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Biography

Jehoiakim or Eliakim - The Lord raiseth up. King of Judah (609–598 B.C.), originally called Eliakim (2 Kgs. 23:34–36; 24:1–6, 19; 1 Chr. 3:15–16; 2 Chr. 36:4–5, 8; Jer. 1:3; 22:18, 24; 26:1, 21–23; 27:1, 20; 28:4; 35:1; 36:1, 9, 28–32). Jehoiakim was son of Joash, king of Judah, and brother of Zedekiah. He was not a faithful ruler; an interesting event is told of him burning the manuscript of one of the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:1–26), whereupon Jeremiah wrote the prophecy again. Jehoiakim was given a dishonorable burial of an ass (Jer. 22:18–19). He was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin, who in turn was succeeded by Zedekiah.


Narrative 2 Kings

Jehoiakim burns Jeremiah's scroll; as in the Book of Jeremiah 36:21-32 (illustration from a Bible card published in 1904 by the Providence Lithograph Company)

And Pharaoh-nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah king in the room of Josiah his father, and turned his name to Jehoiakim, and took Jehoahaz away: and he came to Egypt, and died there. And Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh; but he taxed the land to give the money according to the commandment of Pharaoh: he exacted the silver and the gold of the people of the land, of every one according to his taxation, to give it unto Pharaoh-nechoh. Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. (2nd Kings 23:34-37)

Marriage and Family

Josiah had four sons: Johanan, and Eliakim (born c. 634 BCE), whose mother was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah; and Mattanyahu (c. 618 BCE) and Shallum (633/632 BCE), whose mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. Eliakim had his name changed by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt to Jehoiakim.

Royal Succession

His son Shallum succeeded Josiah as king of Judah, under the name Jehoahaz. Shallum was succeeded by Eliakim, under the name Jehoiakim, who was succeeded by his own son Jeconiah; then, Jeconiah was succeeded to the throne by Mattanyahu, under the name Zedekiah. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah before the kingdom was conquered by Babylon and the people exiled.

After the failed siege of Harran, Necho left a sizable force behind, but returned himself to Egypt. On his return march, he found that the Judeans had selected Jehoahaz to succeed his father Josiah. Necho brought Jehoahaz to Riblah and imprisoned him there. He then deposed Jehoahaz and replaced with his older brother Eliakim as king, changing his name to Jehoiakim. Jehoahaz had ruled for three months. Necho brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days.

Reign of Jehoiakim

Jehoiakim was appointed king by Necho II, king of Egypt, in 608 BC, after Necho's return from the battle in Haran, three months after he had killed King Josiah at Megiddo. Necho deposed Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months and took him to Egypt, where he died. However, after the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II besieged Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim changed allegiances to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem. He paid tribute from the treasury in Jerusalem, some temple artifacts, and handed over some of the royal family and nobility as hostages.

Rabbinical literature describes Jehoiakim as a godless tyrant who committed atrocious sins and crimes. He is portrayed as living in incestuous relations with his mother, daughter-in-law, and stepmother, and was in the habit of murdering men, whose wives he then violated and whose property he seized. He also had tattooed his body.

Jeremiah criticised the king's policies, insisting on repentance and strict adherence to the law. Another prophet, Uriah ben Shemaiah, proclaimed a similar message and Jehoiakim ordered his execution (Jeremiah 26:20–23).

Jehoiakim continued for three years as a vassal to the Babylonians, until the failure of an invasion of Egypt in 601 BC undermined their control of the area. Jehoiakim switched allegiance back to the Egyptians. In late 598 BC, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II invaded Judah and again laid siege to Jerusalem, which lasted three months. Jehoiakim died before the siege ended. The Book of Chronicles recorded that "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ... bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon." Jeremiah prophesied that he died without proper funeral, describing the people of Judah "shall not lament for him, saying, 'Alas, master!' or 'Alas, his glory!' He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:18–19) "and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night" (Jeremiah 36:30). Josephus wrote that Nebuchadnezzar slew Jehoiakim along with high-ranking officers and then commanded Jehoiakim's body "to be thrown before the walls, without any burial."

He was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). After three months, Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jeconiah (fearing that he would revenge his father's death by revolting, according to Josephus) and installed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's younger brother, as king in his place. Jeconiah, his household, and much of Judah's population were exiled to Babylon.

According to the Babylonian Chronicles,[13] Jerusalem fell on 2 Adar (16 March) 597 BC. The Chronicles state:

The seventh year (of Nebuchadnezzar – 598 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adar (16 March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jeconiah) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.




Children



Offspring of Eliakim or Jehoiakim or Jechonias and Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem
Name Birth Death Joined with
Jeconiah ben Jehoiakim 615 Jerusalem, Land of Canaan 9999 Babylon, Babylonia










Siblings

Jehoiakim of Judah
47th Biblical Patriarch
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jehoahaz
17th King of Judah
Sole reign: 609 – 598 BC
Succeeded by
Jeconiah

References



Footnotes (including sources)

Some information in this article or section has not been verified and may not be reliable.
Please check for any inaccuracies, and modify and cite sources as needed.
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