2 Chronicles
Introduction 1-3 Joash King of Judah 4-11 Joash Wants to Restore the Temple 12-14 The Restoration of the Temple 15-16 The Death of Jehoiada 17-18 Joash Falls to Idolatry 19-22 Joash Kills the Prophet of God 23-24 Judgment Executed on Joash 25-27 The Death of Joash
Introduction

Joash’ government clearly shows two parts. These two parts show the opposite situation. Both parts show that Joash has no independent relationship with the LORD, but is influenced by advisers in his direct environment. The first part of his reign (verses 1-161Joash [was] seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name [was] Zibiah from Beersheba.2Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.3Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.4Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD.5He gathered the priests and Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God annually, and you shall do the matter quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly.6So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief [priest] and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of the LORD on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the testimony?”7For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the LORD for the Baals.8So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the LORD.9They made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the LORD the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of God on Israel in the wilderness.10All the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped [them] into the chest until they had finished.11It came about whenever the chest was brought in to the king’s officer by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would come, empty the chest, take it, and return it to its place. Thus they did daily and collected much money.12The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service 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 the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications and strengthened it.14When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was made into utensils for the house of the LORD, utensils for the service and the burnt offering, and pans and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.15Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death.16They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.) is characterized by the influence of a good counselor, Jehoiada (verses 2,142Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.14When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was made into utensils for the house of the LORD, utensils for the service and the burnt offering, and pans and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.). Then he does what is right in the eyes of the LORD. The second part of his reign (verses 17-2717But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them.18They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.19Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen.20Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you.’”21So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD.22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”23Now it happened at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the officials of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus.24Indeed the army of the Arameans came with a small number of men; yet the LORD delivered a very great army into their hands, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.25When they had departed from him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and murdered 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.26Now these are those who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess.27As to his sons and the many oracles against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings. Then Amaziah his son became king in his place.) is characterized by the bad influence of the princes of Judah (verse 1717But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them.).


Joash King of Judah

1Joash [was] seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name [was] Zibiah from Beersheba. 2Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. 3Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.

Joash is still very young when he becomes king, he is only seven years old (verse 11Joash [was] seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name [was] Zibiah from Beersheba.). The duration of his reign is forty years. The chronicler mentions his mother’s name: Zibiah, which means ‘gazelle’. He also mentions the place where she comes from: Beersheba, which is situated southerly. Zibiah will certainly have supported her son in advice and deed during the first years of his reign. But the biggest influence on the reign of Joash has Jehoiada. Joash does, as long as he is under the good guidance of Jehoiada, what is right in the sight of the LORD (verse 22Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.).

Even when it comes to Joash’ marriage, Jehoiada arranges everything (verse 33Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he became the father of sons and daughters.). Jehoiada takes two women for him. This is the custom of the time, but it is not the original plan of God Who already established monogamous marriage at creation. The motif of Jehoiada with the two wives is not wrong. He wants the royal line to continue. That happens, because Joash conceives sons and daughters with his wives.


Joash Wants to Restore the Temple

4Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD. 5He gathered the priests and Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God annually, and you shall do the matter quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly. 6So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief [priest] and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of the LORD on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the testimony?” 7For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the LORD for the Baals. 8So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the LORD. 9They made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the LORD the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of God on Israel in the wilderness. 10All the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped [them] into the chest until they had finished. 11It came about whenever the chest was brought in to the king’s officer by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would come, empty the chest, take it, and return it to its place. Thus they did daily and collected much money.

It is nice to read that Joash’ heart goes out to the house of the LORD already in his younger years (verse 44Now it came about after this that Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD.). He lived in it for six years and knows the house from the inside like no other. The impressions a child gains up to the age of six largely determine his further development. In the course of time, God’s house has decayed and Joash wants to restore it, that is to say restore it to its original state.

We can learn from this for the local church where we must also have an eye for decay. This decay can take place by the creeping in of individuals and teachings or worldliness that weaken the functioning of the church. We can think, for example, of a weakening of fellowship with each other, of a change in the behavior of believers through conforming to this world, of an adaptation of the doctrine of God’s Word to what the members of the church like to hear, of the introduction of worldly elements into the church.

Joash orders the priests and the Levites to go and collect money in the cities of Judah and in all Israel (verse 55He gathered the priests and Levites and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect money from all Israel to repair the house of your God annually, and you shall do the matter quickly.” But the Levites did not act quickly.). He wants to use this money to restore the house of “your God”. By speaking of “your God”, he points out to priests and the Levites the responsibility they have towards God. They owe it to God because they must perform the priesthood and Levite service for Him in His house. Joash also wants them to do quickly what he said.

However, we read that the Levites do not act quickly. One reason may be that they are not really involved in the temple service with their hearts. It is possible that their interest in it has weakened over the years. We will not commit ourselves to God’s house, to us the church of God, if this house does not have the deep interest of our hearts. We will not even do it if others remind us of our responsibilities.

Joash calls Jehoiada to account. He accuses him of negligence. Jehoiada, according to Joash, has been negligent in ensuring that the Levites “bring in … the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of the LORD” (verse 66So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief [priest] and said to him, “Why have you not required the Levites to bring in from Judah and from Jerusalem the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of the LORD on the congregation of Israel for the tent of the testimony?”; Exo 30:1616You shall take the atonement money from the sons of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the sons of Israel before the LORD, to make atonement for yourselves.”). It remains to be seen whether this reproach is justified. What Joash wants is commendable. But the way in which he has worked raises questions. He has not sent the Levites with an appeal to Moses. All he has told them is that they need to collect money to restore the house of God. A heart that is not fully involved in a work for the Lord will not quickly be tempted to ask others to give for that work.

That his accusation may not be justified can also be inferred from the silence of the spiritual-minded Jehoiada. There is no defense to the criticism. This is not weakness or admitting that the saying is true, but rather speaks of spiritual strength. Silence on unjustified accusations often says more than speaking. We also see this silence with the Lord Jesus in all the accusations made against Him.

Joash says why the house of the LORD has ended up in a state that necessitates restoration (verse 77For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the LORD for the Baals.). It is Athaliah’s fault. She is the embodiment of wickedness. Political power exercised for its own sake will always see service to God as an abhorrent matter. That power will do everything in its power to destroy the service to God. Such an evil power is not only about neglecting the church, but it will attack the church and take away all that is valuable for the service to God.

An evil power dictates that “the holy things of the house of the LORD” will be used “for the Baals”. We see this, for example, in the popular interpretation of the suffering of Christ, of which a Dutch Christian broadcasting is making a spectacle disgusting to faith (The Passion). The same goes for the Matthäus-Passion where the members of the cabinet go because it is so impressively performed. Heart and conscience remain completely off the hook. Thus the holy things that stand in God’s house, the church, central, are thrown like pearls before swine (Mt 7:66“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.). The tearing consequences for the church need not be guessed, for they are perceptible to anyone who has enlightened eyes of the heart.

Then Joash starts a new action for the collection of money (verse 88So the king commanded, and they made a chest and set it outside by the gate of the house of the LORD.). On his command a chest is made which is placed “outside by the gate of the house of the LORD”. Then, this time with an appeal to the levy of Moses, a proclamation is made in Judah and Jerusalem to bring the money (verse 99They made a proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to bring to the LORD the levy [fixed by] Moses the servant of God on Israel in the wilderness.). The response to this proclamation is very different from last time. All leaders and all people are happy to contribute to the restoration of the temple (verse 1010All the officers and all the people rejoiced and brought in their levies and dropped [them] into the chest until they had finished.). They all like to give and keep giving until the restoration work is completed.

The chest is supervised by the Levites (verse 1111It came about whenever the chest was brought in to the king’s officer by the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, then the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would come, empty the chest, take it, and return it to its place. Thus they did daily and collected much money.). Whenever there is much money in the chest, they take it to the king’s officer. The scribe of the king and the chief priest’s officer empty the chest. A representative of the king and a representative of the high priest are involved. The testimony of two persons confirms a matter (2Cor 13:11This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.). It is important to be able to account reliably for the money collected (2Cor 8:20-2120taking precaution so that no one will discredit us in our administration of this generous gift;21for we have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.).

This is also about the combination of king and priest. There is a close relationship and cooperation between the two. We also see this with the Lord Jesus, the true King-Priest (Zec 6:1313Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.”‘). After the money is taken out of the chest in this responsible way, the chest is taken up again and put back in place at the temple. In this way money is collected in abundance.


The Restoration of the Temple

12The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service 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 the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications and strengthened it. 14When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was made into utensils for the house of the LORD, utensils for the service and the burnt offering, and pans and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.

The king and Jehoiada – here again we see the close connection between king and priest – make the money available to those who do the restoration work (verse 1212The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service 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.). The money is used to hire workers. Masons, carpenters, workers in iron and bronze are needed to restore the house of the LORD. They work closely together, while everyone does what their capacities are.

The Lord Jesus, as the King-Priest, is busy giving us the means to build His house. The different workers who did the repair work point to the different tasks that believers have in building God’s house. Masons we can see as a picture of evangelists. They bring living stones into the house of God. Carpenters work with wood. They give structure to God’s house. In them we can see a picture of teachers. The workers in iron represent shepherds. They ensure that the believers remain well connected. The workers in bronze are busy with bronze. Bronze is a picture of God’s righteousness. Workers in bronze can be seen as a picture of believers who help others to live in accordance with God’s righteousness.

All these workers work with what is given to them by the king and Jehoiada (verse 1313So the workmen labored, and the repair work progressed in their hands, and they restored the house of God according to its specifications and strengthened it.). It is nice to read that the repair work is progressing in their hands. The goal is to restore the house of God to its original state. To be able to work in this way, the workers must know what the original state is. Bringing God’s house back to its original state also means that the house will be strengthened.

This also applies to all work that is done for the church. The blueprint of the church, and its local expression, is in the Word of God. We must consult God’s Word when we work on the building of God’s house. For us, working on God’s house means showing fellow believers their position in Christ (Col 1:28-2928We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.29For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.) and that they are firmly established in Him (2Cor 1:2121Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,; Col 2:6-76Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk in Him,7having been firmly rooted [and now] being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, [and] overflowing with gratitude.).

After the repair work on the temple there appears to be money left (verse 1414When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada; and it was made into utensils for the house of the LORD, utensils for the service and the burnt offering, and pans and utensils of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.). That money is brought to the king and Jehoiada. Joash, probably on the advice of Jehoiada, makes all kinds of utensils out of it that can be used for the service in the temple. As a result, as long as Jehoiada lives, “they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually”. Here we find the great goal of the restoration of God’s house: offering burnt offerings.

The restoration of God’s house with the result of offering burnt offerings suggests to us that the service of worship is once again central in the church. That is not programmed worship with song and music led by a worship leader, but worship led by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to direct the heart of every member of the church to the Lord Jesus Who is the true burnt offering for God.

The burnt offering is the sacrifice that is for God in its entirety (Lev 1:9,139Its entrails, however, and its legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer up in smoke all of it on the altar for a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.13The entrails, however, and the legs he shall wash with water. And the priest shall offer all of it, and offer it up in smoke on the altar; it is a burnt offering, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.). God desires that the believers come as a church with burnt offerings. Jehoiada is a picture of the Lord Jesus Who is the “great priest over the house of God” (Heb 10:2121and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God,). Through Him we may approach God in the sanctuary to bring our sacrifices (Heb 10:19-2219Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,20by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,21and since [we have] a great priest over the house of God,22let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.).


The Death of Jehoiada

15Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death. 16They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.

Jehoiada’s life comes to an end. He does not die from a disease or an accident, but from old age (verse 1515Now when Jehoiada reached a ripe old age he died; he was one hundred and thirty years old at his death.). He has reached the advanced age of one hundred and thirty years. Until his old age he was active in serving God and His house (verse 1616They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.). His service has been a blessing to Israel. He, who was a priest, behaved royally at the same time. Therefore he is “buried … among the kings”. That they bury him there is proof of the respect of Joash and the people for him.

How are we known to the believers with whom we form a local church? Can be said of us that we have done good in the church? Good deeds must be done in the first place for God. He sees our whole life. Is that directed toward Him? Directly connected to this is doing good with regard to His house, that is the church, that are His own. Doing good to His house means that we behave in His house according to the standards He has given for it in His Word (1Tim 3:1515but in case I am delayed, [I write] so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.).


Joash Falls to Idolatry

17But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them. 18They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.

After each revival, lukewarmness follows. We see that here too. When the inspirer Jehoiada has died, Joash deviates from the way of the LORD. Jehoiada’s influence has been decisive for his actions. Now that he has lost his grip and compass with Jehoiada’s death, he is rudderless. Unfortunately, he has no personal contact with the LORD. Joash walked more through the faith of Jehoiada than through his own faith. We can make an application for ourselves of this with regard to our children. If we do not teach them to live with the Lord in an independent relationship with Him, they will – if they have to stand on their own two feet – turn their backs on the Lord.

Through the death of Jehoiada, a spiritual vacuum has been created with Joash. That void is filled by the officials of Judah (verse 1717But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them.). They come to him and bow hypocritically down before him. They don’t want to help him to continue reigning according to God’s will, but they want to serve their own interests. Joash listens to their flattery. The king and the officials, who had just been busy restoring the temple, leave the LORD and His house and start to serve the idols (verse 1818They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.). Perhaps the officials have talked to him and said that the old service of the LORD is not sufficient and that serving “the Asherim and the idols” gives a much better feeling. Joash began, so to speak, by the Spirit, but ends up by the flesh (Gal 3:33Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?).

God’s answer to the deviation of Joash and the people does not fail. The people are guilty before Him. Because of this guilt God’s pleasure no longer rests on Judah and Jerusalem, but now there comes wrath upon them.


Joash Kills the Prophet of God

19Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen. 20Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you.’” 21So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. 22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”

Before God actually makes them feel His wrath, which rests on them, He first sends them prophets in His grace (verse 1919Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen.; cf. Jer 7:2525Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants the prophets, daily rising early and sending [them].). Through His prophets He wants to call them to return to Him. They warn of the consequences if the people persist in their deviation from Him. Unfortunately Joash don’t listen.

One of the prophets is specially mentioned (verse 2020Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you.’”). It is Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada. Zechariah is going to stand on an elevation to be better heard by the people (cf. Neh 8:55Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up.). That is why he also stands as a loner against the people. He is a true Antipas – meaning ‘against all’ –, who also testified as a loner and just like Zechariah had to pay with death for his testimony (Rev 2:1313‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.).

Zechariah presents to the people their sins without fuss. He tells them that their idolatry will not bring them the prosperity they expect. Their actions have no blessing because they have forsaken the LORD and He has had to forsake them. They are now on their way without Him. So how could there be prosperity for them?

Joash even gives the command to kill the man who brings him the words of God with stones (verse 2121So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD.; Heb 11:3737They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated). Here a holy man (a priest and prophet) is killed in a holy place (the temple) with a holy message (a word of God) as if he were a blasphemer. How far have the king and his people deviated from the LORD.

Joash places himself in line with the wicked Ahab who also had a righteous man, Naboth, stoned (1Kgs 21:8-138So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal, and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city.9Now she wrote in the letters, saying, “Proclaim a fast and seat Naboth at the head of the people;10and seat two worthless men before him, and let them testify against him, saying, ‘You cursed God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.”11So the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who lived in his city, did as Jezebel had sent [word] to them, just as it was written in the letters which she had sent them.12They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth at the head of the people.13Then the two worthless men came in and sat before him; and the worthless men testified against him, even against Naboth, before the people, saying, “Naboth cursed God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death with stones.). Zechariah is stoned in the court of the house of the LORD to which Joash has been so dedicated the first part of his reign. The place of worship is smeared with blood.

God’s Spirit clearly indicates that this stoning is not only a crime but also an act of the greatest ingratitude (verse 22a22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”; cf. Jdg 8:3535nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal ([that is], Gideon) in accord with all the good that he had done to Israel.). The favor that Zechariah’s father, Jehoiada, has bestowed on him is gone from his memory.

If we forget to be thankful for all that the Lord has given us in our brothers and sisters, we may become their murderers spiritually if they point out our failures. Ungratefulness is one of the characteristics of the last days, that is the time in which we live (2Tim 3:1-31But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,3unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,). It is a time when the Word of God is ignored by many.

When Zechariah dies, he calls that the LORD will avenge (verse 22b22Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”). This call for revenge fits the Old Testament. This call will also sound after the rapture of the church (Rev 6:9-119When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”11And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until [the number of] their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.). In our time the believer fits a call for grace and forgiveness for his persecutors and those who torture them (Acts 7:59-60a59They went on stoning Stephen as he called on [the Lord] and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”60Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Having said this, he fell asleep.).

In His speech against the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus refers to the murder of Zechariah (Mt 23:34-3534“Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,35so that upon you may fall [the guilt of] all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.; Lk 11:5151from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house [of God]; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’). In that speech, He mentions the first and last murder of believers in the Old Testament as the beginning and the end of a long series of bloodshed of the righteous. The first murder is that of Abel, the last one is that of Zechariah. It is true that Zechariah is the last believer to be murdered in the Old Testament. We must remember that the book of Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible is the last book of the Bible and not, as in our Bibles, the book of Malachi.


Judgment Executed on Joash

23Now it happened at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the officials of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. 24Indeed the army of the Arameans came with a small number of men; yet the LORD delivered a very great army into their hands, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.

God’s response to the call of his dying servant Zechariah for revenge is soon. At the turn of the year, the army of the Arameans or Syrians comes up against Joash (verse 2323Now it happened at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the officials of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus.; cf. 2Sam 11:11Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out [to battle], that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem.). Syria’s army even penetrates so far that they enter Jerusalem and destroy all the officials of the people. Thereby the people have become rudderless. The spoils that the Syrians rob on their campaign are sent to their lord, the king of Damascus.

The Syrians are supreme in their fight against Judah and Jerusalem. That is not because they are so numerous. On the contrary, they only have a small army (verse 2424Indeed the army of the Arameans came with a small number of men; yet the LORD delivered a very great army into their hands, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.). Yet they achieve great successes because the LORD fights against His people. He shows Himself the adversary of His people because they have forsaken Him.

Previous kings – Abijah, Asa and Jehoshaphat – were not defeated, although Judah was facing a mighty army (2Chr 13:33Abijah began the battle with an army of valiant warriors, 400,000 chosen men, while Jeroboam drew up in battle formation against him with 800,000 chosen men [who were] valiant warriors.; 14:1111Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help [in the battle] between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”; 20:2020They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”). Here with Joash, however, the LORD gives the victory to Syria that “with a small number of men” has come against a mighty Judah. A mighty Judah is defeated by a small army, because the LORD gives them into the hand of their enemies (Lev 26:17a17I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.). Serving or forsaking the LORD is such a serious matter, that all military numbers are completely meaningless.

The Syrians are the disciplinary rod in God’s hand to execute “judgment on Joash”. The word for ‘executed judgment’ is also used for the judgments that have come concerning Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to release God’s people from Egypt (Exo 6:55Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.; 7:44When Pharaoh does not listen to you, then I will lay My hand on Egypt and bring out My hosts, My people the sons of Israel, from the land of Egypt by great judgments.; 12:1212For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment—I am the LORD.; Num 33:44while the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom the LORD had struck down among them. The LORD had also executed judgments on their gods.). This shows the seriousness of the discipline that the LORD brings over the leaders of His people. He brings here the judgments with which He has struck ungodly Egypt over His people.


The Death of Joash

25When they had departed from him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and murdered 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. 26Now these are those who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess. 27As to his sons and the many oracles against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings. Then Amaziah his son became king in his place.

The judgments were not only executed on the people, their leaders and their possessions, but also on Joash personally (verse 2525When they had departed from him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest, and murdered 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.). When the enemies depart, they leave Joash “very sick”, a sickness that is probably the result of serious injuries inflicted on him. With this the measure of God’s discipline over him is not yet full. Two servants conspire against him and kill him, lying powerless on his sickbed. Joash is buried in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings, an honor he has given Jehoiada (verse 1616They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done well in Israel and to God and His house.).

The reason given for Joash’ murder is “because of the blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest”. It seems that of Jehoiada’s sons Joash did not only kill Zechariah, but also other sons. The reason given does not mean that this has led the two killers to act. It means that God in His governmental ways allows the murder as a retaliation for the blood that Joash shed. The two men will be justly punished for their crime (2Chr 25:33Now it came about as soon as the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, that he killed his servants who had slain his father the king.).

The names of the servants and their origins are mentioned (verse 2626Now these are those who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess.). They are two sons of foreign, although Israel-related, women. The Ammonites and Moabites are descendants of Lot (Gen 19:30-3830Lot went up from Zoar, and stayed in the mountains, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to stay in Zoar; and he stayed in a cave, he and his two daughters.31Then the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of the earth.32Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him that we may preserve our family through our father.”33So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn went in and lay with her father; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.34On the following day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father.”35So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger arose and lay with him; and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.36Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father.37The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day.38As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.), the nephew of Abraham. They have always been hostile to God’s people. That Joash has accepted them as servants may be the consequence of serving their gods. Those who fall into the idolatry always bring elements into their home that are hostile to them and are out of their ruin.

The chronicler ends his description of Joash’ life with a reference to some things “written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings” (verse 2727As to his sons and the many oracles against him and the rebuilding of the house of God, behold, they are written in the treatise of the Book of the Kings. Then Amaziah his son became king in his place.). This book has not been preserved for us. What it says is about his sons, possibly who they are and how he dealt with them. It also concerns “the many oracles against him”. One might think of the judgment prophecies of the LORD that are spoken against him. The last reference is to “the rebuilding of the house of God”, In which we can nevertheless note a certain appreciation for what Joash has done for God’s house.

Joash’ life may have had a tragic course and a tragic end, but God’s faithfulness remains. The son of Joash, Amaziah, becomes king instead of Joash, so God still keeps a lamp burning for David’s house. The light is not yet extinguished.


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