Lesser known characters :: Joash (aka Jehoash)

2 Chronicles 22-24 and 2 Kings 12 records the story of Joash (aka Jehoash), the king of Judah. When Joash was merely a year old, his evil grandmother Athaliah murdered all of his siblings as she usurped the throne. All of the royal seed but Joash were killed. Joash was spared because his uncle and aunt, Jehoiada who was the priest in the temple and his wife Jehosheba, took him and hid him in the temple for six years. When Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada restored him as the rightful king of Judah and Joash reigned in Jerusalem for forty years (2 Chronicles 24:1). As long as Jehoiada the priest was alive, he advised Joash the king in the right ways and Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (2 Chronicles 24:2). Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord and he started a project to collect funds for repairing God’s house. Jehoiada and Joash sought both financial and human capital and had workmen restore the house of the Lord and the surplus of the funds they collected, they brought into the temple of God and offered burnt offerings daily when Jehoiada lived (2 Chronicles 24:14).

But when Jehoiada died, the princes of Judah made obeisance with Joash, the king, and diverted his attention away from the house of the Lord to the idolatry of the land (2 Chronicles 24:17-18) which brought on Judah and Jerusalem the wrath of God. The Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada and cousin of Joash, who prophesied against the sins of the idolatrous king, expressing that the Lord had forsaken him because he had forsaken the Lord. Joash, completely ignoring the kindness of Jehoiada, bands together with the other evil idolators and stones and kills Zechariah in the house of the Lord (2 Chronicles 24:20-22). King Joash succumbed to the very sin of murdering his own kin as did his evil grandmother Athaliah. Jesus refers to this slaying of Zechariah in the gospel of Matthew as he confronts the hypocrisy of the land (Matthew 23:35).

Hazael, the king of Syria fought and won against Gath and Hazael sought to come and fight and take Jerusalem. Joash, instead of crying out to God for help, foolishly takes all the hallowed things that he and his ancestors had dedicated to God, and took all of the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD and in the king’s house and sent it as a bribe to Hazael. Hazael accepts the bribe and chooses not to attack Jerusalem (2 Kings 12:17-18; 2 Chronicles 24:23-24). But at the end of the year, the army of Syria comes against Judah and Jerusalem with a small army, but God allowed the king of Syria to invade Judah and Jerusalem for Joash had forsaken the Lord. Joash is left severely wounded and his servants, Zabad (aka Jozacher) and Jehozabad, conspire against Joash, for the murder of Jehoiada’s son, Zechariah, and they kill him in his own bed. Joash was buried in the city of David, but not in the tomb of the kings. (2 Chronicles 24:25-26)

What can we learn from Joash (aka Jehoash)?
Jehoash was hidden in the temple of the Lord for six years during his childhood years, but since we see that he was quickly swayed away from the righteous ways, when his uncle Jehoiada died, having no one to instruct him, it is likely that Joash had not hidden the word of the Lord in him, which would have kept him from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11).

Joash’s relationship with God was indirect through Jehoiada and not direct. Many a times, we sometimes act like Joash as well, listening only to preachers and pastors instead of directly listening from God, by searching out his Scripture and through communion and prayer. We must be careful never to put our confidence in men but to solely rely on God (Psalm 146:3).

Joash had a Godly upbringing, in the house of the Lord, under the tutelage of his Godly uncle Jehoaida, but his end was pitiful, so much so that he forsook God, embraced idolatry and killed his own kin, instead of repenting. For this, though he was a king, he was not given a place to be buried with the kings. In like manner, if we forsake God and start embracing the idols of position and prosperity (lust of of the flesh), pleasure (lust of the eyes), pride and power (pride of life) (1 John 2:16), we may find ourselves being deprived of the royal departure that we as royal priests of God (1 Peter 2:9) are benefactors of.

2 Chronicles 24:1-2;17-18;20-25; (KJV)
1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Zibiah of Beersheba.
2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.

Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.

18 And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.

20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.
22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus.

24 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash.
25 And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.

2 Kings 12:17-18 (KJV)
Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.
18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.