Many people in Bible times had the name Jehoash, or Joash in its shorter form (e.g. Judg 6:29-31; 1 Chron 4:22; 7:8; 12:3; 27:28; 2 Chron 18:25). The most important of them all were the two kings who ruled during the time of the divided kingdom, one over Judah and the other over Israel. To avoid confusion, Jehoash of Judah is often referred to as Joash. When his father Ahaziah was killed, the mother of Ahaziah killed Ahaziah’s children and seized the throne of Judah. This woman, Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, then established her parents’ Baalism in Judah. The only child to escape her massacre was the year-old Joash, who was rescued by his aunt (wife of the high priest) and brought up secretly in the temple. After six years the high priest led a successful revolution that saw Athaliah killed, Baalism removed, and the child Joash placed on the Davidic throne (835 BC; 2 Kings 11:1-21). The most influential person in Judah at that time was Jehoiada the high priest, who trained and instructed Joash.

Because of Jehoiada’s influence, Joash matured into a good king (2 Kings 12:2; 2 Chron 24:2-3). When he found inefficiency, and possibly dishonesty, among those responsible for repairing the temple, Joash acted decisively to have the work completed promptly (2 Kings 12:4-16; 2 Chron 24:4-14). After Jehoiada’s death, Joash and his people drifted into idolatry and even killed a priest who rebuked them (2 Chron 24:15-22). God’s judgment fell upon Judah in the form of a costly invasion by Syria. Joash was assassinated by his own soldiers and was not even given a royal funeral (2 Kings 12:17-21; 2 Chron 24:23-27). Jehoash of Israel came to the throne at a time when Syria was crushing his country (798 BC; 2 Kings 13:7-9). Though unfaithful to God, he respected God’s prophet Elisha (2 Kings 13:11,14). In three battles against Syria he regained much of Israel’s lost territory, and only lack of faith stopped him from regaining a lot more (2 Kings 13:15-19,25). He was chiefly remembered for a battle with Judah that he tried to avoid. In a stunning victory he plundered Jerusalem and taught the arrogant Judean king a timely lesson (2 Kings 13:12; 14:8-14).

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