King Joash, Ungrateful Leader Who Started Well but Ended Badly
King Joash receives rare grace when he was a neonate, it was the rare grace that he receives that saves him from untimely death and granted him the grace to fulfill “destiny” in the world. For other children of his father, they did not receive that kind of grace, thus, they died from the sword of their grandmother, Athaliah.
Joash in Hebrew is “יאשׁ יואשׁ”, Romanized form is yô'âsh yô'âsh (pronounced as yo-awsh', yo-awsh') which is the name of six Israelites. The root of the meaning of the name comes from this Hebrew word “יהואשׁ”, Romanized form is yehô'âsh (pronounced as yeh-ho-awsh') which means Jehovah fired.
On the Usurpation in Brief
Athaliah’s son was King Ahaziah who was a friend to the son of King Ahab, King Joram. He was with King Joram when Jehu the newly crowned king got to them, and when Joram saw the disposition and address of Jehu, he knew that there was problem and asked King Ahaziah to find his level.
King Ahaziah left him, but immediately after Jehu and his team killed Joram, he asked his followers to follow King Ahaziah. Soon enough they got to him and killed him.
“But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.” (2 Ki 9:27)
e-sword Bible commentary says this of this verse that, Dr. Lightfoot says, Jehu slayed Joram in the field of Jezreel, when Ahaziah and Joram were together. Ahaziah on seeing this, flies, and gets into Samaria, and hides himself there. Jehu marches to Jezreel and makes Jezebel dogs' meat. From where he was, he sends to Samaria for the heads of Ahab's children and posterity; which are brought him by night and shewed to the people in the morning. At that point he marches to Samaria, and, by the way, slayed forty-two of Ahab's kinsmen, and finds Jehonadab, the father of the Rechabites. Coming into Samaria, he makes search for Ahaziah. They find him hid, bring him to Jehu, and he commands to carry him towards Gur, by Ibleam, and there to slay him. They do so. Smite him in his chariot, and his charioteer driveth away to Megiddo in the kingdom of Samaria and there he died.
However, second chronicles chapter 22 from verse 8 we found a different account to this story there. It was stated that, when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he discovered that princes from the land of Judah were there and he killed them.
He, however, knew that those princes wouldn’t be there alone, he thence sought for King Ahaziah, but he did not find him and thence send people to look for him. After a painstaking search, they found him and brought him to Jehu who killed him.
“And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them.
“And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the LORD with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.” (2 Ch 22:8-9)
- What Possibly Triggered the Usurpation
I think three things probably triggered her usurpation and the killing of all the children of the King. First the news of the killing of the Ahab’s children, her siblings, 70 in all.
“And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab's children, saying,” (2 Ki 10:1)
She must have been severely hit by this that she decides that what she would do was to kill all the sons of the King, those who could ascend the throne, those who could raise eyebrow that they have rights to the throne.
On another note, she initiated the usurpation after hearing the news of her son’s death for he was taken to Judah and was buried among the sepulchers of his forefathers.
“And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.” (2 Ki 9:28)
If she has been considering the news of her son’s death to be a lie before, when the son was buried, she knows that it was no longer a news neither was it a fluke, thus she initiated the action she took.
On lastly, she perhaps initiated that because she was thinking of the possibility of King Jehu coming to her or that she may be handed over to him to be killed since she also had in her the gene of Jezebel and Ahab, she may be thinking that Jehu would still consider her a threat and would send letter to Judah that she be delivered unto him to be killed likewise.
Having this at the back of his mind, she thence decides to do a strange thing in the land, securing protection for herself, because if she becomes the Queen over the people, she would be immune against her enemy Jehu.
The enemies would always be looking for security for themselves because they are always psychologically unstable even in the land of safety.
“If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” (Jer 12:5)
How Jehosheba, King Ahaziah’s Sibling Could Save Joash
Jehosheba being the late king’s sibling had access 24 hours a day to the palace. Thus, after the death and burial of her brother the king she perhaps went to the palace to commiserate with others, perhaps their mothers on what happened, and she heard what the older Queen wanted to do. On hearing the dastardly decision, she decided within her that she must do something about it to protect and preserve her posterity from complete destruction.
On another note, messages may have been sent to her by those assigned executors in the palace of what Athaliah wants to do and the need for her do to do something about it.
At least being a princess before she was married to the High Priest of the land, she would have loyalists in the palace who would be telling her some things going on in the palace.
Having gotten the wind of the news, she decides to make herself available at the time of the gathering of the king’s children to be slaughtered by the guards in the palace.
Joash Should be a Neonate at this time
Some authors while commenting on the age of Joash at the time of his deliverance from the pangs and shadows of death of the woman called Athaliah say that he probably was one year old then. But I do not think the child was a year old by this time.
I said this because the bible says that the child was hidden within the bedchamber within the palace. An author while commenting on this says, this is probably the closest place after those children have been gathered together by the guards to be killed later. Another bible analyst says, the woman, Jehosheba may have replaced the child with another child because the children have been accounted for and seeing that one is missing would generate issues within the palace thence negating what she initially planned to do. While someone says, maybe because they were in such a hurry to kill the children they did not make head counts again, but this may be unlikely considering the kind of person she was, because for all you know she may personally oversee the event to be sure that there is no foul play.
“But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.
“And he was with her hid in the house of the LORD six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.” (2 Ki 11:2-3)
Chamber in Hebrew is “חדר”, Romanized form is cheder (pronounced as kheh'-der) which means apartment, innermost, within. While Bed in Hebrew word is “מטּה” Romanized form being miṭṭâh (phonetic spelling is mit-taw') which means a bed, sofa, bier.
It is said that in the Orientals among the palace of the kings there is a place like this even till this moment where things are gathered, things are kept, things like beds.
e-sword says Sir J. Chardin says of this bedchamber that he does not think this means a room to sleep in, but a chamber used as a repository for beds; for, in the East, they sleep upon cotton mattresses, "of which they have several in great houses, against they should have occasion, and a room on purpose for them.”
Now, if the child is a year older then, Jehosheba may not be able to secure the baby in that position till others be beheaded as we know what happened to Moses in Egypt.
“And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
“And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.” (Exo 2:2-3)
Moses was not up to a year old according to her parents when they discovered that his noise would expose them and put them at risks of death. And the bible says a living dog is better than a dead lion, thence, his mother decided to do something about him lest they lose on both ends.
“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” (Ecc 9:4)
She wouldn’t have done anything that would negate those chances if he was a year old by this time, maybe Jehosheba wouldn’t save him, maybe he will opt for someone else. One writer says, she perhaps chose Joash because of his age.
She kept him in this place for a while and after the children have been killed, he was moved to the temple to be living there and there he was for 6 years learning from them.
In the history of the life of this King, Joash, we shall discover that:
Joash was Saved by the Couple and His Nurse
Most of the rich people do have nurses for their children, and the nurse attached to the child was called into confidence by Jehosheba to take care of the infant.
“But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king's sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.
“And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.” (2 Ch 22:11-12)
The Usurper was Later Killed
The usurper was his grandmother, Athaliah, because of the position she was aiming at she killed all heir to the throne. However, after nursing Joash for six years, his in-law, High Priest Jehoiada decided to act, so that he would become the king od the land. The taken action eventually result in the death of the usurper.
He Ascend to the Throne of His Fathers
Through the help of this high priest and others, Joash ascended to the throne of his forefathers at a tender age of seven. Jehoiada knows there is no time to waste time and works with others to bring him to the throne.
“In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba.” (2 Ki 12:1)
Jehoiada was His Instructor
Being naïve Jehoiada takes it upon himself to be instructing the child in the way of the Lord, because he knows that his success would be his success and his failures would be his failures.
“And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” (2 Ki 12:2)
While Being Instructed by Jehoiada, he Performed Excellently
Throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada, he repaired the house of the Lord that has been desecrated for long.
“And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
“And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the LORD.” (2 Ch 24:2 & 12)
Some people are not designed to live without mentorship because doing that would expose them to danger of their lives: physically and spiritually.
Lured Away After Jehoiada’s Death
People have noticed his weakness, they have noticed that he does not have a mind of his own, therefore, after Jehoiada’s death and burial they approached him and introduced idols to him. He accepted their offer because he has not been convinced of the way of life he was living before.
“Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
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.” (2 Ch 24:17-18)
Except we be convinced that Jesus is Lord, we would soon go back from God after those who have been monitoring us spiritually are no longer with us.
He Forgets the Past Kindness
Jehoiada his mentor had died for sometimes now and he continued to revel in idol worship plunging the people of the Lord into deeper darkness. Prophets were sent to him but he wouldn’t bulge, thus, I presume God again decided to send his mentor’s son to him maybe he would reconsider his stance, think deeply about what he was doing and retrace his steps back, but he wouldn’t bulge and instead of having another thought after Zachariah the son of his mentor prophesied to him, he ordered him stoned to death.
He fulfilled one of the agelong adage in my land that, “because it has been long that assistance has been rendered to a fool, he forgets the assistance rendered”.
“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.
“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.
“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.” (2 Ch 24:20-22)
While Zechariah was dying, he said that God would look at it and remember his misdeeds. An author says this is not vengeance spirit talking through the mouth of the servant of God but being a prophet, he has been enveloped by the spirit of God again and he prophesied into the King’s life of what would eventually happen to him in a short while.
When people are doing evil any word of God spoken to them would be misconstrued, they would say it is a curse, they would say a believer ought not to speak like that as apostle Peter spoke to Simon of his misdeed in Acts 8:20-23.
He Perhaps Kill Other Children of Jehoiada
Some authors while commenting on 2nd Chronicles verse 25 says the king may have killed other sons of the high priest too because he was thinking those people may revolt against him to trouble his kingdom, because the bible says he was murdered because he killed the sons of Jehoiada who did well unto him.
“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 Ch 24:25)
According to what his servant Prophet Zechariah said while dying, God raised up enemies against his kingdom, those enemies arose from Syria. When the enemies came, they overtake him and conquered his vast army. The bible specifically stated that the enemies that came were few and few people silenced great and well-trained army because they have left the God of their fathers.
“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.
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.” (2 Ch 24:23-24)
No one can do what God does not like and be absolved of the guilt, the person would be punished for his or her misdeeds.
His Last Days on Earth
It was stated that his days on earth were marked with troubles as he developed disease in his body.
Some theologians opined that the disease on him was inflicted on him by God for his missteps after the demise of Jehoiada while some believed that he was injured on the battle with the Syrians and those people when they discovered that he has been badly wounded decided not to take him as captive of war to their country for he would slow down their movements.
“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.
“And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.” (2 Ch 24:25-26)
He was in this anguish position when his subjects rise against him and killed him in the palace.
After his death because he has not done well in his last days on earth he was not buried among the reputable people, among the Kings who feared the Lord and lived their lives in accordance with the will of the Lord.
Think about his life for a moment, what would be your end too? Whatsoever a man sows that he would reap whether good or evil.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7)
When people are under tutorship their real status in faith cannot be determined, but when the tutor be removed to a distant place, then the real faith of a man shall be known. It is being said that one cannot know the character of a person who is yet to be blessed, because when he was still struggling his real personalities have been masked, but when the person has money, his real personality would be revealed. Joash was a king who worshipped the Lord but not with a perfect heart, he was ungrateful leader to the dead by killing his son (or sons). It is therefore not surprising that he was not buried among the kings by the people of Judah, for such a place is exclusively reserved for those who are in right standing with God.
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