Scripture reading – Jeremiah 22; Jeremiah 23

Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, German, Spanish, French, or Portuguese

* This is the first of two Bible studies for today. The second will be taken from Jeremiah 23.

Jeremiah 22


Continuing our study in the book of Jeremiah, our “weeping prophet” was commanded by the LORD, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah” (Jeremiah 22:1). Having experienced the rejection and wrath of men who desired not only to silence but kill him (Jeremiah 20:2, 10), we might imagine the emotions that welled up in Jeremiah as he entered the king’s palace.

Supposing Jeremiah 22 continued the speech the prophet addressed to Zedekiah in the preceding chapter (Jeremiah 21:7), we will notice that four other kings of Judah are identified in this chapter. However, before I invite you to consider the five kings, I first ask that you ponder “the word of the LORD” that Jeremiah delivered not only to the king of Judah but also to his “servants” and the people identified as entering “in by these gates” (the gates perhaps to the king’s court and the people who served as representatives of his government).


A Prophetic Message to Judah’s King and His Court (Jeremiah 22:1-9)

Jeremiah appealed to the king, leaders, and judges in his government to: “Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place” (Jeremiah 22:3). Once again, we are reminded that a sign of a morally decaying nation is when those in authority fail to execute justice. In such a state, it is the weakest who are oppressed and abused by the government (“the stranger [foreigner], the fatherless [orphan]…the widow…[and] the innocent” (Jeremiah 22:3).

The LORD promised that if justice were restored in the nation, David’s lineage would continue to reign in Jerusalem. The country would prosper (Jeremiah 22:4). However, should the king and his court refuse to hear and heed the word of the LORD, the house and the seat of government would “become a desolation” (Jeremiah 22:5). The cities of Judah would become uninhabited. The LORD would send “destroyers,” and the homes and palaces of cedar would be “cast…into the fire” (Jeremiah 22:7).

Jeremiah prophesied that the world’s nations would gaze upon the destruction of Jerusalem and ask, “Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? (Jeremiah 22:8). At that time, it would be said, “Because they [Judah as a nation and people] have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them” (Jeremiah 22:9).

A Prophetic Message to Judah’s King and His Court (Jeremiah 22:1-9)

The Final Five Kings of Judah (Jeremiah 22:11-30) 

We focused on Jeremiah’s warning to Zedekiah, Judah’s last king before Nebuchadnezzar and his army destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. However, as we conclude our study of Jeremiah 22, we are invited to consider the reigns of four kings that preceded Zedekiah. Josiah was a good king, and his heart was with the LORD (Jeremiah 22:11; 2 Kings 23:1-27). He reigned for 31 years until he was killed in battle against Egypt (2 Kings 23:29-30).

Four kings followed Josiah, and three of the four were his sons. Shallum (perhaps his given name) was identified in other Scriptures by the name he must have chosen, Jehoahaz (Jeremiah 22:10-11). Jehoahaz (Shallum) was removed from the throne and taken captive to Egypt, where he died (Jeremiah 22:12; 2 Kings 23:31-33).  

The prophet stated a message of woe against Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:13-23), who succeeded Jehoahaz. Jehoiakim oppressed the people, failed to pay their wages, and was despised for his lavish lifestyle (Jeremiah 22:13-14). In contrast to Josiah, whose rule was fair and just (Jeremiah 22:16), Jehoiakim was covetous and plundered the people to increase his riches. He was murderous and oppressive and extorted the people (Jeremiah 22:17). Jehoiakim was so despised that no one lamented his death. Upon his death, the disposal of his body was no better than that of a dead donkey. His lifeless body was dragged out of the city and “cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (most likely in the notorious “valley of the son of Hinnom, Jeremiah 22:18-19; 7:32, 19:6).

Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah, i.e., Coniah, Jeremiah 22:24) was Jehoiakim’s son. He reigned for three months until his sins moved the LORD to depose him. Jehoiachin and his mother were taken captive to Babylon (Jeremiah 22:24-30). As God’s judgment against him, no son of Jehoiachin ever reigned as king in Judah (Jeremiah 22:28-30).

Jehoichin reigned 3 months and was deposed.

Closing thought

Unlike their father, the sons of King Josiah (Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah) were wicked kings, and their transgressions led the nation to God’s judgment.  Led by evil kings, Judah’s descent into sin and rebellion was swift and unabated (Jeremiah 22:10-30). Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, and the ruins served as a lasting testimony of a people who had forsaken “the covenant of the LORD their God and worshipped other gods and served them” (Jeremiah 22:9).

Warning: When a people reject the LORD’s Law and Commandments, they will be ruled by wicked leaders who, like Jehoiakim, feed their lavish lusts and oppress the people (Jeremiah 22:13-14). Judah’s kings and leaders were covetous, murderous, oppressive, and violent extortionists.  Are our nation’s leaders any different? (Jeremiah 22:17)

Proverbs 29:2 – “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of