Jehoiakim, 2nd son of Josiah

Jehoiakim ascended the throne upon command of Pharaoh Necho II, after the deposition of his younger brother Jehoahaz. Eliakim was his name until it was changed by Necho to Jehoiakim as a sign of his subservience to Egypt.

“Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zebudah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.” (2Ki 23:36-37)

Josephus records that he was “unjust and wicked by nature, and was neither reverent toward God, nor kind to man” (Antiquities 10. 83). Jehoiakim severely taxed his people to pay the tribute exacted by Necho, yet he was still able to fund his own selfish excesses. He built ornate palaces with forced labor and propped up his opulent lifestyle through oppression (Jer 22:13-17). His violent and decadent rule shed much innocent blood. He was rebuked by the prophets Jeremiah, Habakkuk and Uriah — whom he murdered (Jer 26:20-23). Jeremiah's prophecy of the coming Babylonian captivity was read by Jehudi to the king in his winterhouse in the ninth month of his fifth year. Jehoiakim grabbed the scroll, cut it up and cast it into the fireplace where it was consumed (Jer 36). The prophecy was rewritten at the Word of the Lord, and Babylon was soon to conduct a final consummation of Judah.

Nebuchadnezzar II was the son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon from 626 - 605 B.C. As crown prince, he led his father's army against the Egyptians and defeated them at Carchemish. This victory established Babylon as the prevailing ancient near east power, and all of Egypt's vassals became subordinate to Babylon (2Ki 24:7). Against the advise of Jeremiah to the contrary (Jer 27:9-11), Jehoiakim rebelled after three years (2Ki 24:1), likely due to a perceived window of opportunity created when the Egyptians won a defensive victory over Babylon in 601 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar responded indirectly at first by sending local Babylonian garrison troops with Syrians, Moabites and Ammonites to raid Judah (2Ki 24:2). This was the beginning of God's final judgment upon Judah:

“Surely at the commandment of the LORD this came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the LORD would not pardon.” (2Ki 24:3-4).

Babylonian forces finally came against Jerusalem and captured Jehoiakim. He was brutally chained up in bronze fetters so as to haul him off to Babylon (2Ch 36:6), but he died while en route (December 6, 598 B.C.). According to Josephus (Antiquities 10. 97), Nebuchadnezzar had his body thrown outside the city wall. This act was a direct fulfillment of prophecy:

“Therefore thus says the LORD concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: They shall not lament for him, Saying, 'Alas, my brother!' or 'Alas, my sister!' They shall not lament for him, Saying, 'Alas, master!' or 'Alas, his glory!' He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” (Jer 22:18-19)