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The Root of Corruption

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Lesson #23

  • Memory Verse: Jer 22:29
  • This chapter contains an extremely harsh judgment on one of Judah’s kings, King Jeconiah. The judgment is more severe than the judgment on Judas Iscariot or on Cain who killed his brother Abel.
  • Along with this severe judgment, this chapter also presents us with one of the most amazing prophecies in the Word of God and the multifaceted complications that this prophecy caused.
  • Read Jer 22:1-19 The Root of Corruption
    • A message to King Jehoahaz and King Jehoiakim:
      • The message deals with honest practices in every-day life…business practices, civil practices, and legal practices.
        • God tells these kings to deal justly in what is right with the foreigner, the orphans, and the widows. (3)
        • God tells these kings to deal justly without violence.
      • This is God’s call for a government without corruption.
        • However, history bears out the fact that when corruption gets a hold on the government, it is very difficult to get rid of it.
        • Why?
          • The people become used to corruption that carries with it power, money, and greed.
          • An ingrained pattern of corruption has insidious roots that pervade all of culture and society and make it difficult to remove.

To remove a deeply ingrained corruption from society will have consequences on all the rest of society.

The deeper and more pervasive the corruption, the more there will be great disruption in society when corruption is removed.

Sometimes, the initial removal of corruption is worse than enduring the corruption.

Israel is the example.

God took drastic measures to free Israel from the depths of idolatry and corruption in the government. It was like pulling out a weed with a big tap root and an extensive root system.

God uprooted the people and the whole society by removing them from the land in order to kill this root of corruption.

    • The historical reason for this message to Judah’s kings:
      • During and immediately after the reign of King Josiah, the economy of Israel was prospering. The rich people were getting richer and the poor people were getting poorer.
      • From the kings down to the local business men, corruption ruled in the affairs of men.
        • God condemned them for the way they dishonestly obtained their wealth.
        • God condemned them for the way they dishonestly used their wealth.
        • The kings must use their power for good to insure their prosperity and the prosperity of the nation instead of using their power for evil.
        • The kings’ families would suffer if they did not stop their sin of excess dishonesty.
    • The appropriate order of kings is this:
      • Josiah (31 years)
      • Jehoahaz (3 months)
      • Jehoiakim (11 years)
      • Jeconiah (Jehoiachin, Coniah) (3 months and 10 days)
      • Zedekiah (11 years)
    • Good King Josiah had three sons, all of which became evil kings and one grandson who was also an evil king:
      • The eldest son was Eliakim whose name was changed to Jehoiakim. (2Kin 23:34-24:7 2Chr 36:4-8)
      • The middle son was Jehoahaz (Johanan). (2Kin 23:31-33 2Chr 36:1-3)
      • The youngest son was Zedekiah (Mattaniah, Shallum). We discussed him in our previous lesson.
      • Jeconiah (Jehoachin, Jeconias, or Coniah). (2Kin 24:8-16 2Chr 36:9-10). He was Josiah’s grandson from his son Jehoiakim.
    • The History of the kings:
      • =1= Evil King Jehoahaz (Johanan), the middle son was the first to reign when he was 23 years old.
        • After the death of King Josiah, the people chose the middle son, Jehoahaz, to reign. The people did not trust the oldest son, so insisted on the middle son, even though the oldest son had the legitimate right to rule.
        • However, after 3 months Jehoahaz was removed by the Pharaoh of Egypt and taken prisoner where he died in Egypt as predicted by Jeremiah. (Jer 22:11-12)
      • =2= Evil King Jehoiakim (Eliakim). He was the eldest son and was placed on the throne of Judah by Egypt. He began to reign when he was 25years old.
        • He was not happy with the palace of his father and built a new one squandering state funds and using forced labor. He also stole elements from the temple to adorn his own palace. It is this corruption that Jeremiah mentions in Jer 22:13-14.
        • He was forced to pay tribute to Babylon for awhile, but eventually revolted after 11 years.
        • He died in Jerusalem for his rebellion against Babylon and died shamefully (18-19). Josephus tells us that Nebuchadnezzar killed him some distance from the gates of Jerusalem and left him unburied in a ditch.
      • =3= Evil King Jeconiah (Jehoiachin or Jeconias, Coniah) (2Kin 24:8-16 2Chr 36:9-10)
        • He began to reign at the age of 18 just as the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem. He was the son of King Jehoiakim, the grandson of King Josiah.
        • He and the royal family were taken captive to Babylon and released after 36 years of captivity but never returned to Israel.
      • =4= Evil King Zedekiah (Mattaniah, Shallum)
        • He was King Josiah’s third son to rule.
        • He was 21 years old when he began to reign, having been appointed by the Babylonian Empire.
        • He is the last king of Judah.
    • The unrighteousness of the evil kings is compared with Josiah’s righteousness. (14-15)
      • The good king, Josiah, lived well because he was blessed by God for his righteous actions.
        • The last 4 kings of Judah had a good model of how to be a good king in their father and grandfather, Josiah.
        • But they did not follow the model God had set for them.
      • But Josiah’s sons, the evil kings, lived well because of their greed and corruption.
        • God will judge the evil kings.
        • God uprooted the evil, corrupt kings with King Jeconiah.
  • God’s concern for the poor goes through the whole Bible.
    • There were frequent messages of condemnation for taking financial advantage of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan.
    • Even in the New Testament, we can see God’s concern for the poor.
    • Read Jam 5:1-3
    • Why is God so concerned over the inequality of the rich and the poor?
      • The very rich have the means to help the poor, but as a general rule, they do not.
      • The very poor have been abused so long they fail to attempt rising above their situation.
      • God is concerned because of His great love and mercy for people. To identify His concern with the poor, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be born in poverty, to live in poverty, and to die in poverty.
      • The hardest people to reach with the Gospel are the very rich. Why?
        • Because they see their wealth as self-made rather than as God’s blessings.
        • Because they are afraid if they surrender their lives to Christ they will have to share some of their wealth with others. The rich young ruler that confronted Jesus is the example. (Mat 19:23-24 Luk 18:18-23)
  • Read Jer 22:20-30 The prophecies about King Jeconiah
    • This part of scripture is so amazing, it cannot be overemphasized. Yes, all scripture is important, and all prophecy is amazing. But this one is at the top of the list.
      • The message begins with the nation in general.
        • The inhabitants of Lebanon. (20)
        • The nation of Lebanon at times in Israel’s history belonged to the nation of Israel.
          • It was a country covered with tall, beautiful cedar trees.
          • These trees were a valuable resource for the nation.

The temple of Solomon was built with cedars from Lebanon.

King Jehoiakim built his lavish palace with cedars from Lebanon.

        • The inhabitants of Bashan. (20) This is the Golan Heights area of Israel.
      • The destruction of the idols that occurred under King Josiah is mentioned in verse 20 as Israel’s lovers. (Remember that God considered Israel His wife and the worship of idols was spiritual adultery with foreign gods.)
      • God had warned the nation all through their material prosperity but no one listened to the true prophets of God. (21-22)
      • Even if King Jeconiah had been a good king, it was too late for the nation. Their sins will produce the consequence of death and destruction brought by the Babylonians. (23)
        • God considered the kings as valuable signet rings on His right hand.
        • He was proud to display His rings. However, the last kings of Judah were increasingly evil and they made God ashamed to display them as the representatives of His government over His people.
      • Initially you cannot help but feel sorry for King Jeconiah.
        • His father, King Jehoiakim, had just rebelled against paying tribute to Babylon, and then he died.
        • Jeconiah came to throne at the young age of 18.
        • Already the Babylonian army was surrounding the city.
          • This king has 5 names in scripture. Why?
          • Each name has a different meaning signifying a decreasing glory ascribed to God:

=1= Jehoiachin means = Jehovah establishes. Jehovah established the nation of Israel but it is not worshipping Jehovah.

=2= Jeconiah or Jeconias means = Jehovah is able. Jehovah is able to deliver His people, but they will not repent and God cannot bless them.

=3= Coniah or Conias means = creating. Notice the “Je” which stands for Jehovah is missing from this name. This is a derogatory name of contempt. In other words, maybe God is not as able as He says he is, so don’t associate me with Jehovah.

          • The first item of business on the new king’s agenda was an attack by Babylon as a consequence of his father’s failure to pay the tribute. Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian army.
      • King Jeconiah in reality was an evil king continuing in the same pattern as the previous evil kings. But with this king God will uproot the corruption.
        • Read 2Kin 24:8-16 (2Chr 36:9-10 (This passage says he was 8 years old when he began to reign. This is a scribal error. He was actually18).
        • In his 3 month reign, Jeconiah was unable to rid Jerusalem of the Babylonian siege around the city.
          • Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was able to capture all the gold vessels from the temple.
          • Nebuchadnezzar took Jeconiah and all his royal family as captives to Babylon.
    • The Amazing Prophecy:
      • Background:
        • God initially chose the tribe of Judah to be the lineage of Kings.
          • Read Gen 49:9-10.
          • Notice it says that the line of kings would come from this tribe until the Messiah came.
        • Then God said that the kings would come through King David’s family.
          • Read 1 Kin 9:5
          • All the kings from David to Zedekiah came from the tribe of Judah through David’s family.
          • God promised David that his descendents would sit on the throne forever.
      • However, Jer 22:30 says that the line of kings descended from Judah will end with Coniah (Jeconiah).
        • “Write ye this man childless….no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David.” (30)
        • If the line of kings ends with Jeconiah, then how did God fulfill Gen 49:9-10 that the Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah, and through the family of David?
          • Because God cut off the line of kings in Jer 22, then God had a big problem with the initial prophecy in Gen 49 and with His promise to King David.
          • However, before we consider God’s miraculous answer to this problem, we need to see what scripture says about Jeconiah’s family.

Read 1Chr 3:17-18

In reality Jeconiah had 7 sons who all died before he did. None of his sons ever became king. Therefore God considers him childless.

      • How do we explain that Jesus Christ descended from David to sit on David’s throne as king, when the line of kings ended with Jeconiah’s generation?
        • Jesus Christ did in fact descend from David in the tribe of Judah but not through the line of kings.
          • Read Mat 1:11 and 16 where Jeconiah is mentioned in the genealogy of Joseph. But Joseph was not Jesus’ earthly father.

The lineage of Joseph gave Jesus Christ the legal title to the throne as Joseph’s adopted son.

However, the prophecy means that Christ did not actually descend through the line of kings because of the prophecy in Jer 22:30.

This prophecy in Jeremiah is evidence that Jesus could not have been the son of Joseph.

          • Read Luk 3:31 where another son of David is mentioned called Nathan in the genealogy of Mary.

Therefore, Mary is not in the lineage of kings through King Solomon but is from the family of David.

The lineage of Mary gave Jesus Christ the blood title to the throne of David.

        • Therefore, through Mary Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecy in Gen 49 by coming through the tribe of Judah by way of Nathan. Christ will fulfill the prophecy that a king would sit on David’s throne forever when He returns at the second coming to establish His throne for eternity.(Jer 33:17)
  • Application:
    • Why is all of this so important about the kings?
    • This tells us that God will fulfill His word perfectly even when he has to work around man’s sinful nature and endless mistakes. It was not just Jeconiah’s sin that ended the line of kings. It was the sin of all the kings of Judah after King David.
    • God will work in the same way in the life of any believer in Jesus Christ. He will perfectly fulfill the plans He has for your life even though big obstacles seem to stand in the way.
    • Man’s foresight and ability to see the big picture is so limited. But nothing is too hard for God. He can work around any situation to bring fulfillment and blessing to those who love Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah 23

  • Application of Jer 22
    • Are there big obstacles in your life where you do not see how God could possibly work out a solution?
      • Remember the lesson from Jeconiah and remind yourself that God can do it. Just trust Him.
  • Preparation for Jer 23
    • Read Jer 23:1-40
      • When will God fulfill his promise of a righteous ruler?
      • When will God fulfill the promise that all Jews will return to the Promised Land?
      • What does God mean when He says His word is like a fire? (29)
      • What does God mean when He says His word is like a hammer? (29)
  • Memory verse: Jer 23:6
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About Joyce

I came to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in 1963 giving my heart to Jesus in a Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles, CA. I have been teaching the Word of God since 1964, Usually two to three adult classes a week.

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