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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 22:24-27

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Message About Coniah
24 “As I live,” declares the LORD, “even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off.

Coniah and its longer form Jeconiah are forms of Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim who reigned just over three months after his father’s death. But just as Pharaoh Neco had once deposed Jehoahaz in favor of Jehoiakim, so Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jehoiachin and set up his uncle as king instead.

The judgment of Jeconiah in Scripture is that he was evil just like his father (2 Kings 24:9). The Lord adds to this judgment with the reference to the signet ring.

A signet ring was a signature. It was usually a symbol, or a name printed backwards on a ring (or both) so that when the ring was pressed into wax or clay, the owner’s signature would be there. God had used the kings of Judah as his signet ring, but now he was pulling them from his hand. This curse extended over the tribe from this time forward, but was finally reversed after the captivity came to an end. The prophet Haggai ends his book by saying that the leader (no longer a king) of the tribe of Judah—Zerubbabel, the descendant of this king Jeconiah (Matthew 1:12-13)—would be “like my signet ring, for I have chosen you” (Haggai 2:23). So the curse would eventually be lifted, but not in this king’s lifetime.

25 I will deliver you into the hand of those who want to take your life, those you fear. I will deliver you into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will throw you and the mother who bore you into another country, where neither of you were born, and there you will die. 27 They will never return to the land they long to return to.

This threat to Jeconiah came before he was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The verses that follow were spoken by Jeremiah after Jeconiah was carried off. Since those verses tie directly to these, we will save some comments for the next section.

Both Jeconiah and his mother Nehushta were sent away to Babylon. An interesting story of palace jealousy and intrigue arises when we trace the lives of certain individuals. Is it relevant to the story? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Nehushta’s father was Elnathan, probably the same Elnathan who was retained by King Jehoiakim as an advisor. We will see his opposition in the burning of Jeremiah’s scroll later in the book (Jeremiah 36:12). He was also exiled to Egypt by Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:22). His father Acbor was part of the royal delegation that was sent by King Josiah to Huldah the prophetess (2 Kings 22:12,14). Was this family held in special contempt by Jeconiah’s father Jehoiakim? If so, it was at least partly because they were faithful to God at a time when that faithfulness meant opposing the king himself. It is not always easy to be a believer; we end up in difficult positions, caught in impossible situations, and the only thing to do is to continue to be faithful to God. This might mean the loss of a friendship, the loss of a business contact, or a very hard relationship with one’s boss. But God never asks us to live an easy life. He asks us to be faithful. And we know that because Jesus was faithful, we have forgiveness for those times when we were unfaithful to our Heavenly Father.

Lord God give us strength.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

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