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Jeremiah 22:1 Thus said Yahweh: Go down to the house of the king of Judah and speak there this word saying- This 'going down' could reflect the coming down of Yahweh in judgment. It was 'down' from the Temple on the eastern hill of Jerusalem to the king’s house, which was on lower ground.

Jeremiah 22:2 Hear the word of Yahweh, king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates-
That the king still sat on David's throne was a reminder of the potential still possible; see on :4. The appeal is carefully made not just to the king and his courtiers, but also to all the people; or at least to all the people who entered the gates of the king's house. The guilt for what was to happen is continually expressed as being far more than merely with the leadership. 

Jeremiah 22:3 Thus says Yahweh: Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence, to the foreigner, the fatherless, nor the widow; neither shed innocent blood in this place-
Because they oppressed Gentiles, therefore they were to be oppressed by them (Dt. 28:29,33; Jer. 50:33 s.w.). Their judgments were appropriate to their sins. Innocent blood was shed in the temple; it was there that the idols were worshipped and child sacrifice made. They had made the temple as a den of robbers (Jer. 7:11), and these two ideas are found in Ez. 18:10: "If he fathers a son who is a robber, a shedder of blood, and who does any one of these things". These were all things going on at the time of Ezekiel. The exiles needed to repent of these things. These actual things had been practiced by the ruling classes who were now in exile with Ezekiel. The same word is used to express how the Jerusalem temple had been turned by the priests into a "den of robbers" or oppressors (Jer. 7:11; 22:3). Jeremiah as a priest is addressing the leaders of the priests. One reason Judah was destroyed was because Manasseh was a 'shedder of blood' (2 Kings 21:16; 24:4). Perhaps this was being focused upon by some, complaining that God was unfairly punishing them for Manasseh's sins. But the reality was that in essence, his descendants and wider family had done the same as he had done. For they too had been involved in the shedding of the innocent blood of their own children to the idol cults (Ps. 106:38).

Jeremiah 22:4 For if you do this thing indeed, then shall there enter in by the gates of this house kings sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people-
But the gates were to be burnt with fire, because Israel “would not”. To as it were incite their repentance, God makes the offer that if they there and then repented of the abuses of :3, then He would establish a Messianic kingdom. The king who then sat on David's throne (:2) would become a Messianic style king, fulfilling the Messianic kingdom prophecy of Is. 66:20. Perceiving how near and real the Kingdom can be for us ought to elicit repentance. They were really close here at this point; and yet they refused, so hardened were they in the paths of continual sin.

Jeremiah 22:5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself, says Yahweh, that this house shall become a desolation-
he most solemn and binding form of oath possible (Heb. 6:13-18). They could have the Messianic kingdom there and then (:4); or the destruction of the king's palace ["this house" of :1,2] and all they once held dear. The destruction of the "house", both the royal palace and family, meant an end to any hopes of the line of David continuing. At least for then. They had come to a T-intersection where they had to decide; whereas we would likely have just punished them for their sins and considered that their just desert.

Jeremiah 22:6 For thus says Yahweh concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are Gilead to Me, the head of Lebanon. Yet surely I will make you a wilderness, cities which are not inhabited-
God still found them so attractive, even though they had sinned awfully, building their "house" by abusing labourers (:13) and had to be destroyed. This was love itself. There is a parallel between "the house of the king" and the "cities"; the repentance of a minority, the royal family, could have led to the restoration of all Judah, and their continuance in sin meant the mass destruction of it. The entire society were guilty, and were not punished just because of the sins of the royal family; the masses did not suffer because of the sins of the minority. But God was prepared to work the other way around; the repentance of a minority could lead to blessing for a majority of sinners. This willingness of God in this regard came to its acme in the salvation of sinners for the sake of the obedience of just one man, His Son. And yet even though they did not repent, the "cities", perhaps an intensive plural for the one great city, Jerusalem, did not become literally a wilderness. The temple and great houses were burnt, but some people still lived there, such as the local inhabitants encountered by Ezra when he returned to rebuild. 

Jeremiah 22:7 I will prepare destroyers against you, each one with his weapons; they shall cut down your choice cedars and cast them into the fire-
These were the cedars of Lebanon which God had found so attractive (:6). "Prepare" is literally 'sanctify'. Within the worldview of the attackers, they had sanctified their war against Judah in the names of their gods (s.w. Jer. 6:4 s.w.). But God worked through that, Himself sanctifying or preparing these men. The false prophets were wrong to claim that Jerusalem and the temple were sanctified by God and were therefore inviolate; God would sanctify the destroyers and their weapons so that it would all be destroyed.  

Jeremiah 22:8 Many nations shall pass by this city and shall say every man to his neighbour, Why has Yahweh done thus to this great city?-
This quotes Dt. 29:24, a curse for breaking the covenant (:9), and alludes to the specific judgment upon the temple (1 Kings 9:8). There is no particular example of this oft repeated curse coming true, apart from in Lam. 2:15, which appears to be spoken by Jeremiah in deep grief, and does not include the words predicted here and in :9. The actual destruction of Jerusalem and Judah was not as extensive as threatened; either God took pity, or there was a modicum of intercession or repentance which ameliorated the extent of the judgment. And that would explain why neither in the Bible nor other history is there any record of this happening.

Jeremiah 22:9 Then they shall answer, Because they forsook the covenant of Yahweh their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them-
See on :8. The idea was that the destroyed city and temple would be a silent witness to the power of Yahweh, and how this God who kept covenant was now as it were 'free' as His earlier people had betrayed Him and left Him without a people. The deserted city and ruined temple would therefore have been an invitation to observers to seek this Yahweh, and enquire whether they could enter a new covenant with Him, seeing His previous covenant with His people had been broken and He was now, as it were, unattached.

Jeremiah 22:10 Don’t weep for the dead, neither bemoan him; but weep bitterly for him who goes away into exile; for he shall return no more, nor see his native country-
Perhaps Jeremiah spoke these words in relation to a prominent funeral or memorial service for the dead, presumably that of Josiah who was killed trying to support the Egyptians against Babylon.

Jeremiah 22:11 For thus says Yahweh touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went forth out of this place: He shall not return there any more-
Shallum is the same as Jehoahaz. Perhaps he is called Shallum because that word means 'The one marked out for judgment'. See on :12
. I explain on Ez. 4:6 that potentially, the captivity of Judah need only have lasted for 40 days or years, but this period was extended, just as it could have been reduced. But Jehoahaz was not going to experience this, he had precluded any reduction in his captivity period because of his impenitence at that time.

Jeremiah 22:12 But in the place where they have led him captive, there shall he die, and he shall see this land no more-
The false prophets were claiming that his exile was going to be very short lived and he would return to establish a Messianic kingdom, thus twisting the prophecies of the restoration which Jeremiah may have already given, along with those of Isaiah which were already extant.

Jeremiah 22:13 Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his rooms by injustice; who uses his neighbour’s service without wages, and doesn’t give him his hire-
Jehoiakim had already demanded from his people a heavy tribute to the king of Egypt (2 Kings 23:35), whom he trusted in instead of in God; and now like Solomon he exacted forced labour from his own people so that he might have a luxurious palace built for himself. The prophets weren’t just empty moralizers, bleating on about the state of the nation; their words are an assault of the mind and conscience. Amos speaks of judgment to come in dramatic terms ‘just’ because creditors sold their debtors into slavery just to recover the cost of a pair of shoes (Am. 2:6,7). Jer. 22:13-19 is a long and passionate condemnation of Jehoiakim for building an extension to his house, using his neighbours as workmen and not giving them the agreed wages. We see this sort of thing all the time. And shrug and think it good fortune it didn’t happen to us. But that’s not the spirit of prophecy.

Jeremiah 22:14 who says, I will build me a wide house and spacious rooms, and cuts him out windows; and makes a ceiling with cedar, painted with vermilion-
This obsession with building his own house recalls that of Solomon. The only other mention of "vermilion" is in Ez. 23:14 where this is what was used to portray images of the idols upon the walls of the Jerusalem temple. The temple was famed for its cedars (:7), and so it was as if he was turning his house into an imitation temple. A "wide" house is literally a house built by measure, and this is the phrase used about the construction of the temple (1 Kings 7:9; 2 Chron. 3:3). "Rooms" is the term used for the "chambers" (s.w.) of the temple. "Cut out" or 'rendered' windows are what were intended for the temple of the restored kingdom (s.w. Ez. 40:25,29,33; 41:16 etc.). This is the classic path of apostasy- to justify the worship of our own home and luxury in the name of worshipping God.

Jeremiah 22:15 Shall you reign, because you strive to excel in cedar?-
The temple was famed for its cedar work (:7), and so it seems that by making his own house similar to the temple, the king was thinking that this would make his house and dynasty likewise inviolate. But this was mere religious tokenism.

Didn’t your father eat and drink, and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him- He made the classic mistake of all materialists, thinking that he proved himself the rightful king by the degree of his ostentation and luxury. The implication could be that Josiah experienced all things "well with him" whilst he did justice; but when he started playing politics and supporting Egypt against Babylon, he no longer experienced this but rather died in shame. His trust in Egypt and human strength was therefore associated with no longer seeking justice for people. The two strands of thought and behaviour go together. For it is trust in God and not flesh which elicits justice in our behaviour towards others.

Jeremiah 22:16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Wasn’t this to know Me? says Yahweh-
See on :15. To know Yahweh means to have a relationship with Him and to respond in practice. This is the Hebraic sense of 'knowing' a person. The Jews of those times had done what many believers do today- assume that an intellectual knowledge of God and external ritualism is the same as knowing God. But it is our attitudes to the poor and needy which are the knowledge of God which the Bible has in view. 

Jeremiah 22:17 But your eyes and your heart are not but for your covetousness, and for shedding innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it-
The reason why the poor and needy were abused by the king was that he and his fellow rulers were covetous. Oppression, abuse and violence all flowed from an attitude of heart. Innocent blood was shed, referring not only to the babies sacrificed to fertility gods in the hope of better harvests and therefore more wealth, but death sentences were inflicted in return for bribes. The already wealthy king wanted yet more wealth. The acquisition of wealth is an addiction.

And so they went into captivity because the princes and priests oppressed the people (Jer. 21:12; 22:3,17); in the new temple, this was not to be so (Ez. 45:8). And yet, in Nehemiah’s time the princes of the people did again oppress them, e.g. through making them mortgage their lands to them. This is the tragedy of Israel’s refusal to learn… The intention was that they would “bear the punishment of their iniquity… that the house of Israel go no more astray” (Ez. 14:11).   

Jeremiah 22:18 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: they shall not lament for him saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister! They shall not lament for him saying Ah lord! or, Ah his glory!-
This is structured as poetry, as if a mock funeral lament. Jeremiah uttered this prophecy during Jehoiakim's lifetime (Jer. 1:3). To so stridently criticize a king at the gates of his own palace was a brave thing to do. No wonder it brought Jeremiah such opposition; indeed it was but by God's protection that he was not murdered.

Jeremiah 22:19 He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem-
Jehoiakim was not to be buried but his body thrown out to the elements, like an ass (Jer. 22:18,19; 36:29-31); but the idiom of “he slept with his fathers” (2 Kings 24:6) may imply that he had a more normal burial. This was a conditional prophecy.

Jeremiah 22:20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up your voice in Bashan, and cry from Abarim; for all your lovers are destroyed-
Abarim was the mountain range in the south and Lebanon that in the north. Throughout the entire land, including the former territory of the ten tribes, Jeremiah was to travel with the message:  that all Israel's lovers, the nations surrounding her to whom she had prostituted herself in return for promises of support against Babylon, were to be destroyed.

Jeremiah 22:21 I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, I will not hear. This has been your way from your youth, that you didn’t obey My voice-
Before the drought of Jer. 14 came (and the book of Jeremiah isn't arranged chronologically), Judah were prosperous; as prosperous (s.w.) as Sodom before she was destroyed (Ez. 16:49). Prosperity is directly related to refusing to hear God's word (Dt. 32:15); so we should be surprised if we as believers are relatively prosperous, and should consider this condition an exception rather than the rule in the lives of believers.

Jeremiah 22:22 The wind shall feed all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity-
The false prophets claimed to be full of the wind / Spirit of God, but they would be filled with the wind which would carry them away. And one by one, the "lovers", the nations whom Judah hoped upon for salvation from Babylon, would be overcome by her and taken into captivity. This ought to have been warning as to what would happen to her, but they refused to hear the voice of God speaking to them through observed experience of their neighbours. His voice speaks to us like that today.

Surely then you will be ashamed and confounded for all your wickedness- Just as the Father thought that His people “surely” would reverence His Son, so He was ‘certain’ that if His people went to Babylon in captivity, “surely then you will be ashamed… for all your wickedness”. But the reality was that they grew to like the soft life of Babylon and refused to obey the command to return to God’s land. Such was and is the hopefulness of God. The exile didn’t cause God’s people to repent nor to know His Name. It wasn’t the once-for-all program which He intended. Now none of this makes God out to be somehow not serious or unreliable. Rather is it all an indication of His passion and how deeply He wishes His plans of redemption for us to work out. He’s not ashamed to as it were humiliate Himself, lay Himself open to petty critics, in His passion for us. Thus God was so [apparently] sure that the exile would bring about Judah’s repentance and return to Him: “Thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness” (Jer. 22:22). But actually the very opposite happened. It’s rather like “They will reverence my son” (Mt. 21:37)- when actually they crucified Him.

Jeremiah 22:23 Inhabitant of Lebanon, who makes your nest in the cedars, how greatly to be pitied you will be when pangs come on you, the pain as of a woman in travail!-
As in Zech. 11:1, the cedars of Lebanon in the temple resulted in the temple being called "Lebanon". The Jews thought that the temple was inviolate and that they could take refuge there; and the king's palace was a replica of the temple in this (see on :6,7,14). He likewise reasoned that his palace was inviolate. But God is no respecter of such literalism. The image is of a woman who dies in childbirth. But even within that figure, there is the Divine hope of new birth, of something coming out of it with whom He could work in restoring a renewed Israel. But even that hope was to be dashed, as the exiles of the next generation didn't respond, as Ezekiel's prophecy chronicles.

Jeremiah 22:24 As I live, says Yahweh, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on My right hand, yet would I pluck you from there-
Coniah is also called Jeconiah, and then when he ascended to the throne, Jehoiachin. The kings of Judah were intended to be kings on behalf of God, His representatives on earth; and therefore they as it were carried His signet ring. But this is expressed in the conditional sense, because Coniah did not thus reign on God's behalf. God's intention was that at the restoration, the throne of David should be restored and Zerubbabel would have this signet ring and reign on God's behalf (Hag. 2:23). But that potential also didn't come about and was precluded by human weakness. The prophecy is therefore deferred and rescheduled to fulfillment in the Lord Jesus.

Jeremiah 22:25 and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of them of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans-
Their fear of Babylon was such that they were madly running to every nation who might help them against Babylon, eagerly accepting their gods as part of a contract in which they would receive their military help.

Jeremiah 22:26 I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you will die-
This was true, but he was shown great grace there in that he was released from prison (Jer. 52:31), perhaps because he repented. See on :12,30. His mother is also mentioned as going into captivity as his lack of spirituality was likely partly her fault.  

Jeremiah 22:27 But to the land to which their soul longs to return, to it they shall not return-
The same words are used of the desire of the common people to return (Jer. 44:14). "Return" is the word also used for repenting. This is the picture of all the rejected, the foolish virgins banging on heaven's door all too late, wanting to repent / return, but all too tragically late. Now is the day for repentance / returning.

Jeremiah 22:28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken vessel? Is he a vessel in which none delights? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into the land which they don’t know?-
This could be quoting the imagined reaction of the Jews that their great king Coniah was being treated as a useless potsherd, a piece of broken pottery. But that was indeed how Israel and their king had been presented earlier- as a shattered earthen jar, broken by the Divine potter (Jer. 19:1). It could be that this is an interjection from Jeremiah, once again overly positive in his view of Israel; and even in that, he was somehow representing the view of God for His beloved people. Or these could be rhetorical questions, as if to enquire why Coniah was being treated like this. See on :29.

Jeremiah 22:29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh-
What follows is a judgment of condemnation upon one man. But the people of the entire land were to "hear" this word and be led to repentance by considering the condemnation of another individual. And that is a challenge for us today as well.

Jeremiah 22:30 Thus says Yahweh, Write you this man childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for no more shall a man of his seed prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling in Judah-
I suggested on :26 that his release from prison in Babylon suggests he repented. And so this judgment didn't come true, in that he had children (1 Chron. 3:17) and Shealtiel is reckoned as his son and directly in the line of Messiah (Mt. 1:12), although it seems Jeconiah was not his natural father (Lk. 3:27-31). So we see again that judgment can be changed by repentance- in this life.     

At the restoration from Babylon, David would never want a man to sit upon his throne (Jer. 33:17); and no conditions to this are specified. And yet even within Jeremiah it is apparent that because of the failure of Judah’s leaders, there would indeed come a time when there would be “none to sit upon the throne of David” (Jer. 22:30; 36:30). Yet if the Jews had done righteousness in Zedekiah’s time, then instead of the Babylonians entering the gates of Jerusalem there would have been “kings sitting for David upon his throne” (Jer. 22:4 RVmg.). But this condition is not mentioned in the promises to David in 2 Sam. 7 nor in the apparent blanket statement of Jer. 33:17.