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Matthew 1:11: the curse of Jeconiah

Discussion in 'Christian Scriptures' started by Nate servant of the Lord, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. Nate servant of the Lord

    Nate servant of the Lord New Member

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  2. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    Why think that the curse on Jeconiah applied to anyone other than his immediate children? Jer 22 seems only to say that Jeconiah will be exiled and his actual children (not descendants hundreds of years later) won't be on the throne.

    We know from Jer 22 that Jeconiah is said to be written as childless, even though we know that he in fact had children. The whole point seems to be that Jeconiah will lose the kingdom of Judah and go into exile.

    We know who Jeconiah's sons were:

    1 Chr 3:17 The sons of Jehoiachin the exile:
    Shealtiel his son, 3:18 Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah.

    We also know a little about one of Shealtiel's sons (or Pedaiah's son depending on how you read it) Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel did in fact return from exile in Babylon and it seems he was the one ruling in Jerusalem (Hag 1:1, 2:2, 2:23). Zerubbabel along with the high priest Joshua also rebuilt the temple, a role reserved for the king as David and Solomon had done. So I think you're going to be pressed to interpret Jeremiah as referring to all of Jeconiah's descendants since we know that one of his great grandsons was in fact ruling in Jerusalem.

    It also seems that some of his other descendants returned from exile in Babylon as well and were at least considered as part of the leadership:

    Neh 12:32 Going after them were Hoshaiah, half the leaders of Judah, 12:33 Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam
    (See also Neh 10, 11:7)

    It seems the genealogical lists in 1 Chr 3 probably terminate with the people actually living when the book was written, which seems to be some time shortly after the exile return from Babylon (2 Chr 36:22-23). So not only did Jeconiah have children, one of his descendants ruled in Jerusalem and it seem many other returned from Babylon as part of the leadership. Jeremiah's word then apply only to Shealtiel, Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah, none of whom ruled. Though it does seem that one of his sons, Pedaiah, may have returned with the exiles (Neh 8:4).

    I think something else is going on in the New Testament genealogies other than trying to avoid a connection to Jeconiah.
     
  3. Nate servant of the Lord

    Nate servant of the Lord New Member

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    In the bible when it says "so and so is the son of so and so" it doesn't always mean that person is actually that persons son. Joseph was referred to as son of David. Jesus of course was also referred to as that. Even in the genealogy in Matthew 1 there are names skipped and left out. Zerubbabel may have been governor, but he was not king, for judah was still under the Medo-Persian rule at that time. Zerubbabel didn't sit on the throne. There has not been a rightful king from the house of David in Judah, sitting on the throne, since before the Babylonian captivity.
     
  4. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    Perhaps, but Haggai seems to have thought otherwise:

    Hag 2:22 I will overthrow royal thrones and shatter the might of earthly kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and those who ride them, and horses and their riders will fall as people kill one another. 2:23 On that day,’ says the Lord who rules over all, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, my servant,’ says the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ says the Lord who rules over all.

    Here, after God overthrows the other thrones and kingdoms, he installs Zerubbabel as king.
     
  5. Nate servant of the Lord

    Nate servant of the Lord New Member

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    a. I will take you, Zerubbabel … and will make you like a signet ring: The signet ring was a token of royal authority much like a throne, a crown, or a scepter.

    i. "This is not a personal assurance only to Zerubbabel, for neither he nor his natural seed reigned in Jerusalem, or rose to any special eminence in the kingdoms of this world." (Pulpit)

    b. For I have chosen you: What was so special about Zerubbabel? He truly was chosen of God - in the ancestry of Jesus, Zerubbabel was the last person to stand to be in both the line of Mary (the blood lineage of Jesus - Luke 3:27) and Joseph (the legal lineage of Jesus through Joseph - Matthew 1:12).

    i. God used these two lines of ancestry for Jesus because He placed a curse on the seed of Jechoniah (also known as Coniah or Jehoiachin) as recorded in Jeremiah 22:30. That line was royal line of David, so if the Messiah was to qualify for the throne of David (Luke 1:31-33), he had to be of the legal line of David, yet not of his seed.

    ii. Jechoniah was the last legitimate king of Judah and the royal House of David goes through him. His only successor was Zedekiah, his uncle who was appointed not by right, but by an occupying Babylonian ruler (2 Kings 24:17-20). Even at the end of his life, the Babylonians recognized Jechoniah as the legitimate king of Judah (2 Kings 25:27-30)

    iii. Because Zerubbabel was a descendant of the last legitimate king of Judah, he could be legitimately recognized as the ruler (though not king) of the returning exiles.
     
  6. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    Additional thought, if Jeconiah's curse from Jeremiah was to be intended for ALL of his descendants, then we have to wonder why the Chronicler goes to such great lenghts to record the lineage of Jeconiah through Zerubbabel.

    Jeconiah-Shealtiel-Pedaiah-Zerubbabel-Hananiah-Shecaniah-Neariah-Elioena-(Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani)

    It seems clear what the Chronicler is doing - he's giving the rightful royal lineage. He doesn't seem to have a problem with Jeconiah.
     
  7. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    So Haggai was wrong?

    It seems to me that Haggai thought he was the king. It could also be argued that the returning exiles also thought the same way, which is why we see Zerubbabel doing the kingly task of building the temple.

    A term describing the king no doubt, especially given the context of Hag 2

    I think this is where your argument starts to get flimsy.

    I think your best argument was what you started with - that Zerubbabel was only a governor, a minor ruler subservient to Persia, never actually king in an independent sense.

    It's just that when I read the passages regarding the return from exile, it seems they thought Zerubbabel was the king. Not only does Haggai very explicitly say so, but Zerubbabel does the kingly task of temple building in conjunction with the high priest.

    The best counter argument would be that Zerubbabel's reign seems (a) to have been subservient to Persian authority and (b) seems to have fizzled out as we here nothing about Zerubbabel's descendants sitting on the throne. But there are possible counters to this as well, though they are more speculative.

    It seems to me that in the eyes of the returning exiles, Zerubbabel is recognized as the rightful king as Haggai says and as his actions and position demonstrate. Additionally, we have the Chronicler going to great lengths to recording Zerubbabel's descendants - no doubt an effort to maintain a record of the rightful royal line.
     
  8. Nate servant of the Lord

    Nate servant of the Lord New Member

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    From what I took from those genealogies in 1 chronicals is that the author was giving the genealogies of all the families of israel. Because after it names the family of David, then judah, then reuben, gad, manasseh and all the rest of the tribes. The family of David there is just saying his descendants, not pointing anything else out rather than they are just his family, because it names the rest of the tribes families. If the author of 1 chronicles was naming them to point out they are rightfully heirs to the throne, why would he name every other tribe? He's just naming all the descendants
     
  9. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    Agreed. He's probably giving the genealogies of tribal leadership.

    He starts with Judah through David because he's giving the royal line, and he traces it through Zerubbabel's descendants (who in turn were all descendants of Jeconiah). The last names in the list were probably contemporary with the author and would have been considered the rightful heir to David's throne.
     
  10. Yekcidmij

    Yekcidmij Polymath

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    Another interesting theory along these lines is that Haggai and Zechariah prophesied that the Davidic Dynasty was to be restored, as they thought, through Zerubbabel. At their instigation, the returnees crowned Zerubbabel as King. But this didn't sit well with Darius back in Persia, so he had Zerubbabel executed and didn't' replace him with anyone, leaving the leadership in Jerusalem to fall to the high priest were it remained until the time of the Maccabees.

    This may sound a little far fetched at first, after all, we don't know with certainty what happened to Zerubbabel - he just sort of falls out of the picture - though we do see the Chronicler maintaining his lineage in an effort to keep a record of the royal line. But we do have some clues that this may be what happened.

    First, Haggai clearly states that after God overthrows the other kings in some sort of battle, he will install Zerubbabel (Hag 2:20-23) as the heir to the Davidic Dynasty. This couldn't sit will if you were one of the other kings, such as Darius.

    Second, Haggai uses some interesting terminology to describe Zerubbabel, to include both "my servant" and "chosen" (2:23)

    Third, Zechariah also clearly prophecies about Zerubbabel restoring the Davidic Dynasty (see Zech 4:7-14, 6:9-15) possibly surrounding some cataclysmic battle (12-14)

    Fourth, Zechariah also has some interesting terminology for Zerubbabel, referring to him as "the Branch" and "anointed" (6:12, 4:14).

    We see very similar terminology used by Isaiah to describe the future king. Isaiah refers to him as the "branch" (Is 11:1, 11:10, 53:2). Isaiah also describes God's servant through a series of servant songs that has often confounded people who attempt to identify the servant. On one hand, the "servant" is an explicit term used to describe Israel (Is 41:8-9, 43:10, 44:1-2, 44:21, 45:4, 48:20, 49:3), who is described as failing in it's commission - the servant is described as blind, deaf, etc.. On the other hand, there seems to be a point in the servant songs where the servant is described in positive terms, and seems to have a mission to rescue and restore Israel, making it difficult to maintain the identity of the servant as Israel - it even seems the servant is an individual, perhaps a representative of the nation.

    In any case, it may be that the "branch" and "servant" were first identified as Zerubbabel who Haggai and Zechariah refer to in those terms. The theory further goes that once he was declared as king at the instigation of Zechariah and Haggai (and potentially Joshua the High Priest), Zerubbabel becomes the suffering servant as Darius has him executed for sedition/treason. The installation of Zerubbabel as king is the first messianic movement after the fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. But he outcome of those efforts seem to have fallen short of expectations. This sequence of events is the original application of the prophecies in Isaiah about the future coming king, the restoration of Israel, and the servant who suffers.

    So I dunno - round trip here - I don't see the problem with Jeconiah's descendants since Zechariah, Haggai, and the Chronicler didn't seem to have a problem. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
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