Jehoi'achin (Heb. Yehoyakin', יהוֹיָכַין, Jehovah appointed; Sept. Ι᾿εχονίαςin in 2Ki 24:6,8,12,15; 2Ki 25:27; Ι᾿εχονίαςin 2Ch 36:8-9; Ι᾿ωακείμ in Jer 52:31; Josephus Ι᾿ωάχιμος Ant. 10, 6, 3; 7, 1; N. Test. Ι᾿εχονίας, "Jechonias," Mt 1:11-12; contracted once יוֹיָכַין, Yoyakin', Eze 1:2, Sept. Ι᾿ωακείμ, Auth. Vers. "Jehoiachin"), also in the contracted forms JECONIAH (יכָניָה, Yekonyah', Sept. Ι᾿εχονίας in Jer 27:20; Jer 28:4; Jer 29:2; 1Ch 3:16-17; but omits in Es 2:6; likewise paragogic יכָניָהוּ, Yekonya'hu, Jer 24:1; Sept. Ι᾿εχονίας) and CONIAH (Konyah', only paragogic כָּניָהוּ, Konya'hu, Jer 22:24,28; Jer 37:1, Sept. Ι᾿εχονίας), son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, by Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem; he succeeded his father as the nineteenth monarch of that separate kingdom, but only for three months and ten days, B.C. 598. He was then eighteen years of age according to 2Ki 24:8, but only eight according to 2Ch 36:9. Many attempts have been made to reconcile these dates (see J. D. Müller, De reb. duar. tribuum regni Jud. adversis, Lipsiae, 1745; Oeder, Freie Untersuch. über einige Alttest. — Bucher, p. 214; Offerhaus, Spicileg. p. 193), the most usual solution being that he had reigned ten years in conjunction with his father, so that he was eight when he began his joint reign, but eighteen when he began to reign alone. There are, however, difficulties in this view which, perhaps, leave it the safest course to conclude that "eight": in 2Ch 26:9, is a corruption of the text, such as might easily occur from the relation of the numbers eight and eighteen. (All the versions read eighteen in Kings and so the Vulg. and many MSS. of the Sept. in Chronicles, as well as at 1 Esd. 1:43. Among recent commentators, Keil, Thenius, and Hitzig favor the reading eighteen, while Bertheau prefers eight. The language in Jer 22:24-30 is not decisive, for the epithets there applied to Jechoniah do not necessarily imply adult age, although they more naturally agree with it. The same remark applies to the allusion in Eze 19:5-9. The decided reprobation, however, in 2Ki 24:9, and in 2Ch 36:9, would hardly be used of a mere child. The mention of his mother in 2Ki 24:12 does not imply his minority, for the queen dowager was a very important member of the royal family. The number eight, indeed, would bring Jehoiachin's birth in the year of the beginning of the captivity by Nebuchadnezzar's invasion and thus exactly agree with the language in Mt 1:11; but the expression "and his brethren" added there, as well as the language of the following verse, agrees better with a less precise correspondence, as likewise the qualifying "about" indicates. The argument drawn from his father's age at death, thirty-six [2Ki 23:36], is favorable to Jehoiachin's maturity at the time, for most of these kings became fathers very early, Josiah, e.g., at fifteen [2Ki 22:1, comp. with 23:36].) He was, therefore, born in B.C. 616.
Jehoiachin followed the evil courses which had already brought so much disaster upon the royal house of David and upon the people under its sway. He seems to have very speedily indicated a political bias adverse to the interests of the Chaldaean empire, for in three months after his accession we find the generals of Nebuchadnezzar again laying siege to Jerusalem, according to the predictions of Jeremiah (Jer 22:24-30). Jehoiachin had come to the throne at a time when Egypt was still prostrate in consequence of the victory at Carchemish and when the Jews had been for three or four years harassed and distressed by the inroads of the armed bands of Chaldaeans, Ammonites, and Moabites, sent against them by Nebuchadnezzar in consequence of Jehoiakim's rebellion. SEE JEHOIAKIM. Jerusalem at this time, therefore, was quite defenseless and unable to offer any resistance to the regular army which Nebuchadnezzar sent to besiege it in the eighth year of his reign and which he seems to have joined in person after the siege was commenced (2Ki 24:10-11). In a very short time, apparently, and without any losses from famine or fighting which would indicate a serious resistance, Jehoiachin surrendered at discretion; and he, and the queen mother, and all his servants, captains, and officers, came out and gave themselves up to Nebuchadnezzar, who treated them, with the harem and the eunuchs, as prisoners of war (Jer 29:2; Eze 17:12; Eze 19:9). He was sent away as a captive to Babylon, with his mother, his generals, and his troops, together with the artificers and other inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the number of ten thousand. (This number, found in 2Ki 24:14, is probably a round number, made up of the 7000 soldiers of verse 16 and the 3023 nobles of Jer 52:28, exclusive of the 1000 artificers mentioned in 2Ki 24:16; see Brown's Ordo Soeclorum, p. 186.) Among these was the prophet Ezekiel. Few were left but the poorer sort of people and the unskilled laborers; few indeed, whose presence could be useful in Babylon or dangerous in Palestine. SEE CAPTIVITY. Neither did the Babylonian king neglect to remove the treasures which could yet be gleaned from the palace or the Temple and he now made spoil of those sacred vessels of gold which had been spared on former occasions. These were cut up for present use of the metal or for more convenient transport, whereas those formerly taken had been sent to Babylon entire and there laid up as trophies of victory. If the Chaldaean king had then put an end to the show of a monarchy and annexed the country to his own dominions, the event would probably have been less unhappy for the nation; but, still adhering to his former policy, he placed on the throne Mattaniah, the only surviving son of Josiah, whose name he changed to Zedekiah (2Ki 24:11-16; 2Ch 36:9-10; Jer 37:1). SEE NEBUCHADNEZZAR.
Jehoiachin remained a captive at Babylon — actually in prison (בֵּית כֶּלֶא) and wearing prison garments (Jer 52:31,33) — for thirty-six years, viz. during the lifetime of Nebuchadnezzar; but, when that prince died, his son, Evil-merodach, not only released him, but gave him an honorable seat at his own table, with precedence over all the other dethroned kings who were kept at Babylon and an allowance for the support of his rank (2Ki 25:27-30; Jer 52:31-34). B.C. 561. To what he owed this favor we are not told, but the Jewish commentators allege that Evil-merodach had himself been put into prison by his father during the last years of his reign and had there contracted an intimate friendship with the deposed king of Judah. We learn from Jer 28:4 that, four years after Jehoiachin had gone to Babylon, there was a great expectation at Jerusalem of his return, but it does not appear whether Jehoiachin himself shared this hope at Babylon. The tenor of Jeremiah's letter to the elders of the captivity (Jeremiah 29) would, however, indicate that there was a party among the captivity, encouraged by false prophets, who were at this time looking forward to Nebuchadnezzar's overthrow and Jehoiachin's return; and perhaps the fearful death of Ahab, the son of Kolaiah (Jer 29:22), and the close confinement of Jehoiachin through Nebuchadnezzar's reign, may have been the result of some disposition to conspire against Nebuchadnezzar on the part of a portion of the captivity. But neither Daniel or Ezekiel, who were Jehoiachin's fellow captives, make any further allusion to him, except that Ezekiel dates his prophecies by the year "of king Jehoiachin's captivity" (Eze 1:2; Eze 8:1; Eze 24:1, etc.); the latest date being "the twenty-seventh year" (Eze 29:17; Eze 40:1). We also learn from Es 2:6 that Kish, the ancestor of Mordecai, was Jehoiachin's fellow captive. But the apocryphal books are more communicative. Thus the author of the book of Baruch (1:3) introduces "Jechonias, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah," into his narrative and represents Baruch as reading his prophecy in his ears and in the ears of the king's sons, and the nobles and elders and people, at Babylon. At the hearing of Baruch's words, it is added, they wept and fasted and prayed, and sent a collection of silver to Jerusalem, to Joiakim, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Shallum, the high priest, with which to purchase burnt offerings, and sacrifices and incense, bidding them pray for the prosperity of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar his son. The history of Susanna and the elders also apparently makes Jehoiachin an important personage, for, according to the author, the husband of Susanna was Joiakim, a man of great wealth, and the chief person among the captives, to whose house all the people resorted for judgment — a description which suits Jehoiachin. Africanus (Ep. ad Orig.; Routh, Rel. Sac. 2:113) expressly calls Susanna's husband king and says that the king of Babylon had made him his royal companion (σύνθρονος). He is also mentioned in 1 Esd. 5:5, but the text seems to be corrupt. That Zedekiah, who in 1Ch 3:16 is called "his son," is the same as Zedekiah his uncle (called "his brother" in 2Ch 36:10), who was his successor on the throne, seems certain. But it is probable that "Assir" (אִסַּר = captive), who is reckoned amongst the family of Jeconiah in 1Ch 3:17, may really have been only an appellative of Jeconiah himself (see Bertheau on 1Ch 3:16). SEE ASSIR. In the genealogy of Christ (Mt 1:11) he is named in the received text as the "son of Josias" his grandfather, the name of Jehoiakim having probably been omitted by erroneous transcription. SEE GENEALOGY. In the dark portrait of his early character by the prophet (Jer 22:30), the expression "Write ye this man childless" refers to his having no successor on the throne, for he had children (see Meth. Quar. Review, Oct. 1852, p. 602-4). SEE SALATHIEL. Josephus, however (Ant. 10, 7,1), gives him a fair character (see Keil, Commentary on Kings p. 602). The compiler of 1 Esd. gives the name of Jechonias to Jehoahaz, the son of Josiah, who reigned three months after Josiah's death and was deposed and carried to Egypt by Pharaoh-necho (1 Esd. 1:34, 2Ki 23:30). He is followed in this blunder by Epiphanius (1:21), who says "Josiah begat Jechoniah, who is also called Shallum. This Jechoniah begat Jechoniah who is called Zedekiah and Joakim." It has its origin, doubtless, in the confusion of the names when written in Greek by writers ignorant of Hebrew. SEE JUDAH, KINGDOM OF.