Jeremiah 22:11-23 Josiah’s Sons Judged For Failing To Heed The Word.
Josiah’s son, Shallum, would not return to reign in his father’s place, but would die in captivity (vv. 11-12). Again, the judgment to come is against those who have forsaken the law-word of the covenant – to exercise righteousness, justice, and to give workers their wages due (v. 13 Cf. Lev. 19:23; Dt. 24:14-15). Instead, these political leaders built for themselves huge mansions, exquisitely adorned (v. 14). These politicians got it all wrong. Their forefathers did not place their confidence in their possessions, coveting ever more. Rather, they trusted in the LORD, and he blessed them for their covenant fidelity (v. 15). To judge for the poor and needy, is the fruit of those who truly know the LORD (v. 16). Instead, these leaders, and the people with them, gave themselves over to covetousness, “shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence” (v. 17).
Shallum (also called Jehoahaz, I Chr. 3:15) didn’t last long, being exiled to Egypt in 609 B.C. (2 Kin. 23:30-34). What follows is now directed to another son of Josiah – Jehoiakim. There would also be no mourning for his loss (v. 18), being “buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (v. 19). They are challenged to cry out to their pagan allies, who were themselves destroyed (v. 20). In their prosperity they refused to listen to the LORD (v. 21). Their leaders, and their pagan allies, would together go into captivity for their wickedness, ashamed and humiliated (v. 22). The word ‘rulers’ is the same word rendered as shepherds at 23:1-2. It is a favourite word for Jeremiah, which the KJV renders as ‘pastors’ (Cf. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10; 17:16). However, graciousness ceases when the pain of this kind of judgment comes (v. 23).