What Is The Curse of Jeconiah? A Bible Study

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

In Matthew 1:12, a man named “Jechonias’” appears in Jesus’ genealogy. This was Jehoiachin, also called Jeconiah or Coniah, one of the last Kings of Judah. Because of his sins, God pronounced a curse on Jeconiah, as we read in Jer. 22:24, 30, “As I live, declares the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off…Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days, for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah’” (ESV). Jehoiachin’s curse is found in the passage where God pronounced judgment on many of the evil kings of that day. These kings had rebelled against God and led God’s people to do the same.

Because of God’s curse, Jeconiah and his male descendants were barred from, apparently, ever inheriting the throne of Judah. That’s why God told Jeremiah, “Write this man down as childless,” or, “Record this man as childless.”   It’s not that Jeconiah had no children, in fact I Chronicles 3:17-18, which is also supported by archaeological discoveries in Babylon, shows that Jeconiah had sons and descendants. Rather, because the descendants of Jeconiah were disqualified from inheriting the throne, it was as if Jeconiah had no sons in a royal, or legal, sense. This is much the same as when an angry father might say to his disobedient child, “Get out of my sight, you are dead to me.” It does not mean the child is actually dead, only that their relationship is dead.

Jeconiah and the lineage of Jesus

Skeptics like to point out that Jeconiah is included in Matthew’s record of the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:11-12). This, they say, proves that Jesus cannot be the Messiah because God said to “count him as childless” and that, “…none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah” (Jeremiah 22, see above). These skeptics claim that this prohibits Jesus from being the Messiah because He is a descendant of Jeconiah, whom God clearly said would have no descendants on the throne. While, on the surface, these unbelievers may seem to have a point, there are several answers to their accusations.

Plausible solutions to this problem

The first solution is simply the idea that the “offspring” of Jeconiah mentioned in the curse could be limited to the king’s own children; his immediate offspring, in other words. “This is exactly what happened, as Jeconiah was not successful as a king (he only reigned for three months before he surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar’s forces), and none of his sons (he had seven of them, 1 Chronicles 3:17) reigned over Judah”. (1) 

Many Christians resolve this apparent dilemma by noting that Joseph, whose lineage included Jeconiah, was not Jesus’ biological father. Jesus’ royal line came through his mother, Mary, who did not have Jeconiah as a relative (Luke 3:31). “Joseph was Jesus’ legal father, but not His physical one. Thus, Jesus was of royal blood through Mary, but the curse of Jeconiah stopped with Joseph and was not passed on to Jesus.” (2) 

Jeconiah is included in Matthew's record of the lineage of Jesus

Jeconiah is included in Matthew’s record of the lineage of Jesus … but the curse of Jeconiah stopped with Joseph and was not passed on to Jesus.

Another plausible solution is that God reversed the curse on Jeconiah’s family. A passage in Haggai seems to indicate that Zerubbabel, Jeconiah’s grandson, was, “…blessed by God as the governor of Judea, and he prospered in that role when the Jewish exiles returned to Jerusalem. The “signet ring” imagery of Jeconiah’s curse is repeated in Zerubbabel’s blessing, which must be more than coincidence” (3). Ra McLaughlin concurs with this explanation, “In keeping with this, history reveals that Jeconiah indeed failed to repent, and that the resultant curse continued throughout his life. As stated above, however, the curse did not inhibit Jeconiah’s descendant Zerubbabel, who did not follow in Jeconiah’s evil ways, from returning to the land or from being potentially offered the throne of the “Davidic monarchy” (Keil, vol. 10, p. 497): “‘On that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the Lord of hosts” (Hag. 2:23)” (4).


Much more could be said, and argued concerning this topic; this article is but an introduction for those who may not have heard about it. It is my opinion that, were the appearance of Jeconiah in Jesus’ lineage a true problem, God would have had the Gospel writers address it and deal with it. However, this was not the case. Ra McLaughlin writes, “Clearly, Matthew did not think Jeconiah’s presence among Jesus’ ancestors was something to be explained (after all, Matthew did not explain it). Rather, he saw it as something to be asserted as proof of Jesus’ messiahship” (5). If Matthew, writing under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit, did not think it necessary to explain or defend the presence of Jeconiah in Jesus’ lineage, then it appears the problem is an issue with we who read instead of a problem of what is written. God never told us that we would understand everything. He never promised that we would know the answer to every question. He did promise us salvation and His indwelling presence. There is more than enough evidence within the Bible, and within the hearts of believers, to assure us that Jesus is Lord and Savior, and to render the issue of Jeconiah of no real concern.

More to read: Who is Jesus?

Resources: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 1, 2, 3 http://www.gotquestions.org/curse-of-Jeconiah.html#ixzz32UhQaShP. 4, 5 http://thirdmill.org/newfiles/ra_mclaughlin/OT.McLaughlin.Jeconiah.pdf

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