Jehoash of Judah

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Not to be confused with Jehoash of Israel.
Jehoash from Guillaume Rouillé's Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum, 1553
King of Judah
Reign c. 836 – 797 BC
Predecessor Athaliah
Successor Amaziah
Consort Jehoaddan of Jerusalem
Issue Amaziah, King of Judah
House House of David
Father Ahaziah, King of Judah
Mother Zibiah of Beersheba
Born c. 843 BC
Jerusalem, Kingdom of Judah
Died c. 797 BC (aged 47)
Millo, Jerusalem
Burial City of David

Jehoash (Hebrew: יְהֹואָשׁ, Yəhôʾāš ; “Jehovah-given”; Greek: Ιωας; Latin: Joas;[1] fl. c. 800 BC), also known as Joash (in King James Version), Joas (in Douay–Rheims) or Joás (Hebrew: יֹואָשׁ, Yôʾāš),[2] was the eighth King of Judah since his fourth great-grandfather Rehoboam, and the sole surviving son of Ahaziah. He was also the first Judahite king to be descended from both the House of David and the House of Omri, through his paternal grandmother and predecessor, Athaliah. His mother was Zibiah of Beersheba.[3][4][5]

William F. Albright has dated his reign to 837 – 800 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 835 – 796 BC.[6]

He is one of the four kings omitted by Matthew (1:8) in the genealogy of Jesus, the other three being Ahaziah, Amaziah, and Jehoiakim.

Early life[edit]

Athaliah Expelled from the Temple by Antoine Coypel, 1699

While yet an infant, his paternal aunt Jehosheba saved him from the general massacre of the family commanded by his paternal grandmother Athaliah, and he was apparently the only surviving male descendant of his grandfather Jehoram.[5][7][8] His uncle, the high priest Jehoiada, brought him forth to public notice when he was seven years of age,[9][10] and had Jehoash crowned and anointed king.[11][12] Athaliah was taken by surprise when she heard the shout of the people, “Long live the king”; and when she appeared in the Temple to challenge this coup, Jehoiada commanded her to be led forth out of the Temple to be put to death.[13][14]

After he was crowned the covenant was renewed between God, the king, and the nation, and after having destroyed the altars of Baal and killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, the king was conducted with great ceremony to the throne.[5][15][16]

Later life and death[edit]

While the High Priest lived, Jehoash favored the worship of God and observed the Law, but on his death Jehoash was led into supporting other gods.[17][18] Zechariah, the son and successor of the High Priest, boldly condemned this rebellion, but was put to death.[19] For these deeds, the author of the Books of Chronicles believed Jehoash brought down on the land the judgement of God, and it was oppressed by the Aramean invaders.[20]

When the Syrian king Hazael marched against Jerusalem, Joash bribed him with the gold of the royal and sacred treasuries to turn back;[21][22] this proved fruitless[23] for the Syrian army persisted to destroy all the princes of Judah and the soldiers “executed judgment against Joash,” and they left him severely wounded. Joash was assassinated by his own servants at Millo, after a reign of forty years, and his assassination is recorded as an act of revenge for the blood of Zechariah the son of Jehoiada.[24][25]

Joash was buried together with his fathers in the City of David,[26][27] although he was “not (buried) in the sepulchres of the kings.”[28]

In rabbinic literature[edit]

The extermination of the male descendants of David was considered a divine retribution for David's responsibility for the extermination of the priests by Saul, who had commanded his servant Doeg to perform this task (comp. 1 Sam. 22:17-23). Joash escaped death because in the latter case one priest, Abiathar, survived (Sanh. 95b). The hiding-place of Joash was, according to R. Eleazar, one of the chambers behind the Holy of Holies; according to R. Samuel b. Naḥman, one of the upper chambers of the Temple (Cant. R. i. 66).[29]

Although a king who is the son of a king need not be anointed, exception was made in the case of Joash, as well as of Solomon and Zedekiah, the succession of each of whom was contested (Lev. R. x. 8). Particular mention is made of the crown placed on Joash's head (2 Kings 11:12), because it fitted exactly, showing that he was qualified for kingship (Ab. Zarah 44a).

He was assassinated by two of his servants, one of whom was a son of an Ammonite woman and the other the offspring of a Moabite (2 Chron. 24:26); for God said: "Let the descendants of the two ungrateful families chastise the ungrateful Joash" (Yalk., Ex. 262). Ironically, Moab and Ammon were the two offspring of Lot's tryst with his two daughters as described in Gen. 19:30-38.

Jehoash Tablet[edit]

In 2001, an unprovenanced inscription was published, known as the Jehoash Inscription or Temple Inscription, which appears to be a record of repairs made to Solomon's Temple during Jehoash's reign. The tablet consists of 15 lines of Hebrew text inscribed on a piece of tabular black stone.[30] Following extensive scientific tests the Israeli archaeological authorities declared it to be a forgery and are prosecuting the perpetrator, although a number of experts maintain that it is not a forgery.[31]

Chronological notes[edit]

The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Jehoash, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of his accession to some time between Nisan 1 of 835 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of the same BC year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 836/835 BC, or more simply 836 BC. His death occurred at some time between Nisan 1 of 796 BC and the day before Tishri 1 of that BC year, i.e. in 797/796, or more simply, 797 BC. During his reign, the Judean court recorders were still using the non-accession system of measuring years that was adopted in the days of Jehoshaphat from the practice of the northern kingdom, whereby the king's first partial year in office was counted as his first year of reign.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEmil G. Hirsch, Max Seligsohn, Solomon Schechter, Ira Maurice Price (1901–1906). "Joash". Jewish Encyclopedia. 

External links[edit]

Jehoash of Judah
Preceded by
King of Judah
836 – 797 BC
Succeeded by