God said to Jeconiah, also called Coniah for short, and sometimes called Jehoiachin – “I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear – the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die.” (Jeremiah 22:25)
His reign was brief. He began to reign at the age of eighteen, and he only reigned three months (2 Kings 24:8-ff). He was led into Babylonian captivity in 597 B.C. A false prophet named Hananiah said that he would shortly be restored to the throne (Jeremiah 28:1-ff). He never was. Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon, freed him from prison after thirty-seven years of captivity (2 Kings 25:27-ff; Jeremiah 52:31-ff), but he never returned from exile.
Then God said of Coniah – “O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD: ‘write this man childless … For none of his descendants shall prosper sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore on Judah’” (Jeremiah 22:29-30).
“Childless” does not mean that Coniah literally had no children. He had at least seven sons, maybe eight [(1 Chronicles 3:17-18) Note: Some take ‘Assir’ as a son. Others translate it ‘captive’ e.g. ESV]. Robert Taylor Jr. commented, “Coniah was to be written childless. This does not mean he was minus offspring for some eight sons of his are enumerated by the Chronicle (1 Chronicles 3:17, 18). It simply means that no son or descendant of his will ever reign in any prosperity upon David’s throne situated in Judah” (Studies in Jeremiah and Lamentations, Vol. 1, p.178). Wayne Jackson commented, “But how can it be said that the King was ‘childless’ when, in fact, he had seven sons (1 Chronicles 3:17). Cuneiform tablets from Babylon mention Yaukin (Jehoiachin) and five sons… Actually, there is a reference to the ruler’s ‘seed’ in this very context (v.28 b) … Jeconiah was to be childless in the sense that he would never have an heir to the Davidic throne. Regally, he was childless” (Jeremiah and Lamentations, p.54).
Coniah was the next to last earthly King to reign over Judah. The last King was Mattaniah, also known as Zedekiah. However, he was not the offspring of Coniah. He was Coniah’s uncle (2 Kings 24:17-ff).
Finally, Jeremiah foretold of better days. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘That I will raise to David a branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth … Now this is the name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
There is a comparison that should not be missed. (1) While Coniah was evil (2 Kings 24:8-9), This King would execute judgment (justice ESV) and righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5). (2) While Coniah’s offspring would not prosper reigning in Judah, this one would prosper in His reign. The reference is to Jesus. Jesus is identified as the “branch” (Isaiah 11:1, 10; cf. Romans 15:12).
Jesus is a descendant of Coniah (Matthew 1:11). Foy Wallace Jr. has remarked, “Now since Christ is the seed of Coniah, and no man of his seed can sit on David’s throne and rule anymore in Judah, it follows that Jesus Christ cannot occupy the throne of David on earth. But the prophets said that Jesus Christ the son of David should occupy David’s throne. Since it cannot be done on earth, it follows that Jesus Christ would occupy David’s throne not on earth, but in heaven. And that is exactly what Peter affirms in Acts 2:30” (God’s Prophetic Word, p.217). He reigns even now from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Note: The throne of David should not be thought of as a physical piece of furniture. The language is of authority [1 Kings 2:12 cf. 1 Chronicles 29:23 (watch how throne of David is used synonymously with the throne of God. Such does not refer to God’s literal throne)].