Relationships –Jehoiada, Jehosheba, and Joash

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

  • 2 Kings 11:1-3

When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family of the house of Judah. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.

  • 2 Chronicles 22:10-12

Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, “Long live the king!”
When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the Lord. She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and musicians with their instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, “Treason! Treason!”
Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not put her to death at the temple of the Lord.” So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death.

  • 2 Chronicles 23:11-15

In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.
Joash said to the priests, “Collect all the money that is brought as sacred offerings to the temple of the Lord—the money collected in the census, the money received from personal vows and the money brought voluntarily to the temple. Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers, then use it to repair whatever damage is found in the temple.”
But by the twenty-third year of King Joash the priests still had not repaired the temple. Therefore King Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and asked them, “Why aren’t you repairing the damage done to the temple? Take no more money from your treasurers, but hand it over for repairing the temple.” The priests agreed that they would not collect any more money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid. He placed it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the temple of the Lord. The priests who guarded the entrance put into the chest all the money that was brought to the temple of the Lord. Whenever they saw that there was a large amount of money in the chest, the royal secretary and the high priest came, counted the money that had been brought into the temple of the Lord and put it into bags. When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the Lord—the carpenters and builders, the masons and stonecutters. They purchased timber and blocks of dressed stone for the repair of the temple of the Lord, and met all the other expenses of restoring the temple.
The money brought into the temple was not spent for making silver basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, trumpets or any other articles of gold or silver for the temple of the Lord; it was paid to the workers, who used it to repair the temple. They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty. The money from the guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the temple of the Lord; it belonged to the priests.

  • 2 Kings 12:1-16

After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, God’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although the Lord sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.
Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the Lord’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you.’”
But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. King Joash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, “May the Lord see this and call you to account.”
At the turn of the year, the army of Aram marched against Joash; it invaded Judah and Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the people. They sent all the plunder to their king in Damascus. Although the Aramean army had come with only a few men, the Lord delivered into their hands a much larger army. Because Judah had forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, judgment was executed on Joash. When the Arameans withdrew, they left Joash severely wounded. His officials conspired against him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest, and they killed him in his bed. So he died and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

  • 2 Chronicles 24:17-25

A Quote

[2 Kings 12:2]: all the days . . . Jehoiada . . . instructed him. Joash did what pleased the Lord while Jehoiada served as his parental guardian and tutor. After Jehoiada died, Joash turned away from the Lord (see … 2 Chr. 24:17, 18a).”

  • John MacArthur, John MacArthur Commentary

What Do We Know about their Relationship?

Both accounts (2 Kings and 2 Chronicles) are provided above in that 2 Chronicles identifies Jehosheba as the wife of Jehoiada.  Thus, she saves the future king, and with him, the royal family line of David.  There were cousins.  Note the son of David in the Luke genealogy lists Nathan, a brother of Solomon, and the entire line after that point does not list a king of Judah.

Jehoiada basically adopts Joash.  Even after anointing Joash king, Joash did as Jehoiada instructed.  Joash, having been sheltered, basically lost his mind when Jehoiada died, turning from God to worship Asherah.  But it was Joash who organized the restoration of the temple.  Some of that restoration was due to Athaliah’s use of the temple to worship false gods.

What Can We Infer about their Relationship?

We can infer that Jehosheba acted as Joash’s mother.  We hear nothing of Jehosheba after she rescues Joash, but her acting as mother made Joash’s early childhood to seem a normal one, with mother, father, and child.  Jehoiada also had other children, as noted in the Scriptures, Zechariah (not the author of the book).  These may have been like half brothers to Joash, which makes the murder of Zechariah more disturbing.  Was it latent sibling rivalry?  Or is it as Jesus said, a prophet in his own hometown is rejected, in this case his own adopted brother?

We can infer that Jehoiada taught Joash well or he would not have seen that the temple needed repairs.  As a side note: See how the temple repairs did not require check and balances or overseers.  God’s hand was upon it.

But Joash did not take Jehoiada’s teaching to heart so that he could stay true to God once his adopted father passed away.  Also, another side note: Joash is recorded as being a good king, but he turned so rotten in his last years, his mid-40s, that they did not bury him in the ancestral king’s tomb.

In What Ways Can We Fill in the Gaps about their Relationship?

We could fill in a few gaps with Athaliah.  Did they hide Joash in plain sight, passing him off as the son of Jehosheba?  Athaliah seems so self-absorbed that she might have not noticed that Jehosheba had not been pregnant.

We could identify the “nurse” as being someone other than Jehosheba or the nurse could have been Jehosheba.  This probably meant wet nurse as the wife of the king may not have been doing such things.  But if the nurse was Joash’s mother, it would have drawn the attention of Athaliah.

Now at the other end of the life of Joash, we could fill the gaps between Zechariah and Joash with a lot of sibling rivalry as they grew up together.

We could also fill in the gap of why Joash turned bad instantly.  Was it rebellion?  Was it grief and he had no constructive outlet?  Was it that the hangers-on were rotten to the core, waiting for Jehoiada to die so that they could turn the king in their direction?  Or, though not documented in Scripture (thus a gap filler), did Joash become consumed by an evil spirit?

What Can We Learn from this Relationship?

The biggest thing that I get from this on a personal level is that no matter how hard you try to teach your children, they either accept it or they reject it.  Their high school or college buddies suddenly become great oracles, and your child can go from angel to demon overnight, or so it seems.

Sheltering a child so that they do not experience the outside world until later in their development is not that good either.  They have not developed the tools necessary to fight the evil.  There have been studies of Christian homes that home schooled.  These studies show a much higher Christian value rejection upon going to college than Christians who have their children taught in public schools.  The best approach, by some studies, is to supplement the public education with biblical education, especially in things like creation, age of the earth, and moral values.

And we can learn that Joash was seen as a good king although he did not stay that way.  It shows us that God forgives.  God knows what is in the person’s heart.  Joash did two reprehensible sins.  He listened to his friends and dabbled into false god worship and he killed Zechariah, who was sent by God to try to turn him back toward the true God.  We can do some pretty bad stuff and God can forgive us.  We must truly repent, and sometimes that becomes a lifelong struggle.  But God knows what is in our heart.

What Have We Learned thus far?

We have learned to:

  • Own our own mistakes and not blame others.
  • Be faithful to God, and worship properly, in the proper spirit.
  • Go to God in prayer, especially before any major decisions.
  • Do not show favoritism among family members, but always go to God.
  • Forgiveness is extremely important for none of us are perfect except for God.
  • Beyond physical love, there are other expressions of love, and respect is very important.
  • A relationship requires maintenance, nurturing, and an acceptance of the roles.
  • Be humble and listen to wise advice, and even wait when necessary.
  • At times, we must be bold and trust God, and we must obey.
  • And to love, love, and love.
  • Be trustworthy.  Trust is required.
  • And don’t worry.  God has this situation, and He has us in the palm of His hand.
  • And remember to forgive others and confess our sins.
  • And never go against what God instructs us to do.
  • And truly believe that God can show you mercy and accept the mercy offered.  Yet remember that it is indeed mercy.
  • Not blindly trust our buddies from our youth as advisors and there may be emotional ties that make their advice sound better than it is.
  • Understand that good cannot compromise with evil.

A Closing Prayer

We look to You for guidance.  When we have a trusted advisor, may we not just learn the advice, but the deeper meaning behind that advice.  As an advisor, help us to be mindful of giving the reason rather than simply “because I said so.”  Help us to realize that when we ask for forgiveness and we turn from our sin, You listen and You forgive.
In Thy Name we pray,

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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