Fausset's Bible Dictionary


("appointed by Jehovah, or he whom Jehovah establishes or fortifies" (Keil).) JECONIAH, CONIAH. Son of Jehoiakim and Nehushta; at 18 succeeded his father, and was king of Judah for three months and ten days; 20th king from David. In 2Ch_36:9 his age is made "eight" at his accession, so Septuagint, Vulgate. But a few Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac and Arabic, read "eighteen" here also; it is probably a transcriber's error. The correctness of eighteen, not eight, is proved by Eze_19:5-9, where he appears as "going up and down among the lions, catching the prey, devouring men, knowing the widows" (margin) of the men so devoured; unless Jehoiakim is meant. The term "whelp" appears to apply more to his son Jehoiachin, who moreover answers better to the description of the mother (Judah) "taking another of her whelps, and making him a young lion."

Lord A. C. Hervey prefers "eight," from Mat_1:11. "Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren about the time they were carried away to Babylon," fixing his birth to the time of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion (2Ki_24:1), namely, three years after Jehoiakim's accession, and eight before his reign ended and Jehoiachin succeeded; but Matthew's language hardly justifies this; Jeremiah's language implies Jehoiachin was a "man," and capable of having a "child" (2Ki_22:28; 2Ki_22:30). Jerusalem was an easy prey to Nebuchadnezzar at this time, Judah having been wasted for three or four years by Chaldaean, Ammonite, and Moabite bands, sent by Nebuchadnezzar (as Jehovah's executioner of judgment) in consequence of Jehoiakim's rebellion. Egypt, after its defeat at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, could not interpose (2Ki_23:7-17).

After sending his servants (generals distinct from the Chaldaean and other bands) to besiege Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar in person came (2Ch_36:10 margin) at the turn of the year, i.e. spring, in the eighth year of his reign, counting from the time that his father transferred the command of the army against Necho to him (so that his first coincides with the fourth of Jehoiakim, Jer_25:1). Jehoiachin seeing the impossibility of resistance made a virtue of necessity by going out to Nebuchadnezzar, he, the queen mother (who, as the king was only 18, held chief power; Jer_13:18 undesignedly coincides with and confirms the history, "Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves," etc.), servants, princes, and eunuchs (margin).

Nebuchadnezzar, after Jehoiakim's rebellion (notwithstanding his agreement at Nebuchadnezzar's first advance to be his vassal) (2Ki_24:1; Dan_1:1), would not trust his son Jehoiachin, but carried him away, the queen mother, his wives, chamberlains, and all the men of might, 7,000, and 1,000 crafts. men and smiths; fulfilling Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer_22:24, etc.), He had already taken at the first siege of Jerusalem in Jehoiakim's third year part of the vessels of God's house (Dan_1:1-2; 2Ch_36:7) and put them in the house of his god in Babylon, namely, the smaller vessels of solid gold, basins, goblets, knives, tongs, etc., which Cyrus restored (Ezr_1:7, etc.). Now he cut the gold off (not "cut in pieces," 2Ki_24:13) the larger vessels which were plated, the altar of burnt offering, the table of shewbread, and the ark, so that at the third conquest of Jerusalem under Zedekiah there were only the large brazen vessels of the court remaining, beside a few gold and silver basins and firepans (2Ki_25:13-17).

Nebuchadnezzar also carried off the treasures of Jeconiah's house (2Ki_24:13), "as Jehovah had spoken" to Hezekiah long before (2Ki_20:17; Jer_15:13; Jer_17:3; Jer_29:2). The inhabitants carried off were the best not only in means but in character. In 2Ki_24:14 they are said to be 10,000; the details are specified in 2Ki_24:15-16; "none remained save the poorest sort of the people of the land," having neither wealth nor skill to raise war, and therefore giving Nebuchadnezzar no fear of rebellion. The "princes" (satire) are the king's great court officials; "the mighty men of valor" (gibbowrey hachail, "mighty men of wealth," same Hebrew as 2Ki_15:20) are men of property, rather than prowess: 2Ki_15:14. In 2Ki_15:16 "men of might" (anshey hachail) may mean the same, but nowsh is a low man; I think therefore it means "men of the army," as in Eze_37:10, and is defined by "all that were strong and apt for war," 7,000.

The craftsmen (masons, smiths, and carpenters) and locksmiths (including weapon makers, hamasgeer), were 1,000; so the "princes" or king's officials, "the mighty men of wealth," and "the mighty of the land" (uley haarets), i.e. heads of tribes and families found in Jerusalem (including the nation's spiritual heads, priests and prophets, with Ezekiel: Jer_29:1; Eze_1:1) must have been 2,000, to make up the "ten thousand." In Jer_52:28 the number is 3,023, but that was the number carried away "in the seventh year," "in the eighth year" of Nebuchadnezzar the 10,000 were carried away. The 1,000 "craftsmen" may be exclusive of the 10,000. Evidently, the 4,600 in all mentioned (Jer_52:30) as carried away do not include the general multitude and the women and children (Jer_52:15; Jer_39:9; 2Ki_25:11), for otherwise the number would be too small, since the numbers who returned were 42,360 (Ezra 2; Nehemiah 7).

Jehoiachin wore prison garments for 36 years, until at the death of Nebuchadnezzar, having been for a time sharer of his imprisonment (Jer_52:31-34), "in the 12th month, the 25th day of the month (in 2Ki_25:27 'the 27th,' the day when the decree for his elevation, given on the 25th, was carried into effect) lifted up the head of Jehoiachin (compare Gen_40:13-20; Psa_3:3; Psa_27:6), and brought him forth out of prison, and spoke kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments (for royal robes; compare Zec_3:1-5; Luk_15:22), and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life (compare 2Sa_9:13); and there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day its portion (compare margin 1Ki_8:59) until the day of his death." (See EVIL-MERODACH.)

God, in sparing and at last elevating him, rewarded his having surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar, which was God's will (Jer_38:17; Jer_27:6-12; compare 2Ki_24:12). In the fourth year of his uncle Zedekiah (so called by Nebuchadnezzar instead of Mattaniah), false prophets encouraged the popular hope of the return of Jehoiachin to Jerusalem (Jer_28:4).(See HANANIAH.) But God's oath made this impossible: "as I live, though Coniah were the signet (ring seal, Son_8:6; Hag_2:23) upon My right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence." "Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? (he was idolized by the Jews). Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure?" Jeremiah hereby expresses their astonishment that one from whom they expected so much should be now so utterly east aside. Contrast the believer, 2Ti_2:21; compare as to Israel Hos_8:8, to which Rom_9:20-23 gives the answer.

Jeremiah (Jer_22:28) mentions distinctly "his seed," therefore "childless" in Jer_22:30 means having no direct lineal heir to the throne. One of his sons was Zedekiah (Zidkijah), distinct in name and fact from Zedekiah (Zidkijahu), Jeconiah's uncle, whose succession after Jehoiachin would never cause him to be called "his son" (1Ch_3:16). This Zedekiah is mentioned separately from the other sons of Jehoiachin, Assir and Salathiel, because probably he was not led to Babylon as the other sons, but died in Judea (Keil). In Luk_3:27 Shealtiel (Salathiel) is son of Neri of the lineage of David's son Nathan, not Solomon. Probably Assir left a daughter, who, according to the law of heiresses (Num_37:8; Num_36:8-9), married a man of a family of her paternal tribe, namely, Neri descended from Nathan. Shealtiel is called Assir's "son" (1Ch_3:17), i.e. grandson.

So "Jechonias (it is said Mat_1:12) begat Salathiel," i.e. was his forefather. Jecamiah Assir, as often occurs in genealogies, is skipped in Matthew. (See JECAMIAH); GENEALOGIES.) A party of the captives at Babylon also, through the false prophets, expected restoration with Jehoiachin and Nebuchadnezzar's overthrow. This accounts for the Babylonian king inflicting so terrible a punishment (compare Daniel 3), roasting to death Ahab (Jer_29:4-9; Jer_29:21-23; Jer_29:27-32). Ezekiel dates his prophecies by Jehoiachin's captivity, the latest date being the 27th year (Eze_1:2; Eze_29:17; Eze_40:1). The Apocrypha (Bar_1:3, and the History of Susanna) relates dubious stories. about Jehoiachin. Kish, Mordecai's ancestor, was carried away with Jehoiachin (Est_2:6).


Taken from: Fausset's Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910)