Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Ahab had a half-sister named Athaliah, who married Joram or jehoram, king of Judah, and had a son named Ahaziah. He married one of Ahab’s daughters, and ascended the throne of Judah on Joram’s death. II Kings 8:26-27 describes his reign. “Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel. And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son in law of the house of Ahab.” Like his cousin Ahaziah of Israel, Ahaziah of Judah copied Ahab’s early lifestyle and reign completely, and his reign was even shorter than that of his cousin. He was killed by Jehu when he went to visit Ahab’s son Jehoram in Samaria.
When he was killed, his mother had all Ahaziah’s half brothers and children killed so she could proclaim herself queen. Fortunately, she missed one of her Grandsons. II Kings 11:1-3 describes the events. “And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 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.”
One of his aunts saved Jehoash from his grandmother, taking his to Jehoiada the High Priest for protection. A little over six years later, Athaliah was executed for murdering the rightful heirs of the throne, and Jehoash was crowned as king. He was only seven, and Jehoiada served as his advisor until he came of age. Under Jehoiada’s tutelage, Jehoash followed the Lord, rather than the example set by his father and grandmother. II Kings 12:1-8 describes his reign.
“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. And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.” (II Kings 12:1-3)
As long as Jehoiada was there to guide him, Jehoash followed God, although he was unable to get the people to follow the Lord completely. One of his early projects was the restoration of the temple, which was needing repairs after a hundred fifty years. They were to use the donations of the people to make those repairs as described in II Kings 12:4-5. “And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of the LORD, Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.
Unfortunately, many of the priests were not very dependable, using the money for other things instead. As a result, twenty three years after he became king, the repairs still had not been made. He ordered the priests to stop taking offerings for the repairs and let it be given to treasurers who would hire various contractors to make the needed repairs. II Kings 12:6-12 describes his decision. “But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house. And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.
But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD. And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD. And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD, And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
As a result of Jehoiada’s teaching and guidance, Jehoash did what was right, even going beyond what many of the priests and Levites were willing to do. He provides a clear example of what a good teacher can accomplish, despite a person’s family background. Without Jehoiada’s guidance, he probably would have turned out much like Ahab’s sons Ahaziah and Jehoram, following his family traditions.