Wo unto him that buildeth his house - These evils, charged against Jehoiakim, are nowhere else circumstantially related. We learn from 2 Kings 23:35-37, that he taxed his subjects heavily, to give to Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt: "He exacted the silver and gold of the people of the land, and did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord." The mode of taxation is here intimated; he took the wages of the hirelings, and caused the people to work without wages in his own buildings, etc.
Far worse is the second example. Shallum was no heartless tyrant like Jehoiakim, who lived in splendor amid the misery of the nation, and perished so little cared for that his body was cast aside without burial.
His chambers - Really, his upper chambers. From the absence of machinery the raising of materials for the upper stories was a difficult task, especially when massive stones were used.
His work - Giveth him not his wages.
“Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; ... that saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows; and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? ... Thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it.” Jeremiah 22:13-17. MH 337.1Read in context »
Significance of Present-Day Conditions—Notwithstanding the many evidences of the increase of crime and lawlessness, men seldom stop to think seriously of the meaning of these things. Almost without exception, men boast of the enlightenment and progress of the present age. Te 27.1
Upon those to whom God has given great light, rests the solemn responsibility of calling the attention of others to the significance of the increase of drunkenness and crime. They should also bring before the minds of others the Scriptures that plainly portray the conditions which will exist just prior to the second coming of Christ. Faithfully should they uplift the divine standard, and raise their voices in protest against the sanctioning of the liquor traffic by legal enactment.—Drunkenness and Crime, 3. Te 27.2Read in context »
The prophet made plain the fact that our heavenly Father allows His judgments to fall, “that the nations may know themselves to be but men.” Psalm 9:20. “If ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me,” the Lord had forewarned His people, “I, even I, ... will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.” Leviticus 26:21, 28, 33. PK 429.1
At the very time messages of impending doom were urged upon princes and people, their ruler, Jehoiakim, who should have been a wise spiritual leader, foremost in confession of sin and in reformation and good works, was spending his time in selfish pleasure. “I will build me a wide house and large chambers,” he proposed; and this house, “ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion” (Jeremiah 22:14), was built with money and labor secured through fraud and oppression. PK 429.2
The wrath of the prophet was aroused, and he was inspired to pronounce judgment upon the faithless ruler. “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong,” he declared; “that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work.... Shalt thou reign, because thou closest thyself in cedar? Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and then it was well with him? He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know Me? saith the Lord. But thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence, to do it. PK 429.3Read in context »