Young Joash Influenced by Jehoiada
1 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah from Beersheba. 2 Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest [his uncle]. 3 Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he fathered sons and daughters.
4 Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house (temple) of the Lord. 5 He gathered the priests and the Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God from year to year; and see that you do it quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly. 6 So the king called for Jehoiada the high priest and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax for the tent of the testimony which was authorized by Moses, the servant of the Lord and the servant of the assembly of Israel?” 7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God and also had used all the holy and dedicated things of the house of the Lord for the Baals.
8 So at the king’s command they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the Lord. 9 Then they made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God imposed on Israel in the wilderness. 10 All the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until they had finished [and the chest was full]. 11 It came about that whenever the Levites brought the chest to the king’s official, and whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money, the king’s secretary and the chief priest’s representative would come and empty the chest, and take it, and return it to its place. They did this day after day and collected a large amount of money. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they would hire masons and carpenters (craftsmen) and also those who worked in iron and bronze to repair and restore the house of the Lord. 13 So the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands; and they restored and organized the house of God in accordance with its specifications and strengthened it. 14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was [melted down and] made into utensils for the house of the Lord, utensils for ministering and for burnt offerings, and bowls and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada.
15 Now when Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, he died. He was a hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16 They buried him in the City of David among the kings, because he had done good [things] in Israel and toward God and His house.
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada [the priest, who had hidden Joash], the officials of Judah came and (a)bowed down to King Joash; then the king listened to them. 18 They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the (b)Asherim and the idols; so [God’s] wrath came on Judah and Jerusalem for their sin and guilt. 19 Yet God sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord; these prophets testified against them, but they would not listen.
Joash Murders Son of Jehoiada
20 Then the Spirit of God came over Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people and said to them, “This is what God has said: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord so that you cannot prosper? Because you have abandoned (turned away from) the Lord, He has also abandoned (turned away from) you.’”
Joash Murders Son of Jehoiada
21 So they conspired against Zechariah and stoned him [to death] at the command of the king, in the courtyard of the house of the Lord. 22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but he murdered his son. And when Zechariah was dying, he said, “May the Lord see this and require an accounting!”
23 Now it happened at the end of the year, that the army of Aram (Syria) went up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders among the people and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus.
Aram Invades and Defeats Judah
24 Though the army of the Arameans came with a small company of men, the Lord handed over a very large army into their hands, because Joash and Judah had abandoned (turned away from) the Lord, the God of their fathers. So the Arameans executed judgment against Joash.
25 When they left Joash (for they left him very ill), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and they murdered him on his bed. So he died, and they buried him in the City of David, but they did not bury him in the tombs of the kings. 26 The conspirators against Joash were Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. 27 Now as to his sons and the many prophecies uttered against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, they are written in the commentary on the Book of Kings. Then his son Amaziah became king in his place.
a. 2 Chronicles 24:17: The sudden transition to idolatry under Joash in v 18 was attributed by the ancient rabbis to this meeting. They claimed that when the officials bowed down to Joash, they were acknowledging him as a god, on the ground that it was actually in the Holy of Holies that he had been hidden for a number of years (see 22:12), and he would not have emerged from this sacred chamber alive if he were not a god. The rabbis said that Joash agreed with the officials and even allowed an idol to be made of himself (one of the idols in v 18), thereby ensuring his own destruction.
b. 2 Chronicles 24:18: Wooden symbols of a female deity.