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This prince, who is also called Jeconiah* and A. C.
Coniah,t was only eighteen years old when he began 509.
to reign, and his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
Having done that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, according to all that his father had done, the prophet Jeremiah denounced a woful judgment upon him: Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up thy voice in Bashan, and cry from the passages : for all thy lovers are destroyed. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity; but thou saidst, I will not hear. This hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyedst not my voice! The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness. O inhabitant of Lebanon, that makest thy nest in the cedars, how gracious shalt thou be when pangs come upon thee, the pain as of a woman in travail ! As I live, saith Jehovah, though Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; and I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and into the hands of the Chaldeans. And I will cast thee out, and thy mother that bare thee, into another country, where ye were not born; and there shall ye die. But to the land whereunto they desire to return, thither shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth,
• Jer. xxiv. 1. xxvii. 20. xxviii. 4.
+ Jer, xxxvii. 1.
earth, earth, hear the word of Jehovah ! Thus saith Jehovah, Write
this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judab.*
This was accordingly fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar coming against Jerusalem and besieging it, when Jehoiachin went out to meet him, with his mother, servants, princes, and officers; whereupon Nebuchadnezzar took him prisoner, after he had reigned only three months, and sent him to Babylon, where he was imprisoned.+
At the same time, the Babylonian seized upon all the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king's house; and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold, which Solomon, king of Israel, had made in the temple of Jehovah, as Jehovah had said. And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land. And he carried away to Babylon the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to
* Jer. xxii. 20—30. Prid. i. 98. Scott in loco. + 2 Kings, xxiv. 10–12. 15. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 10. By thus yielding himself up to the will of God, as declared by Jeremiah, he not only preserved his life, but, as we shall afterwards see, obtained a renewal of comfort and even honour. Barker. In 2 Chron. xxxvi. 8. allusion is made to that which was found upon him ; upon which the note in Barker's Bible is, “ He meaneth superstitious marks, which were found upon his body after he was dead; which thing declared how deeply idolatry was rooted in his heart, seeing he bore the marks in his flesh,"
Babylon ;* besides 3,023 whom he had carried away the year before.t
Besides the illustrious Jews who were already hanging their harps upon the willows by the rivers of Babylon, the prophet Ezekiel was most probably carried into captivity at this period: God in his mercy thereby providing an instrument for the comfort and encouragement of his smitten,g but not forsaken people, in his own good time.||
Having dethroned Jehoiachin, and sent him into A.C.
captivity, Nebuchadnezzar placed his uncle Mattaniah 599.
upon the vacant throne, and changed his name to Zedekiah, leaving him, however, but little power, and treating him rather as his vassal or lieutenant, than an independent sovereign. And he did evil in the sight of Jehovah, according to all that Jehoiachin had done. I
* 2 Kings, xxix. 13-16. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 10. Dr. Wall, i. 271.
+ Jer. lii. 28. Prid, i. 99.
|| Ezek. xl. I. Prid. i. 99. 1 2 Kings, xxiv. 17–19. Jer. lii. 1, 2. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 12. “Was there ever such a set of weak, infatuated men as the Jewish kings in general! They had the fullest evidence that they were only deputies to Almighty God, and that they conld not expect to retain the throne any longer than they were faithful to their Lord; and yet with all this conviction, they lived wickedly, and endeavoured to establish idolatry in the place of the worship of their maker! After bea with them long, the divine mercy gave them up, as their case was utterly hopeless. They sinned till there was no remedy.” A.Clarke. There is but too much reason to fear, that too many parallels are to be found, even amongst christian dynasties. And those who have
The vision of the two baskets of figs, therefore, was shewn to Jeremiah ; one of good, and the other of evil figs. Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel; like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place, into the land of the Chaldeans for their good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land : and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am Jehovah, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil, surely thus saith Jehovah, so will I give Zedekiah, the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt: and I will deliver them to be removed, into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them, and to their fathers. *
Early in the reign of Zedekiah, and probably not long after the departure of Jehoiachin and his queen, with the eunuchs, princes, and mechanics; Jeremiah sent a letter by Elasah, the son of Shaphan, to his captive brethren for their encouragement, saying, Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Ba
attentively read the histories, of the vices of the royal family of France, for continuous centuries, will not wonder that they were visited with such horrors at the late revolution, but rather that the judgments of God did not fall upon them sooner. Jer. xxxvii. 10.
* Jer. xxiv. 5–10.
bylon ; build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them ;* take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city, whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto *Jehovah for it: for in the peace thereof, shall ye have
peace. For thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel ; Let not your prophets, and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith Jehovah.
For thus saith Jehovah, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me,
and shall go
pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith Jehovah : and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith Jehovah: and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.
Because ye have said, Jehovah hath raised us up prophets in Babylon; know that thus saith Jehovah, concerningf the king that sitteth upon the throne of David, and concerning
“ This shews that the Jews were not made slaves, but were esteemed, and made a colony to plant the then enlarged city of Babylon, where they had houses and lands, and their own servants, and their own laws." Bp. WILSON.
+ Blayney, Buxtorf.