By ABRAHAM RABINOVICH
A poignant addendum to the story of Jehoiachin is provided in the final passage of II Kings where it is revealed that 37 years after his arrival in Babylon, Jehoiachin was released from imprisonment when a new Babylonian king, Amel-Marduk, mounted the throne. "We don't know when he was imprisoned or for what," says Prof. Israel Eph'al of the Hebrew University, who believes that for most of Jehoiachin's long stay in Babylon he served as head of the exiled community and was treated with honor by the Babylonians as heir to the Davidic royal line.
"Amel-Marduk did lift up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, out of prison," reads the Bible, in a rare reference to events during the Babylonian exile. "And he spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon. And he changed his prison garments and did eat bread before him continually all the days of his life. And there was a continual allowance given him of the king, every day a portion, all the days of his life."
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