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The Curse of Coniah – A Glimpse of God’s Grace

God became a member of the human race not only to die for man’s sin, but also to rule from a literal throne as King of the earth (Psa. 2).  He came into the world through the Jewish family of Judah and the kingly line of David. But there was a problem with the line of one named Coniah.

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever. According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.” (2 Sam. 7:12-17)

David would build a house for the Lord but not of the customary wood and stone. The house he would build would to be his physical line, or his future generations. David’s family line would ultimately produce a son that would establish his kingdom forever.

King David had a desire to build a temple to Jehovah God. Up to that time, the ark of the covenant – the symbol of the dwelling place of God – had been placed in a tent. The thought of allowing the ark of the covenant to remain in a simple tent while he himself lived in a luxurious house of cedar did not set well with David.

Solomon, David’s son, would be the one to build God’s physical temple. However, through David’s genetic line, the throne of Israel was established forever. Though Solomon was disobedient and endured chastisement from God, this future promised kingdom was never taken away.

“My covenant I will not break nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David: His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me; It shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky.” (Psa. 89:34-37)

David’s Line Corrupted

The credentials for the throne of Israel involved two things: the legal right, which was the right bloodline, and the royal right. The royal right declared that the king must be the firstborn of the right family tree. In order to be King, Jesus Christ must have these credentials.

Joseph was a sinner!  For that reason, he was disqualified from being the biological father of Jesus Christ. If Jesus had been the natural son of Joseph, He would have been a sinner, and could not have been the redeemer of the human race. The miracle of the virgin birth prevented this from happening.

But in order to prove beyond a doubt that Jesus Christ was the sinless Son of God and that He alone has the credentials to be our redeemer and the king, God created a humanly impossible dilemma.

Remember, the king of Israel must be the firstborn of the bloodline of King David. However, God cursed one of the kings in David’s line, because of extreme wickedness.

“As I live, says the Lord, though Coniah, the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet upon my right hand (that is, he was to be my king), yet I would pluck you off; and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear-the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country, where you were not born; and there you shall die. But to the land to which they desire to return, there shall they not return. Is this man Coniah a despised, a broken idol? Is he a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, and are cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord, Write this man down as childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” (Jer. 22:24-30)

No child in Coniah’s line could rule upon the throne of David. This same truth is stated again in 2 Kings 24:5-15, only here Coniah is named Jehoiachin. Second Kings states that after Jehoiakim’s death, Jehoiachin (also called Coniah or Jeconiah), his son, reigned. And Jehoiachin did evil in the sight of the Lord (vs. 6-9). Just what evil the king committed we are not told. But true to God’s word, Babylon conquered Judah and took the king and his family and the treasures of Solomon into captivity. The prophecy concludes with,

“And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.” (2 Kings 24:15)

Did Jehoiachin have sons? Yes, he did, but none ever reigned in Judah as king. Because of this curse, Israel has not had a monarchy from the time of the Babylonian captivity until now.

In Matthew chapter one we are given the genealogy of Jesus Christ. His line rightly goes through David’s father, and then through David himself, and then through Solomon. Notice carefully the genealogical line after Solomon.

“Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers, about the time they were carried away to Babylon.” (Matt. 1:11)

Here is the mention of Jeconiah.  The line involving Jeconiah ended with a carpenter named Joseph the husband of a young virgin named Mary.

“And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.” (Matt. 1:16)

Joseph was in Jeconiah’s line. So if Jesus Christ were to be the legitimate king in Israel, it would have been impossible for him to be the natural son of Joseph. Joseph was a sinner and under the curse imposed upon his genetic line through Jeconiah. This makes it impossible for Joseph to have been the physical father of Jesus Christ.

Did this frustrate the sovereign will of an infinite God? Not at all! God used this very problem to illustrate His genius and the credibility of His word.

If you were to ask any thinking Jew today, “Who will be your king?” he might respond, “We do not have a king.”

You might nod your head in agreement and say, “If you had a king, who would it be?”

“Well, let’s investigate the genealogical records. In Matthew 1:16 the line ends with a man named Joseph, a carpenter. He was the last son of David, through Solomon. So he, this carpenter, had the legal royal right to rule in Israel.”

“So Joseph came through David then through Solomon?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

“Wait a second, isn’t Jeconiah in that line?”

“Yes he is, why?”

“Well what about the curse of Jeremiah 22:30? Wouldn’t that disqualify him from being king?”

“Yes, you’re right.”

“So Joseph and all his children would be disqualified?”

“That’s correct.”

“Well, did David have any other sons?”

“Yes, he did. He had other sons. One was Nathan.”

“Well, let’s trace the kingly line through Nathan in Luke 3:23-38.”

If we begin with verse 38 and read backwards and focus our attention on verse 31, we see that this line, likewise, came through David (just like Matthew 1:6). But here we find a strange twist. Solomon is missing from this line. By coming through Nathan, Solomon is bypassed and thus so is Jeconiah. This line ends mysteriously in a man named Heli (verse 23). Heli had no sons. However, he had three daughters. One of his daughters was named Mary. Isn’t that an interesting coincidence! Mary then just happened to fall in love with the carpenter named Joseph and they married. So Heli’s son-in-law became Joseph.

Now ask this thinking Jew this question. “Did Mary have a Son? . . . .Well did she?”

“Well, yes she did.”

“Who was He?”

“Well, he had a questionable birth.”

“Oh, I see. . . but what was his name?”

“Jesus!”

“What was that again?”

“Jesus!”

“So then legally this One called Jesus has the right to the throne of Israel?”

“Yes!”

“Well, what about his royal right as the first born? Did Joseph legally adopt Jesus Christ as his firstborn son?”

“Yes, he did.”

“Is that an acceptable practice in Israel.”

“Yes.”

“Then according to the historical record Jesus Christ is the only legal, royal heir to the throne of Israel?”

“Yes, that is true.”

What a magnificent plan! By being conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:30-35), Jesus Christ bypassed the Adamic sin nature passed down genetically from Adam (Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22).

Mary, because of her bloodline, gave Him his legal right to the throne. Thus he was in the bloodline of David and also free from the curse of Coniah. Joseph gave Him his royal right to the throne of Israel because Jesus was adopted as his firstborn Son.

Could man in his human genius ever have conceived such an incredible plot and then communicated it in a book? I think not! No one will be king of the earth until the One who has the legal, royal right to the throne comes.

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it, and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:6-7)

“Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” (Psa. 2:12)

 

Sources

New American Standard Bible

Dr. Art Crawford

Bible Knowledge Commentary; Old Testament

The Works of Josephus