Don’t weep for the dead.
Don’t bemoan him;
but weep bitterly for him who goes away,
for he will return no more,
and not see his native country.
For Yahweh says touching Shallum the son of Josiah, king of Judah, who reigned instead of Josiah his father, and who went out of this place: “He won’t return there any more. But he will die in the place where they have led him captive. He will see this land no more.”
“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his rooms by injustice;
who uses his neighbor’s service without wages,
and doesn’t give him his hire;
who says, ‘I will build myself a wide house and spacious rooms,’
and cuts out windows for himself;
with a cedar ceiling,
and painted with red.
“Should you reign, because you strive to excel in cedar?
Didn’t your father eat and drink,
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
so it was well, then.
Wasn’t this to know me?”
But your eyes and your heart are only for your covetousness,
for shedding innocent blood,
for oppression, and for doing violence.”
Therefore Yahweh says concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
“They won’t lament for him,
saying, ‘Ah my brother!’ or, ‘Ah sister!’
They won’t lament for him,
saying ‘Ah lord!’ or, ‘Ah his glory!’
He will be buried with the burial of a donkey,
drawn and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.”
Back when we were reading Israel’s history in 2 Kings 23, we didn’t know that some of the events there were actually known before they happened. Jeremiah predicted what was going to happen to two wicked kings of Judah. Both of these kings were sons of the good king Josiah. The first one was to be exiled to a foreign country and die there. Jeremiah called his name “Shallum” here. In 2 Kings, he is known as Jehoahaz. He ended up being taken away by Pharaoh Neco, the same Pharaoh that killed his father. He did die in exile, just as Jeremiah predicted.
The second king mentioned here is the one that Neco put in charge after he removed Jehoahaz. His original name was Eliakim, but Neco renamed him Jehoiakim. That’s the name that Jeremiah used in his prophesy about him. We aren’t told in 2 Kings 24 exactly how Jehoiakim was buried. We actually have to rely on the prophesy we have here to know that. We do know that he was forced to be Nebuchadnezzar’s servant in the end. He rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar so it’s clear that He wasn’t respected at the time of his death based on circumstances. In 2 Chronicles 36:6 we learn that he was taken in shackles to Babylon.
What should have been clear to all of Israel is that Jeremiah was a true prophet of God. The way to determine if a prophet is really from God is to make sure that what he says about the future comes true. If he accurately tells the future, then the people were to pay close attention to what God was saying. God had given the people a chance to not die in Jerusalem by surrendering to Babylon. Those who took Jeremiah’s words to heart would be saved from death and starvation. It’s good to know that when God tells us to believe in something, He makes sure that we can separate the words of those who lie from those who tell the truth. God allowed the people to see the truth as Jeremiah’s words came true with Pharaoh Neco before Nebuchadnezzar showed up and ended up defeating both Pharaoh Neco and Jerusalem.