Jehoash of Israel

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Not to be confused with Jehoash of Judah.
Jehoash of Israel from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum

Jehoash (Hebrew: יהואש YeHO'aSh or [1] יואש YO'aSh; Latin: Joas; fl. c. 790 BC), whose name means “Yahweh has given,”[2] was a king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the son of Jehoahaz.[3] He was the 12th king of Israel and reigned for 16 years. William F. Albright has dated his reign to 801 BC – 786 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 798 BC – 782 BC.[4] When he ascended the throne, the Kingdom of Israel was suffering from the predations of the Arameans, whose king Hazael was reducing the amount of land controlled by Israel.

Reign[edit]

Jehoash was king of Israel for 16 years and led the Israelites through some decisive battles.

According to the second book of Kings, Jehoash was sinful and did evil in the eyes of Yahweh for tolerating the worship of the golden calves, yet outwardly at least he worshiped Yahweh.[2]

Jehoash went to visit the prophet Elisha, who was sick with the illness that would eventually lead to his death. He held the prophet Elisha in honor, and wept by his bedside while he was dying. Jehoash pleased Elisha, addressing him in the words Elisha himself had used when Elijah was carried up into heaven: "O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof".[5] When Jehoash failed to completely obey Elisha’s instructions, Elisha predicted that Jehoash would only defeat the Arameans three times rather than five or six times, which may have been enough to end the Syrian threat.[6] In three signal and successive victories Jehoash overcame the Syrians, and retook from them the towns which Hazael had captured from Israel.[7]

Later in his reign, Jehoash led the men of Israel in the defeat of King Amaziah of Judah.[2] Amaziah had begun to worship some of the idols he had taken from the Edomites, which the author of Chronicles believes led to his ruin and his defeat by Jehoash, whom he had challenged to battle.

Jehoash had warned Amaziah, saying: “A thistle in Lebanon sent a message to a cedar in Lebanon, 'Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' Then a wild beast in Lebanon came along and trampled the thistle underfoot. You have indeed defeated Edom and now you are arrogant. Glory in your victory, but stay at home! Why ask for trouble and cause your own downfall and that of Judah also?"[6]


Jehoash utterly defeated Amaziah at Beth-shemesh, on the borders of Dan and Philistia. Jehoash then advanced on Jerusalem, broke down a portion of the wall, and carried away the treasures of the Temple and the palace. Jehoash took Amaziah as a prisoner. Amaziah's defeat was followed by a conspiracy that took his life.[8] Jehoash also took hostages to assure good conduct.[2]

After the battle he soon died and was buried in Samaria.[9]


The sins of Jeroboam are summarized in 1 Kings:

You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have provoked me to anger and thrust me behind your back.

— 1 Kings 14:9 NIV

Jeroboam also angered the LORD by condoning the worship of golden calves.[10] Not only did he condone it, but offered sacrifices to the calves that he himself had made. “He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made.”[11] Jehoash, too did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, his great-grandfather, and Israel continued in them as well. For example, Jehoash condoned the worship of the golden calves among the Israelites. Also, late in his reign Jehoash worshipped the gods of Edom.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ I Kings 22:26
  2. ^ a b c d Joash, Jehoash; New Bible Dictionary. Douglas, J.D., ed. 1982 (second edition). Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL, USA. ISBN 0-8423-4667-8, p. 597-598
  3. ^ 2 Kings 14:1; compare 12:1; 13:10
  4. ^ Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 0-8254-3825-X, 9780825438257
  5. ^ 2 Kings 13:14; 2 Kings 14, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. Clarke, Adam. 1967. Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, KA, USA. pp. 372-373
  6. ^ a b 2 Kings 14:9-10; Joash var. Jehoash. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol III, 1992. Freedman, David Noel., ed., New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-19361-0 pp. 857-858
  7. ^ "Jehoash", Jewish Encyclopedia
  8. ^ 2 Kings 14:8-14, 19
  9. ^ 2 Kings 13:13; Joash, Jehoash. Illustrated Dictionary & Concordance of the Bible. Wigoder, Geoffrey, ed., 1986. G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House Ltd. ISBN 0-89577-407-0
  10. ^ 2 Kings 14, Unger's Bible Handbook. Unger, Merrill F., 1966. Moody Press, Chicago, IL, USA. pp 214-215
  11. ^ 1 Kings 12:32
  12. ^ The One Volume Bible Commentary. The Rev. J. R. Dummelow, M.A., ed., 1950. The Macmillan Company, NY, USA, p. 236; 2 Kings 13:11
Jehoash of Israel
House of Jehoshaphat
Contemporary Kings of Judah: Jehoash/Joash,
Amaziah, Uzziah
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jehoahaz
King of Israel
798 BC – 782 BC
Succeeded by
Jeroboam II