Bible Commentary: 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Related

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Bible Commentary

2 Kings 25:27-30 and Related

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Jeconiah's Release From Prison

Jeconiah, known also as Jehoiachin, was just 18 when he reigned over Judah for a mere three months. Nebuchadnezzar had carried the young man away to Babylon where he remained imprisoned for 37 long years—until he was 55! Now Nebuchadnezzar was dead and a new emperor sat on the Babylonian throne. Evil Merodach (or Ewil Merodak) "is a transliteration of the Assyro-Babylonian Amel ('man of')—Marduk [the chief god of Babylon]. He was Nebuchadnezzar's son, who reigned from 562 B.C. to 560 B.C." (Expositor's Bible Commentary,footnote on Jeremiah 52:31). Readers should ignore the similarity between the way his name is written and the English word "evil," as there is no relation whatsoever.

"Jewish tradition claims Evil-Merodach was imprisoned by his father for some action in the government during a period of Nebuchadnezzar's indisposition. While in prison, Evil-Merodach became a friend of Jehoiachin. On his accession to the throne, Evil-Merodach released Jehoiachin and gave him a prominent place at the royal table.... [While it may be true, it should be recognized that] the tradition has marks of an ad hoc explanation" (same footnote).

As noted previously in the Beyond Today Bible Commentary, Jeconiah's continued provisions are confirmed by archaeology. "Tablets from the reign of Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.) record the daily rations of Jehoiachin who is called 'Yaukin, king of the land of Yehud {Judah}'" (Nelson Study Bible, note on 2 Kings 25:27). Jeconiah's descendants were barred from the Davidic throne (see Jeremiah 22:30). Nevertheless, they would play important roles in the future—his descendant Zerubbabel serving as governor of Judea at the time of the Jewish return from exile and his later descendant Joseph being the adoptive father of Jesus Christ—and Joseph's sons being the apostles James and Jude, half-brothers of Jesus.

With the kind treatment shown to Jeconiah, the books of Kings and Jeremiah conclude with a ray of hope—as Jeconiah's situation was typical of his nation. He was imprisoned for a long time, losing many unrecoverable years due to sin, yet eventually he was freed and treated like royalty. So it would be with the entire Jewish nation—and of all Israel in the future.