King Joash of Judah
(2 Kings 12.1-16)
1Joash was only 7 years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled 40 years from Jerusalem. His mother Zibiah was from the town of Beersheba.
2While Jehoiada the priest was alive, Joash obeyed the Lord by doing right. 3Jehoiada even chose two women for Joash to marry so he could have a family.
4Some time later, Joash decided it was time to repair the temple. 5He called together the priests and Levites and said, “Go everywhere in Judah and collect the annual tax from the people. I want this done at once—we need that money to repair the temple.”
But the Levites were in no hurry to follow the king's orders. 6 So he sent for Jehoiada the high priest and asked, “Why didn't you send the Levites to collect the taxes? The Lord's servant Moses and the people agreed long ago that this tax would be collected and used to pay for the upkeep of the sacred tent. 7And now we need it to repair the temple because the sons of that evil woman Athaliah came in and wrecked it. They even used some of the sacred objects to worship the god Baal.”
8Joash gave orders for a wooden box to be made and had it placed outside, near the gate of the temple. 9He then sent letters everywhere in Judah and Jerusalem, asking everyone to bring their taxes to the temple, just as Moses had required their ancestors to do.
10The people and their leaders agreed, and they brought their money to Jerusalem and placed it in the box. 11Each day, after the Levites took the box into the temple, the king's secretary and the high priest's assistant would dump out the money and count it. Then the empty box would be taken back outside.
This happened day after day, and soon a large amount of money was collected. 12Joash and Jehoiada turned the money over to the men who were supervising the repairs to the temple. They used the money to hire stonecutters, carpenters, and experts in working with iron and bronze.
13These workers went right to work repairing the temple, and when they were finished, it looked as good as new. 14They did not use all the tax money for the repairs, so the rest of it was handed over to Joash and Jehoiada, who then used it to make dishes and other gold and silver objects for the temple.
Sacrifices to please the Lord were offered regularly in the temple for as long as Jehoiada lived. 15He died at the ripe old age of 130 years, 16and he was buried in the royal tombs in Jerusalem, because he had done so much good for the people of Israel, for God, and for the temple.
Joash Turns Away from the Lord
17After the death of Jehoiada the priest, the leaders of Judah went to Joash and talked him into doing what they wanted. 18The people of Judah soon stopped worshiping in the temple of the Lord God and started worshiping idols and the symbols of the goddess Asherah. These sinful things made the Lord God angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, 19but he still sent prophets who warned them to turn back to him. The people refused to listen.
20 God's Spirit spoke to Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest, and Zechariah told everyone that God was saying: “Why are you disobeying me and my laws? This will only bring punishment! You have deserted me, so now I will desert you.”
21-22King Joash forgot that Zechariah's father had always been a loyal friend. So when the people of Judah plotted to kill Zechariah, Joash joined them and gave orders for them to stone him to death in the courtyard of the temple. As Zechariah was dying, he said, “I pray that the Lord will see this and punish all of you.”
Joash Is Killed
23In the spring of the following year, the Syrian army invaded Judah and Jerusalem, killing all of the nation's leaders. They collected everything of value that belonged to the people and took it back to their king in Damascus. 24The Syrian army was very small, but the Lord let them defeat Judah's large army, because he was punishing Joash and the people of Judah for turning away from him.
25-26Joash was severely wounded during the battle, and as soon as the Syrians left Judah, two of his officials, Zabad and Jehozabad, decided to revenge the death of Zechariah. They plotted and killed Joash while he was in bed, recovering from his wounds. Joash was buried in Jerusalem, but not in the royal tombs. 27The History of the Kings also tells more about the sons of Joash, what the prophets said about him, and how he repaired the temple. Amaziah son of Joash became king after his father's death.