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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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1. (Called also Jehoash.)

—Biblical Data:

Son of Ahaziah and Zibiah of Beer-sheba; eighth king of Judah (2 Kings 12:1,2). Joash was the only descendant of the house of David living at the time of Ahaziah's death that escaped slaughter at the hand of his grandmother See ATHALIAH. Only a year old when the royal family was exterminated, he with his nurse was concealed by his paternal aunt Jehosheba in "the bedchamber," where he remained six years (2 Kings 11:1-3; 2 Chronicles 22:10-12). When he was seven years old he was brought out from his hiding-place by JEHOIADA and placed on the throne of his ancestors. As Joash was the only living member of David's line his coronation is particularly narrated; 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 (2 Kings 11:4-19; 2 Chronicles 23:11-20). Jehoiada, desiring to secure the permanence of the throne of David, chose two wives for Joash, who begat sons and daughters (2 Chronicles 24:3). Under the guidance of Jehoiada the young king established the worship of Yhwh, though the "high places" continued to be used for worship (2 Kings 12:3-4).

The first public religious act of Joash was to order the repair of the Temple, which had been despoiled by Athaliah (2 Chronicles 24:7). To this end the king entrusted to the priests the duty of setting aside all the money resulting from the sale of dedicated things and the money offered by the people. But the twenty-third year of Joash's reign saw the Temple still unrepaired, so the king took away from the priests the charge of the money (2 Kings 12:5-8). In 2 Chronicles 24:5 it is stated that the king ordered the priests and Levites to travel through the cities of Judah and collect money, but that the Levites were slow in their mission. A chest was therefore placed by Jehoiada beside the altar (according to 2 Chronicles 24:8, without the gate and at the command of Joash), in which the princes and all the people placed contributions, and when enough had been collected the money was given to the artisans that restored the Temple (2 Kings 12:10-17; 2 Chronicles 24:8-14). After the death of Jehoiada, Joash proved weak enough to permit himself to be worshiped by the princes of Judah, and this turned the people from the worship of Yhwh. Joash showed his ingratitude toward Jehoiada by slaying the latter's son Zechariah for censuring his (the king's) acts (2 Chronicles 24:17-22).

An important event in Joash's life is differently stated in 2 Kings and cles; according to the former (12:18-19 [A. V. 17-18]) when Hazael, the Syrian king, marched against Jerusalem, Joash bribed him with the gold of the royal and sacred treasuries to turn back; in the latter (24:23-25) it is said that after the Syrian army had destroyed all the princes of Judah the soldiers "executed judgment against Joash," so that they "left him in great diseases." Joash was assassinated by his own servants at Beth-milo, after a reign of forty years, and his assassination is recorded as an act of revenge for the blood of the son of Jehoiada (2 Kings 12:1,21; 2 Chronicles 24:1,25). 2 Kings and cles differ also with regard to the burial of Joash: according to the former (12:22), Joash was buried with his fathers in the city of David, while in the latter (24:25) it is expressly said that he was buried in the city of David, but "not in the sepulchers of the kings."

E. G. H.
M. Sel.

—In Rabbinical Literature:

As the extermination of the male descendants of David was a divine retribution for the extermination of the priests by David (comp. 1 Samuel 22:17-21), 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. 1:66).

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. 10:8). 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).

Joash was one of the four men who pretended to be gods. He was persuaded thereto particularly by the princes, who said to him. "Wert thou not a god thou couldst not come out alive from the Holy of Holies" (Ex R. 8:3). 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 Chronicles 24:26); for God said: "Let the descendants of the two ungrateful families chastise the ungrateful Joash" (Yalk., Ex. 262).

S. S.
M. Sel.

2. (Called also Jehoash.)

King of Israel 798-782 B.C. He was the son and successor of Jehoahaz, and one of the greatest of the Israelitish kings. In three signal and successive victories he overcame the Syrians, and retook from them the towns which Hazael had captured from Israel. He was also involved in a war with Amaziah, King of Judah. In the battle at Beth-shemesh Jehoash defeated Amaziah, advanced to Jerusalem, broke down the wall of that city for a distance of 400 cubits, and carried away to Samaria the treasures of the Temple and of the palace (2 Kings 14:11-14). Although Jehoash, like his predecessors, worshiped the golden calves, he held the prophet Elisha in high honor, looking up to him as a father. When Elisha was about to die, Jehoash repaired to the bedside of the prophet, "wept over his face, and said, O my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof" (ib. 13:14). Jehoash died soon after his victory over Amaziah, and was buried in Samaria (ib. 14:16; comp. 2 Chronicles 25:17-24).


Father of Gideon (Judges 6:32; 2 Samuel 11:21). Joash belonged to the tribe of Manasseh andlived at Ophrah, where he was buried. He must have been a man of importance, because an altar of Baal was in his house, and he had more than ten servants (Judges 6:25,27); and he alone was able to check the fury of the people against his son (ib. 30-31). GIDEON.

M. Sel.


Son of Ahab. When the latter was about to set out to meet the Syrians in battle at Ramothgilead, he entrusted the prophet Micaiah, whose prophecy had been against him, to Amon, the governor of Samaria, and to Joash, the king's son, saying, "Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace" (1 Kings 22:26,27). It may be that Joash was an under-officer of Samaria; or, as Rawlinson suggests, the word translated "king's son" may refer to a state officer, such as is found in Jeremiah 36:26. There is no other mention of this Joash.

I. M. P.


A descendant of Shelah, the son of Judah; one of the men "who had the dominion in Moab" (1 Chronicles 4:22).


Son of Shemaah the Gibeathite; one of David's warriors (ib. 12:3).


(.) Son of Becher, the son of Benjamin (ib. 7:8).


Overseer of David's cellars of oil (ib. 27:28).

E. G. H.
M. Sel.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Joash'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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