The unjust king and his house (Jer 22:13-22:14)

“Woe to him

Who builds his house

With unrighteousness!

Woe to him

Who builds his upper rooms

With injustice!

Woe to him

Who makes his neighbors

Work for nothing!

Woe to him

Who does not give them

Their wages!

Woe to him

Who says

‘I will build myself

A spacious house

With large upper rooms.’

He cuts out windows for it.

He panels it with cedar.

He paints it with vermilion.”

This seems to be a swipe at King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) who was put in charge by the Egyptian king. Apparently, he decided to expand the palace using Egyptian styles, like large upper rooms, lots of windows, paneled cedar, and vermilion paint. Jeremiah seems to censure him for building this great palace with injustice and unrighteousness, since he did not correctly pay the people who did the work.

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