Jehoiachin (fl. 597 B.C.), Raised from Prison, Symbolizes Israel’s Restoration

Jeconiah (Jehoiachin), published by Guillaume Rouille (c.1518–1589) (“Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum”) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Psalm 107 speaks of rebels in prison. Jehoiachin was a king of Judah whom God turned over to the Babylonians because of his wickedness and the folly of his nation. There he languished in prison many years until his unexpected release. Jehoiachin had found favor in the eyes of the King of Babylon. In Jehoiachin’s release, God’s forgiveness of Israel was signified, and the nation’s restoration presaged.

Here is the Bible’s account of the auspicious event.

Jeremiah 52:31-34

And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the first year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison. And spake kindly unto him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon, and changed his prison garments: and he did continually eat bread before him all the days of his life. And for his diet, there was a continual diet given him of the king of Babylon, every day a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life.

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Early in the twentieth century a basket of tablets from Babylon sat neglected in the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. Dull records of supply issues, they had lain there many years, seemingly of no great interest to scholars, nor of high value. In 1933 E.F. Weidner undertook their translation. In those unexciting clay marks he discovered a rare treasure—references that confirmed the statement that appeared in the closing paragraph of the book of Jeremiah. Suddenly the world was electrified to learn that among the goods issued by the keeper of the royal stores was sesame oil—to none other than King Jehoiachin. Not only was he mentioned by name, but he was called “the King of Judah.” Five of his sons were mentioned with him.