1 The Lord told me, “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah. Give him a message from me there. 2 Say: ‘Listen, O king of Judah who follows in David’s succession. You, your officials, and your subjects who pass through the gates of this palace must listen to what the Lord says. 3 The Lord says, “Do what is just and right. Deliver those who have been robbed from those who oppress them. Do not exploit or mistreat foreigners who live in your land, children who have no fathers, or widows. Do not kill innocent people in this land. 4 If you are careful to obey these commands, then the kings who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to come through the gates of this palace, as will their officials and their subjects. 5 But, if you do not obey these commands, I solemnly swear that this palace will become a pile of rubble. I, the Lord, affirm it!”
6 “‘For the Lord says concerning the palace of the king of Judah,
“This place looks like a veritable forest of Gilead to me.
It is like the wooded heights of Lebanon in my eyes.
But I swear that I will make it like a wilderness
whose towns have all been deserted.
7 I will send men against it to destroy it
with their axes and hatchets.
They will hack up its fine cedar panels and columns
and throw them into the fire.
8 “‘People from other nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?” 9 The answer will come back, “It is because they broke their covenant with the Lord their God and worshipped and served other gods.”
Judgment on Jehoahaz
10 “‘Do not weep for the king who was killed.
Do not grieve for him.
But weep mournfully for the king who has gone into exile.
For he will never return to see his native land again.
11 “‘For the Lord has spoken about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but was carried off into exile. He has said, “He will never return to this land. 12 For he will die in the country where they took him as a captive. He will never see this land again.”
Judgment on Jehoiakim
13 “‘Sure to be judged is the king who builds his palace using injustice
and treats people unfairly while adding its upper rooms.
He makes his countrymen work for him for nothing.
He does not pay them for their labour.
14 He says, “I will build myself a large palace
with spacious upper rooms.”
He cuts windows in its walls,
panels it with cedar, and paints its rooms red.
15 Does it make you any more of a king
that you outstrip everyone else in building with cedar?
Just think about your father.
He was content that he had food and drink.
He did what was just and right.
So things went well with him.
16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.
So things went well for Judah.’
The Lord says,
‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.’
17 But you are always thinking and looking
for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.
Your eyes and your heart are set
on killing some innocent person
and committing fraud and oppression.
18 So the Lord has this to say about Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:
People will not mourn for him, saying,
“This makes me sad, my brother!
This makes me sad, my sister!”
They will not mourn for him, saying,
“Poor, poor lord! Poor, poor majesty!”
19 He will be left unburied just like a dead donkey.
His body will be dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.’”
Warning to Jerusalem
20 People of Jerusalem, go up to Lebanon and cry out in mourning.
Go to the land of Bashan and cry out loudly.
Cry out in mourning from the mountains of Moab.
For your allies have all been defeated.
21 While you were feeling secure I gave you warning.
But you said, “I refuse to listen to you.”
That is the way you have acted from your earliest history onward.
Indeed, you have never paid attention to me.
22 My judgment will carry off all your leaders like a storm wind!
Your allies will go into captivity.
Then you will certainly be disgraced and put to shame
because of all the wickedness you have done.
23 You may feel as secure as a bird
nesting in the cedars of Lebanon.
But oh how you will groan when the pains of judgment come on you.
They will be like those of a woman giving birth to a baby.
Jeconiah Will Be Permanently Exiled
24 The Lord says,
“As surely as I am the living God, you, Jeconiah, king of Judah, son of Jehoiakim, will not be the earthly representative of my authority. Indeed, I will take that right away from you. 25 I will hand you over to those who want to take your life and of whom you are afraid. I will hand you over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his Babylonian soldiers. 26 I will force you and your mother who gave you birth into exile. You will be exiled to a country where neither of you were born, and you will both die there. 27 You will never come back to this land to which you will long to return!”
28 This man, Jeconiah, will be like a broken pot someone threw away.
He will be like a clay vessel that no one wants.
Why will he and his children be forced into exile?
Why will they be thrown out into a country they know nothing about?
29 O land of Judah, land of Judah, land of Judah!
Listen to what the Lord has to say!
30 The Lord says,
“Enrol this man in the register as though he were childless.
Enrol him as a man who will not enjoy success during his lifetime.
For none of his sons will succeed in occupying the throne of David
or ever succeed in ruling over Judah.”