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Answering The Atheist
November 11, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 45

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
Did Jehoiakim die in Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:5-6) or near Jerusalem (Jeremiah 22:18-19)? Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
2 Chronicles 36:5-6 does not say that Jehoiakim died in Babylon; it does say that "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him, and bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon." Whether he made it to Babylon or was put to death before reaching the city, we are not told.

Does Jeremiah's prophecy necessitate that Jehoiakim's death took place near Jerusalem? The text reveals that there would not be lamenting for him, as one might expect a nation to mourn for their fallen king. It is stated that "...He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, dragged and cast beyond the gates of Jerusalem." The Hebrew word halaah (rendered beyond) means "to the distance, i.e. far away; also (of time) thus far : back, beyond, (hence,-)forward, hitherto, thence, forth, yonder." (Strong's) Nothing in the word demands that Jehoiakim's death occurred just outside the gates of Jerusalem. When Nebuchadnezzar "bound him in bronze fetters to carry him off to Babylon", he was "...dragged and cast beyond the gates of Jerusalem."

We do not know how he died, or exactly where he died, but we know that there was no honour given to him at his death. No public mourning of the citizens of Judah, no royal grave site. His burial was like that of a donkey, likely being cast into a common hole where his body may have been left as prey for birds and beasts.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible