Messiah To Descend From
Jehoiachin and Zerubabel
by Rachmiel Frydland
Jehoiachin is the grand-father of Zerubabel who was a descendant within the Messianic lineage through Solomon. Both Jehoiachin and Zerubabel are listed within Yeshua's ancestry in the Brit Hadasha (New Covenant) in the book of Mattityahu. (Matthew) (1) Zerubabel also appears in the genealogy of Yeshua written by the physician Luke. (2)
Mattiteyahu's genealogy traces Yeshua through his adoptive father, Joseph; Luke's genealogy traces Yeshua's ancestry through his mother Miriam's side.
There is a problem which does occur in lineage as regarding Jehoiachin, who is also known as Jeconiah (or Coniah). The prophet Jeremiah records a denunciation of him:
Thus saith the Lord, write this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days;
for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. (3)
The scripture appears to pronounce a threefold "curse" upon Jehoiachin: (1) He would be childless (2) He would not prosper (3) His offspring would not prosper on the throne of David. In light of this "curse" there appears to be a great obstacle regarding the Messianic line, and especially Jehoiachin's inclusion within it. There is widespread opinion that the denunciation of Jehoiachin through God's prophet was irrevocable. This would effectively preclude him from being within the messianic lineage. Before jumping hastily to this opinion, it is well to examine some arguments against this view.
The first "curse," that Jehoiachin would remain child-less, was definitely lifted. The Tanakh makes it clear that Jehoiachin was, in fact, prolific and sired Shealtiel, Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah, and Asir. (4)
Jehoiachin was king of Judah when the children of Israel were taken captive into Babylon, and was imprisoned there. the second "curse," that Jehoiachin would be 'a man that shall not prosper in his days,' was also ameliorated by God, for we read:
And it came to pass in the ... year of captivity.... [the] king of Babylon ...
did liberate Jehoiachin... from prison; And he ... set his throne above the throne
of the kings that were with him in Babylon... (5)
Thereby, if God could forgive Jehoiachin, to the extent of lifting the first two "curses" against him, it is plausible that the third one could be lifted as well; otherwise, Messiah could not descend from Solomon through Jehoiachin. The Yalkut explains that this problem was resolved in the following manner:
Nebuchadnezzar took [Jehoiachin] and put him in prison. ... The Jewish religious Council gathered to consider the matter for they feared that the Davidic kingdom would come to an end, of which it is written, His throne shall endure before me as long as the sun'(Psalm 89:36). What can we do in order to help that the Scriptures might be fulfilled? We will go and plead with the governess, and the governess will plead with the queen and the queen with the king. ... Rabbi Shabatai said that [Jehoiachin] did not leave prison until he repented fully and God forgave his sins and ... his wife got pregnant as it is written, 'Shealtiel his son, Asir his son.'
Shealtiel means, "I asked of God." Asir means "prisoner." Hence, the rabbis understand that Jehoiachin asked God to forgive him while in prison and that God indicated his forgiveness by giving him sons.
The returning exiles from Babylon in 539 BCE appointed Zerubabel to be their prince. They obviously did not think that the "curse " was still in effect since Zerubabel was a direct descendant of Jehoiachin. Moreover, the post-exilic prophets exalt Zerubabel, and place their hope for Israel in him. Hence, for example the prophet Zechariah exclaims:
Who are thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubabel thou shalt become a plain;
he shall bring forth the headstone of it with shoutings... .The hands of Zerubabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it.. . For they shall rejoice, and see the plummet in the hand of Zerubabel... . (6)
It is fair, then, to assume that whatever the denunciation against Jehoiachin, it was pardoned by God, even as the king of Babylon pardoned Jehoiachin and released him from prison; thus the Messiah would not be prevented genealogically from being of the seed of David, Solomon and Hezekiah through Jehoiachin to whom the Messianic promises were given. Some may not be satisfied with the rationale presented in favor of the removal of the "curse" from Jehoiachin, thus permitting the Messiah to descend directly from him. This position would appear to effectively preclude Yeshua from being the Messiah. Yet, by some intermarriage within the Davidic family, Zerubabel, the grandson of Jehoiachin, through Nathan, the son of David, was Yeshua's ancestor on his mother, Miriam's side. Hence, even should Jehoiachin present a stumbling stone, still Yeshua traces his ancestry back through David on his mother's side.
Concerning the selection of the One who shall inherit the throne of David, it is well to remember the word of the Lord to Zerubabel that it is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit. (7) The Messiah would be a descendant of David, but his claim would not be enhanced by "might." (This "might" could refer to the usual transfer of the kingdom to the firstborn. (8) Neither would his selection be enhanced by "power" as, for example, when mighty kings exercised their powers and bestowed their rights on whatever descendants they pleased. Instead, the selection would be by the Holy Spirit - the Ruach Hakodesh.
(1) Matthew 1:12 (2) Luke 3:27 (3) Jeremiah 22:30 (4) I Chronicles 3:17-18 (5) II Kings 25:27-28 (6) Zechariah 4:7, 9-10 (7) Zechariah 4:6 (8) "Reuben, thou art my first born, my might, and the beginning of my strength. Genesis 49:3 Genesis Rabbah
What The Rabbis Know About The Messiah by Rachmiel Frydland
Reprinted With Permission of the Messianic Literature Outreach
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