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2 Chronicles 24:1-27 – Joash


Joash, under the tutelage of Jehoiada the priest, starts off well and even carries out needed temple repairs. But following the death of his mentor, and contrary to the judgment of 2 Kings 12, Joash lapses into apostasy and is assassinated in his bed by his servants.


With the reign of Joash, the Chronicler returns his approach to the reigns of Rehoboam and Asa and begins a series of three kings whose reigns are divided into two periods. Verses 1-16 describe Joash positively while Jehoiada his advisor was alive. Joash's repair of the temple dominates this period (vv. 4-14). Unusual for Chronicles, the Levites are criticized for their slow response (vv. 5-6). The account of Jehoiada's death (vv. 15-16, not mentioned in Kings) is important for two reasons. While serving the literary function of dividing the account of Joash's reign into two periods, it is also the only death and burial report of someone other than a king. Coupled with the notice of his long life (130 years), Jehoiada's burial among the kings of Judah indicates the high esteem in which the Chronicler held this faithful priest.

The second, negative period of Joash's reign finds the king succumbing to bad advice, this time from "the officials of Judah" (vv. 17-27). There is some disagreement as to what was "abandoned" in verse 18. The Hebrew text reads the "house/temple (byt)  of the LORD," while the Greek and Syriac versions read the "covenant" (bryt), a small but obviously crucial difference that has led some to suppose that both "house" and "covenant" are additions attempting to clarify Joash's "abandonment of the LORD." The Chronicler's overall perspective, as well as this chapter's emphasis upon the temple, however, suggests that Joash abandoned the temple that he had recently restored (though one should note v. 24).

This passage is another example of the Chronicler's theme of retributive justice. Joash and his army were defeated by a smaller Syrian force (the army of Aram) because of divine assistance (vv. 23-24), and Joash, himself, is assassinated by his servants in answer to Zechariah's dying request for justice, "May the LORD see and avenge!" (v. 22).

2 Chronicles 24:1-27

Joash Repairs the Temple

24Joash was seven years old when he began to reign; he reigned for forty years in Jerusalem; his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of the priest Jehoiada. 3Jehoiada got two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.

Some time afterwards Joash decided to restore the house of the Lord. 5He assembled the priests and the Levites and said to them, ‘Go out to the cities of Judah and gather money from all Israel to repair the house of your God, year by year; and see that you act quickly.’ But the Levites did not act quickly. 6So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief, and said to him, ‘Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and Jerusalem the tax levied by Moses, the servant of the Lord, on* the congregation of Israel for the tent of the covenant?’* 7For the children of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken into the house of God, and had even used all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord for the Baals.

So the king gave command, and they made a chest, and set it outside the gate of the house of the Lord. 9A proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to bring in for the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness. 10All the leaders and all the people rejoiced, and brought their tax and dropped it into the chest until it was full. 11Whenever the chest was brought to the king’s officers by the Levites, when they saw that there was a large amount of money in it, the king’s secretary and the officer of the chief priest would come and empty the chest and take it and return it to its place. So they did day after day, and collected money in abundance. 12The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who had charge of the work of the house of the Lord, and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord. 13So those who were engaged in the work laboured, and the repairs went forward at their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it. 14When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and with it were made utensils for the house of the Lord, utensils for the service and for the burnt-offerings, and ladles, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt-offerings in the house of the Lord regularly all the days of Jehoiada.

Apostasy of Joash

15 But Jehoiada grew old and full of days, and died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and for God and his house.

17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king listened to them. 18They abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles* and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the Lord; they testified against them, but they would not listen.

20 Then the spirit of God took possession of* Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, ‘Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has also forsaken you.’ 21But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. 22King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, ‘May the Lord see and avenge!’

Death of Joash

23 At the end of the year the army of Aram came up against Joash. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the officials of the people from among them, and sent all the booty they took to the king of Damascus. 24Although the army of Aram had come with few men, the Lord delivered into their hand a very great army, because they had abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Thus they executed judgement on Joash.

25 When they had withdrawn, leaving him severely wounded, his servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son* of the priest Jehoiada, and they killed 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. 26Those who conspired against him were Zabad son of Shimeath the Ammonite, and Jehozabad son of Shimrith the Moabite. 27Accounts of his sons, and of the many oracles against him, and of the rebuilding* of the house of God are written in the Commentary on the Book of the Kings. And his son Amaziah succeeded him.

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