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16 He upheld the cause of the poor and needy.
So things went well for Judah.’[a]
The Lord says,
‘That is a good example of what it means to know me.[b]
17 But you are always thinking and looking
for ways to increase your wealth by dishonest means.
Your eyes and your heart are set
on killing some innocent person
and committing fraud and oppression.’”[c]

18 So[d] the Lord has this to say about Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah:

“People will not mourn for him, saying,
‘This makes me sad, my brother!
This makes me sad, my sister!’
They will not mourn for him, saying,
‘Poor, poor lord! Poor, poor majesty!’[e]

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  1. Jeremiah 22:16 tn The words “for Judah” are not in the text, but the absence of the preposition plus object as in the preceding verse suggests that this is a more general statement, i.e., “things went well for everyone.”
  2. Jeremiah 22:16 tn Heb “Is that not what it means to know me?” The question is rhetorical and expects a positive answer. It is translated in the light of the Comparison of the usage of the words “know me” in their context in Jer 2:8; 9:3, 6, 24; and here shows that more than mere intellectual knowledge is involved. Also implied is personal commitment to God and obedience to the demands of the agreements with him. The word “know” is used in ancient Near-Eastern treaty contexts of submission to the will of the overlord. See further the notes on 9:3.
  3. Jeremiah 22:17 tn Heb “Your eyes and your heart do not exist except for dishonest gain and for innocent blood to shed [it] and for fraud and for oppression to do [them].” The sentence has been broken up to conform more to English style, and the significance of “eyes” and “heart” is explained before they are introduced into the translation.
  4. Jeremiah 22:18 sn This is the regular way of introducing the announcement of judgment after an indictment of crimes. See, e.g., Isa 5:13, 14 and Jer 23:2.
  5. Jeremiah 22:18 tn The translation follows the majority of scholars, who think that the address of brother and sister are the address of the mourners to one another, lamenting their loss. Some scholars feel that all four terms are parallel and represent the relation that the king had metaphorically to his subjects; i.e., he was not only Lord and Majesty to them but like a sister or a brother. In that case it would be something like, “How sad it is for the one who was like a brother to us! How sad it is for the one who was like a sister to us.” This makes for poor poetry and is not very likely. The lover can call his bride sister in Song 4:9, 10, but there are no documented examples of a subject ever speaking of a king in this way in Israel or the ancient Near East.