THE BOOK OF 2 KINGS
Lesson 5: Chapters 11:1-14:22
Part I: The Divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
The Reigns of Queen Athaliah and King Jehoash/Joash in Judah
The Reigns of Kings Jehoahaz and Jehoash of Israel,
the Death of Elisha, and the reign of Amaziah in Judah
The unfolding of Your divine plan in human history remains a mystery to us. There is such violence in the hearts and actions of some and yet such compassion and mercy in the hearts of others. You have given us the gift of free-will, and we use it for bad and for good. For those of us who have gathered to study Your divine word today, please guide our hearts and minds and purify our souls in the Eucharist so that we may serve You in goodness and in love. Give us the wisdom and desire in helping to move forward Your divine plan to redeem the world through the sacrifice of Your Beloved Son. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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exterminated all the royal children. In fact, after her son had been killed by
Jehu, she had conceived an extremely perfidious and vicious scheme, saying to
herself with anger, "I will reign just the same against the will of God by
fighting God's promises, and I will make the posterity of David's house perish,
as the descendants of my father's house have perished and have been
exterminated." That scheme resembled the treachery that Satan plotted at the
beginning against the chief of our race.
Bishop Isho'dad of Merv (c. 850) Books of Sessions, 2 Kings 11:1
Chapter 11: Athaliah, Usurper of the Throne of Judah (841-835)
See the parallel passages to Chapters 11-14 in 2 Chronicles Chapters 22-25. Ahaziah's son, is called by both forms of his name in Scripture; the longer form is "Jehoash" and the shortened form of his name is "Joash." In the Hebrew translation he is called Jehoash in 12:1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 18 and 14:13, but he is called Joash in 11:2; 12:19, 20; 13:1, 10, 14; 14:1, 3, 17 and 23. However, in 2 Chronicles he is consistently called Joash. To avoid confusion with King Jehoash of Israel, who is also called by Jehoash and the shortened form "Joash" and who reigned from 798-783, in our lesson we will refer to this Davidic king as Joash of Judah (835-796). He is one of the Davidic kings whose name is absent from St. Matthew's genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-14.
2 Kings 11:1-3 ~ Athaliah murders the sons of the
House of David and rules Judah (841-835)
1 When Athaliah mother of Ahaziah learned that he son was dead, she promptly murdered all those of royal stock. 2 But Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, surreptitiously rescued Jehoash [Joash] son of Ahaziah from among the princes who were to be murdered, and put him with his nurse in the sleeping quarters: in this way, she hid him from Athaliah, and he was not killed. 3 He stayed, hidden with her in the Temple of Yahweh for six years, while Athaliah governed the country.
It is still the fateful year 841 BC. Athaliah's son Ahaziah has been murdered by the Israelite military commander Jehu who now claims the throne of Israel. Ahaziah was only 22 years old. He was the youngest son of King Jehoram of Judah and only reigned for part of the year. His older brothers, including the other sons of Ahaziah (2 Chr 24:7), were killed in a raid on Jerusalem by the Philistines and Arabs in 841 BC (2 Chr 21:16-17). It was God's judgment on King Jehoram of Judah for following the example of the kings of Israel and in leading Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem into apostasy and Baal worship (2 Chr 21:12-15).
The Fathers of the Church wrote that the scheme of Athaliah against the family of David resembled that of the devil against the human family. The motivation was the same: to destroy God's covenant and to have power over the people of God. As long as her son lived, she ruled as Judah's Gebirah, the Queen Mother and the most important woman in the kingdom. If another Davidic heir came to the throne, even one of her own grandsons (her other sons were dead, see 2 Chr 22:1), she would no longer hold that high office because it would pass to the mother of her grandson (2 Chr 24:1). Of course, she could kill the mother of any of her grandsons and continue to rule as Gebirah, but she chose to kill all the male heirs of the House of David including any grandsons by her older sons, the brothers of Ahaziah.
Question: What could have been her reason for such
brutality not only against all the male Davidic relatives of her sons but in
even killing her own grandchildren?
Answer: It is possible that she carried out the murders of all the possible male heirs of the House of David in order to destroy the Davidic line. It may have been her revenge against Yahweh for His divine judgment in the destruction of all her relations in the House of Ahab. She would have known about Yahweh's covenant with the House of David and she may have intended to destroy that covenant.
Unknown to Athaliah, the only Davidic heir to escape was one grandson, the one year old son of her dead son Ahaziah, who was rescued by Jehosheba.
Question: Who was Jehosheba and how was she able
to hide the child in the Temple? See 2 Chr 22:10-11.
Answer: She was the daughter of King Jehoram, and since she is not identified as the daughter of Athaliah, she was the half-sister of King Ahaziah. She was also the wife of the priest Jehoiada. Through her husband she had special privileges within the Temple and together they were able to hide the child for six years until he was seven years old.
Jehosheba's husband Jehoiada is called a "priest" in 11:9 but he is called the "high priest" in 2 Chronicles 24:6. Her name in Hebrew means "Yahweh is an oath." It was not uncommon for chief priests to marry princesses of the royal family and for princes or kings to marry the daughters of high priests in Judah. Royal princesses of the Davidic line were known to marry priests, including Herod the Great who married the daughter of the High Priest Simon (see 2 Chr 22:11; and Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 17.78 [164-67]).
2 Kings 11:4-12 ~ The plan to put make Joash king
4 In the seventh year, Jehoiada sent for the regimental commanders of the Carians and the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of Yahweh. He made a pact with them, put them on oath, then showed them the king's son. He gave them this order, 5 "This is what you must do: a third of you who come on duty on the Sabbath must mount guard at the royal palace, (6) 7 And your two other sections who come off duty on the Sabbath and mount guard at the Temple of Yahweh 8 must surround the king, each man with his weapons in his hand; anyone forcing his way through the ranks is to be killed. And you will escort the king as he leaves and as he comes in [as he goes in and out]." 9 The regimental commanders did everything as Jehoiada the priest had ordered, and each one brought his men, those coming on duty on the Sabbath and those going off duty on the Sabbath, and reported to Jehoiada the priest. 10 The priest then issued the regimental commanders with King David's spears and shields, which were kept in the Temple of Yahweh. 11 The guards then took position, each man with his weapons in his hand, from the south corner of the Temple to the north corner of the Temple, all round the altar and the Temple. 12 Then Jehoiada brought the king's son out, crowned him and gave him a copy of the covenant; and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and shouted, "Long live the king!" [..]= literal translation IBHE, vol. I, page 1005.
In the "seventh year" refers to Joash's age. Joash was hidden in the Temple for six years and he was now seven years old (see 2 Kng 12:1; 2 Chr 21:12). Athaliah's six year reign was coming to an end as Joash's uncle, the High Priest Jehoiada, formulated a plan to place the boy on the throne of the kings of Judah.
Jehoiada sent for the regimental commanders of the
Carians and the guards, and had them brought to him in the Temple of Yahweh.
The Carians are probably the descendants of the Cherethites, former Gentiles who are believed to be related to the Sea Peoples from Crete. These people migrated into the Levant in the late Bronze Age during a time of devastating natural disasters and political upheavals among the peoples of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions.
Question: Who were the Carians/Cherethites in relation
to the Judahites and the Davidic kings? See 1 Sam 30:14, 18; 2 Sam 8:18;
15:18; 1 Kng 1:38; 1 Chr 18:17.
Answer: The Amalekites attacked David's camp and took all the women, children and elderly in a slave raid when David and his warriors were away. David and his men went after the raiders and not only rescued their own families but the women and children of the other towns that had been attacked, including the town of the Gentile Cherethites. From that time, the Cherethites formed an alliance with David and men of the Cherethites not only served David as his personal guard but continued to serve the Davidic kings.
Question: The priest Jehoiada formed a conspiracy to overthrow Athaliah with what three groups in addition to the other chief priests? Also see 2 Chr 23:1-7.
During the week prior to the Saturday Sabbath, one-third of the royal guard was in service at the Temple and two-thirds were at the palace that was located next to the Temple. On the Sabbath, the division of the guard was reversed with two-thirds of the guard at the Temple. Jehoiada took advantage of the posting of the royal guard on the Sabbath when two-thirds of the guard was on duty at the Temple to begin the revolt against Athaliah by placing Joash on the throne at the Temple. Verse 6 is missing from some texts of 2 Kings 11 and concerns the placement of the guards at the Temple; it reads: and one-third at the Gate Sur and one-third at the gate behind the runners, and you are to keep watch on the house alternately (IBHE, vol. I, page 1005) and refers to the placement of the Levitical guards at the Temple on the Sabbath of the planned revolt. The word sur in verse 6 is probably a scribal error and the word should be sus which means "horse" and would indicate the "Horse Gate" that led to the palace (see verse 16). "House" refers to the "house" of God that is the Temple.
And Jehoiada told the royal guards: 7 "And your two other sections who come
off duty on the Sabbath and mount guard at the Temple of Yahweh 8 must surround the king, each man with his
weapons in his hand; anyone forcing his way through the ranks is to be killed.
And you will escort the king as he leaves and as he comes in [as he goes in and
"As he goes in and out" is language that Moses used to define an ideal leader and is found in Moses' request to Yahweh to appoint leader for the people in Moses' place in Numbers 27:17, in verse 21 for Joshua, 2 Samuel 5:2 for David and in John 10:9 where Jesus says of Himself: "I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: such a one will go in and out and will find pasture."
10 The priest
then issued the regimental commanders with King David's spears and shields,
which were kept in the Temple of Yahweh.
Jehoiada's plan is carried out as he ordered (verses 7-9), and he takes the time to arm the commanders not with their own weapons but with the spears and shields collected by King David in his victorious battles that were kept in the Temple (2 Sam 8:7-8).
Question: Why did Jehoiada give the commanders the weapons won by the great David to carry in defense of Joash?
Answer: David's weapons were a symbol of the legitimacy of Joash's succession. Holding David's weapons were also meant to instill in the commanders the sense of the historical and theological importance of their mission to place a Davidic heir back on the throne of Judah so the Davidic covenant with Yahweh could continue and could one day be fulfilled in the Messiah.
11 The guards
then took position, each man with his weapons in his hand, from the south
corner of the Temple to the north corner of the Temple, all round the altar and
the Temple. 12 Then Jehoiada
brought the king's son out, crowned him and gave him a copy of the covenant;
and they made him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and
shouted, "Long live the king!"
The royal guard is positioned with the young king within the Temple's inner courtyard where the altar was located.
Question: When he was crowned, what did Jehoiada put into the young king's hands? See Ex 24:3-4 and verse 7.
Answer: It was a copy of the covenant Israel made with Yahweh at Sinai, swearing to willingly submit in faith and obedience to the Law of Yahweh.
Some scholars suggest that it was a copy of the Davidic covenant that Jehoiada put in the young king's hands; however, the Davidic covenant was within the overall reach of the Law of the Sinai Covenant, and the Davidic covenant only pertained to the linear heirs of the House of David and not to the people as a whole.
2 Kings 11:13-16 ~ The death of Athaliah
13 On hearing the people shouting, Athaliah joined the people in the Temple of Yahweh. 14 When she looked, there stood the king on a dais [standing by the pillar], as the custom was, with the officers and trumpeters at the king's side, and all the people of the country rejoicing and blowing the trumpets; then Athaliah tore her clothes and shouted, "Treason, treason!" 15 Jehoiada the priest then gave the orders to the commanders in charge of the troops, "Take her out under guard and put to death anyone who follows her." "For," the priest had already said, "She must not be killed inside the Temple of Yahweh." 16 They seized her, and when she reached the horses' entry to the palace, she was killed there. [..] = literal translation IBHE, vol. II, page 1006.
The shouting of the people was an expression of their approval and the legal confirmation of the accession. The palace of Solomon was just south of the Temple. In the palace, Athaliah could hear the cheers of the crowd and the blowing of trumpets. When she went to the Temple to discover what was causing the commotion, she saw that a child was on the king's customary place and she knew a coup was in the works (2 Chronicles 23:13 records that the pillar was "at the entrance" to the Temple and Ezekiel 46:2 mentions that the prince's station was at the "doorposts of the gate"). She shouted "treason" in the hope that the guards would rally to her, but she did not have their loyalty. The royal guards obeyed Jehoiada and removed her from area to avoid shedding human blood with the Temple complex and profaning the Temple. She was killed at the entrance to the Horse Gate that led to the palace.(2)
2 Kings 11:17-20 ~ Jehoiada reaffirms the Sinai
Covenant and the Laws of the King
17 Jehoiada made a covenant between Yahweh, the king and the people that they would remain Yahweh's people; and another one between the king and the people. 18 All the people of the country then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed its altars and its images and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. 19 The priest made arrangements for the security of the Temple of Yahweh. He then took the regimental commanders, the Carians, the guards and all the people of the country, and they escorted the king down from the Temple of Yahweh, entering the palace through the Gate of the Guards. Jehoash [Joash] took his seat on the throne of the kings. 20 All the people of the country were delighted; the city, however, made no move. And Athaliah was put to death inside the palace.
17 Jehoiada made
a covenant between Yahweh, the king and the people that they would remain
Yahweh's people; and another one between the king and the people.
The literal Hebrew is "they should be a people belonging to YHWH." The binding terms of the Sinai Covenant was that the children of Israel were "Yahweh's people" (see Dt 4:20; 7:6; 14:4; 26:18; 27:9; Jer 7:23; 11:4; etc.). This is not a new covenant but the reaffirmation of the Sinai Covenant between Yahweh, the king, and the people. The other pact that is mentioned is probably the reestablishment of the Laws of the King in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 that provided for a limited monarchy by forbidding certain actions by the king. The king was to serve as God's agent and the people's servant, and the people were to give the king their financial support and their loyalty.(1)
18 All the people of the country then went to the temple of Baal and demolished it; they smashed its altars and its images and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Mattan is a common name in Phoenician but it is also known as a component in Hebrew names like Mattaniah and Mattanyahu.
Jehoiada devoted himself to restoring the true faith and
the true expression of worshiping Yahweh that had been abandoned by King Jehoram
and his wife Athaliah, daughter of Ahab of Israel.
Question: What was the first Law of the Sinai Covenant that Jehoiada had carried out immediately?
Answer: The first law was that the people were to have no other God but Yahweh and to bow down to no images. The High Priest had the people destroy the temple of Baal and everything in it, including the killing of Mattan, high priest of Baal.
For the first time we learn that a temple to Baal had
been built in the holy city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place God chose
for His name to dwell (1 Kng 8:29). Mattan must have been a Judahite who renounced
his faith in Yahweh and was appointed by the monarchy as the high priest of
Question: What was the punishment under the Law for someone who was formerly a member of the covenant but who apostatized from the true faith and misled others? When was such a punishment under the law carried out by Elijah? See Dt 13:13-19 and 1 Kng 19:20, 40.
Answer: The Law prescribed exactly such a punishment for prophets of pagan divinities in order to safeguard the religious purity of the chosen people. For the same reason, Elijah had the people execute the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel.
19 The priest
made arrangements for the security of the Temple of Yahweh. He then took the
regimental commanders, the Carians, the guards and all the people of the
country, and they escorted the king down from the Temple of Yahweh, entering
the palace through the Gate of the Guards. Jehoash [Joash] took his
seat on the throne of the kings.
Precautions were taken to protect the Temple from vandalism by supporters of Athaliah. The young king was then taken to the palace that was built by Solomon and was placed on Solomon's throne (see the description of Solomon's throne in 2 Chr 9:17-19).
20 All the people
of the country were delighted; the city, however, made no move. And Athaliah
was put to death inside the palace.
Since there were so many "people of the country" in the city, Jehoiada may have chosen one of the pilgrim feasts the stage his coup, knowing he would have the support of the people as a whole when he didn't have the support of the Jerusalemites who were apparently still loyal to Athaliah since the city however, made no move to express their delight.
Question: What was the difference between Jehu's
religious reforms in the Northern Kingdom and Jehoiada's religious reforms in
the Kingdom of Judah? See 1 Kng 10:1-27.
Answer: In both kingdoms, the temples of Baal were destroyed along with the priests of Baal. The difference between Jehu's coup that was led by the military and the religious reforms that included the destruction of the temple of Baal in the Northern Kingdom as opposed to Jehoiada's overthrow of Athaliah and his reforms is that "the people of the country" of the Southern Kingdom gave their complete support to the coup and the religious reforms.
Unfortunately it was only the Judean populace as a whole who were loyal to Yahweh. The city of Jerusalem had been infected by the pagan practices and was not easily reformed as we shall see after the death of High Priest Jehoiada.
Chapter 12: The Reign of King Joash (Jehoash) of Judah (835-796 BC)
2 Kings 12:1-4 ~ The early years of the reign of King Joash
1 Jehoash was seven years old when he came to the throne. 2 He became king in the seventh year of Jehu, and reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 3 All his life Jehoash did what Yahweh regards as right, having been instructed by Jehoiada the priest. 4 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places.
Read the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 24:1-16. Notice that the mothers of the Davidic kings are always named. 2 Chronicles 24:2-3 notes that Joash did not remain loyal to Yahweh all his life but only until the death of Jehoiada: Joash did what Yahweh regards as right throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada found him two wives and he fathered several sons and daughters. It was after Jehoiada's death that Joash began to listen to the voices of those who did not wholly support Yahweh, and unfortunately Jehoiada was not able to completely do away with the illicit worship of Yahweh outside the Temple in the "high places" were shrines and altars were established and people offered worship according to their own understanding. This was a continuing problem in the Southern Kingdom even during the reigns of good kings.
2 Kings 12:5-17 ~ Joash sets aside funds to restore the Temple
5 Jehoash said to the priests, "All the money from the sacred revenues brought to the Temple of Yahweh, the money from personal taxes, and all the money voluntarily offered to the Temple, 6 the priests are to receive this individually from people of their acquaintance and will carry out all the repairs to the Temple which need to be made." 7 Now in the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had done no repairs to the Temple; 8 so the king summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests. "Why are you not repairing the Temple? He asked, "You are no longer to accept money from people of your acquaintance but are to hand it over for the Temple repairs." 9 The priests agreed to accept no money from the people and no longer to be responsible for repairs to the Temple. 10 Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a whole in the lid and placed it beside the pillar, to the right of the entry to the Temple of Yahweh; in it the priests who guarded the threshold put all the money which was given for the Temple of Yahweh. 11 Whenever they saw that there was a great deal of money in the chest, the king's secretary would come, and they would empty it out and reckon the money then in the Temple of Yahweh. 12 Once checked, they paid this money over to the masters of works attached to the Temple of Yahweh, and these in turn spent it on carpenters and builders working on the Temple of Yahweh, 13 on masons and stonecutters, and on buying timber and dressed stone to be used for repairs to the Temple of Yahweh; in short, for all the costs of the Temple repairs. 14 But no silver basins, knives, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or gold or silver objects were made from the Temple of Yahweh out of the money presented, 15 which was all given to the masters of works for repairing the Temple of Yahweh. 16 No accounts were kept with the men to whom the money was paid over to be spent on the workmen, since they were honest in their work. 17 Money offered in expiation of an offence or of a sin was not given to the Temple of Yahweh; that was for the priests.
When the king was 30 years old (the same age as David when he became the King of Israel and Jesus when He began His ministry) Joash intervened in the management of the Temple. The Temple was completed by Solomon in c. 963 and was dedicated the next year at the Feast of Tabernacles (1 Kng 6:38; 8:1-2). After nearly a century and a half of use, it was in need of repair. At first the king placed the responsibility for the restoration to the priests, but when the necessary repairs were not being made, the king, who saw himself as the royal patron of the Temple, presented a plan to collect the money for the needed repairs.
Question: What is the new system Joash sets in
The "sacred donations" were all free will donations that were given by the people to the Temple for use by the priests (Num 18:19, 28-29), and the loss of this revenue would severely restrict the standard of living for all the priestly families. The Levites were supported by the tithes and the entire clergy by the redemption tax for all firstborn sons (Num 18:15-16, 21-29, 30-32; Dt 14:22-29). In the past all these contributions were collected by the priests and a portion was applied for repairs that the priests and Levites undertook themselves. Under the new plan, none of the funds collected for the repairs were to be used to enhance the Temple treasure (gold and silver objects used in the liturgical services), and no accounting was demanded from the contractors. This new plan took away moneys that had been used to maintain the priests and their families, but the funds that came from the purification and guilt offerings could not be used for the Temple repairs and remained priestly income. The question is, were these reallocations of the sacred donations really legal under the Law and shouldn't the repairs have come out of the national royal treasury as they did when David collected the funds to build the Temple?
Question: What was the category of the division of
moneys that went to the Temple repairs as opposed to those that supported the
Answer: The donations associated with positive generosity and spontaneous acts of kindness of the people went to the Temple repairs. Those moneys associated with negative feelings that came out of a sense of obligation or guilt for sin sacrifices went to the priests.
2 Kings 12:18-19 ~ Problems during King Joash of Judah's
18 At that time Hazael king of Aram went to war against Gath, and captured it; he then prepared to attack Jerusalem. 19 Joash king of Judah took all the sacred offerings dedicated by his ancestors, the kings of Judah, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, with those which he himself had dedicated, and all the gold which was to be found in the treasuries of the Temple of Yahweh and of the palace; he sent it all to Hazael king of Aram, who retired from Jerusalem.
After Jehoiada's death, Joash listened to the advice official in Jerusalem who encouraged him to abandon the Temple of Yahweh for worship of sacred poles and idols (2 Chr 24:17-18). Jerusalem was previously a Canaanite city ruled by the pagan Jebusites. Some of that pagan character still lingered among elements of the population despite the selection of Jerusalem has Yahweh's holy city. Jerusalem incurred the wrath of Yahweh because of this apostasy. God sent His prophets to lead the king and the people back to Him, but the people and the king would not listen (see the parallel passage in 2 Chr 24:17, 23-27). The spirit of Yahweh then invested Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said, "God says this, 'Why transgress Yahweh's commands to your certain ruin? For if you abandon Yahweh, he will abandon you.'" Then they plotted against him and, at the king's order, stoned him in the court of the Temple of Yahweh. Thus King Joash, forgetful of the devotion which Jehoiada father of Zechariah had displayed on his behalf, murdered his son, who cried out as he died, "Yahweh will see this and avenge it!" (2 Chr 24:20-22). Jesus will mention righteous Zechariah in Luke 11:51 ~ "... so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet's blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the Temple. Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all." It is from Jesus' testimony that we learn that Zechariah died while performing his priestly duties at the altar of Yahweh in the Court of the Priests.
Judgment came in the form of the Aramaeans. The Kingdom of Judah was attacked by Hazael of Damascus (see 2 Kng 8:7-15). The city of Gath is probably Gath-Rimmon ("the winepress [of the god] Rimmon"), a city located on the borders between the tribes of Dan and Ephraim in the Northern Kingdom. That the Aramaeans have come through Israel unopposed shows the weakness of the Northern Kingdom and that the Aramaeans are probably already in control of the Transjordan. The Aramaeans army massacred all the government officials of Judah and looted all the towns they captured. Although the invading Aramaean army was only a small body of men, Yahweh allowed them to defeat a very large army because they had abandoned Yahweh, God of their ancestors; thus they executed judgment on Joash (2 Chr 24:24). The threat to Jerusalem caused Joash to confiscate both the Temple and palace treasuries to pay off the Aramaeans.
The High Priest Jehoiada reestablished Yahweh's covenant
with the people and reaffirmed the limited rule of a Davidic king as a servant
of the people (Dt 17:14-20). He restored the proper administration in the
Temple (2 Chr 23:18-19), acted as overseer of the necessary Temple repairs (2
Chr 24:4-14), and continued to have a good influence over King Joash (2 Chr 24:2-3). He lived to be 130 years old, and, as a sign of the great respect he
received from the king and the people, he was buried in the tombs of the kings
(2 Chr 24:15-16). His fame is remembered c. 250 years later where his
exemplary behavior is mnetioned an example for other priests ~ Yahweh has
appointed you priest in place of the priest Jehoiada to keep order in the
Temple of Yahweh, to put any crazy fellow posing as a prophet in the stocks and
collar..." (Jer 29:26).
After his death, King Joash of Judah and the officials of Judah abandoned the Temple of Yahweh for the worship of sacred poles and idols. God withdrew His protection of the nation and used the Aramaeans as His instrument of judgment. In the war with the Aramaeans, Joash was wounded (2 Chr 24:24b).
2 Kings 12:20-22 ~ Summary statement of Joash's reign and his death
20 The rest of the history of Joash, his entire career, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 21 His own retainers rebelled and hatched a plot; they murdered Joash in the palace of the Millo... 22 Jozacar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer were the retainers who struck the blows from which he died. He was buried with his ancestors in the City of David; his son succeeded him.
Joash was assassinated by his servants but without the
intention of bringing about a palace coup. The attack was personal, and he was
killed in the old part of the city of David south of Solomon's palace complex.
Question: What does the inspired writer of 2 Chronicles record as the reason for Joash's assassination? See 2 Chr 24:25.
Answer: They killed him in revenge for the murder of the priest Zechariah the son of Jehoiada.
It is interesting that 2 Chronicles 24:26-27 records that the servants who assassinated King Joash of Judah were the sons of Gentile mothers who were probably converts. Jozacar is called Zabad the son of an Ammonitess and Jehozabad is called the son of a Moabitess. In 2 Chronicles 24:23 it is recorded that Joash was buried in the city of David but not with honor in the tombs of the Davidic kings. He had reigned for 40 years.
Chapter 13: The
Reigns of Jehoahaz (814 -798) and Jehoash (798 -783) of Israel
and the Death of Elisha
Elijah, who was enveloped in a whirlwind; and Elisha was filled with his
spirit; throughout his life no ruler could shake him, and no one could subdue
him. No task was too hard for him, and even in death his body prophesied. In
his lifetime he performed wonders, and in death his works were marvelous.
2 Kings 13:1-9 ~ The reign of Jehoahaz in Israel (814 -798 BC)
1 In the twenty-third year of Joash son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for seventeen years. 2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh and copied the sin into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel; he did not give it up. 3 This aroused Yahweh's anger against the Israelites, and he delivered them without respite into the power of Hazael king of Aram and of Ben-Hadad son of Hazael. 4 Jehoahaz, however, tried to placate Yahweh, and Yahweh heard him, for he had seen the oppression which the king of Aram was inflicting on Israel. 5 Yahweh gave Israel a savior who freed them from the grip of Aram, and the Israelites lived in their tents as in the past. 6 But they did not give up the sin into which Jeroboam had led Israel; they persisted in it, and even the sacred pole stayed standing in Samaria. 7 Of Jehoahaz's army Yahweh left only fifty housemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers. The king of Aram had destroyed them, making them like dust trampled underfoot. 8 The rest of the history of Jehoahaz, his entire career, his prowess, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 9 Then Jehoahaz fell asleep with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria; his son Joash succeeded him.
Jehoahaz was guilty of the same sins as King Jeroboam, the Northern Kingdom's first king. Jeroboam, to whom all other kings of Israel are compared, introduced the sin of idol worship into the Northern Kingdom of Israel (1 Kng 12:28-33).(1)
however, tried to placate Yahweh, and Yahweh heard him, for he had seen the
oppression which the king of Aram was inflicting on Israel. 5 Yahweh gave Israel a savior who freed them
from the grip of Aram, and the Israelites lived in their tents as in the past.
As we have seen repeatedly, even a little repentance goes a long way in receiving God's mercy. The king of Aram who "destroyed them" is probably Hazael's son King Ben-Hadad III of Damascus (c. 807 - 780? BC). Because of Jehoahaz's repentance, God sent a savior/deliverer. The unnamed "savior" Yahweh gave Israel who freed them from Aram is disputed among scholars. The suggestions have been King Joash of Israel (13:25), Elisha, King Jeroboam II of Israel (see 14:27), and even King Adad-nirari III of Assyria. In c. 803 BC King Adad-nirari III brought his armies into Syria to attack the Aramaeans, the result of which was that the Aramaean attacks on Israel were immediately discontinued. That the Israelites "lived in their tents" is a Semitism meaning they returned to their homes.
2 Kings 13:10-13 ~ The reign of Jehoash (Joash) in
Israel (798 -783 BC)
In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, became king of Israel in Samaria. He reigned for sixteen years. He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, he did not give up the sin into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel; he persisted in it. The rest of the history of Joash, his entire career, his prowess, how he waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? Then Joash fell asleep with his ancestors, and Jeroboam ascended his throne. Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
Jehoash of Israel is also called by the shorter form of his name, Joash, just as Jehoash/Josh of Judah was called by both names. Both kings Jehoahaz and Jehoash (Joash) of Israel ruled during the time period when Davidic king Joash ruled Judah (he ruled for 40 years as the ancients counted from 835-796 BC). Jehoash/Joash of Israel also continued in the sins of Jeroboam in promoting idol worship. The period of peace between the two kingdoms ended when there was war between Jehoash/Joash of Israel and Joash of Judah's son and successor King Amaziah of Judah. Neither Davidic kings Joash or Amaziah of Judah are mentioned in St. Matthew's genealogy of Jesus in order for Matthew to confine his list to the symbolic 42 names (see the kings in Mt 1:8).
2 Kings 13:14-21 ~ The death of Elisha
14 When Elisha had fallen ill of the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and shedding tears over him said, "Father! Father! Chariot of Israel and its chargers!" 15 Elisha said to him, "Bring bow and arrows," and he sent for a bow and arrows. 16 Then Elisha said to the king, "Draw the bow," and he drew it. Elisha put his hands over the hands of the king, 17 then he said, "Open the window towards the east," and he opened it. Then Elisha said, "Shoot!" And he shot. Elisha said, "Arrow of victory over Aram! You will defeat Aram at Aphek completely. 18 Elisha said, "Take the arrows," and he took them. Then he said to the king, "Strike the ground," and he struck it three times, then stopped. 19 At this the man of God grew angry with him. "You should have struck half a dozen times," he said "and you would have beaten Aram completely; now you will beat Aram only three times." 20 Elisha died and was buried. Bands of Moabites were making incursions into the country every year. 21 Some people happened to be carrying a man out for burial; at the sight of one of these bands, they flung the man into the tomb of Elisha and made off. The man had no sooner touched the bones of Elisha than he came to life and stood up on his feet.
King Joash of Israel must have felt a deep affection for
the old prophet to go to him on his death-bed. The way he addressed the
prophet shows that he regarded Elisha as the true defender of Israel. You will
recall that it was Elisha who anointed Joash's grandfather Jehu and
commissioned him to eradicate the idolatry of Baal worship in Israel. It seems
that Joash had maintained that part of the religious reform.
Question: In his distress over Elisha's illness whose words does King Joash of Israel repeat verbatim over Elisha? See 2 Kng 2:12.
Answer: He repeats the same words that Elisha spoke when Elijah was assumed into heaven.
The old prophet, as God's agent, wished to reward the
king with victory over the Aramaean enemy.
Question: Elisha made a prophecy by having the king perform a prophetic act in what two stages?
The arrow shot to the east in the direction of the enemy represents complete victory of Israel's army over the Aramaeans. The placing of Elisha hand on the king's hand gives Joash a share in Elisha's own power. In the second stage, the king only received a small portion of Elisha's power because he hesitated and only struck the ground three times. Elisha was angry and told the king: "You should have struck half a dozen times," he said "and you would have beaten Aram completely; now you will beat Aram only three times."
20 Elisha died
and was buried. Bands of Moabites were making incursions into the country
every year. 21 Some people
happened to be carrying a man out for burial; at the sight of one of these
bands, they flung the man into the tomb of Elisha and made off. The man had no
sooner touched the bones of Elisha than he came to life and stood up on his
The power of God that was with his prophet Elisha is demonstrated one more time in his last miracle in which a dead man is raised to life through contact with the bones of Elisha. It is for this reason that the people of God have always honored the bodies of the saints and kept relics of their bones or items that belonged to them.
2 Kings 13:22-25 ~ Israel's victory over the Aramaeans
22 Hazael king of Aram had oppressed the Israelites throughout the lifetime of Jehoahaz, 23 but Yahweh was kind and took pity on them. Because of the covenant which he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he relented towards them; he had no wish to destroy them, he did not cast them out of his presence. 24 Hazael king of Aram died, and his son Ben-Hadad succeeded him. 25 From Ben-Hadad son of Hazael, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz recaptured the towns which Hazael had seized from his father Jehoahaz by force of arms. Joash defeated him three times and recovered the Israelite towns.
The covenant judgment for apostasy was to be cast out of
the land in the same way God had case out the Canaanites, but God was not
willing to cast out the Israelites and continued to extend His mercy for the
sake of the covenant He made with the Patriarchs.
Question: What were the terms of the Abrahamic covenant? See Gen 12:1-3; 17:1; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14.
None of these promises were fulfilled in the age of the Patriarchs, nor were all three promises fulfilled in the nation of Old Covenant Israel. They were all perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:29).
It hadn't been since the days of King Jehoshaphat of Judah and King Ahab of Israel that either the Southern kingdom of Judah or Northern kingdom of Israel had been particularly powerful. Each kingdom had suffered from invasions, internal turmoil and assassinations. However, at the beginning of the eighth century BC, the political conditions in both countries improved. Joash of Judah enjoyed a long and peaceful reign. Israel's victory over the Aramaeans prophesied by Elisha was fulfilled. King Hazael of Damascus was succeeded by a less capable son, Ben Hadad III, and soon the Syrians were beaten by the armies of Israel. Jehoash/Joash of Israel paid tribute to the Assyrians in 796 BC (stela of Adad-nirari III) and the Assyrians helped him to contain the Aramaeans so he was also able to reclaim the cities that had been taken by Syria. But Joash of Judah's son Amaziah was about to throw the two nations into turmoil again. His abandonment of Yahweh in turning to the false gods of Edom was going to be costly to him personally and to his country as the nations of Israel and Judah went to war with each other and the nation of Judah experienced another revolt and the assassination of a Davidic king (2 Kng 14:8-14; 14:19; 2 Chr 25:20-28).
Chapter 14: The Reign of Amaziah in Judah (796 -781 BC)
2 Kings 14:1-6 ~ Amaziah becomes king and seeks
revenge for the murder of his father
1 In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem. 3 He did what Yahweh regards as right, though not like his ancestor David; he imitated his father Joash in all respects. 4 The high places, however, were not abolished, and the people still offered sacrifices and incense on the high places. 5 Once the kingdom was firmly under his control, he killed those of his retainers who had murdered the king his father. 6 But he did not put the murderers' sons to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of Moses, where Yahweh has commanded: "Parents may not be put to death for their children, nor children for parents, but each must be put to death for his own crime."
In the typical formula for the introduction of a new king
of Judah, the king is named, the name of his father, his age at his coronation
and the length of his reign. And unlike the kings of Israel, his mother is
named and his reign is compared with that of his ancestor King David who served
Yahweh with an undivided heart.
Question: What criticism is made of Amaziah that is also made of previous Davidic kings?
Answer: He did not discontinue illicit worship by Judahites on "high places."
He did not discontinue worship of Yahweh by Judahites outside of the Temple. This criticism in verse 4 cannot be allowing the worshiping of idols on the high places since he is not accused of those sins and the inspired writer notes that 3 He did what Yahweh regards as right, though not like his ancestor David; he imitated his father Joash in all respects.
Question: When his throne was secure, he sought
vengeance on the murderers of his father. Why had his father been assassinated
and what did Amaziah do that showed he was obedient to the Law? See
2 Chr 24:20-22, 25-26; Dt 24:16.
Answer: Two of Joash's servants had assassinated him in revenge for ordering the murder of God's servant the priest Zechariah son of the High Priest Jehoiada who condemned the king and the people of Jerusalem to abandoning Yahweh and His Temple. Amaziah followed the law in only executing his father's murderers and not their families.
The law in Deuteronomy 24:16 is the doctrine of individual responsibility. The principle was a unique innovation for the ancient Near East when the Law of the Sinai Covenant was written and at this time. The same law is affirmed in Jeremiah 31:29-30 and Ezekiel 14:12 and 18:10-20.
2 Kings 14:7-14 ~ Political turmoil and war during
7 It was he who slaughtered the Edomites in the Valley of Salt, ten thousand of them, and captured the Rock; he gave it the name Joktheel, which it bears to the present day. 8 Amaziah then sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel saying, "Come and make a trial of strength!" 9 Jehoash king of Israel sent back word to Amaziah king of Judah, "The thistle of Lebanon sent a message to the cedar of Lebanon, saying, 'Give my son your daughter in marriage', but a wild animal of Lebanon ran over the thistle and squashed it. 10 You have conquered Edom and now aspire to even greater glory. Stay where you belong! Why challenge disaster to your own and Judah's ruin?" 11 But Amaziah would not listen, so Jehoash king of Israel marched to the attack. And at Beth-Shemesh, which belongs to Judah, he and Amaziah king of Judah made their trial of strength. 12 Judah was defeated by Israel, and everyone fled to his own tent. 13 The king of Judah, Amaziah son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, was taken prisoner at Beth-Shemesh by Jehoash king of Israel who led him off to Jerusalem, where he demolished for hundred cubits of the city wall between the Ephraim Gate and the Corner Gate; 14 all the gold and silver, and all the vessels to be found in the Temple of Yahweh and in the palace treasury, and hostages besides, he then took back with him to Samaria.
Amaziah led Judah to war against the Edomites. Edom had been conquered by King David and remained a vassal state until the reign of King Jehoram of Judah when Edom threw off the domination of Judah and set up a king (2 Sam 8:13; 2 Kng 8:20-22). Amaziah decided to regain Judah's lost vassal state. He conquered the Edomites in the Valley of Salt that is the Arabah, the valley that runs south of the Dead Sea, but he did not regain control over Edom. He changed the name of the town near the site of the battle to Joktheel. It is the same name of a town in Judah (Josh 15:38) and was perhaps renamed in honor of the men of a military unit from that city who died in the battle.
Feeling confident after his victory over the Edomites,
Amaziah challenges the king of Israel to a "test of strength." King Jehoash/Joash
of Israel is the same king who was so distraught at Elisha's death-bed. He
answers Amaziah with a parable and some advice.
Question: What are the symbolic elements of the parable in verse 9?
Jehoash's advice to Amaziah was to not continue with a venture that was sure to bring him disaster.
Question: Why did Amaziah enter into this
ill-conceived venture and what was the cause of his defeat? See 2 Chr 25:20.
Answer: Apparently after reconquering Edom, Amaziah consulted the gods of the Edomites on whether or not he should go to war with Israel. They gave him bad advice, and because he consulted false gods, Yahweh let him be defeated by the Israelites.
As it happens, Jehoash/Joash of Israel was right. The army of Israel did trample the army of Judah. The king was taken prisoner, six hundred feet of the Jerusalem wall was destroyed making the city vulnerable to foreign attack, the Temple and palace were looted of its treasures, and hostages were taken back to Samaria. The king of Israel did allow Amaziah to continue as king of Judah, however.
2 Kings 14:15-16 ~ Summary of King Jehoash/Joash of Israel's reign
15 The rest of the history of Jehoash, his entire career, his prowess, how he waged war on Amaziah king of Judah, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 16 Then Joash fell asleep with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; his son Jeroboam succeeded him.
This is the typical summary statement for the reigns of Israelite kings and is a repeat of the summary statement for Jehoash/Joash of Israel in 13:12-13.
2 Kings 14:17-22 ~ Summary of King Amaziah of Judah's reign
17 Amaziah son of Joash, king of Judah, lived for fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel. 18 The rest of the history of Amaziah, is this not recorded in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 19 A plot having been hatched against him in Jerusalem, he fled to Lachish; but he was followed to Lachish where he was murdered. 20 He was then transported by horse and buried in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the City of David. 21 All the people of Judah then chose Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in succession to his father Amaziah. 22 It was he who rebuilt Elath, recovering it for Judah, after the king had fallen asleep with his ancestors.
This section begins as a typical summary formula statement but includes the information of the plot to assassinate Amaziah. He escaped to Lachish, a fortified city about 25 miles southwest of Jerusalem. The conspirators caught up with him at Lachish where he was assassinated like his father. As with his father, this was not a political coup to establish another dynasty but was instead a rejection of Amaziah as king, perhaps because of the disastrous war with Israel. An assembly of the people of Judah chose his son Uzziah (Azariah) to succeed to the Davidic throne.
22 It was he who
rebuilt Elath, recovering it for Judah, after the king had fallen asleep with
The sixteen year old Uzziah's first accomplishment was to rebuild the city of Elath, located near the port city of Ezion Geber at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba in Edom. He will become the longest reigning monarch of Judah. He is also known as Azariah, but Uzziah may be the name he took as a throne name that means "Yah[weh] is strong."
Question for reflection or group discussion:
Question: What did the event concerning David's kindness to the Gentile Carians/Cherethites in rescuing their families along with his family and the families of his men mean to his family in the future, and what lesson is there for us in following his example?
Answer: The Carians were instrumental in the plan to put Joash, a Davidic heir, on the throne of Judah. Their loyalty to the Davidic dynasty can be traced back in time to David's generosity in helping the frightened women and children of a Gentile people who were captured by the vicious Amalekites. David's example of faith in Yahweh led to the conversion of these people and their descendants and their inclusion into the covenant with Yahweh. The lesson for us is: when we commit an act of kindness, we have no idea how that simple act can impact present and future generations.
Question: Can you think of any past acts of kindness that have affected generations in your own family? What promise did God make to future generations in a family whose parents are righteous and faithful to God? See Ex 20:5-6; Dt 5:10.
1. In his history of the Jews, the priest-historian Flavius Josephus writes that Jehoiada made the young king swear an oath to worship only God and not transgress the laws of Moses. He then "entrusted the care and custody of the Temple to the priests and Levites, according to the appointment of king David, and enjoined them to bring their regular burnt offerings twice a day, and to offer incense according to the Law", referring to the divisions of service that David had established for the Temple (1 Chr 23-26) and the twice daily liturgical worship services of the Tamid sacrifice (Antiquities of the Jews, 9.7.4 [153-155).
2. Notice that Athaliah's reign is not granted full legitimacy by the inspired writer. Neither an opening nor a closing formula is given for her six years of rule, yet it is acknowledge that she did indeed rule as queen from 841-835. She was not, however, buried in the City of David in the tombs of the royal Davidic family. The rule of queens was not exceptional in the Ancient Near East and in Arabia they were the rule.
3. The name Jehoahaz appears on a stamp seal dated to the period this king lived and reads "[belonging] to Jehoahaz, son of the king."
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