King of Judah
Reign 609–598 BC
Predecessor Jehoahaz of Judah
Successor Jeconiah
Born Jerusalem
Died Jerusalem
Issue Jeconiah
House House of David
Father Josiah

Jehoiakim (pronounced /ɪˈhɔɪ.əkɪm/; Hebrew: יְהוֹיָקִים Yəhōyāqîm "he whom Yahweh has set up", also sometimes spelled Jehoikim (Greek: Ιωακιμ; Latin: Joakim)) was a king of Judah from 608 to 598 BC. He was the second son of king Josiah (1 Chronicles 3:15) by Zebidah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.[1] His birth name was Eliakim (אֶלְיָקִים ’Elyāqîm Greek: Ελιακιμ; Latin: Eliakim).


After Josiah's death, Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz (also known as Shallum) was proclaimed king, but after three months Pharaoh Necho II deposed him, making Eliakim king in his place. When placed on the throne, his name was changed to "Jehoiakim".[1]

Jehoiakim reigned for eleven years, until 598 BC[2] and was succeeded by his son Jeconiah, (also known as Jehoiachin), who reigned for only three months.[3]


Jehoiakim was appointed king by Necho II, king of Egypt, in 608 BC, after Necho's return from the battle in Haran, three months after he had killed King Josiah at Megiddo.[4] Necho deposed Jehoiakim's younger brother Jehoahaz after a reign of only three months and took him to Egypt, where he died. Jehoiakim ruled originally as a vassal of the Egyptians, paying a heavy tribute. To raise the money he "taxed the land and exacted the silver and gold from the people of the land according to their assessments."[5]

However, after the Egyptians were defeated by the Babylonians at the battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II besieged Jerusalem, and Jehoiakim changed allegiances to avoid the destruction of Jerusalem. He paid tribute from the treasury in Jerusalem, some temple artifacts, and handed over some of the royal family and nobility as hostages.[4]

Rabbinical literature describes Jehoiakim as a godless tyrant who committed atrocious sins and crimes. He is portrayed as living in incestuous relations with his mother, daughter-in-law, and stepmother, and was in the habit of murdering men, whose wives he then violated and whose property he seized. He also had tattooed his body.[1]

Jeremiah criticised the king's policies, insisting on repentance and strict adherence to the law.[6] Another prophet, Uriah ben Shemaiah, proclaimed a similar message and Jehoiakim ordered his execution (Jeremiah 26:20–23).[7]

Jehoiakim continued for three years as a vassal to the Babylonians, until the failure of an invasion of Egypt in 601 BC undermined their control of the area. Jehoiakim switched allegiance back to the Egyptians.[4] In late 598 BC, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II invaded Judah and again laid siege to Jerusalem, which lasted three months. Jehoiakim died before the siege ended.[2] The Book of Chronicles recorded that "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ... bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon."[8] Jeremiah prophesied that he died without proper funeral, describing the people of Judah "shall not lament for him, saying, 'Alas, master!' or 'Alas, his glory!' He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 22:18–19) "and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night" (Jeremiah 36:30).[9] Josephus wrote that Nebuchadnezzar slew Jehoiakim along with high-ranking officers and then commanded Jehoiakim's body "to be thrown before the walls, without any burial."[10]

He was succeeded by his son Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin).[3] After three months, Nebuchadnezzar deposed Jeconiah (fearing that he would revenge his father's death by revolting, according to Josephus[11]) and installed Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's younger brother, as king in his place. Jeconiah, his household, and much of Judah's population were exiled to Babylon.[12]

According to the Babylonian Chronicles,[13] Jerusalem fell on 2 Adar (16 March) 597 BC. The Chronicles state:

The seventh year (of Nebuchadnezzar – 598 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adar (16 March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jeconiah) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.[14]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Judah
609–598 BC
Succeeded by


  1. 1 2 3 "Jehoiakim", Jewish Encyclopedia
  2. 1 2 Dan Cohn-Sherbok, The Hebrew Bible, Continuum International, 1996, page x. ISBN 0-304-33703-X
  3. 1 2 King p.23.
  4. 1 2 3 ""Jehoiakim Slept with his Fathers…" (II Kings 24:6) – Did He?".
  5. 2 Kings 23:35
  6. Jeremiah 36:1–32
  7. James Maxwell Miller, John Haralson Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (Westminster John Knox Press, 1986) page 404–405.
  8. 2 Chronicles 36:6
  9. The Nelson Study Bible 1997, p. 1263–1265.
  10. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, chapter 6, part 3.
  11. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, chapter 7, part 1.
  12. King p.21.
  13. Geoffrey Wigoder, The Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible Pub. by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. (2006)
  14. No 24 WA21946, The Babylonian Chronicles, The British Museum


  • King, Philip J., Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993)
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