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Kings of Judah


Jehoiakim from "Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum "

Jehoiakim (Hebrew: יְהוֹיָקִים, Modern  Tiberian "he whom Jehovah has set up", also sometimes spelled Jehoikim; Greek: Ιωακιμ; Latin: Joakim), c. 635-597 BC, reign 608-597 BC, was king of Judah. He was the second son of king Josiah by Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.[1] His birth name was Eliakim (Hebrew: אֶלְיָקִים, Modern {{{2}}} Tiberian {{{3}}}; Greek: Ελιακιμ; Latin: Eliakim).

On Josiah's death, Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz (or Shallum) was proclaimed king, but after three months (608 BC) pharaoh Necho II deposed him and replaced him with the eldest son, Eliakim,[2] who adopted the name Jehoiakim and became king at the age of twenty-five [1] in the same year. In the meantime, Jehoahaz was exiled to Egypt, where he died.[3]

Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and reigned for eleven years to 598 BC [1][4] and was succeeded by this son Jeconiah, (also known as Jehoiachin), who reigned for only three months.[5][6]


Relations with regional powers

Jehoiakim was installed as king of Judah by pharaoh Necho II in 608 BC, who deposed his younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months and took him to Egypt, where he died.[7] Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. To raise the money he "taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments."[8]

However, when the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at Carchemish in 605 BC, Jehoiakim changed allegiances, paying tribute to Nebuchadrezzar II of Babylon.

After three years, with the Egyptians and Babylonians still at war, he switched back to the Egyptians and ceased paying the tribute to Babylon. In 599 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II invaded Judah and laid siege to Jerusalem. In 598 BC, Jehoiakim died [9] and was succeeded by this son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). Jerusalem fell within three months.[10][11] Jeconiah was deposed by Nebuchadrezzar, who installed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's elder brother, in his place. Jeconiah, his household, and many of the elite and craftsmen of Judah were exiled to Babylon.[12] while Zedekiah was compelled to pay tribute, and continued to be king of the devastated kingdom.

According to the Babylonian Chronicles[13], Jerusalem eventually fell on 2 Adar (March 16) 597 BC. The Chronicles state:

In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adar (16 March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jeconiah) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.[14]

Religious matters

He is known for burning the manuscript of one of the prophecies of Jeremiah.[15] Jeremiah had criticised the king's policies, insisting on repentance and strict adherence to the law. Another prophet, Uriah ben Shemaiah, proclaimed a similar message and was executed on the orders of the king. Jeremiah was spared from this fate, perhaps because he was well-connected.[16]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Judah
609 - 598 BC
Succeeded by



  1. ^ a b c 2 Kings 23:36
  2. ^ 2 Kings 23:34
  3. ^ Philip J. King, Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), page 20.
  4. ^ Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Hebrew Bible, Continuum International, 1996, page x. ISBN 030433703X
  5. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:9
  6. ^ Philip J. King, Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), page 23.
  7. ^ 2 Kings 23:34
  8. ^ 2 Kings 23:35
  9. ^ Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Hebrew Bible, Continuum International, 1996, page x. ISBN 030433703X
  10. ^ Philip J. King, Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), page 23.
  11. ^ 2 Chronicles 36:9
  12. ^ Philip J. King, Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion' (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), page 21.
  13. ^ Geoffrey Wigoder, The Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible Pub. by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. (2006)
  14. ^ No 24 WA21946, The Babylonian Chronicles, The British Museum
  15. ^ Jeremiah 36:1-32
  16. ^ James Maxwell Miller, John Haralson Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (Westminster John Knox Press, 1986) page 404-405.

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Kings of Judah

Meaning: he whom Jehovah has set up

The second son of Josiah, and eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years (B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim.

On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz (=Shallum, Jer 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt, Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2Kg 23:33f; Jer 22:10ff), setting Eliakim on the throne in his stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.

After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics, having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2Kg 24:7; Jer 46:2). Palestine was now invaded and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive to Babylon (2Chr 36:6f). It was at this time that Daniel also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon (Dan 1:1f).

Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple. Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it into the fire (Jer 36:23). During his disastrous reign there was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of Manasseh.

After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld his tribute and threw off the yoke (2Kg 24:1), hoping to make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2Kg 24:2) to chastise his rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country (comp. Jer 49:1ff). The king came to a violent death, and his body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer 22:18f; Jer 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.

Ruled from 609 to 597.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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