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Jehoiakim means "he whom the LORD has set up." His original name was Eliakim. His name is also sometimes spelled Jehoikim. He was the son of Josiah by Zebidah the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah, and king of the Kingdom of Judah. He was also the husband of Nehushta and the father of King Jehoiachin. Both William F. Albright and E. R. Thiele agree on dating his reign to 609 BC-598 BC. He is known for burning the manuscript of one of the prophecies of Jeremiah.

Rise and reign

On the death of his father his younger half-brother Jehoahaz, who favored the Chaldeans against the Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt, Necho II, invaded the land and replaced Jehoahaz with Eliakim, who changed his name to Jehoiakim. After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics, having been defeated by the Chaldeans in the Battle of Carchemish.

Judah was now invaded and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, and Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive to Babylon. It was at this time that Daniel with his three companions were taken captive to Babylon (Book of Daniel 1:1, 2). Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated him as a vassal king.

Jehoiakim and Jeremiah had a very rocky relationship. Jeremiah warned the king that "God would roll him up, and throw him out of Judah." Jehoiakim responded by putting Jeremiah in prison. Jeremiah then dictated a prophecy to Baruch, his scribe. Baruch read the prophecy in the temple, and others told Jehoiakim about this scroll. The words displeased him, and taking the roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it into the fire (Jer. 36:23). Jeremiah then went on to dictate the book again to Baruch, with additional prophecies on the fate of Jehoiakim as recorded in chapter 37 of the Book of Jeremiah.

During his disastrous reign there was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of Manasseh. After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld his tribute and revolted (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his rebellious vassal, who pillaged the whole country (compare Jer. 49:1-6).

Jehoiakim came to a violent death, and his body was thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince the besieging army that he was dead. After having been dragged away, his corpse was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial of an ass" (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar placed Jehoiakim's Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.

Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, succeeded his father. Zedekiah, son of Jehoiachin, was next on the throne. Zedekiah actually sent for Jeremiah to ask his advice. Zedekiah did not listen, but still asked Jeremiah to pray for the people. Eventually Jeremiah was imprisoned again, this time on a false charge that he was collaborating with the Babylonians. (This is also the time that Lehi left Jerusalem.)

Eventually, all of Judah is thrown out of Judah, and taken captive by the Babylonians. Jeremiah is taken to Egypt, where he died.


  • 2 Kgs. 23:34-36
  • 2 Kgs. 24:1-6, 19
  • 1 Chr. 3:15-16
  • 2 Chr. 36:4-5, 8
  • Jer. 1:3
  • Jer. 22:1, 36
  • Jer. 26:1, 21-23
  • Jer. 27:1, 20
  • Jer. 28:4
  • Jer. 35:1
  • Jer. 36:1, 9, 28-32

This entry incorporates text from the public domain Easton's Bible Dictionary, originally published in 1897.