Jeremiah's prophecy was continued. In Jeremiah 21 the denunciation of Jehovah is directed particularly against the royal house of David. The sin of Zedekiah was still more serious. The guilt of the people and the priests and prophets has already been exposed, but now the responsible head of the nation is condemned. There was no exception; the ruin of Judah is complete.
Royalty was always the last stem of blessing in the history of Israel. If only the king had been right, though the people and the prophets were ever so wrong, God would still send blessing to Israel. Everything depended upon the king, the seed of David. God might have chastised the prophets and priests and people, but He would have held to them for His servant David's sake. But when not only they went astray but the king himself was the leader of the wickedness, it was utterly impossible to hold to them, and it was the sorrowful task of Jeremiah to pronounce this divine decision. This responsibility resting on Zedekiah's shoulders gives its true importance to what he says: "Touching the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear ye the word of Jehovah; O house of David, thus saith the Lord; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor, lest My fury go out like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings" (Jer. 21: 11, 12).
In Jeremiah 22 the sin of the representatives of the house of David is dwelt upon in further detail. Beside Zedekiah, Shallum (Jehoahaz), the son of Josiah (verse 11), Jehoiakim, also son of Josiah (verse 18), and Coniah (Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim, verse 24) are all arraigned as evil rulers in the critical times when the monarchy was drawing to its close.
The kings named are out of their chronological order, but the purpose is to bring the separate prophecies against the separate kings of Judah all into a cluster for the moral object of showing that virtually there was no difference. Some might be a little more pronounced in their violence and gross iniquity, but they were all faithless and godless. Hence, the solemn sentence was uttered by Jehovah: "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Jehovah. Thus saith Jehovah, Write ye 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." It is implied, not that the line of David should fail, but that this man's line should.