Jehoash of Judah
Jehoash (Hebrew: יְהֹואָשׁ, Yəhôʾāš, “Jehovah-given”; Greek: Ιωας; Latin: Joas), also known as Joash (in King James Version), Joas (in Douay–Rheims) or Joás (Hebrew: יֹואָשׁ, Yôʾāš), was a king of Judah, and the sole surviving son of Ahaziah after the massacre of the royal family ordered by his grandmother, Athaliah. He was also the first Judahite king to be descended from both the House of David and the House of Omri, through his paternal grandmother and predecessor, Athaliah. His mother was Zibiah of Beersheba. Jehoash was 7 years old when his reign began, and he reigned for 40 years. (2 Kings 12:1,2 Chronicles 24:1) He was succeeded by his son, Amaziah of Judah. He is said to have been righteous "all the days of Jehoiada the priest" (2 Chronicles 24:2).
|King of Judah|
|Reign||c. 836–796 BC|
|Born||c. 843 BC
Jerusalem, Kingdom of Judah
|Died||c. 797 BC (aged 45 or 46)
|Burial||City of David|
|Consort||Jehoaddan of Jerusalem|
|Issue||Amaziah, King of Judah|
|House||House of David|
|Father||Ahaziah, King of Judah|
|Mother||Zibiah of Beersheba|
According to the Hebrew Bible, following the death of his father, Ahaziah, Jehoash was spared from the rampages of Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, by Jehoash's paternal aunt, Jehosheba, who was married to the high priest, Jehoiada. After hiding him in the Temple for seven years, Jehoiada had Jehoash crowned and anointed king in a coup against Athaliah, who had usurped the throne of David. Athaliah was killed during the coup.
After Jehoash was crowned, the covenant was renewed between God, the king, and the nation. The Tyrian cult of Baal, which had started under Jehoram, and strengthened under Athaliah, was suppressed. Mattan, the priest of Baal, was killed, the altars of Baal were destroyed, and for the first time in Judah's history the Jerusalem Temple, and its priesthood achieved national importance.
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According to the account in 2 Kings 12, Jehoash directed that the money paid by worshippers at the temple should be used to fund temple restoration works. By the 23rd year of his reign, he was aware that the priests had failed to implement a repair programme.
Later life and deathEdit
After Jehoiada died, Jehoash listened to the princes of Judah instead of the priests and forsook Yahweh and worshiped the idols and the Asherim as the previous kings of Israel did. According to 2 Chronicles 24, when the prophet Zechariah, Jehoiada's son and successor, rebuked them for forsaking their god, he was put to death, by stoning on the orders of king. The author of the Books of Chronicles criticizes this cruel act strongly. "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". The author also attributes Jehoash's deeds to the oppression suffered at the hands of Aramean invaders as God's judgement.
According to the account in 2 Kings 12, when the Syrian king Hazael marched against Jerusalem, Jehoash gave him all the gold of the royal and sacred treasuries, thereby persuading him to call off his attack, but according to the account in 2 Chronicles, the Syrian army "destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus", "execut[ing] judgment against Joash" and leaving him severely wounded.
Jehoash was assassinated by his own servants at Beth Millo, and his assassination is portrayed as an act of revenge for the blood of Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada. Joash was buried together with his fathers in the City of David, although he was "not (buried) in the sepulchres of the kings".
In rabbinic literatureEdit
The extermination of the male descendants of David was considered a divine retribution for David's responsibility for the extermination of the priests by Saul, who had commanded his servant Doeg to perform this task (comp. 1 Sam. 22:17–23). Joash escaped death because in the latter case one priest, Abiathar, survived (Sanh. 95b). The hiding-place of Joash was, according to R. Eleazar, one of the chambers behind the Holy of Holies; according to R. Samuel b. Naḥman, one of the upper chambers of the Temple (Cant. R. i. 66).
Although a king who is the son of a king need not be anointed, exception was made in the case of Joash, as well as of Solomon and Jeoahaz, the succession of each of whom was contested (Lev. R. x. 8). Particular mention is made of the crown placed on Joash's head (2 Kings 11:12), because it fitted exactly, showing that he was qualified for kingship (Ab. Zarah 44a).
He was assassinated by two of his servants, one of whom was a son of an Ammonite woman and the other the offspring of a Moabite (2 Chron. 24:26); for God said: "Let the descendants of the two ungrateful families chastise the ungrateful Joash" (Yalk., Ex. 262). Moab and Ammon were the two offspring of Lot's incest with his two daughters as described in Gen. 19:30–38.
In 2001, an unprovenanced inscription was published, known as the Jehoash Inscription or Temple Inscription, which appears to be a record of repairs made to Solomon's Temple during Jehoash's reign. The tablet consists of 15 lines of Hebrew text inscribed on a piece of tabular black stone. Following extensive scientific tests, the Israeli archaeological authorities declared it to be a forgery and attempted but failed to prosecute the perpetrator; today a number of experts maintain that it is not a forgery.
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jehoash, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of his accession to some time between Nisan 1 of 835 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BC year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 836/835 BC, or more simply 836 BC. His death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 of 796 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of that BC year, i.e. in 797/796, or more simply, 797 BC. During his reign, the Judean court recorders were still using the non-accession system of measuring years that was adopted in the days of Jehoshaphat from the practice of the northern kingdom, whereby the king's first partial year in office was counted as his first year of reign.
|Ancestors of Jehoash of Judah|
- 1 Chronicles 3:11
- "Joash", Jewish Encyclopedia
- Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (3rd ed.; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983) 217.
- 2 Kings 11:2
- 2 Chronicles 22:11
- 2 Kings 11:4
- 2 Chronicles 23:3
- 2 Kings 11:12
- 2 Chronicles 23:11
- Sperling, S. D., Encyclopaedia Judaica: Joash, second edition, vol 11, pg 343
- 2 Kings 11:17–19
- 2 Chronicles 23:16–20
- 2 Kings 12:3-16
- 2 Chronicles 24:20–21
- 2 Chronicles 24:22-23
- 2 Kings 12:17–18: The Living Bible wording
- 2 Chronicles 24:23–25
- 2 Kings 12:20
- 2 Kings 12:1,21, 2 Chronicles 24:25
- 2 Kings 12:21–22
- 2 Chronicles 24:25
- Jewish Encyclopedia
- 1 Kings 1:39
- 2 Kings 23:30
- "Jehoash Tablet - Cultural Heritage Resource". stanford.edu.
- Giuseppe Regalzi, The So-Called ‘Jehoash Inscription’: Transcription and Bibliography. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Emil G. Hirsch, Max Seligsohn, Solomon Schechter, Ira Maurice Price (1901–1906). "Joash". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.