Sons, Brothers, Captives, and Adoptions

Sons, Brothers, Captives, and Adoptions •
1 Chronicles 3:16-17, plus Ezra 3:2 & Jeremiah 22:24-30 •

Take a quick look at the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles. Genealogy. Long, long lists of names. Unpronounceable Hebrew names. We don’t know about you, but at Bible Bits, our eyes glaze over when encountering these long genealogical lists of Biblical names and relationships. There is however, much of historic, literary, doctrinal, and translator’s interest in these passages.

Let’s zoom in on 1 Chron 3:16-19, which holds a thicket of confusion, and illustrated the careful, detailed research and analysis required when translating and interpreting these genealogical sections of the Bible text. Look closely at these verses in your Bible, and two or three different translations as you are able.

We’ll offer up the King James, New King James, New American Standard, and the New International versions. Here:

16 And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. 17 And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, 18 Malchiram also, and Pedaiah, and Shenazar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. 19 And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister: (KJV)

16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son and Zedekiah his son. 17 And the sons of Jeconiah were Assir, Shealtiel his son, 18 and Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jecamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. 19 The sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei. The sons of Zerubbabel were Meshullam, Hananiah, Shelomith their sister, (NKJV)

16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. 17 The sons of Jeconiah, the prisoner, were Shealtiel his son, 18 and Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah. 19 The sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei. And the sons of Zerubbabel were Meshullam and Hananiah, and Shelomith was their sister; (NASB)

16 The successors of Jehoiakim: Jehoiachin his son, and Zedekiah. 17 The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son, 18 Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah. 19 The sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei. The sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah. Shelomith was their sister (NIV)

Also, look at Ezra 3:2 and Jeremiah 22:24-30:

Ezra 3:2: Then Jeshua the son of Jozadak and his brothers the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and his brothers arose and built the altar of the God of Israel to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the law of Moses, the man of God. (NASB)

Jeremiah 22:24-30 (excerpts): …”even though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah … Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered jar? … “Thus says the Lord, ‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.’” (NASB)

Okay, we now ask:

1. Who is Assir?
2. Does Jehoiakim have one son plus a grandson, or two sons listed?
3. Who are Salathiel and Shealtiel?
4. Who are Jehoiachin and Jeconiah?
5. Who is Zerubabbel’s father? Examine Ezra 3:2.
6. Is Jeconiah childless? Does he or doesn’t he father a son named Shealtiel? Examine Jeremiah 22:30.

These are our Bible Bits. We applaud you if you can unravel this thicket of detail.

Answers:

1. Assir is not a name. Assir is not a person. Assir is is a Hebrew word meaning “prisoner.”
2. Jehoiakim has two sons listed. Not one son and one grandson. We think.
3. Salathiel and Shealtiel are two ways of pronouncing and arranging the syllables and spelling the name of the same guy.
4. Jehoiachin and Jeconiah are two ways of pronouncing and arranging the syllables and spelling the name of the same guy.
5. Zerubabbel’s natural birth father is Shealtiel. He was adopted by Shealtiel’s brother Pedaiah. Or something of that sort. Whoever is his father, he and his line is connected to David and to Christ.
6. Jeconiah aka Jehoiachin does in fact have children. As the final king on the the thrown in Judah, he does not have a successor. His childlessness is his successorlessness.

Let us point out, Christian friends, the larger non-bit-sized take-away which you should not miss while our eyes are glazed over at 1 Chron 3:17: the Chronicler goes to a great deal of trouble to provide the genealogical linkage from King David down to his own time.   Even though, at 3:17, Jerusalem and the kingdom have fallen several generations prior to the time of the Chronicler, and the earthly kingdom of David through Solomon and on to Jehoiachin has collapsed, the writer continues to record the lineage on to what will some day end with Christ Jesus.  Jesus will continue the kingdom of David, and while the Chronicler does not know this, he is nevertheless doing God’s work to document this lineage.

Let’s look a bit more at the questions.

Who is Assir?

Here is the Hebrew of verse 17. Look for the Hebrew word we write as Assir:

ū·ḇə·nê
וּבְנֵי֙
and the sons
yə·ḵā·nə·yāh
יְכָנְיָ֣ה
of Jeconiah
’as·sir,
אַסִּ֔ר
Assir
šə·’al·tî·’êl
שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵ֖ל
Salathiel
bə·nōw.
בְּנֽוֹ׃
his son

Without punctuation and case, the transliteration reads:

“and the sons of jeconiah assir salathel his son”

Let’s see how several English translations handle this:

And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son, (KJV)

And the sons of Jeconiah–the same is Assir–Shealtiel his son; (JPS Tanahk 1917)

And the Bnei Yechanyah: Assir, She’alti’el bno, (Orthodox Jewish Bible)

The sons of Jechonias were Asir, Salathiel, (Douay-Rheims)

And the sons of Jeconiah: Assir; Salathiel his son, (Darby)

And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son. (Webster’s)

And sons of Jeconiah: Assir; Salathiel his son; (Young’s)

But now, let’s look at more modern English translations:

The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son, (NIV)

and the sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son, (ESV)

The sons of Jeconiah, the prisoner, were Shealtiel his son, (NASB)

The sons of Jeconiah the captive: his sons Shealtiel, (HCSB)

The sons of Jehoiachin the exile: Shealtiel his son, (NET)

And if you miss the point that Jehoiachin the prisoner was no run-of-the-mill captive, but that he was instead the king of Judah, and the last in a long line of heads of the Jewish states of Israel and Judah, and the unfortunate fellow that was carted off by the Babylonians in 587 BC, thus ending the Biblical state of Judah, we have paraphrases and translations which are more free with the literal text and help you grasp what’s going on:

The sons of Jehoiachin, who was taken prisoner by the Babylonians, were Shealtiel, (NLT)

The descendants of Jeconiah, who was taken captive to Babylon , included his son Shealtiel, (ISV)

The sons of Jeconiah (who was taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar) were Shealtiel, (Voice)

The sons of Jeconiah born while he was captive in Babylon… (Message)

These are the sons who were born to King Jeconiah during the years that he was under house arrest… (Living Bible)

In any event, Assir seems to not be the name of a person, but instead the Hebrew word for “captive,” and perhaps a bit of a pejorative sneer at Judah’s unfortunate head of state, Jeconiah.

Next, you may have noticed in the translations of 3:16 that in some translations the unfortunate final king of Judah is called Jehoiachin, while in others he is named Jeconiah.

Here is the Hebrew:

ū·ḇə·nê
וּבְנֵ֖י
and the sons
yə·hō·w·yā·qîm;
יְהוֹיָקִ֑ים
of Jehoiakim
yə·ḵā·nə·yāh
יְכָנְיָ֥ה
Jeconiah
ḇə·nōw
בְנ֖וֹ
his son
ṣiḏ·qî·yāh
צִדְקִיָּ֥ה
Zedekiah

Here’s the line transliterated, without punctuation and case as it faces translators of source manuscripts:

“and the sons of jehoiakim jeconiah his son zedekiah”

The pronunciation of the Hebrew Masoretic is:

yə·ḵā·nə·yāh

Even though the translators of these various Bible versions shown above are working from the same Hebrew Masoretic text, some have chosen to anglicize the Hebrew

יְכָנְיָ֥ה = yə·ḵā·nə·yāh = Jeconiah

as Jehoiakin, rather than Jeconiah.

Why? We are not sure.

In any event, the both words consist of the underlying Hebrew syllable-words, and these two words are the roots for “Yahweh” and “establishes.” Yahweh establishes. God appoints.

The same issue occurs with Salatheil = šə·’al·tî·’êl = שְׁאַלְתִּיאֵ֖ל also in verse 17.  Sometimes English translation use “Salathiel” and sometimes they use “Shealtiel.”  We do not know the exact mechanism by which English translators came to use one or the other English spelling.  Perhaps one of our readers can fill in our gap in knowledge.

Here is 1 Chronicles 3:16-17 in Several English translations.  Look for Assir and the treatment of Jeconiah/Jehoiachin and Salathiel/Shealtiel.

WMC Hebrew and the sons of jehoiakim jeconiah his son zedekiah and the sons of jeconiah assir salathel his son
1917 JPS Tanakh: And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah–the same is Assir–Shealtiel his son;
Complete Jewish Bible: The sons of Y’hoyakim: Y’khonyah his son, and Tzedekyah his son. The sons of Y’khonyah, also called Asir: Sh’alti’el his son;
Darby: And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah: Assir; Salathiel his son,
Dousay-Rheims: Of Joakim was born Jechonias, and Sedecias. The sons of Jechonias were Asir, Salathiel,
KJV: And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son,
NASB: The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. The sons of Jeconiah, the prisoner, were Shealtiel his son,
Webster’s: And the sons of Jehoiakim; Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah; Assir, Salathiel his son.
Young’s Literal: And sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And sons of Jeconiah: Assir; Salathiel his son;
ESV: The descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son; and the sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son,
HCSB: Jehoiakim’s sons: his sons Jeconiah and Zedekiah. The sons of Jeconiah the captive: his sons Shealtiel,
ISV: Jehoiakim’s descendants included his son Jeconiah, and his son Zedekiah. The descendants of Jeconiah, who was taken captive to Babylon , included his son Shealtiel,
Lexham: And the descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son,
NABRE: The sons of Jehoiakim were: Jeconiah, his son; Zedekiah, his son. The sons of Jeconiah the captive were: Shealtiel,
NET: The sons of Jehoiakim: his son Jehoiachin and his son Zedekiah. The sons of Jehoiachin the exile: Shealtiel his son,
NIV: The successors of Jehoiakim: Jehoiachin his son, and Zedekiah. The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son,
NKJV: The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah his son and Zedekiah his son. And the sons of Jeconiah were Assir, Shealtiel his son,
NRSV: The descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son; and the sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son,
WEB: The sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son. The sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son,
GNT: Jehoiakim had two sons: Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. These are the descendants of King Jehoiachin, who was taken prisoner by the Babylonians. Jehoiachin had seven sons: Shealtiel,
Living Bible: The sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah, Zedekiah. These are the sons who were born to King Jeconiah during the years that he was under house arrest: Shealtiel, …
MSG: Jehoiakim’s sons were Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) and Zedekiah. The sons of Jeconiah born while he was captive in Babylon: Shealtiel…
NLT: The successors of Jehoiakim were his son Jehoiachin and his brother Zedekiah. The sons of Jehoiachin, who was taken prisoner by the Babylonians, were Shealtiel,
AMP: The sons (descendants) of Jehoiakim: Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) his son, Zedekiah his son. The sons (descendants) of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) the prisoner: Shealtiel his son,

Here’s the same table with the clutter removed:

 

WMC transliterated: jehoiakim jeconiah zedekiah jeconiah assir salathel
1917 JPS Tanakh: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Shealtiel
Complete Jewish Bible: Y’hoyakim Y’khonyah Tzedekyah Y’khonyah Asir Sh’alti’el
Darby: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Salathiel
Dousay-Rheims: Joakim Jechonias Sedecias Jechonias Asir Salathiel
KJV: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Salathiel
NASB: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah prisoner Shealtiel
Webster’s: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Salathiel
Young’s Literal: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Salathiel
ESV: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
HCSB: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
ISV: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
Lexham: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
NABRE: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
NET: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin Zedekiah Jehoiachin exile Shealtiel
NIV: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin Zedekiah Jehoiachin captive Shealtiel
NKJV: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah Assir Shealtiel
NRSV: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
WEB: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
GNT: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin Zedekiah Jehoiachin prisoner Shealtiel
Living Bible: Jehoiakim Jeconiah Zedekiah Jeconiah house arrest Shealtiel
MSG: Jehoiakim Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) Zedekiah Jeconiah captive Shealtiel
NLT: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin Zedekiah Jehoiachin prisoner Shealtiel
AMP: Jehoiakim Jehoiachin(Jeconiah) Zedekiah Jehoiachin(Jeconiah) prisoner Shealtiel

Finally, who exactly is Zerubabbel’s father, and did Jeconiah ever have a child?  We will leave these questions for you to research and answer.

We encourage you to read the actual Bible for yourself and study the learned writings of Christian and Jewish Biblical interpreters.

Blessings to you!

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