Today: [2 Chronicles Twenty-Four] The Treachery of Joash. In this chapter we see the godly influence of the high priest over young king Joash. The temple is restored and great benefit and blessing comes to the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Judah. However as Joash matures there is a resentment in his heart against his mentor that festers and explodes in murder and idolatry. As a result Joash dies before his time and the kingdom suffers a crippling invasion from the Syrians.
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[2Ch 24:1-27 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. 3 And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters. 4 And it came to pass after this, [that] Joash was minded to repair the house of the LORD. 5 And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened [it] not. 6 And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, [according to the commandment] of Moses the servant of the LORD, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness? 7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim. 8 And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD. 9 And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection [that] Moses the servant of God [laid] upon Israel in the wilderness. 10 And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
In this chapter we inquire into the reign of Joash. As David, Solomon and Asa his rule lasted for 40 years. He was only seven however when he came to the throne which means he died before age 50. The high priest Jehoiada was the ruling influence over Joash and while Johoiada lived Joash was a good and godly king. Jehoiada gave Joash all of his attention until in the course of time he took two wives and began a family of his own. Thereafter Joash decided to put his focus in repairing the temple of Solomon which after many wars and tributes paid to enemies out of it’s wealth there were renovations needed.
Over time there was money gathered by Jehoiada did not make it a priority to gather these monies or to put them to the task of building the temple after the ravages of queen Athaliah. Joash calls Jehoiada into account and in order to shame him into acting he places a box at the entering in of the temple and very quickly the people give and there is enough money to complete the work needed.
11 Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king’s office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that [there was] much money, the king’s scribe and the high priest’s officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance. 12 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. 13 So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it. 14 And when they had finished [it], they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, [even] vessels to minister, and to offer [withal], and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada. 15 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old [was he] when he died. 16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house. 17 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. 19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. 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.
After the money is gathered the chest was emptied and set back in position and filled again day by day until there was much in abundance. Can you imagine the wealth that was brought in for the temple? If we took an offering and filled the receptacle to overflowing every day and put it out again day by day this would amount to a very large sum in short order. The king and Jehoiada hire masons and craftsman in due time the building of the temple is repaired to it’s glory. There is however more money left so they go out and replace the accessories of worship and sacrifice necessary for the priests to offer burnt offerings. These vessels and spoons, etc., had no doubt been stripped from the temple in previous years by earlier kings in order to pay tribute to invaders or in Athaliah’s case given to the priests of Baal and the temple of Baal that had been erected in the city.
While Jehoiada lived Joash was a godly king. Yet the mention of Jehoida’s attention being given to his own family and Joash contending with him over the temple renovations – implies a tension between the two men. After Jehoiada’s death he is buried with great honor among the kings of Judah. At the proceedings the princes of Judah come and bow down in obeisance to Joash. Their outward deference to Joash however had an ulterior motive. They wished to build again the groves and altars of Baal in the high places. Why would they want to do this? Remember that Baal was worshipped through ritual prostitution. For these high places to be removed for so long had denied the princes their sexual conquests and therefore they bribed Joash with their feigned loyalty in order for him to look the other way as they returned to idolatry. There is no record that Joash joined the princes in serving Baal but when the deceased Jehoiada’s son Zecheriah prophesied against the princes of Judah for their pagan practices Joash ordered that he be stoned.
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]. 23 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. 26 And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess. 27 Now [concerning] his sons, and the greatness of the burdens [laid] upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they [are] written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
Joash shows his resentment against the house of Jehoiada by executing his son Zecheriah. When Zecheriah is dying he prophesies against the throne and declares that God will require this misdeed be answered by divine judgment. Within a few months the peace that had so long reigned in Jerusalem is shattered by an invasion from Syria. The Syrians took the lives of the princes Joash had pandered to and plundered all their wealth and their loved ones, taking them back to Syria in captivity. All this was done with a very small contingent of forces because God had lifted his hand of protection over Jerusalem because of the treachery and contention of the house of Joash against the house of Jehoiada.
In the aftermath of the Syrian invasion Joash is struck with disease and his own servants entered into his bedchamber and assassinated him for the folly that he brought upon the nation. For most of his life Joash served God faithfully. There is no record that he personally ever served foreign gods. However there was a breach of faith between Joash and Jehoiada that provoked him to envy and resent his foster parents who had so graciously saved him as a young boy from the murderous Athaliah. Instead of repaying kindness to Jehoiada he worked behind the scenes to undermine his influence in the matter of the temple renovations and when Jehoiada died he betrayed him altogether by encouraging idolatry and executing Jehoida’s son.
The lesson for us deals with our attitude toward those that mentor us in the things of God. It is true that as people grow in life and in the Lord that relationships change. People who mentor you at one point may seem a burden later on. The important thing to remember is always to honor those who are a part of your personal history even if you cannot operationally or personally continue to related to them in the same way as before. Joash outgrew Jehoiada’s influence yet he gave himself over to envy and resentment against his former protector. He worked against Jehoiada and eventually paid with his life for his treachery before the Lord.
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