Oracles against the kings

The Lord proclaims: Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and declare this message: Listen to the Lord’s word, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you and your attendants, and all those who go through these gates. The Lord proclaims: Do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Don’t exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan, and the widow. Don’t spill the blood of the innocent in this place. If you obey this command, then through the gates of this palace will come kings who occupy the throne of David, riding on chariots and horses along with their entourage and subjects. But if you ignore these words, I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that this palace will become a ruin. The Lord proclaims concerning the palace of the king of Judah:
Though you are like Gilead to me,
like the summit of Lebanon,
I will turn you into a desert—uninhabited cities.
I will summon destroyers against you,
who will use their weapons
to cut down your finest cedars
and hurl them into the fire.

People from many nations will pass by this city and ask each other: “Why has the Lord treated that great city like this?” And the answer will be, “Because they abandoned the covenant with the Lord their God and worshipped and served other gods.”

10 Don’t weep or lament for the dead king.[a]
Weep instead for the one who has gone away,
for he will never return to see his native soil.

11 This is what the Lord says about Shallum son of Judah’s King Josiah, who succeeded his father Josiah as king but who is now gone from this place: He will never return! 12 He will die where he’s been exiled and never see this land again.

13 How terrible for Jehoiakim, who builds his house with corruption
and his upper chambers with injustice,
working his countrymen for nothing,
refusing to give them their wages.
14 He says, “I’ll build myself a grand palace,
with huge upper chambers,
ornate windows,
cedar paneling,
and rich red decor.”
15 Is this what makes you a king,
having more cedar than anyone else?
Didn’t your father eat and drink
and still do what was just and right?
Then it went well for him!
16 He defended the rights of the poor and needy;
then it went well.
Isn’t that what it means to know me?
declares the Lord.
17 But you set your eyes and heart
on nothing but unjust gain;
you spill the blood of the innocent;
you practice cruelty;
you oppress your subjects.

18 Therefore, this is what the Lord says to Jehoiakim son of Judah’s King Josiah:

They won’t grieve for him, saying, “My brother, my sister!”
They won’t grieve for him, saying, “My master, my majesty!”
19 They will give him a donkey’s burial,
dragging him outside the gates of Jerusalem
and dumping him there.
20 Go up to Lebanon and cry out,
lift up your voice in Bashan,
cry out from Abarim,
because all your lovers have been ravished.
21 I spoke to you when you felt safe and secure,
but you said, “I won’t listen.”
You have been that way since your youth:
not listening to a word I say.
22 Your shepherds will be tossed to the wind,
your lovers taken off to exile.
Then you will be embarrassed and humiliated
by all your wickedness.
23 You who live in Lebanon,
nestled in cedar,
who will pity you[b]
when you are overcome in pain,
like that of childbirth?

24 As surely as I live, declares the Lord, even if Coniah,[c] King Jehoiakim’s son from Judah were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still remove you from there. 25 I would hand you over to those who seek to kill you, those you dread, even Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and his army.[d] 26 I will banish you and your mother who bore you to a land far from your native soil, and there the two of you will die. 27 You[e] will never return to the land you[f] long to go back to.

28 Is this man Coniah
merely a defiled and broken pottery jar
that no one wants?
Why then have he and his children been hurled out
and cast into an unfamiliar land?
29 Land, land, land,
hear the Lord’s word:
30 The Lord proclaims:
Mark this man as childless;
he will not prosper during his lifetime.
None of his children
will sit on David’s throne
and rule again in Judah.


  1. Jeremiah 22:10 Heb lacks king.
  2. Jeremiah 22:23 Heb uncertain
  3. Jeremiah 22:24 Cf Jeconiah in Jer 24:1
  4. Jeremiah 22:25 Or the Babylonians
  5. Jeremiah 22:27 Or They
  6. Jeremiah 22:27 Or they