Two Royal Brothers: the Reigns of Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim
2 Kings 23:31-24:7
Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem…

I. THEY WERE BROTHERS IN WICKEDNESS. Of each of them it is said, "He did evil in the sight of the Lord." What the particular sins of Jehoahaz were we are not told. But the sins of Jehoiakim are fully and fearlessly stated and denounced by Jeremiah. "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work; that saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is celled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it (Jeremiah 22:13-17). Injustice, fraudulence, selfishness, covetousness, oppression, violence, murder, - such were the main characteristics of him who should have been an example of the people. Selfishness and covetousness were at the bottom of all the rest. And are they not common sins? In the rich they lead to injustice and oppression; in the poor they lead to discontent ant envy and violence. The spirit of the gospel, by promoting unselfishness, would lead to fair and upright dealing between man and man.

II. THEY WERE BOTH WICKED, THOUGH THE SONS OF A GOOD FATHER. Even a good man may have had sons. Perhaps the home training they received was defective. Josiah may have been so much engrossed with the cares of his kingdom, and the reformation of his people, that he neglected the state of his own household. But nevertheless, they had a good example, which they neglected to follow. Jeremiah reminds Jehoiakim of this. "Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment, and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 22:15, 16). The privileges and the example they had received increased their guilt. "To whom much is given, of him shall much be required." If we have great privileges, we have also great responsibilities. Those who have been brought up in a Christian land or in a godly home will be expected to know better than those who have been brought up in a heathen country or amid careless and godless surroundings.

III. THEY WERE BOTH WICKED, THOUGH THE ONE HAD THE OTHER'S FATE AS A. WARNING. Jehoahaz was sent into exile for his sins. Yet Jehoiakim, who succeeded him, did not profit by the warning. None of us are without many warnings against sin. We have the plain warnings of God's Word. We have the terrible warnings of his providence. How fearful, even in this life, are the consequences of many sins! We have warnings against putting off the offer of salvation to a more convenient season. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh."

IV. THEY BOTH HAD A MISERABLE END. Jehoahaz died in exile. Pharaoh-Nechoh put him in prison at Rihlah, and he died in captivity. Speaking of him, Jeremiah says, "Weep ye not for the dead, neither bemoan him: but weep sore for him that goeth away: for he shall return no more, nor see his native country" (Jeremiah 22:10). What a pathetic strain! The love of the Jews for their native land was most intense. "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" "Yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion." But, after all, what a profitless kind of patriotism theirs was! They loved their native land, but they were blind to its best interests. They did not remember the secret of true prosperity and well-being. They did not remember that "righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." They forsook him who was their nation's best Defender and unfailing Friend. A patriotism without righteousness will not benefit a nation much. Jehoiakim died at Jerusalem. But what an ignominious fate was his! Jeremiah had foretold it when he said, "They shall not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! or, Ah sister!... He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:18, 19). It was Jehoiakim who cut with his penknife the roll on which were written the words of the Lord, and cast the leaves into the fire (Jeremiah 36.). For this God said, regarding Jehoiakim, that he should have none to sit upon the throne of David; "and his dead body should be east out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost." Jehoiakim perished, but the Word of God, which he sought to destroy, was fulfilled. God's Word cannot be destroyed. Roman emperors sought to destroy it. The Church of Rome, for the exaltation of the priesthood, kept it from the people. "But the Word of God is not bound." Contrast the fate of Jehoiakim, who despised and dishonored the Word of God, with the universal lamentation that followed the death of his father Josiah, who honored God's Word and obeyed its teachings. - C.H.I.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

WEB: Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

Pharaoh - Nechoh and the Jewish Kings
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