Jeremiah 22

1 Thus said the LORD: “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 ‘Hear the LORD’s word, king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you, and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates. 3 the LORD says: “Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong. Do no violence, to the foreigner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on David’s throne, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself,” says the LORD, “that this house shall become a desolation.”’” 6 For the LORD says concerning the house of the king of Judah: “You are Gilead to me, the head of Lebanon. Yet surely I will make you a wilderness, cities which are not inhabited. 7 I will prepare destroyers against you, everyone with his weapons, and they will cut down your choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. 8 “Many nations will pass by this city, and they will each ask his neighbor, ‘Why has the LORD done this to this great city?’ 9 Then they shall answer, ‘Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshiped other gods, and served them.’” 10 Don’t weep for the dead, neither bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away; for he shall return no more, nor see his native country. 11 For the LORD says touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went out of this place: “He shall not return there any more. 12 But in the place where they have led him captive, there shall he die, and he shall see this land no more.” 13 “Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his rooms by injustice; who uses his neighbor’s service without wages, and doesn’t give him his hire; 14 who says, ‘I will build me a wide house and spacious rooms,’ and cuts out windows for himself; and it is ceiling with cedar, and painted with vermilion. 15 “Shall you reign, because you strive to excel in cedar? Didn’t your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Wasn’t this to know me?” says the LORD. 17 But your eyes and your heart are not but for your covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, for oppression, and for doing violence.” 18 Therefore the LORD says concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: “They shall not lament for him, saying, ‘Ah my brother!’ or, ‘Ah sister!’ They shall not lament for him, saying ‘Ah lord!’ or, ‘Ah his glory!’ 19 He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, drawn and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” 20 “Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up your voice in Bashan, and cry from Abarim; for all your lovers are destroyed. 21 I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you didn’t obey my voice. 22 The wind shall feed all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity. Surely then you will be ashamed and confounded for all your wickedness. 23 Inhabitant of Lebanon, who makes your nest in the cedars, how greatly to be pitied you will be when pangs come on you, the pain as of a woman in travail! 24 “As I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on my right hand, yet would I pluck you from there; 25 and I would give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of them of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will cast you out with your mother who bore you, into another country, where you were not born; and there you will die. 27 But to the land to which their soul longs to return, there shall they not return.” 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? Is he a vessel in which no one delights? Why are they cast out, he and his offspring, and cast into a land which they don’t know? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the LORD’s word! 30 The LORD says, “Record this man as childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; for no more shall a man of his offspring prosper, sitting on David’s throne, and ruling in Judah.”

(Previous Chapter)    •    (Next Chapter)

Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-9

The king of Judah is spoken to, as sitting upon the throne of David, the man after God’s own heart. Let him follow his example, that he may have the benefit of the promises made to him. The way to preserve a government, is to do the duty of it. But sin will be the ruin of the houses of princes, as well as of meaner men. And who can contend with destroyers of God’s preparing? God destroys neither persons, cities, nor nations, except for sin; even in this world he often makes it plain for what crimes he sends punishment; and it will be clear at the day of judgement.

Verses 10-19

Here is a sentence of death upon two kings, the wicked sons of a very pious father. Josiah was prevented from seeing the evil to come in this world, and removed to see the good to come in the other world; therefore, weep not for him, but for his son Shallum, who is likely to live and die a wretched captive. Dying saints may be justly envied, while living sinners are justly pitied. Here also is the doom of Jehoiakim. No doubt it is lawful for princes and great men to build, beautify, and furnish houses; but those who enlarge their houses, and make them sumptuous, need carefully to watch against the workings of vain-glory. He built his houses by unrighteousness, with money gotten unjustly. And he defrauded his workmen of their wages. God notices the wrong done by the greatest to poor servants and labourers, and will repay those in justice, who will not, in justice, pay those whom they employ. The greatest of men must look upon the meanest as their neighbours, and be just to them accordingly. Jehoiakim was unjust, and made no conscience of shedding innocent blood. Covetousness, which is the root of all evil, was at the bottom of all. The children who despise their parents’ old fashions, commonly come short of their real excellences. Jehoiakim knew that his father found the way of duty to be the way of comfort, yet he would not tread in his steps. He shall die unlamented, hateful for oppression and cruelty.

Verses 20-30

The Jewish state is described under a threefold character. Very haughty in a day of peace and safety. Very fearful on alarm of trouble. Very much cast down under pressure of trouble. Many never are ashamed of their sins till brought by them to the last extremity. The king shall close his days in bondage. Those that think themselves as signets on God’s right hand, must not be secure, but fear lest they should be plucked thence. The Jewish king and his family shall be carried to Babylon. We know where we were born, but where we shall die we know not; it is enough that our God knows. Let it be our care that we die in Christ, then it will be well with us wherever we die, thought it may be in a far country. The Jewish king shall be despised. Time was when he was delighted in; but all those in whom God has no pleasure, some time or other, will be so lowered, that men will have no pleasure in them. Whoever are childless, it is the Lord that writes them so; and those who take no care to do good in their days, cannot expect to prosper. How little is earthly grandeur to be depended upon, or flourishing families to be rejoiced in! But those who hear the voice of Christ, and follow him, have eternal life, and shall never perish, neither shall any enemy pluck them out of his almighty hands.

Back to Top