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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books
Jeremiah 22

 

 

Verses 1-30

There is no hesitancy or uncertainty about his utterances. It is "the word of the Lord" (Jeremiah 22:2) he brings. He speaks as "the oracles of God." His address is a call to righteousness. If the king will be the leader in turning to GOD, as he has been a leader in rebellion against Him, there shall still enter in by the gates of the royal house kings sitting upon the throne of David. Otherwise "this house shall become a desolation." (Jeremiah 22:5)

As Gilead and Lebanon for glory and beauty had they been before Him: they should become as the dry and parched wilderness; insomuch that the nations, in wonderment, should ask as they passed by, "Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this great city?" and the answer would be, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them" (Jeremiah 22:8-9).

How abundantly the prophetic burden has been verified, let the centuries witness! Jerusalem is to-day the pillar of salt to the nations, crying to all the kingdoms of the earth, "Remember!" The dead should, at least, find a grave in the land of their fathers - soon to be hallowed by Messiah's feet. For them let none weep. For him that goeth away let them "weep sore," for "he shall return no more, nor see his native country" (Jeremiah 22:10).

Shallum, otherwise called Jehoahaz (see 1 Chronicles 3:15; 2 Kings 23:30; 2 Kings 23:32), had been carried away to Egypt by Pharaoh-Necho about eighteen years previously, after an evil and ignominious reign of but three months. Some perhaps had hope that he, a son of the godly king Josiah, might yet return as their deliverer, but the seer declares that "he shall not return thither any more: but he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive, and shall see this land no more" (Jeremiah 22:10-12). This sentence was fulfilled very shortly afterwards.

Ever since Josiah's untimely death on the plains of Megiddo, his unworthy successors had been characterized by iniquity.

"Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong," the reprover of kings goes on - “that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; that saith, I will build me a wide house," etc. (Jeremiah 22:13-14).

The Lord's heart is ever concerned about the poor and needy. When Josiah did judgment and justice, it was well with him. He judged the cause of the afflicted and poverty-stricken; and this, the Lord declares, was "to know Him." (Jeremiah 22:16)

This crying sin of Jeremiah's age is being multiplied a thousandfold in these last days.

Rich men heap up wealth by others' labor, and tread down the poor. In their pride and hauteur they build themselves palaces and live as though GOD had forgotten their iniquitous means of acquisition of wealth. But He that is higher than the highest is not an unconcerned spectator. He has said: "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you" (hoarded riches, while multitudes are in distress, witness against their possessors), "and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped together treasure for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, and is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth" (hosts). "Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you." (James 5:1-8)

The hour of the Lord's vengeance is about to strike!

Meantime the word to the poor and lowly who trust in His name is: "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord: . . . the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:1-8).

He will not look on forever in apparent (only apparent) indifference. There shall yet be a righting of all the wrongs of the ages. The workers of iniquity shall be visited with swift retribution, as this city of GOD was delivered to the Gentile oppressor for its manifold wickedness.

It took more than ordinary boldness to enable a poor priest to face proud Zedekiah and declare, "Thine eyes and thy heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence" (Jeremiah 22:17) - a solemn and terrible indictment, to which the wicked king made no reply. His conscience, as in Herod's case, was on the accuser's side.

Jehoahaz' doom has been pronounced - to die in Egypt. His successor, Jehoiakim, set up by Pharaoh-necho, whose name had been changed from Eliakim (2 Kings 23:34), should have no better fate: he had been carried to Babylon seven years prior to this time, and for him none should lament, but he was destined to die in captivity and to be "buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:19); see also Jeremiah 36:30). Thus one by one the kings of Judah should be destroyed; for in their prosperity the Lord had spoken; but they had willfully said, "I will not hear." "This," He declares, "hath been thy manner from thy youth, that thou hast not obeyed My voice." (Jeremiah 22:21) Therefore all the shepherds of the people should go into captivity, that they might be ashamed and confounded for all their wickedness; when their anguish came upon them like the pangs of a travailing woman, then might they become gracious and subject to His will.

There was still another Judean king in captivity. Coniah (called variously Jeconiah, Jehoiachin, Joiakim and Joachim) had, after a brief and inglorious reign of a little over three months, been likewise carried to Babylon. For him, too, there should be no return. He must die in the land of the stranger, as "a vessel wherein is no pleasure" (Jeremiah 22:24-28).

Thus one by one the men on whom the people had set their hopes were being taken away in judgment. Would they never learn?

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye 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 Judah" (Jeremiah 22:29-30).

In him the line of Solomonic succession ends. Royalty passes over to the line of David's son Nathan.

This explains why we have the two genealogies of our Lord in the New Testament.

Matthew gives Joseph's line through this very Coniah. But if CHRIST came through him, He would not be able to sit upon the throne. In Luke we evidently have the line of Mary the daughter of Heli, Joseph's father-in-law, through Nathan, thus preserving the blood-line of David while avoiding the curse of Coniah.

"Write ye this man childless" (Jeremiah 22:30) is a solemn word for a Christian, if we may venture to spiritualize it. Every one saved by the blood of CHRIST should covet to be a winner of souls. "He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him" (Proverbs 11:26).

If my reader has been born again, he is now in possession of a treasure for lack of which needy men and women on every hand are perishing - dying in their sins and going down to a Christless eternity. Oh, see to it that you share with them the great and precious things confided to you. Strive to be one whom GOD can use in leading others to Himself. "He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). Thus you shall have the joy of beholding your children in the faith who shall be your crown of rejoicing in that day (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). Who can conceive the loss if one must then be written "childless!" (Jeremiah 22:30)

Israel's pastors - that is, their kings - had to a great degree failed to use their exalted office for the blessing of the sheep confided to their care.

The last four, especially, who reigned in Jerusalem were recreant shepherds, intent only upon enriching themselves, and caring nought for the flock. In the opening verses of the 23rd chapter a "woe" is pronounced upon them for destroying and scattering the sheep of the Lord's pasture.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 22:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/jeremiah-22.html. 1914.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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