Jehoiakim ruled Judah as a puppet king under the authority of the Egyptians and then became subject to the Babylonians who were the next to take power over Judah. Jehoiakim tolerated this position for a while, paying heavy tribute to keep the Babylonians at bay. But after a time, he rebelled (see II Kings 24) and things clearly didn’t go well for him.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote a funeral song that included some details about the capture and transport of Jehoiakim. Ezekiel 19:9 declares: “With hooks, they dragged him into a cage and brought him before the king of Babylon” (NLT). Arrogant, self-serving Jehoiakim became a pathetic captive.
As do all who continue to dabble in sin. I don’t know who to credit for this, but I’m sure you’ve heard this very fitting quote: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” That’s exactly where Jehoiakim found himself.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how Jehoiakim died. The historian Josephus says that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, put Jehoiakim to death and then had his body thrown outside the city gates. Remember what the Lord spoke through the prophet Jeremiah? “He will be buried like a dead donkey – dragged out of Jerusalem and dumped outside the gates!” Jehoiakim was thrown “into a cage” and “dragged out of Jerusalem” before being killed and tossed “outside the gates” “like a dead donkey.”
Jehoiakim’s son managed to hang onto the throne of Judah for a short time. “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. Jehoiachin did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as his father had done” (II Kings 24:8a, 9).
Having already experienced the rebellion of Jehoiachin’s father Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar was no longer willing to sit back and collect tribute payments from Judah. So, “During Jehoiachin’s reign, the officers of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up against Jerusalem and besieged it. Nebuchadnezzar himself arrived at the city during the siege.
He took Jehoiachin prisoner. As the Lord had said beforehand, Nebuchadnezzar carried away all the treasures from the Lord’s Temple and the royal palace. He stripped away all the gold objects that King Solomon of Israel had placed in the Temple. King Nebuchadnezzar took all of Jerusalem captive, including all the commanders and the best of the soldiers, craftsmen, and artisans – 10,000 in all. Only the poorest people were left in the land.
Nebuchadnezzar led King Jehoiachin away as a captive to Babylon, along with the queen mother, his wives and officials, and all Jerusalem’s elite. He also exiled 7,000 of the best troops and 1,000 craftsmen and artisans, all of whom were strong and fit for war. Then the king of Babylon installed Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, as the next king, and he changed Mattaniah’s name to Zedekiah” (II Kings 24:10-11, 12b-17).
After countless unheeded warnings, the unrepentant people of Jerusalem were carried away from the land the Lord had given them. Despite all they saw happening to their country; despite having seen the demise of their sister nation of Israel; the people refused to turn to God.
Calling yourself a Christian no more makes you one than calling a car an airplane can make it fly. If you belong to Jesus, your outward behavior reflects the Holy Spirit inside you.
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates