Jehoi'akim (Heb. Yehôyakinm', יהוֹיָקַים, Jehovah established; Sept. Ι᾿ωαλόμ, oftener Ι᾿ωακείμ, Josephus Ι᾿ωάκιμος; compare JOIAKIM, JOKIM), the second son of Josiah by Zebudah, daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah (probably the Dumah of Jos 15:52); born B.C. 634, and eighteenth king of the separate throne of Judah for a period of eleven years, B.C. 609-598. He is mentioned in 2Ki 23:34-36; 2Ki 24:1,5-6,19; 1Ch 3:15-16; 2Ch 36:4-5,8; Jer 1:3; Jer 22:18,24; Jer 24:1; Jer 25:1; Jer 26:1,21-23; Jer 27:1,20; Jer 28:4; Jer 35:1; Jer 36:1,9,28-30,32; Jer 37:1; Jer 45:1; Jer 46:2; Jer 52:2; Da 1:1-2. His original name was ELIAKIM SEE ELIAKIM (q.v.), but the equivalent name of Jehoiakim was given him by the Egyptian king who set him on his father's throne (2Ki 23:34). This change is significant of his dependence and loss of liberty, as heathen kings were accustomed to give new names to those who entered their service (Ge 41:45; Ezr 5:14; Da 1:7), usually after their gods. In this case, as the new name is Israelitish, it is probable that Pharaoh-necho gave it at the request of Eliakim himself, whom Hengstenberg supposes to have been influenced by a desire to place his name in closer connection with the promise (2Sa 7:12); where not El, but Jehovah is the promiser; and to have done this out of opposition to the sentence of the prophets respecting the impending fall of the house of David (Christol. 2:401, Eng. trans.). There exists the most striking contrast between his beautiful name and his miserable fate (Jer 22:19). ( SEE ECKHIRD, Vom Esels-Begräbniss, Lpz. 1716.) SEE NAME.
Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz, or Shallum, as he is called Jer 22:11, had been in the first instance made king by the people of the land on the death of his father Josiah, probably with the intention of following up Josiah's policy, which was to side with Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt, being, as Prideaux thinks, bound by oath to the kings of Babylon (Jer 1:19). SEE JEHOAHAZ. Pharaoh-necho, therefore, having borne down all resistance with his victorious army, immediately deposed Jehoahaz and had him brought in chains to Riblah, where, it seems, he was on his way to Carchemish (2Ki 23:33-34; Jer 22:10-12). SEE NECHO. He then set Eliakim, his elder brother, upon the throne — changed his name to Jehoiakim (see above) — and, having charged him with the task of collecting a tribute of 100 talents of silver and one talent of gold = nearly $200,000, in which he muleted the land for the part Josiah had taken in the war with Babylon, he eventually returned to Egypt, taking Jehoahaz with him, who died there in captivity (2Ki 23:34; Jer 22:10-12; Eze 19:4). Pharaoh- necho also himself returned no more to Jerusalem; for, after his great defeat at Carchemish in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, he lost all his Syrian possessions (2Ki 24:7; Jer 46:2), and his successor Psammis (Herod. 2, 141) made no attempt to recover them. Egypt, therefore, played no part in Jewish politics during the seven or eight years of Jehoiakim's reign. After the battle of Carchemish Nebuchadnezzar came into Palestine as one of the Egyptian tributary kingdoms, the capture of which was the natural fruit of his victory over Necho. He found Jehoiakim quite powerless. After a short siege he entered Jerusalem, took the king prisoner, bound him in fetters to carry him to Babylon (2Ch 36:6-7), and took also some of the precious vessels of the Temple and carried them to the land of Shinar, to the temple of Bel his god. It was at this time, in the fourth, or, as Daniel reckons, in the third year of his reign, SEE NEBUCHADNEZZAR, that Daniel and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were taken captives to Babylon (Da 1:1-2); but Nebuchadnezzar seems to have changed his purpose as regarded Jehoiakim, and to have accepted his submission, and reinstated him on the throne, perhaps in remembrance of the fidelity of his father Josiah (q.v.). The year following the Egyptians were defeated upon the Euphrates (Jer 46:2), and Jehoiakim, when he saw the remains of the defeated army pass by his territory, could not but perceive how vain had been that reliance upon Egypt against which he had been constantly cautioned by Jeremiah (Jer 31:1; Jer 45:1). In the same year the prophet caused a collection of his prophecies to be written out by his faithful Baruch and to be read publicly by him in the court of the Temple. This coming to the knowledge of the king, he sent for it and had it read before him. But he heard not much of the bitter denunciations with which it was charged before he took the roll from the reader, and, after cutting it in pieces, threw it into the brazier which, it being winter, was burning before him in the hall. The counsel of God against him, however, stood sure; a fresh roll was written, with the addition of a further and most awful denunciation against the king, occasioned by this foolish and sacrilegious act. "He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat and in the night to the frost" (Jeremiah 36). All this, however, appears to have made little impression upon Jehoiakim, who still walked in his old paths. SEE JEREMIAH.
After three years of subjection, Jehoiakim, deluded by the Egyptian party in his court (compare Josephus, Ant. 10:6, 2), ventured to withhold his tribute and thereby to throw off the Chaldaean yoke (2Ki 24:1). This step, taken contrary to the earnest remonstrances of Jeremiah, and in violation of his oath of allegiance, was the ruin of Jehoiakim. What moved or encouraged Jehoiakim to this rebellion it is difficult to say, unless it were the restless turbulence of his own bad disposition and the dislike of paying the tribute to the king of Babylon, which he would have rather lavished upon his own luxury and pride (Jer 22:13-17), for there was really nothing in the attitude of Egypt at this time to account for such a step. It seems more probable that, seeing Egypt entirely severed from the affairs of Syria since the battle of Carchemish, and the king of Babylon wholly occupied with distant wars, he hoped to make himself independent. Though Nebuchadnezzar was not able at that time to come in person to chastise his rebellious vassal, he sent against him numerous bands of Chaldaean, with Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, who were all now subject to Babylon (2Ki 24:7), and who cruelly harassed the whole country, being for the most part actuated by a fierce hatred against the Jewish name and nation. It was perhaps at this time that the great drought occurred described in Jeremiah 14 (compare Jer 15:4 with 2Ki 24:2-3). The closing years of this reign must have been a time of extreme misery. The Ammonites appear to have overrun the land of Gad (Jer 49:1), and the other neighboring nations to have taken advantage of the helplessness of Israel to ravage their land to the utmost (Ezekiel 25). There was no rest or safety out of the walled cities. We are not acquainted with the details of the close of the reign. Probably, as the time approached for Nebuchadnezzar himself to come against Judaea, the desultory attacks and invasions of his troops became more concentrated. Either in an engagement with some of these forces, or else by the hand of his own oppressed subjects, who thought to conciliate the Babylonians by the murder of their king, Jehoiakim seems to have come to a violent end in the eleventh year of his reign. His body, as predicted, appears to have been cast out ignominiously on the ground; perhaps thrown over the walls to convince the enemy that he was dead; and then, after being left exposed for some time, to have been dragged away and buried "with the burial of an ass," without pomp or lamentation, "beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jer 22:18-19; Jer 36:30; see 1Ch 3:15; 2Ki 23:34-37; 2Ki 24:1-7; 2Ch 36:4-8). Yet it was not the object of Nebuchadnezzar to destroy altogether a power which, as tributary to him, formed a serviceable outpost towards Egypt, which seems to have been the great final object of all his designs in this quarter. He therefore still maintained the throne of Judah and placed on it Jehoiachin, the son of the late king. Nor does he appear to have removed any considerable number of the inhabitants until provoked by the speedy revolt of this last appointee. SEE JEHOIACHIN.
The expression in Jer 36:30, "He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David," is not to be taken strictly; and yet, as the reign of Jehoiachin was for only thirteen weeks, Jehoiakim may be said to have been comparatively without a successor, since his son scarcely sat down upon his throne before he was deposed. The same explanation applies to 2Ki 23:34, where Eliakim or Jehoiakim is said to have succeeded his father Josiah, whereas the reign of Jehoahaz intervened. This was also so short, however, as not to be reckoned in the succession. In Mt 1:11, in the received text, the name of Jehoiakim (Ι᾿ωακείμ, "Jakim") is omitted, making Jehoiachin appear as the son of Josiah; but in some good MSS. it is supplied, as in the margin (see Strong's Greek Harmony of the Gospels, note on § 9). SEE GENEALOGY.
Josephus's history of Jehoiakim's reign is consistent neither with Scripture nor with itself. His account of Jehoiakim's death and Jehoiachin's succession appears to be only his own inference from the Scripture narrative. According to Josephus (Ant. 10, 6), Nebuchadnezzar came against Judaea in the 8th year of Jehoiakim's reign, and compelled him to pay tribute, which he did for three years, and then revolted, in the 11th year, on hearing that the king of Babylon had gone to invade Egypt. Such a campaign at this time is extremely improbable, as Nebuchadnezzar was fully occupied elsewhere; it is possible, however, that such a rumor may have been set afloat by interested parties. Josephus then inserts the account of Jehoiakim's burning Jeremiah's prophecy in his fifth year, and concludes by saying that a little time afterwards the king of Babylon made an expedition against Jehoiakim, who admitted Nebuchadnezzar into the city upon certain conditions, which Nebuchadnezzar immediately broke; that he slew Jehoiakim and the flower of the citizens, and sent 3000 captives to Babylon, and set up Jehoiachin for king, but almost immediately afterwards was seized with fear lest the young king should avenge his father's death, and so sent back his army to besiege Jerusalem; that Jehoiachin, being a man of just and gentle disposition, did not like to expose the city to danger on his own account, and therefore surrendered himself, his mother, and kindred to the king of Babylon's officers on condition of the city suffering no harm, but that Nebuchadnezzar, in direct violation of the conditions, took 10,832 prisoners, and made Zedekiah king in the room of Jehoiachin, whom he kept in custody. SEE JUDAH, KINGDOM OF.
All the accounts we have of Jehoiakim concur in ascribing to him a vicious and irreligious character. The writer of 2Ki 23:37 tells us that "he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah," a statement which is repeated in 2Ki 24:9, and 2Ch 36:5 The latter writer uses the yet stronger expression "the acts of Jehoiakim, and the abominations which he did" (2 Chronicles 8). But it is in the writings of Jeremiah that we have the fullest portraiture of him. If, as is probable, the 19th chapter of Jeremiah belongs to this reign, we have a detail of the abominations of idolatry practiced at Jerusalem under the king's sanction, with which Ezekiel's vision of what was going on six years later, within the very precincts of the Temple, exactly agrees: incense offered up to "abominable beasts," "women weeping for Thammuz," and men in the inner court of the Temple, "with their backs towards the temple of the Lord," worshipping "the sun towards the east" (Ezekiel 8). The vindictive pursuit and murder of Urijah, the son of Shemaiah, and the indignities offered to his corpse by the king's command, in revenge for his faithful prophesying of evil against Jerusalem and Judah, are samples of his irreligion and tyranny combined. Jeremiah but narrowly escaped the same fate (Jer 26:20-24). The curious notice of him in 1 Esd. 1:38 — that he put his nobles in chains, and caught Zaraces, his brother, in Egypt, and brought him up thence to Jerusalem — also points to his cruelty. His daring impiety in cutting up and burning the roll containing Jeremiah's prophecy, at the very moment when the national fast was being celebrated, has been noticed above (see also Stanley, Jewish Church, 2, 597 sq.). His oppression, injustice, covetousness, luxury, and tyranny are most severely rebuked (Jer 22:13-17); and it has frequently been observed, as indicating his thorough selfishness and indifference to the sufferings of his people, that, at a time when the land was so impoverished by the heavy tributes laid upon it by Egypt and Babylon in turn he should have squandered large sums in building luxurious palaces for himself (Jer 22:14-15). SEE IMAGERY, CHAMBERS OF.