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Meaning: he whom Jehovah has set up
His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father, his younger brother Jehoahaz (=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favored the Chaldeans against the Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt, Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:33-34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics, having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings 24:7; Jer. 46:2). Palestine was now invaded and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6-7). It was at this time that Daniel also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon (Dan. 1:1-2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple. Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign, there was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of Manasseh.
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country (compare Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem “with the burial of an ass,” B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18-19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.