The morals of the leadership of a nation determine the direction in which the nation is headed. In a corrupt nation, there is no one to take the defence of the poor, widows, orphans and foreigners. If the king will not come to their defence, then the nation is morally doomed.
The rulers of Judah remained corrupt and thus reaped the punishment of the Lord. The royal family was taken from the Jewish society and would never rise again on earth. Though the nations remained patriotic to their national gods, Israel forsook her God.
Though the nations did not have a correct view of the covenant between God and Israel, they at least knew that a nation should never forsake her national god. They thus mocked Israel because she broke the covenant between herself and her God by violating the conditions of the covenant with her God.
Those who were taken into captivity would die in captivity. Jeremiah told the people not to weep for Josiah, but for Shallum who would be taken into captivity by the Egyptians. Josiah was killed by Pharaoh-Necho at Megiddo. The people then made Shallum their king in Jerusalem. However, after three months Pharaoh-Necho took Shallum as a captive in Egypt, 2 Kings 23:30-34. Pharaoh-Necho then placed Eliakim, Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, on the throne.
Jehoiakim was a ruthless and oppressive king. He brought misery upon the people. He followed after his own corrupt heart, exploiting the people for his own gain. He was in power for himself, not to serve the needs of the people. He was so corrupt that he placed his own people in bondage by having them work without pay. He stole the goods of the people, confiscating at will all that pleased his greed. He was a murderous king, Jeremiah 26:23.
Jeremiah contrasted Jehoiakim’s life and reign to the life and reign of his father Josiah. Josiah sought to restore Judah to God. Jehoiakim sought to lead God’s people away from God. The father failed to pass on to his son a moral ethic, for the son gave himself over to rebellion against all for which his father stood.
Jehoiakim would come to a disgraceful end. Because he grievously oppressed the people with his corrupt behaviour, no one would lament his death. He would be disposed of as a dead donkey, laid in the sun to rot.
Jeremiah commanded them to go to the north, east and west to those nations on which Judah relied. They would find that these nations were all gone. When they were rich and economically doing well, they had no urge to depend on God. In their self-reliance, they refused to listen to God. However, their idol god of prosperity brought them into poverty and captivity.
The name ‘Lebanon’ was sometimes used in prophecy to refer to Jerusalem. Because the temple and palace were constructed from the cedars of Lebanon, the figure of speech referred to the residents, specifically, the king, as dwelling in houses that were built from the cedars of Lebanon.
This oracle of Jeremiah speaks of Jehoiachin before he was taken into captivity, and then of his time in captivity. He was a corrupt and unrighteous king like his father, Jehoiakim. Fortunately, his reign was only three months before Nebuchadnezzar took him and the first group of captives into captivity in 597 B.C.
He and his mother, Nehushta, with his wives, were taken with 10,000 Israelites into Babylonian captivity. Though he was taken into captivity, the Israelites still considered him their king of choice.
Nebuchadnezzar placed Zedekiah, another son of Josiah and uncle to Jehoiachin, on the throne after Jehoiachin was taken into captivity, Jeremiah 28:1-4 / Ezra 17:22.
Though the people may have envisioned Jehoiachin and his descendants continuing the Davidic lineage of kings, Jeremiah pronounced a termination of his heritage as kings in Jerusalem. As national Israel came to an end, never again to enjoy the pride of nationhood, the demise of the nation was symbolised by the termination of the Davidic kingship on earth through the descendants of David.
Earthly kings did Israel no favour in keeping the nation close to God. Earthly kings were fallible, and thus, their leadership behaviour in many ways led the people away from God.
Now that the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel had gone or were going into captivity, God sought a restoration of His sole kingship over the repentant remnant, and eventually with the new spiritual Israel that would be ruled directly from heaven through King Jesus, Ephesians 1:20-23 / Philippians 2:5-11 / 1 Timothy 6:15.
The earthly kings led Israel into destruction. King Jesus would reign from heaven and lead spiritual Israel into victory, Matthew 28:18.