A message to Judah's kings
22:1These messages are about the kings who ruled after King Josiah.
1 The Lord said to me, ‘Go down to the palace of the king of Judah. You must say to him, 2 “King of Judah, descendant of King David, listen to this message from the Lord. Your officers and the people of your palace must listen too. 3 The Lord says: You must do things that are right and fair. Punish those who rob other people. Help the people that they have hurt. Do not be cruel to foreigners who are living among you. Do not cheat them. Do not hurt or cheat widows, or children who have no family. Stop killing people who have not done anything wrong. 4 If you are careful to obey these commands, David's descendants will continue to rule as kings in this city. They will ride on horses and on chariots to come in through the city's gates. Their officers and their people will come with them. 5 But if you do not obey these commands, I will destroy this palace. I promise you that it will become a heap of stones! That is what I, the Lord, tell you.” ’
6 The Lord says this about the palace of the king of Judah:
‘This place is as beautiful as Gilead!
It is as beautiful as Lebanon's mountains.
But I will cause it to become a wilderness,
a place where nobody lives any more.
7 I will send enemies to destroy this place.
They will use their weapons to knock it all down.
They will cut down the strong beams of cedar wood.
They will throw them into the fire.
8 People from many nations will see what has happened here. They will ask each other, “Why has the Lord destroyed this great city?” 9 Other people will answer, “He did it because they refused to obey their covenant with the Lord their God. They worshipped other gods instead of him.” ’
A message about King Jehoahaz
10 Do not weep because the king is dead.
Do not be sad that he no longer lives.
Instead, weep for the king that has gone away.
He will never return to see his own land again.
22:10King Josiah was the king who had died. He had been a good king. King Jehoahaz was the king that enemies had taken away to a foreign land. Shallum is another name for King Jehoahaz. See 2 Kings 23:31-34; 1 Chronicles 3:15.
11 Josiah's son, Shallum, became king of Judah after his father died. But enemies took him away as a prisoner to a foreign land. The Lord says this about him: ‘He will never return to this land. 12 He will die in the foreign land where they took him as prisoner. He will not see this land again.’
A message about King Jehoiakim
22:13King Jehoiakim was another son of King Josiah. See Jeremiah 22:18.
13 The Lord says,
‘Terrible trouble will happen to this man!
He cheats people
so that he can build a beautiful palace for himself.
He does not do what is right and fair.
He does not pay the people who work for him.
His own men have to work for nothing.
14 He says, “I will build a great palace for myself.
It will have large rooms upstairs.”
He puts windows in its walls.
He covers the walls with cedar wood.
He uses red paint to make it beautiful.
15 Are you better than other kings
because you use more cedar wood to build your palace?
Think about how your father lived.
He did what was right and fair.
He had enough to eat and to drink.
So he was happy with a good life.
16 He did what was right
for people who were poor and helpless.
So people were happy.
That is how people who know me should live.’
That is what the Lord says.
17 ‘But you always want to cheat people,
so that you can get more riches for yourself.
You make plans to kill people who have not done anything wrong.
You hurt people in cruel ways.’
18 So the Lord says this about Josiah's son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:
‘People will not weep when he dies.
They will not say, “I am very sad, my brother.
I am very sad, my sister.”
They will not weep and say,
“What a terrible thing has happened!
Our great king has died!”
19 Instead, they will bury him like a dead donkey.
They will pull his dead body to the city's gate.
They will throw it on the ground outside Jerusalem.’
20 ‘Go up to Lebanon and cry aloud.
22:20This is a message to the people of Jerusalem.
Shout loudly in Bashan.
Cry aloud from the mountains of Moab.
The nations that were your lovers
have lost their power.
21 When you were feeling strong and safe,
I warned you that this would happen.
But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”
You have been like that since you were young.
You have never obeyed me.
22 Your leaders will all disappear,
as if a strong wind had blown them away.
Enemies will take your friends away as prisoners.
Then you will feel very ashamed,
because of all the wicked things that you have done.
23 You live safely in beautiful houses
that are made from Lebanon's cedar wood.
But when I punish you, you will cry out with pain.
You will feel pain like a woman who is having a baby.’
A message about King Jeconiah
24 This is what the Lord says: ‘Jeconiah, king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, I promise you this, as surely as I live. I will remove your power as king. If you were the special ring of authority on my right hand, I would pull you off! 25 You are afraid of your enemies who want to kill you, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. Now I will let them catch you. 26 I will throw you and your mother out of Judah. I will send you both to a foreign land. You were not born in that land, but you will both die there. 27 You will want to return to this land of Judah, but you will never come back here.’
28 This man Jeconiah will be like a broken pot.
It is a clay pot that nobody wants any more.
He and his children will go as prisoners to a foreign country.
They will live in a country that they do not know.
Why will that happen to them?
29 Listen, people of this land! Listen, people of Judah!
Listen to the Lord's message!
30 The Lord says,
‘Write this man's name on the list.
Write it as the name of a man who has no children.
22:30Jeconiah did have children but they would never become king after him. So they would not go on the list of future kings.
He will not have success in his life.
None of his sons will rule as a descendant of King David.
None of them will be king of Judah.’