In this Chapter the Prophet is calling to repentance. Heavy sentences of judgment are pronounced upon Shallum and Coniah.
In the preceding Chapter messengers from the King, were sent to the Prophet, to know the Lord's will concerning his people. In this, the prophet is sent with a message to the King, and with promises of a most gracious nature, to assure both him and his people, both of peace and prosperity, if they were found obedient to the Lord. But in point of failure, very heavy denunciations are given: and to confirm them, the Lord swears by himself, since he could swear by no greater, that his purposes shall stand: and desolation should follow. Hebrews 6:13.
Nothing can be more tender and endearing on the part of God, to show his reluctancy to punish. Comparing his city, and his people, to Gilead and Lebanon, are striking expressions. Gilead and Lebanon were very lovely and flourishing: but the most lovely places, if brought under God's displeasure, soon become a wilderness. Reader! think what a Gilead and Lebanon was our nature before sin marred it. Oh! what a desolation by sin! The world, the Lord saith, shall look with astonishment, on the change wrought on his people and City: is this Zion whom no man regardeth? Precious Lord Jesus, what an eternal state of ruin to our nature must have taken place, hadst thou not interposed for our recovery, by the sacrifice of thyself! Reader! who would believe the possibility of Israel changing their glory, had not scripture declared it, and for the love and reverence of Jehovah, have given their affection to dunghill idols?
It is probable that this Shallum is the same person as is elsewhere in the scripture called Jehoahaz: See 2 Kings 23:30. In 1 Chronicles 3:15 we have the name of Shallum instead of, Jehoahaz: so that it is likely that he was known by both names. The Lord's command, not to weep for one prince, but sorely for another, forms a different view, in what sense the death of the righteous and of the wicked are considered in the sight of God. Revelation 14:13; Psalms 116:15.
What a solemn woe, this short but pointed sermon begins with: and what an awful close is made of it, in the application to the king. Is it not astonishing, that any Preacher, and at such a time; should have manifested such faithfulness, as to tell the king, that his burial should be the burial of an Ass? And is it not equally astonishing that the Preacher should have been so suffered? How is it to be explained? Surely by no other but the over-ruling power or God. Look back to Jeremiah's ordination and commission, this will explain it, Jeremiah 1:17-19.
We have here a similar prediction against Coniah: and a very awful one it is. He is to be made a captive, and to die in a foreign land, even in a land of all others he most dreaded and hated. And what sums up the finishing stroke of his misery. He is to be forsaken of the Lord. Some have thought, that as we do not read of any Coniah, among the Kings: but Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim; that the alteration of his name was to show the Lord's displeasure. See 2 Kings 24:8. which in the margin of our old Bibles, makes it Jeconiah, see 1 Chronicles 3:16. And the striking off the Jah, they say, was a confirmation of this displeasure; as the addition to Abram's name on the contrary, was intended as a token of divine favor. Genesis 17:5.
What a solemn and awful cry is this to the earth, and thrice repeated! There seems to be more in it than perhaps we can fully explain. Giving a personality to the earth, and the hearing ear, which the nation possessed of God's laws had lost, is indeed a most tremendous judgment, and the most finished proof of our fallen estate. Oh! for the heavens and the earth to hear also that the Lord, hath visited his people, and had mercy on his chosen.
READER! Who can go through a Chapter of such contents as this unmoved! Who, but for God's authority, in his holy word, confirming the melancholy truth, could have believed, that a nation so highly favoured as Israel, should have sunk so foully. But look we within, and there read the same, sad pages of the human heart. Are we better than they? Solemn question of the Apostle. And as sad an answer. No! in no wise: for he hath concluded all under sin! Blessed Lord Jesus! was it indeed necessary that thy people should be thus taught in Israel's history, what they also are by nature and by practice? Hath God the Holy Ghost held up in them a faithful mirror, to show what all men are? And must thy people, still look and still learn by way of keeping up remembrance, such once were we: but we are washed and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Help Lord then all thy people, to see and know more and more that in themselves they are all as despised idols, as broken vessels, wherein is no water! And if now they are renewed, and made as Gilead, and as Lebanon to thee: it is thou Lord that art the sole cause of their recovery. Oh! precious Jesus, how increasingly precious art thou to thy people, who see their need of thee more and more, and are desirous of living to thee here by faith, that ere long they may live in thee, and by thee, in glory to all eternity. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany