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In 1 Chronicles 3:15 we find a list of king Josiah's four sons:

The sons of Josiah:

Johanan the firstborn,

Jehoiakim the second son,

Zedekiah the third,

Shallum the fourth.

Then in Jeremiah 22:11-12

or this is what the Lord says about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: “He will never return. 12 He will die in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again.

We have no record of a certain Judean king Shallum, he is not listed in the Book of Kings, or anywhere else besides for the reference in Jeremiah. This has led commentators to speculate that Shallum is Zedekiah son of Josiah, or perhaps Jehoiachin his grandson, or maybe Jehoahaz the predecessor of Jehoiakim, and a son of Josiah. As recorded in the Book of Kings, Pharaoh Neco captured him and brought him to Egypt where he eventually died. Thus Jeremiah's prophecy would have been fulfilled.

Almost all encyclopedias and scholarly sources accept the opinion that Jehoahaz is Shallum, Josiah's fourth son. This strikes me as odd, it seems unlikely that the fourth son of Josaih would have served as king before the second oldest son Jehoiakim has served (Johanan the oldest we have no record as ever serving as king. The LXX has Jehoahaz instead of Johanan as the oldest). But all sources tout this idea that Shallum and Jehoahaz are the same person without providing any evidence! As I pointed out earlier, Shallum can be any of the other two sons or maybe even a grandson of Josiah (either Jehoiakim or Zedekiah fit the description of Jeremiah's prophecy perfectly, they both died in Babylon), or he could be none of the above, and though it is unlikely it is not impossible to suppose that Shallum indeed served after Zedekiah was deported, or sometime between Jehoiakim and Zedekiah or Jehoahaz's reign for just a few days!

So what biblical or extrabiblical evidence do we have to support the theory that Shallum is Jehoahaz?

4 Answers 4

1

Let's review these verses

2 Kings 23:30b And the people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah and anointed him and made him king in place of his father.

2 Kings 23:31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.

2 Kings 23:33 Pharaoh Necho put him in chains at Riblah in the land of Hamath so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and he imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents[c] of silver and a talent[d] of gold.

2 Kings 23:34 Pharaoh Necho made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt, and there he died.

2 Kings 23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah.

Jeremiah 22:11-12 For this is what the Lord says about Shallum son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: “He will never return. He will die in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again.”

Jeremiah 22:11-12 wrote Shallum son of Josiah succeeded his father as king of Judah, 2 Kings 23:30b wrote the people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah as king in place of his father. Then Shallum should be Jehoahaz.

2 Kings 31 wrote Jehoahaz became king at twenty-three, reigned in Jerusalem three months. Verse 33 wrote Pharaoh Necho put him in chains, matched Jeremiah 22:12 wrote Shallum was captive.

2 Kings 36 wrote Jehoiakim succeeded Jehoahaz as king when he was twenty-five years old. Since both Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim were son of Josiah, Jehoiakim should be an elder brother of Jehoahaz, as he only reigned for three months.

Why would Shallum the fourth son became king in advance of his elder brothers? It should not be a surprise as kingship depends on the power of his supporters. Apparently Jehoahaz had the support from the people of the land as verse 30 saying, so he was king.

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  • As to the reason for his election instead of Eliakim, raised in your last paragraph. We see from v34 of the quoted 2 Kings passage that Pharoah insisted on deposing him and replacing him with Eliakim. So a very plausible solution is that Eliakim was not chosen the first time round because he had been at Megiddo and was a captive in Pharaoh's hands and therefore unavailable. If Eliakim had preserved his life by swearing allegiance to Pharaoh, that would explain why Pharaoh wanted him on the throne instead, to serve as a client king. Dec 18, 2022 at 8:10
  • P.S. The fact that Jehoahaz and Eliakim had different mothers (2 Kings ch23 v31 and v36) may also have raised up opposing factions. The succession crisis of 1 Kings ch1 came about for the same reason. As for Zedekiah, he had the same mother as Jehoahaz. He was 21 eleven years later (ch24 v18) Dec 18, 2022 at 8:25
  • @Stephen - your suggestion Eliakim was not chosen because he was taken by Necho at Megiddo, is possible. Though I don't see where the scripture had a hint on that and may be you can enlighten me. But at his age, he went to war with his father Josiah was a true son should do. So I agree with what you said. Dec 18, 2022 at 15:20
  • There is no direct scripture source for that theory, but as an old student of history I go looking for "the inference which best explains what happened". Dec 18, 2022 at 15:29
  • +1 "Jeremiah 22:11-12 wrote Shallum son of Josiah succeeded his father as king of Judah, 2 Kings 23:30b wrote the people took Jehoahaz son of Josiah as king in place of his father. Then Shallum should be Jehoahaz." This seems to be the best evidence, perhaps not foolproof, but good evidence. Aug 4, 2023 at 14:53
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It is essential that Matthew 1:11-12 follow proper Davidic succession (Kingly Authority)

  1. Johanan [aka Jehoahaz] (posterity extinct)
  2. Jehoiakim & Jeconiah his son (posterity extinct)
  3. Zedekiah (posterity extinct)
  4. Shallum & Salathiel his son

It is recorded in Matthew 1:11a "And Josias begat Jechonias". (Someone Josiah fathered carried on the succession, one of the four sons.)

1 Chronicles 3:17 "And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son,"

No record of King Shallum? Let the commentators speculate (they have no regard for facts. That is why their speculation has no evidence). "And Josias begat Jechonias" (Here is the record). This is not a grandson (Josias begat him). Zedekiah's sons were executed.

  1. If Johanan [aka Jehoahaz] had a son, would not 1 Chronicles 3:15-16 state so?

  2. If Jehoiakim and Jeconiah his son had posterity, then why did they move on to Josiah's next son Zedekiah (per 2 Chronicles 36:10-11)?

  3. Zedekiah's posterity is documented in Jeremiah 52:10.

  4. What son is left standing? This is the record.

If you know out of four sons, one must succeed. And you know the demise of three of the four, what does that tell you about the fourth?

Encyclopedias, scholars and speculators' speculation does not change the facts: If Jesus did not receive a crown in Matthew 27:29, would He still be King? How about Shallum? Does Shallum need a crown?

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Rashi on Jeremiah 22:11:1 concerning Shallum That is Zedekiah, and that is what he was called in I Chron. (3:14): “the fourth Shallum.” And he called him the Fourth, meaning the fourth to assume the kingship of Josiah’s sons, for first Jehoaha, reigned, then Jehoiakim, and after him Jehoiachin, and after him Zedekiah.

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According to the Talmudic tradition (Horayot 11b), Shallum was another name of Mattaniah who was appointed King of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar as described in II Kings 24:17:

וַיַּמְלֵ֧ךְ מֶלֶךְ־בָּבֶ֛ל אֶת־מַתַּנְיָ֥ה דֹד֖וֹ תַּחְתָּ֑יו וַיַּסֵּ֥ב אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ צִדְקִיָּֽהוּ

And the King of Babylon crowned Mattaniah, his [Jehoiachin] uncle, as king instead of him [Jehoiachin]; and changed his name to Zedekiah.

It seem to me, therefore, that the Zedekiah mentioned in Chronicles 3:15 is not the Zedekiah who was the last King of Judah. The last King of Judah's name wasn't really Zedekiah at all. That was just a king-name created by Nebuchadnezzar.

I suspect that Nebuchadnezzar trusted the youngest brother, Mattaniah/Shallum to be a more loyal vassal. But changed his name to Zedekiah (and perhaps killed the real Zedekiah) to make it seem to the people that he was the person next in line to be king: either as Josiah's third son or as Jehoiakim's second son (also named Zedekiah, I Chronicles 3:16).

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  • I don't follow your argument at all! Jehoiakim for example, was also just a name given to Elyakim (that was his original name) by Nebuchadnezzar, yet the author of chronicles still calls him Jehoiakim in that same verse!! The same goes for Zedekiah. It doesn't matter what his real name was, all that matters is the name by what he was known to be called. It's ridiculous to postulate that there was a second Zedekiah based on this.
    – bach
    Apr 18, 2023 at 21:10
  • @Bach That is a good point. I went back and looked at some of the commentators on the Talmud and they interpreted it different from me (essentially that Josiah only had 3 sons and Zedekiah and Shallum are the same person). Nevertheless, the primary point stands that the Talmudic tradition identifies Shallum as another name of King Zedekiah. Apr 18, 2023 at 21:19
  • I will add however that Jehoiakim's name was not changed by Nebuchadnezzar but by Pharaoh Necho. And that Chronicles only notes the name change of Jehoiakim and not that of Mattaniah/Zedekiah.. Apr 18, 2023 at 21:37
  • Well then according to you, that Zedekiah mentioned in 2 chronicles must have been the real Zedekiah, since there is no mention of Mattaniah. I think you realize how absurd your theory is.
    – bach
    Apr 19, 2023 at 16:46

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