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It is significant that the chronicler does not end Athaliah’s story with a summary of her reign or the location of her burial as all other kings’ stories end. She is a usurper who is not destined to rule Israel because she is not part of the Davidic line. But her reign does not nullify God’s promise to David. In spite of her actions, one of David’s descendants survives her slaughter of the royal house to ascend to the throne. This story is one of hope for the Jews during the Babylonian exile, reminding them that God’s promises always supersede humans’ actions, good or evil.

24 Joash, whose mother Zibiah was from Beersheba, was only seven years old when he became king. He reigned 40 years in Jerusalem and followed the ways of the Eternal only as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. Jehoiada was like a father to Joash, finding two wives for the king, who would father sons and daughters and reconstitute the Davidic line.

After he had established his family, Joash decided to restore the Eternal’s temple because the wicked Athaliah’s subjects had broken into the True God’s temple and used its dedicated contents to worship the Baals.[a]

Joash (to the priests and Levites): Collect money from all the Israelites living in the cities of Judah so you can repair your True God’s temple each year. Begin this work quickly.

The Levites did not act quickly as their king had demanded, so Joash rebuked Jehoiada the chief priest for not properly leading them.

Joash (to Jehoiada): Why have you not obeyed my request and required the Levites to collect money from Judah and Jerusalem? Moses, the Eternal’s servant, decided that all Israel should pay this money each year to provide for the tent of the covenant law.

Since the priests and Levites do not collect the money as Joash commands them, he finds another way to collect the money.

He had a chest placed outside the Eternal’s temple near the gate and told everyone in Judah and Jerusalem to bring the money that Moses, the servant of the True God, commanded Israel to bring to the Eternal while they were in the desert. 10 All the officers and all the people were excited to help restore the temple, as they had been when it was initially constructed, so they all put their money in the chest until it was full. 11 Each day the Levites returned the chest to the king’s officer, where the king’s scribe and the chief priest’s officer would empty the chest and return it to the temple gate. They emptied the chest every day because the people gave so much money.

12-13 Joash and Jehoiada gave the money to the Eternal’s temple servants, who contracted masons, carpenters, and iron and bronze workers. These workers worked to repair, restore, and strengthen the True God’s temple to King David’s original specifications. 14 So much money had been collected that the workers were able to return the extra to Joash and Jehoiada and make gold and silver vessels and utensils for services and burnt offerings in the Eternal’s temple. Having completed the renovations, everyone was faithful to God and gave burnt offerings in the Eternal’s temple for the rest of Jehoiada’s life.

15 Jehoiada was rewarded for his faithfulness to God with a long life. He was 130 years old when he died, 16 and the people buried him in the city of David, Jerusalem, among the kings, recognizing how he had helped Israel, his own extended family, and the True God.

Jehoiada not only helps to overturn the usurping Athaliah and restore the Davidic monarchy, but he also ensures that Joash and Israel follow God. The people recognize how Jehoiada has helped their nation, so they honor him in his burial by placing him among the dead kings. Traditionally, corpses were placed among their own ancestors, with whom they would spend eternity. By burying Jehoiada with the kings, the people indicate that he deserves to be remembered among the greatest of all men.

17-18 Then the officials of Judah (who had abandoned the house of the Eternal One, the True God of their ancestors, to follow Asherim and other idols) came and bowed down to the king, convincing him to listen to their advice. Joash, in the absence of Jehoiada, then led the nation to abandon God. God was infuriated with Judah and Jerusalem. 19 In spite of His anger, the Eternal sent prophets to tell the people how they had sinned and that they should repent. But they did not listen.

20 Then the Spirit of the True God possessed Zechariah, Jehoiada the priest’s son, giving him a message for the people.

Zechariah (standing above the people): The True God has a message for you: “Why do you disobey the Eternal’s commands? You will not have prosperous lives as long as you continue this. Since you have abandoned Him, He has abandoned you.”

21 The new advisors were so infuriated by his message that they conspired against him. Joash then commanded that they stone Zechariah inside the Eternal’s temple courts. 22 By murdering Zechariah, Joash ignored how kind Jehoiada had been to him.

Joash has been saved by Jehoiada’s wife from certain death at the hands of Athaliah. He also has been taught by her to follow God and obey His law. Zechariah’s death inside the temple is ironic since Joash’s own chief priest and Zechariah’s father, Jehoiada, refused to kill Athaliah in the temple because of God’s law; and here Joash is violating the law, for stoning should occur outside of town and most certainly outside of the temple. This is also strange in that stoning is an execution method reserved primarily for treason and not for eliminating a priest who speaks out against sin.

Zechariah (dying): Eternal One, see how Joash has abandoned You and seek judgment on him!

God hears Zechariah’s last words and punishes Joash.

23 At the end of the year, the Aramean army attacked Judah and Jerusalem. It obliterated each of the officials who had advised Joash badly and sent the spoils to the king of Damascus, the capital city of Aram. 24 Although the Aramean army was vastly outnumbered by the Judaean army, the Eternal exercised His judgment on Joash by giving the Arameans an impressive victory over the people who had abandoned the Eternal One, True God of their ancestors.

25-26 When the Arameans left Judah, Joash was severely wounded. Now that the king’s supporters were dead, his own servants (Zabad, son of Shimeath the Ammonitess, and Jehozabad, son of Shimrith the Moabitess) conspired to kill him. They remembered how he had killed Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son. The servants murdered Joash while he rested on his bed and buried him in the city of David, Jerusalem. However, they did not entomb him with the kings, his own ancestors. The good things that he did while Jehoiada advised him were forgotten.

27 More about Joash’s reign (including the names of his children, the oracles against him, and the details of the temple’s restoration) is written in the commentary of the book of the kings.

Amaziah, his son, succeeded Joash as king.


  1. 24:7 This verse is placed before verse 5 to aid in the continuity of the passage.

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