 1 April 2007, 23:45 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, Chart 5.
  6. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 749
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Fred Butler, The Problem of Jehoiachin's Age 2 Kings 24:8 vs. 2 Chronicles 36:9, Fred's Bible Talk, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007. Requires PDF reader. For the HTML version, see here.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Matthew J. Slick, How old was Jehoiachin when he became king?, Bible Difficulties, Christian Apologetics Research Ministry, 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Will Kinney, How Old was Jehoiachin, 8 or 18?, Another King James Bible Believer, retrieved April 13, 2007.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Anonymous, Jehoiachin, Encyclopedia Britannica online, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Anonymous, King Jehoiachin: Biography and God's Judgment, retrieved April 13, 2007 from the Kings of Israel site.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 "Jehoiachin". The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. © 1994, 2000-2006, on Infoplease. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as Infoplease. Retrieved 13 April 2007.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Matthew G. Easton and Paul S. Taylor, "Jehoiachin", The Web Bible Encyclopedia, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 Anonymous, "Jehoiachin", Holy Spirit Interactive, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  15. 15.0 15.1 David Holt Boshert, Jr., and David Ettinger, Jehoiachin King of Judah, Christ-Centered Mall. Retrieved April 9, 2007
  16. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 770
  17. Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 775-6
  18. Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 900
  19. Nor would this seem likely, considering that he had multiple wives when he went into captivity. Though his ancestor Ahaz had a child wife at eleven, no scholar suggests that any monarch would have more than one wife as a child.
  20. Was Jehoiachin 8 or 18 Years Old When He Became King of Israel And Did He Rule for 3 Months or 3 Months and 10 Days?, BibleStudyManuals.net. Retrieved April 13, 2007
  21. Jones, op. cit., pp. 192-194.
  22. Jona Lendering, Jehoiachin in Babylonia, Livius.org, April 9, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007.
  23. Author unknown, King Jehoiachin, BibleHistory.net, 2007. Retrieved April 13, 2007. Requires PDF reader.
  24. Rachmiel Frydland, Messiah to Descend from Jehoiachin and Zerubabel, What The Rabbis Know About The Messiah, Messianic Literature Outreach. Retrieved April 13, 2007 from Menorah.org