Jeremiah 22

CHAPTER XXII

This section of prophecy, extending to the end of the eighth

verse of the next chapter, is addressed to the king of Judah

and his people. It enjoins on them the practice of justice and

equity, as they would hope to prosper, 14;

but threatens them, in case of disobedience, with utter

destruction, 5-9.

The captivity of Shallum, the son of Josiah, is declared to be

irreversible, 10-12;

and the miserable and unlamented end of Jeconiah,

contemptuously called Coniah, is foretold, 13-19.

His family is threatened with the like captivity, and his seed

declared to be for ever excluded from the throne, 20-30.

NOTES ON CHAP. XXII

Verse 1. Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak

there this word] This is supposed by Dahler to have been published

in the first year of the reign of Zedekiah.

Verse 2. O king of Judah-thou, and thy servants] His ministers

are here addressed, as chiefly governing the nation; and who had

counselled Zedekiah to rebel.

Verse 6. Thou art Gilead unto me, and the head of Lebanon]

Perhaps in allusion, says Dahler, to the oaks of Gilead, and the

cedars of Mount Lebanon, of which the palace was constructed.

Lebanon was the highest mountain in Israel, and Gilead the

richest and most fertile part of the country; and were, therefore,

proper emblems of the reigning family. Though thou art the richest

and most powerful, I, who raised thee up, can bring thee down and

make thee a wilderness.

Verse 7. They shall cut down thy choice cedars] The destruction

of the country is expressed under the symbol of the destruction of

a fine forest; a multitude of fellers come against it, each with

his axe; and, there being no resistance, every tree is soon felled

to the earth. "These destroyers," God says, "I have prepared,

kiddashti, I have sanctified-consecrated, to this work.

They have their commission from me."

Verse 8. Many nations shall pass] These words seem borrowed from

De 29:22, &c.

Verse 10. Weep ye not for the dead] Josiah, dead in consequence

of the wound he had received at Megiddo, in a battle with

Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt; but he died in peace with God.

But weep sore for him that goeth away] Namely, Jehoahaz, the son

of Josiah, called below Shallum, whom Pharaoh-necho had carried

captive into Egypt from which it was prophesied he should never

return, 2Ki 23:30-34. He was called

Shallum before he ascended the throne, and Jehoahaz afterwards;

so his brother Eliakim changed his name to Jehoiakim, and

Mattaniah to Zedekiah.

Verse 13. Wo unto him that buildeth his house] These evils,

charged against Jehoiakim, are nowhere else circumstantially

related. We learn from 2Ki 23:35-37, that he taxed his subjects

heavily, to give to Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt: "He exacted the

silver and gold of the people of the land, and did that which was

evil in the sight of the Lord." The mode of taxation is here

intimated; he took the wages of the hirelings, and caused the

people to work without wages in his own buildings, &c.

Verse 15. Shalt thou reign, &c.] Dost thou think thou art a

great king, because thou dwellest in a splendid palace?

Verse 18. They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother!]

These words were no doubt the burden of some funeral dirge. Alas!

a brother, who was our lord or governor, is gone. Alas, our

sister! his QUEEN, who has lost her glory in losing her husband.

hodah is feminine, and must refer to the glory of the queen.

The mournings in the east, and lamentations for the dead, are

loud, vehement, and distressing. For a child or a parent grief is

expressed in a variety of impassioned sentences, each ending with

a burden like that in the text, "Ah my child!" "Ah my mother!" as

the prophet in this place: hoi achi, "Ah my brother!"

hoi achoth, "Ah sister!" hoi adon,

"Ah lord!" hoi hodah, "Ah the glory."

Mr. Ward, in his Manners and Customs of the Hindoos, gives two

examples of lamentation; one of a mother for the death of her son,

one of a daughter for her departed mother. "When a woman," says

he, "is overwhelmed with grief for the death of her child, she

utters her grief in some such language as the following:-

Ah, my Hureedas, where is he gone?-

'Ah my child, my child!'

My golden image, Hureedas, who has taken?-

'Ah my child, my child!'

I nourished and reared him, where is he gone?-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Take me with thee.-

'Ah my child, my child!'

He played round me like a golden top.-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Like his face I never saw one.-

'Ah my child, my child!'

The infant continually cried, Ma Ma!-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Ah my child, crying, Ma! come into my lap.-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Who shall now drink milk?-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Who shall now stay in my lap?-

'Ah my child, my child!'

Our support is gone!-

'Ah my child, my child!'

"The lamentations for a mother are in some such strains as

these:-

Mother! where is she gone?-

'Ah my mother, my mother!'

You are gone, but what have you left for me?-

'Ah my mother, my mother!'

Whom shall I now call mother, mother?-

'Ah my mother, my mother!'

Where shall I find such a mother?-

'Ah my mother, my mother!'"

From the above we may conclude that the funeral lamentations, to

which the prophet refers, generally ended in this way, in each of

the verses or interrogatories.

There is another intimation of this ancient and universal custom

in 1Ki 13:30, where the

old prophet, who had deceived the man of God, and who was

afterwards slain by a lion, is represented as mourning over him,

and saying, hoi achi, "Alas, my brother!" this being the

burden of the lamentation which he had used on this occasion.

Similar instances may be seen in other places, Jer 30:7;

Eze 6:11; Joe 1:15; and particularly Am 5:16, 17, and

Re 18:10-19.

Verse 19. With the burial of an ass] Cast out, and left

unburied, or buried without any funeral solemnities, and without

such lamentations as the above.

Verse 20. Go up to Lebanon] Probably Anti-Libanus, which,

together with Bashan and Abarim, which we here translate passages,

were on the way by which the captives should be led out of their

own country.

Verse 21. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity] In all states and

circumstances I warned thee by my prophets; and thou wilt only be

ashamed of thy conduct when thou shalt be stripped of all thy

excellencies, and reduced to poverty and disgrace, Jer 22:22.

Verse 22. The wind shall eat up all thy pastors] A blast from

God's mouth shall carry off thy kings, princes, prophets, and

priests.

Verse 23. How gracious shalt thou be] A strong irony.

Verse 24. Though Coniah] Called Jeconiah, probably on ascending

the throne. See Clarke on Jer 22:10.

The signet upon my right hand] The most precious seal, ring, or

armlet. Though dearer to me than the most splendid gem to its

possessor.

Verse 26. I will cast thee out, and thy mother] See all this

fulfilled, 2Ki 24:12, 13. All were carried by Nebuchadnezzar into

captivity together.

Verse 28. Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol?] These are

probably the exclamations of the people, when they heard those

solemn denunciations against their king and their country.

Verse 29. O earth] These are the words of the prophet in reply:

O land! unhappy land! desolated land! Hear the judgment of the

Lord!

Verse 30. Write ye this man childless] Though he had seven sons,

1Ch 3:17, yet having no

successor, he is to be entered on the genealogical tables as one

without children, for none of his posterity ever sat on the throne

of David.

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