Jehoiakim (Hebrew: יהויקים, Yehōyāqīm; "Name means::YHWH has raised up") or Eliakim (Hebrew: אליקים, ʼElyāqīm; "Name means::God has raised up") (635 BC-r. 610 BC-599 BC according to Ussher, or 634 BC-r. 609 BC-597 BC according to Thiele) was the seventeenth king of the Kingdom of Judah. With him began the final decline of the Kingdom of Judah and the captivity of the Jews in Babylonia.
- 1 Narrative
- 2 Controversies
- 3 See Also
- 4 References
Early Life and Family
|grandson of::Jedidah||grandson of::Amon|
|Unknown||son of::Zebidah||son of::Josiah||Hamutal|
|brother of::Johanan||husband of::Nehushta||Jehoiakim||brother of::Zedekiah||brother of::Jehoahaz II|
Jehoiakim was likely the second-born son of King Josiah and the one named son of Josiah by his wife Zebidah. (2_Kings 23:36 ) His birth name was Eliakim, meaning "God has raised up," but Necho II would later have him change his name to Jehoiakim, or "YHWH has raised up," when installing him as king. (2_Kings 23:34 , 2_Chronicles 36:4 )
He had an older brother, Johanan (1_Chronicles 3:15 ), who does not come further into the history of the Kingdom of Judah, perhaps because he fell in battle at Megiddo by his father's side in a futile action against Pharaoh Necho II. He had two other brothers, or half-brothers: Jehoahaz II and Zedekiah.
The twenty-fifth year of Jehoiakim's life saw several major power shifts. Babylonia had broken free of Assyria when Jehoiakim was nine years old, and a Babylonian-Medean alliance had steadily weakened the power of the once-mighty Assyrian empire. The Egyptians were not willing to accept that state of affairs without a fight, however. And so, in 609 BC (as Thiele and Jones both agree), Pharaoh Necho II challenged the might of Babylonia by joining forces with the remnants of Assyria under Ashur-uballit. He had to march through Kingdom of Judah territory to do it, and so Josiah had joined battle with Necho at Megiddo. In that battle, Josiah was killed, and very likely Jehoiakim's eldest brother Johanan was also killed in that same action.
Thus Egypt appeared to hold sway in the territory classically called "Syria-Palestina" and "the land of Hatti" (where the modern Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan sit today) when the people of the Kingdom of Judah passed Jehoiakim over and acclaimed his brother Jehoahaz II as their next king.
Necho II was not successful in his counterattack against the Chaldeans, but he still was strong enough to control his immediate neighboring region. Toward the end of Sivan he marched into Jerusalem and immediately removed Jehoiakim's brother from the throne after a three-month reign and took him prisoner. Necho then selected Jehoiakim as the man most likely to accept his authority. Necho also laid a heavy tribute on the Kingdom of Judah: one hundred talents of silver and one talent of gold. (2_Kings 23:33 , 2_Chronicles 36:3 ) Jehoiakim paid it by levying a special tax on the people. (2_Kings 23:35 )
Almost at once Jehoiakim embarked on several clashes of wills with God's prophets. The reason: Jehoiakim led his people to commit the same idolatries in which kings like Manasseh, Ahaz, Jehoram, and Rehoboam had similarly led the people in their days. (2_Kings 23:37 , 2_Chronicles 36:5 )
Jeremiah spoke first. In the court of the Temple of Jerusalem, during the Feast of Tabernacles (the major feast on or near the autumnal equinox), Jeremiah warned the people to repent or face the destruction of the kingdom. Those who were in the Temple court at the time arrested Jeremiah. He then faced trial for his life, but a jury of the heads-of-families and elders acquitted him. (Jeremiah 26:1-19 )
His colleague Uriah would not be so blessed. He, too, prophesied against Jehoiakim and earned his wrath. Jehoiakim pronounced a death sentence on Uriah, who then fled to Egypt, perhaps hoping to find political asylum. Jehoiakim sent some enforcers, led by one Elnathan son of Achor, after Uriah. They arrested him and brought him back to Jehoiakim, who had him executed and given a pauper's funeral. But Ahikam, the son of Saphan (Josiah's former scribe), intervened and stopped this from happening to Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 26:20-24 )
Three years later, Jeremiah dictated his many prophecies to one Baruch, who wrote them down and read them aloud in the Temple. Jehoiakim would hear about that scroll over a year later. (Jeremiah 36 )
The Coming of Babylonia
In the summer of 606 BC, a new, brilliant general named Nebuchadnezzar marched toward the Euphrates River at the head of an army. Nebuchadnezzar's mission was simple: reassert Babylonian dominance against a troublesome Egypt and a rebellious governor of Phoenicia. On his way to meet Necho II in battle, Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem for the first time and asserted Babylonian authority over the Kingdom of Judah.
In that year, in the month Kislev, Nebuchadnezzar arrived in Jerusalem. At first he arrested Jehoiakim and put chains on him, to carry him off to Babylon. (2_Chronicles 36:6 ) Jehoiakim pleaded earnestly to Nebuchadnezzar to let him stay on his throne, in return for faithful vassalage. Nebuchadnezzar agreed, but he also asked his overseer of eunuchs to seek out the best and brightest of the young men in the land for deportation to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar intended to train these men for positions in his administration. Among them were the young prophet Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
Nebuchadnezzar then met Necho II in battle at Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar cut off Necho's forces and routed them. In essence, Nebuchadnezzar chased Necho all the way back to Egypt, and then he captured all the lands from the valley of the Nile to the Euphrates over which Egypt had once held sway. Necho II would never challenge Nebuchadnezzar again.
Jeremiah provides a key point of synchrony, by stating that he himself began to speak to the people "in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebucadrezzar." (Jeremiah 25:1 ) This has occasioned often vociferous scholarly debate as to the proper dating of the last of the kings of the Kingdom of Judah—about which, see below. Ussher suggested that Nebuchadnezzar had at that time become co-rex of Babylonia. Wood specifically states that Nabopolassar, still on the throne in Babylon, was ailing at the time. Jones declares that the dating is confused because Jeremiah was using non-accession reckoning to date Nebuchadnezzar's regnal years, while Jehoiakim used accession reckoning to date his own regnal years. Thus the fourth year of Jehoiakim is actually the accession year or zeroth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
The Scroll-Burning Incident
About one year after Nebuchadnezzar's first march to Jerusalem, Baruch read his scroll (see above) aloud again in the Temple gate. The heads-of-families heard of this, summoned Baruch, and listened to another reading—whereupon they strongly advised Baruch and Jeremiah to hide. They did not hide—but a courtier named Jehudi read that scroll before the king himself.
What Jehoiakim did next is remembered today in a special fast on the seventh day of Kislev. He cut the scroll through with a pen-knife (that is, a knife used for sharpening pens in those days) and burned the cuttings in the hearth. He then ordered the arrest of Baruch and Jeremiah, but God frustrated this arrest. Baruch later reconstructed his scroll with many additional words.
Also on that day, God gave this command to Jeremiah concerning Jehoiakim: "He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David." God further decreed that Jehoiakim's body would lie exposed to the elements after his death. (Jeremiah 36:29-31 )
On 8 Av 3399 AM (July 16, 605 BC), Nabopolassar died. Nebuchadnezzar immediately marched back to Babylon to make his throne secure. Nebuchadnezzar subsequently returned westward and attacked and captured the Philistine city of Ashkelon.
Ussher says that this was the time in history where Jehoiakim rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. Thiele says that the rebellion took place two years later. In any case, the Bible says that Jehoiakim rebelled three years after he agreed to serve Nebuchadnezzar. (2_Kings 24:1 )
The reckoning from that rebellion happened in the last year of Jehoiakim's reign. Nebuchadnezzar assembled a coalition of Syrians ("Arameans"), Chaldeans, Moabites and Ammonites and sent them against the Kingdom of Judah. They attacked Jehoiakim's forces and pillaged virtually the entire kingdom. (2_Kings 24:2 ) While this was happening, Nebuchadnezzar was apparently leading his main force against Egypt once again, in a battle that he nearly lost.
Death and Succession
JehoiakimBorn: Born:: Ethanim 3370 AM Died: Died::1 Teveth 3407 AM
Successor of::Jehoahaz II
|King of Ruler of::Kingdom of Judah
Accession::25 Sivan 3395 AM–Died::1 Teveth 3407 AM
| Succeeded by|
- Jeremiah specifically stated that the fourth year of Jehoiakim was also the first year of Nebuchadnezzar.
- Daniel says that Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem in the third year of King Jehoiakim. (Daniel 1:1 )
- Jehoiachin's three-month-and-ten-day reign ended in the same AM year that it began (but not necessarily in the same religious year), and this is described as the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. (2_Kings 24:12 )
- Jehoiachin won release from prison in the thirty-seventh year of his captivity, in the year that Evil-Merodach, Nebuchadnezzar's son and successor, began to reign. (2_Kings 25:27 )
- Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BC.
The conflict between Jeremiah and Daniel in regard to "third" or "fourth" years of Jeremiah is relatively minor. Ussher says that the year of Nebuchadnezzar's expedition (and viceroyalty) was toward the end of Jehoiakim's third year and the beginning of his fourth year. Jones has a more definitive solution: that Jeremiah and Daniel are not talking about the same event. Furthermore, Jones states that Daniel used a different new year, i.e. one beginning in the month called Ethanim or Tishri, the first month of autumn. Jeremiah was using the traditional Hebrew new year, the beginning of the first month of spring. In any event,
The more important conflict concerns the beginning of Jehoiachin's captivity. If it began on 599 BC (562 + 37) = 599, then the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign was in 607 BC. Yet Nabopolassar did not die until two years later. John Calvin noticed this problem as well.
Calvin's resolution was simple: Nebuchadnezzar first came to Jerusalem while his father was still alive. But James Ussher suggested that Nebuchadnezzar became viceroy of Babylonia in the same year that he led his expedition against Necho, and then onward to Jerusalem. Regnal years of executive viceroys (co-rexes) who continue to reign alone are often reckoned from the date of the viceroyalty and not the date of the lone reign.
Edwin R. Thiele held firm during his lifetime to the conventional date for the final Fall of Jerusalem, which is 586 BC. But he never explained the apparent discrepancy to the satisfaction of all reviewers.
Some authorities have reconciled the conflicts by citing differences between Judaic reckoning and Babylonian reckoning of years of reign. Konig, for example, suggests that Daniel might have reckoned the first siege of Jerusalem in the "third" year of Jehoiakim by using Babylonian, not Judaic, reckoning. Floyd Nolen Jones is in full agreement. The Babylonians used accession reckoning, while Jeremiah used non-accession reckoning for Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore, the Babylonians reckoned their new year as beginning in the autumn; the Hebrews reckoned their new year as beginning in the springtime.
In actual fact, "the thirty-seventh year of the captivity" would not be so described according to any accession reckoning. The equivalent reckoning would be non-accession reckoning, so that the first year of captivity would be the year in which Jehoiachin was taken captive. This alone reduces the discrepancy by one year. Jones eliminates the discrepancy by asserting that the first regnal year of Evil-Merodach, son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, was 651 BC, not 652 BC.
More to the point, Jones has discovered that Ussher made a key error in assuming, without warrant, that Jehoiakim and/or Zedekiah used non-accession reckoning to count their regnal years. The use of accession reckoning allows the Biblical dating of the Fall of Jerusalem to agree completely with all other accounts of that event. Ironically, Jones finds himself in agreement with Thiele on this and other points dealing with King Josiah and his successors, though he rejects Thiele's treatment of the earlier histories of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
The Manner of Jehoiakim's Death
The manner and even the venue of the death of Jehoiakim is the subject of more controversy than is involved in the life of any other king of Israel or Judah. Some authorities suggest that when the Bible says that Jehoiakim "slept with his fathers," (2_Kings 24:6 ) it means that Jehoiakim died peacefully. But Jeremiah mentions many baleful prophecies (Jeremiah 36:29-31 , Jeremiah 22:18-19 ) that, taken together, suggest that Jehoiakim's body was exposed to the elements and that he did not have a proper burial. Some authorities suggest that Jehoiakim's own people threw him over the wall of Jerusalem to convince the besieging Chaldeans that he was dead.
Oded Lipschits, of Tel-Aviv University (Israel), presents an elaborate argument to the effect that Jehoiakim did indeed die peacefully. Yet his analysis dismisses Jeremiah's prophecy as, in essence, false. Prophets of God have never foretold anything that has been shown not to have come to pass when those prophets said it would (although some, including Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and, of course, John the Revelator, have foretold events that, some say, are yet to come to pass). Ussher, indeed, saw no conflict between Jeremiah's baleful prophecies and the expression "he slept with his fathers." The Bible does not say that he was buried with his fathers. Ussher gives perhaps the simplest resolution that fits all the Bible texts that bear on this issue: that Jehoiakim was dragged out of the city gate by a chariot and left exposed on the ground. Whether his own people killed him and tossed him over the wall, or whether Nebuchadnezzar captured him and executed him first, remains an open question.
The Genealogy of Christ
Jehoiakim appears in Matthew's listing of the ancestors of Jesus Christ. Yet God had pronounced a curse on Jehoiakim, as he would later curse his son, saying that he would be "childless." (Jeremiah 22:30 ) The solution is that Joseph of Nazareth was a direct lineal descendant of David through both these kings, but Mary was a descendant of David through another of David's sons, named Nathan.
- Anonymous, Jehoiakim, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911. Retrieved April 12, 2007, from LoveToKnow 1911.
- James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 761, 794
- Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), p. 315
- Jones, Floyd N., The Chronology of the Old Testament, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003, Chart 5.
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 728
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 761
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 732
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 746
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 749
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 740
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 754-6.
- Anonymous, Jehoiakim, Encyclopedia Britannica online. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Anonymous, Jehoiakim, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., Columbia University Press, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from Infoplease.com.
- Nearly every English-language translation of this verse uses language that indicates that this was a property tax and not a simple capitation tax.
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 763-4
- Some, however, might say that an early trip to "Abraham's bosom," the temporary spiritual destination of believing Jews who died before Jesus Christ, would be a blessing.
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 765
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 766-767
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 773
- Note that this verse says only that Nebuchadnezzar intended, at least initially, to carry Jehoiakim off to Babylon—not that he actually did so at this time.
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 774-77
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 769-770
- Wood, op. cit., p. 317
- Jones, op. cit., pp. 189-192
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 779-81
- Anonymous, King Jehoiakim: A Lesson from Biblical History, Good News Magazine, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- David J. Riggs, Jehoiakim Cuts and Burns the Word. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from Mr. Riggs' personal Web pages.
- Anonymous, On the Scripture: Jehoiakim, Eastside Christian Church, Fullerton, California. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Ussher, op. cit., pghh. 782-83
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 785
- A.K. Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles , vol. 5 of Texts from Cuneiform Sources, eds. A.L. Oppenheim, et al. (New York: Augustun, 1975) p. 100. Quoted by John P. Pratt in "Lehi's 600-year Prophecy of the Birth of Christ," Meridian Magazine, March 31, 2000. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- George Pytlik, The Setting, Daniel: Messenger to the Future, 2003. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Anonymous, "Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylon (605-562 BC)", The British Museum Compass, 2000. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Anonymous, The Chaldeans, E-Museum at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Anonymous, Nebuchadnezzar, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed., 2006. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from the HighBeam Encyclopedia.
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 769
- John Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of Daniel, vol. 1, Thomas Meyers, MA, trans. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin University. See also this dissertation (retrieved from the same host) on the chronological problem and the efforts of Calvin's contemporaries to resolve it.
- George Pytlik, Historical Timeline of Daniel, Daniel: God's Messenger to the Future, 2003. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- George Konig, Was Daniel wrong when he referred to the "third" year of Jehoiakim?, AboutBibleProphecy.com, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Anonymous, Jehoiakim, WebBible Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 12, 2007 from ChristianAnswers.net.
- Anonymous, Jehoiakim, Holy Spirit Interactive, 2007. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Oded Lipschits, Jehoiakim Slept With His Fathers: Did He?, Department of Jewish History, Tel-Aviv University. Retrieved April 12, 2007.
- Ussher, op. cit., pgh. 794
- Ken Palmer, "The Curse of Jehoiakim", The Life of Christ, 2007. Retrieved Apriil 12, 2007.