Jeremiah 22:15, 16 - What It Means To Know The Lord.
Jer.22:15, 16; What It Means To Know The Lord.
CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word
Jer 22:15, 16 (NCV) "Does having a lot of cedar in your house
make you a great king? Your father was satisfied to have food and
drink. He did what was right and fair, so everything went well for him.
He helped those who were poor and needy, so everything went well
for him. That is what it means to know God," says the LORD.
Jer 22:15, 16 (NLT) "But a beautiful palace does not make a
great king! Why did your father, Josiah, reign so long? Because he was
just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He
made sure that justice and help were given to the poor and needy, and
everything went well for him. Isn't that what it means to know me?" asks
To Know Me. To love God fully, which results in living a pious
life and serving those in need. [NIV SB]
CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:
Zedekiah was refused divine aid against Babylon (21:1-14), and
Jeremiah condemned Judah's evil kings (22:1-30). In the distant future
Messiah will restore a scattered Israel (23:1-8), but the immediate
future holds judgment, despite the lies of Judah's prophets (vv. 9-40).
God would bless those who went into Captivity (24:1-10), and in 70
years restore Judah to her land (25:1-14). Later He would punish her
pagan persecutors (vv. 15-38). Jeremiah was viewed as a traitor and
threatened with death (26:1-24). Yet he did not stop calling on Judah to
submit to Babylon and God's will (27:1-22). His words are authenticated
by the predicted death of the false prophet Hananiah (28:1-17), but
a letter to Jewish captives already in Babylon sparks a new charge
of treason against Jeremiah (29:1-32). [The 365-Day Devotional
Chapter 21-22 Summary
These chapters move us forward in time and relate the ministry
of Jeremiah to the last few kings of Judah. First, Jeremiah relates
an event that happened when the Babylonians were advancing against
Jerusalem in 588 B.C. King Zedekiah sends to ask Jeremiah if there is any
hope for God's intervention (21:1-2). Jeremiah announces that God
intends to fight for the enemy and that Judah is doomed (vv. 3-7). The
prophet then urges the people to flee Jerusalem (vv. 8-10). On the same
theme, Jeremiah inserts a message from an earlier time, addressed to
the royal house, urging reform of the justice system and predicting
judgment (vv. 11-14).
Another message on the theme of royal culpability shows how
Jeremiah exhorted the kings to establish justice or expect desolation
(22:1-9). He predicts that Shallum (Jehoahaz), taken captive to Babylon
after a three-month rule, will never return (vv. 10-12). But his most
scathing denunciation is reserved for Jehoiakim. That luxury-loving
heretic son of godly King Josiah (vv. 13-17) is destined to die a
shameful death and be given a donkey's burial with no mourning at his
passing (vv. 18-30). [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
In Jeremiah 22:1-9 the prophet addressed Zedekiah, the reigning
"king of Judah" (22:1). Shallum (or Jehoahaz) took the throne after
Josiah's death but reigned only three months (2 Kings 23:31-34). In
22:13-23 Jehoiakim (609-597 B.C.) succeeded Shallum. This wicked king
received a donkey's burial, which actually was no burial at all (Jer.
22:18-19; 2 Kings 24:6). Coniah (Jer. 22:24-28), also called Jehoiachin
and Jeconiah, reigned only three months before Nebuchadezzer
captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C. and exiled ten thousand Judeans (2 Kings
24:8-16). Coniah was imprisoned in Babylon but later released (2 Kings
25:27-30). The book of Jeremiah ends by recounting the event of Coniah's
release (52:28-34). In 22:29-30 Jeremiah concluded his oracle with an
application that went back to Zedekiah ("This man," 22:30), the addressee of
Jeremiah 21-22. The word "childless" referred to the fact that Zedekiah's
sons were slain by Nebuchadnezzar before he was exiled to Babylon.
None of his children sat on the throne of David. [New Bible
Warnings to the Wicked Kings
Message to the Sons of Josiah (22:11-30)
Judgment Against Jehoiakim
CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.
Deut. 4:40 (KJV) Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and
his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well
with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest
prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for
Psalm 128:1-2 (KJV) Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord;
that walketh in his ways.  For thou shalt eat the labour of thine
hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Proverbs 21:3 (KJV) To do justice and judgment is more
acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the
knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
1 Cor. 10:31 (KJV) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Job 29:12-17 (KJV) Because I delivered the poor that cried, and
the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.  The blessing
of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the
widow's heart to sing for joy.  I put on righteousness, and it
clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.  I was eyes to
the blind, and feet was I to the lame.  I was a father to the
poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.  And I brake
the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.
Psalm 82:3-4 (KJV) Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice
to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy: rid
them out of the hand of the wicked.
Isaiah 1:17 (KJV) Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the
oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Jeremiah 9:24 (KJV) But let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which
exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for
in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:33 (KJV) But this shall be the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I
will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts;
and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
John 17:3 (KJV) And this is life eternal, that they might know
thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Titus 1:16 (KJV) They profess that they know God; but in works
they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good
1 John 2:3-4 (KJV) And hereby we do know that we know him, if
we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and
keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Deut. 10:12-13 And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God
require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways,
and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart
and with all thy soul,  To keep the commandments of the Lord,
and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what
doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Isaiah 58:6-11 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to
loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let
the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?  Is it not
to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that
are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou
cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? 
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health
shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before
thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.  Then shalt thou
call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say,
Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the
putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;  And if thou draw
out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then
shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul
in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a
watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right
hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and
ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a
stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick,
and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then
shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an
hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we
thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you,
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,
ye have done it unto me.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the
Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?
The king of this passage is Jehoiakim, who earned Jeremiah's
rebuke by tyrannically forcing unpaid labor to expand his palace while
the land groaned under tribute demanded by Egypt's Pharaoh Neco (cf.
2 Kings 23:34-35). This was a direct violation of Old Testament
Law (cf. Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15), and marked Jehoiakim as a
user, rather than a servant, of his people. Jeremiah's question,
quoted above, focuses our attention on the nature of all spiritual
leadership. In his denunciation of Jehoiakim, he contrasted this wicked king
with his godly father Josiah. Josiah was a true king: a true servant
of his people. This description of Josiah might well serve as a
motto and guide for anyone in a position of spiritual leadership: "He
did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended
the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not
what it means to know Me?" declares the LORD (vv. 15-16). [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
God passed judgment on King Jehoiakim. His father, Josiah, had
been one of Judah's great kings, but Jehoiakim was evil. Josiah had
been faithful to his responsibility to be a model of right living,
but Jehoiakim had been unfaithful to his responsibility to imitate
his father. God's judgment was on unfaithful Jehoiakim. He could not
claim his father's blessings when he had not followed his father's
God. We may inherit our parents' money, but we cannot inherit their
faith. A great heritage, a good education, or a beautiful home doesn't
guarantee strong character. We must have our own relationship with God.
[Life Application SB]
A denunciation against Jehoiakim, the elder brother and
successor of Shallum. He built elaborate royal buildings with forced labor
(vv. 13-14). Jeremiah predicted that the normal form of lament would
not be used when Jehoiakim died and that he would not be buried, but
simply dragged out of the city and dumped on the garbage heap (the
absence of "and was buried" in 2 Kings 24:6 is significant). [Ryrie SB]
Josiah did not seek greatness through secular accomplishment.
His greatness was found in his fellowship with the Lord and that
fellowship was revealed by Josiah's justice and mercy toward "the cause of
the poor and needy." [SDA Commentary]
What does it take to know the Lord? Is it enough to help the
poor and needy? We must not confuse the evidence of a relationship
with God with the means to having that relationship. Throughout
Scripture we discover it is by faith alone that we receive forgiveness,
salvation and a personal relationship with God. One evidence that a person
knows God intimately is the desire to follow God's will. Jeremiah's
compassion and justice for the poor demonstrated his love for the Lord.
There are things required in life. To drive a car, you must
have a driver's license. To teach in a public school you need a
teaching certificate. These things are required so that a person may
"do" something, or "be" something. To be a follower of God, there are
requirements. Fear God, not as the "Great Punisher in the Sky," but rather
with a reverence for who and what He is! We can begin to see Him in
His creation. To walk in His ways is to order your life, your walk,
according to His Word, which must be regularly read to know Him more
fully. And as you begin to know Him more fully, you grow in affection
for Him. And this ultimately leads to the desire to serve Him. To
know Him, to love Him, to serve Him. Is that your desire? Today
draw near, read His Word and pray to Him. It is His desire you
should. [In His Time, Walk with Wisdom]
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3 (KJV)