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24 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah, from Beersheba. Joash tried hard to please the Lord all during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada arranged two marriages for him, and he had sons and daughters.

Later on Joash decided to repair and recondition the Temple. He summoned the priests and Levites and gave them these instructions:

“Go to all the cities of Judah and collect offerings for the building fund so that we can maintain the Temple in good repair. Get at it right away. Don’t delay.” But the Levites took their time.

So the king called for Jehoiada the High Priest and asked him, “Why haven’t you demanded that the Levites go out and collect the Temple taxes from the cities of Judah and from Jerusalem? The tax law enacted by Moses the servant of the Lord must be enforced so that the Temple can be repaired.”

7-8 (The followers of wicked Athaliah had ravaged the Temple, and everything dedicated to the worship of God had been removed to the temple of Baalim.) So now the king instructed that a chest be made and set outside the Temple gate. Then a proclamation was sent to all the cities of Judah and throughout Jerusalem telling the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses the servant of God had assessed upon Israel. 10 And all the leaders and the people were glad, and brought the money and placed it in the chest until it was full.

11 Then the Levites carried the chest to the king’s accounting office, where the recording secretary and the representative of the High Priest counted the money and took the chest back to the Temple again. This went on day after day, and money continued to pour in. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the building superintendents, who hired masons and carpenters to restore the Temple, and to foundrymen, who made articles of iron and brass. 13 So the work went forward, and finally the Temple was in much better condition than before. 14 When all was finished, the remaining money was brought to the king and Jehoiada, and it was agreed to use it for making the gold and silver spoons and bowls used for incense, and for making the instruments used in the sacrifices and offerings.

Burnt offerings were sacrificed continually during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. 15 He lived to a very old age, finally dying at 130. 16 He was buried in the City of David among the kings because he had done so much good for Israel, for God, and for the Temple.

17-18 But after his death, the leaders of Judah came to King Joash and induced him to abandon the Temple of the God of their ancestors and to worship shameful idols instead! So the wrath of God came down upon Judah and Jerusalem again. 19 God sent prophets to bring them back to the Lord, but the people wouldn’t listen.

20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, Jehoiada’s son. He called a meeting of all the people. Standing before them upon a platform, he said to them, “God wants to know why you are disobeying his commandments. For when you do, everything you try fails. You have forsaken the Lord, and now he has forsaken you.”

21 Then the leaders plotted to kill Zechariah, and finally King Joash himself ordered him executed in the court of the Temple. 22 That was how King Joash repaid Jehoiada for his love and loyalty—by killing his son. Zechariah’s last words as he died were, “Lord, see what they are doing and pay them back.”

23 A few months later the Syrian army arrived and conquered Judah and Jerusalem, killing all the leaders of the nation and sending back great quantities of booty to the king of Damascus. 24 It was a great triumph for the tiny Syrian army, but the Lord let the great army of Judah be conquered by them because they had forsaken the Lord God of their ancestors. In that way God executed judgment upon Joash. 25 When the Syrians left—leaving Joash severely wounded—his own officials decided to kill him for murdering the son of Jehoiada the priest. They assassinated him as he lay in bed, and buried him in the City of David, but not in the cemetery of the kings. 26 The conspirators were Zabad, whose mother was Shimeath, a woman from Ammon; and Jehozabad, whose mother was Shimrith, a woman from Moab.

27 If you want to read about the sons of Joash and the curses laid upon Joash, and about the restoration of the Temple, see The Annals of the Kings.

When Joash died, his son Amaziah became the new king.

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