Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)THE REIGN OF JEHOIACHIN. BEGINNING OF THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY
(8) Jehoiachin.—“Jah will confirm.” Four or five different forms of this name occur in the documents. Ezekiel 1:2 gives the contraction Joiachin. In Jeremiah we find a popular transposition of the two elements, thus: Jechonjahu (once, viz., Jeremiah 24:1, Heb.), and usually the shorter form, Jechoniah (Jeremiah 27:20; Esther 2:6); which is further abridged into Coniah (Heb., Chonjahu) in Jeremiah 22:24; Jeremiah 22:28. Ewald thinks this last the original name; but Hengstenberg supposes that the prophet altered the name, so as to make of it a “Jah will confirm” without the “will,” in order to foreshadow the fate which awaited this king.
Nehushta.—Referring, perhaps, to her complexion (as we say “bronzed”).2 Kings 24:8. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign — In 2 Chronicles 36:9, it is said that he was eight years old when he began to reign. But as both the Syriac and Arabic versions in that place read eighteen, it seems most reasonable to believe that the transcriber of the book of Chronicles made a mistake, and wrote eight for eighteen. Poole, however, and many other commentators, suppose that both places are correct, and that in his eighth year he began to reign with his father, who made him king with him, as divers other kings of Israel and Judah had acted in times of trouble; and that in his eighteenth year he reigned alone. Jehoiachin’s succeeding his father in the throne of Judah may seem to disagree with the threat which the prophet denounces against his father, Jeremiah 36:30, He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David; but as Jehoiachin’s reign lasted little more than three months, during which time he was absolutely subject to the Chaldeans, a reign of so short continuance, and of so small authority, may well be looked upon as nothing: see Ezekiel 19:6, &c.1 Kings 15:10 note. Nehushta's rank and dignity are strongly marked by the distinct and express mention which is made of her in almost every place where her son's history is touched (2 Kings 24:12; compare Jeremiah 22:26; Jeremiah 29:2).
8. Jehoiachin—that is, "God-appointed," contracted into Jeconiah and Coniah (Jer 22:24).
eighteen years old when he began to reign—At the age of eight his father took him into partnership in the government (2Ch 36:9). He began to reign alone at eighteen.Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign.
Object. He was then but eight years old, 2 Chronicles 36:9.
Answ. 1. Both are true; in his eighth year he began to reign with his father, who made him king with him, as divers other kings of Israel and Judah had done in the like times of trouble; and in his eighteenth year he reigned alone.
2. He is called a son of eight years when he began to reign, 2 Chronicles 36:9, because this was the eighth year, not of his age, but of the Babylonish captivity, or bondage; under which both he and his father had been just so long; for it began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, as it is affirmed Jeremiah 25:1, and continued all his reign, which lasted eleven years, 2 Kings 23:36; and so the first year of Jehoiachin was precisely the eighth year of that captivity. And this is certain, that the years of kings mentioned in Scripture are not always accounted from the beginning of their age, but from some other remarkable time or thing: thus Saul, when at man’s estate, is called the son of one year, 1 Samuel 13:1, of which See Poole "1 Samuel 13:1" and Ahaziah (whose father lived only forty years, 2 Chronicles 21:20) is called a son of forty and two years when he began to reign, 2 Chronicles 22:2, because that was the forty and second year of the reign of Omri’s family, as most think. And therefore it cannot seem strange if the years of this king be computed, not from his birth but from the beginning of so great and famous a change of the Jewish affairs, as this captivity made; this being the usual way of the Romans and Greeks, and other more ancient and eastern nations, to compute the times from the great changes and revolutions happening among them. And that this was the practice of the Jews in the computation of these very times, is evident from the use of it in the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:2, which was the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s captivity; and Ezekiel 33:21, in the twelfth year of our captivity; and Ezekiel 40:1, in the twenty-fifth year of our captivity.
3. To all this might be added, that some here acknowledge an error of the scribe, and affirm, that in the first and best copies, in 2 Chronicles 36:9, it was not eight, but eighteen; which they gather from hence, because those two ancient and venerable translators, the Syriac and Arabic, read there, as it is here, was eighteen years old; which, they say, they would never have presumed to do, if they had not so read it in those Hebrew copies, out of which they drew their translation, or in some of them.
He reigned in Jerusalem three months, and ten days, which are added, 2 Chronicles 36:9. But such small sums are frequently omitted in great numbers. See Poole "Genesis 15:13"; See Poole "1 Kings 16:8". 2 Chronicles 36:9 he is said to be but eight years old; which may be reconciled by observing, that he might be made and declared king by his father, in the first year of his reign, who reigned eleven years, so that he was eight years old when he began to reign with him, and eighteen when he began to reign alone (q). Dr. Lightfoot (r) gives another solution of this difficulty, that properly speaking he was eighteen years old when he began to reign, but, in an improper sense, the son of eight years, or the eighth year, as the Hebrew phrase is; that is, he fell in the lot of the eighth year of the captivity of Judah, which was in the latter end of the third, or the beginning of the fourth of his father's reign, and the first of Nebuchadnezzar's, and it was now in the eighth of Nebuchadnezzar that he was king, see 2 Kings 24:12, but very probably in 2 Chronicles 36:9 there is a mistake in the copyist of eight for eighteen, since in the Arabic and Syriac versions it is there eighteen, as here:
he reigned in Jerusalem three months; the ten days besides are here omitted for shortness, 2 Chronicles 36:9.
and his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem; a person no doubt well known in those times.Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8–17. Reign of Jehoiachin. Capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Plunder and captives carried away: Zedekiah made king of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:9-10)
8. Jehoiachin was eighteen years old] The Chronicler says eight. The letter which is required to make the difference is the smallest in the Hebrew alphabet, and may easily have fallen out by a slip of the copyist. That ‘eighteen’ is the correct number may be concluded because (see verse 15) Jehoiachin had wives, which would hardly be the case at eight. To the ‘three months’ of the king’s reign here set down, the Chronicler adds ‘and ten days’, probably having before him a precise record. Though after the last reign we come no more upon quotations from the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah. Jehoiachin is called Jeconiah in Jeremiah 24:1, and Coniah in Jeremiah 22:24; Jeremiah 22:28. For the double form compare Oshea and Jehoshua (Numbers 13:16).
Elnathan of Jerusalem] Almost certainly the same person who is called ‘Elnathan the son of Achbor’ (Jeremiah 26:22) and who was sent by Jehoiakim with a party of men into Egypt to fetch thence Urijah the prophet, whom Jehoiakim caused to be put to death. The name also occurs among the princes in the account of Jeremiah’s roll (Jeremiah 36:12; Jeremiah 36:25). He was one of those who made intercession with the king not to burn it.Verses 8-16 - REIGN OF JEHOIACHIN. The short reign of Jehoisshin is now described. It lasted but three months. For some reason which is unrecorded, Nebuchadnezzar, who had placed him on the throne, took offence at his conduct, and sent an army against him to effect his deposition. Jehoiachin offered scarcely any resistance. He "went out" of the city (ver. 12), with the queen-mother, the officers of the court, and the princes, and submitted himself to the will of the great king. But he gained nothing by his pusillanimity. The Babylonians entered Jerusalem, plundered the temple and the royal palace, made prisoners of the king, his mother, the princes and nobles, the armed garrison, and all the more skilled artisans, to the number altogether of ten thousand souls (Josephus says 10,832, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:7. § 1), and carried them captive to Babylon. Zedekiah, the king's uncle, was made monarch in his room. Verse 8. - Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign. In 2 Chronicles 36:9 he is said to have been only eight years old, but this is probably an accidental corruption, the yod, which is the Hebrew sign for ten, easily slipping out. As he had "wives" (ver. 15) and "seed" (Jeremiah 22:28), he could not well be less than eighteen. And he reigned in Jerusalem three months. "Three months and ten days," according to 2 Chronicles (l.s.c.) and Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' l.s.c.). And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. Elnathan was one of the chief of the Jerusalem princes under Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:22; Jeremiah 36:12, 25). His daughter, Nehushta - the Noste of Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 10:6. § 3) - was probably the ruling spirit of the time during her son's short reign. We find mention of her in Jeremiah 26:26; 29:2; and in Josephus, 'Ant. Jud.,' 10:6. § 3, and Jeremiah 10:7. § 1. Ewald suggests that she "energetically supported" her son in the policy whereby he offended Nebuchadnezzar.
(Note: Compare the remarks of M. v. Niebuhr on this point (Gesch. pp. 208,209) and his summary at p. 209: "Nebuchadnezzar had enough to do in Babylon and the eastern half of his kingdom, to complete the organization of the new kingdom, to make the military roads to the western half of the kingdom along the narrow valley of the Euphrates and through the desert, and also to fortify them and provide them with watering stations and every other requisite, to repair the damages of the Scythian hordes and the long contest with Nineveh, to restore the shattered authority, and to bring Arabs and mountain-tribes to order. All this was more important than a somewhat more rapid termination of the Egyptian war and the pacification of Syria.")
He may also have thought it a matter of too little importance for him to go himself, as there was not much reason to be afraid of Egypt since its first defeat (cf. M. v. Niebuhr, p. 375). He therefore merely sent such troops against him as were in the neighbourhood of Judah at the time. The tribes mentioned along with the Chaldaeans were probably all subject to Nebuchadnezzar, so that they attacked Judah at his command in combination with the Chaldaean tribes left upon the frontier. How much they effected is not distinctly stated; but it is evident that they were not able to take Jerusalem, from the fact that after the death of Jehoiakim his son was able to ascend the throne (2 Kings 24:6). - The sending of these troops is ascribed to Jehovah, who, as the supreme controller of the fate of the covenant-nation, punished Jehoiakim for his rebellion. For, after the Lord had given Judah into the hands of the Chaldaeans as a punishment for its apostasy from Him, all revolt from them was rebellion against the Lord. "According to the word of Jehovah, which He spake by His servants the prophets," viz., Isaiah, Micah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, and others.
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