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Jehoash

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(Heb. Yehoish', יְהיֹאָשׁ, Jehovah-given; in most of the passages in 2 Kings only; more usually in the contracted form Yoash', יוֹאָשׁ, "Joash," Sept. Ι᾿ωάς, Josephus Ι᾿ώασος ), the name of two kings. (See JOASH).

1. The son of king Ahaziah by Libnah of Beersheba,' was born B.C. 884; made king at the age of-seven years, and reigned eighth over the separated kingdom of Judah forty years, B.C. 877-837. Jehoash, when an infant, was. secretly-saved by his aunt Jehoshebath, who was married to the high-priest Jehoiada, from the general massacre of the family by Athaliah, who had usurped the throne. (See JEHOIALA). Jehoram having himself killed all his own brethren, and all his sons, except Ahaziah, having been killed by the irruption of the Philistines and Arabians, and all Ahaziah's remoter relations having been slain by Jehu and now all his sons being put to death by Athaliah (2 Chronicles 21:4; 2 Chronicles 21:17; 2 Chronicles 22:1; 2 Chronicles 22:8-10), the house of David was reduced to the lowest ebb, and Jehoash appears to have been the only surviving descendant of Solomon. By the high-priest and his wife the child was privately brought up in the chambers connected with the Temple till he was in his eighth year, when Jehoiada deemed that the state of affairs required him to produce the youthful heir of the throne to the people, and claim for him the crown which his grandmother had so unrighteously usurped. Finding the influential persons whom he consulted favorable to the design, everything was secretly but admirably arranged for producing Jehoash, and investing him with the regalia, in such a manner that Athaliah could have no suspicion of the event till it actually occurred. On the day appointed, the sole surviving scion of David's illustrious house appeared in the place of the kings, by a particular pillar in the Temple court, and was crowned and anointed with the usual ceremonies. The high wrought enthusiasm of the spectators then found vent in clapping of hands and exulting shouts of "Long live the king!" The joyful uproar was heard even in the palace, and brought Athaliah to the Temple, from which, at a word from Jehoiada, she was led to her death. (See ATHALIAH).

Jehoash behaved well during his minority, and so long after as he remained under the influence of the high priest. Excepting that the high-places were still resorted to for incense and sacrifice, pure religion was restored, large contributions were made for the repair of the Temple, which was accordingly restored, and the country seems to have been free from foreign invasion and domestic disturbance. But when this venerable adviser died the king seems to have felt himself relieved from a yoke, and, to manifest his freedom, began to take the contrary course to that which he had followed while under pupilage. Gradually the persons who had possessed influence formerly, when the house of David was contaminated by its alliance with the house of Ahab, insinuated themselves into his councils, and ere long the worship of Jehovah and the observances of the law were neglected, and the land was defiled with idolatries and idolatrous usages. The prophets then uttered their warnings, but were not heard;' and the infatuated king had the atrocious ingratitude to put to death Zechariah, the son and successor of his benefactor Jehoiada. For these deeds Jehoash was made an example of the divine judgments. He saw his realm devastated by the Syrians under Hazael; his armies were cut in pieces by an enemy of inferior numbers; and he was even besieged in Jerusalem, and only preserved his capital and crown by giving up the treasures of the Temple. Besides this, a painful malady embittered all his latter days, and at length he became so odious that his own servants conspired against him, and slew him on his bed.' They are said to have done this to avenge the blood of Zechariah, who at his death had cried, "The Lord look upon it and require it';" and it is hence probable that public opinion ascribed all the calamities of his life and reign to that-infamous deed. (See ZECHARAI). Jehoash was buried in the city of David, but a place in the sepulchre of the kings was denied to his remains (2 Kings 11; 2 Kings 12; 2 Chronicles 24). He is one of the three kings (Ahaziah, Jehoash, Amaziah) omittted by Matthew in the genealogy of Christ (Matthew 1:8).

With regard to the different, accounts of the Syrian invasion given in 2 Kings and in 2 Chronicles, which have led some (as Thenius and many other commentators) to imagine two distinct Syrian invasions, and others to see a direct contradiction, or at least a strange incompleteness in the narratives, as Winer, the difficulty exists solely in the minds of the critics. (See SYRIA). The narrative given above, which is also that of Keil and Eo Bertheau (Exe. Handb. z. A. T.) as well as of Josephus (Ant. 9:8. 1) perfectly suits the two accounts, which are merely different abridgments of the one fuller account contained in the original chronicles of the kingdom. (See JUDAH, KINGDOM OF).

2. The son and successor of Jehoahaz, king of Israel; reigned thirteenth over the separate kingdom sixteen (nominal) years, B.C. 838-823, and for about one year contemporaneously with his namesake of Judah (2 Kings 14:1; comp. with 12:1, 13:10). When he succeeded to the crown the kingdom was in a deplorable state from the devastations of Hazael and Benhadad, kings of Syria, of whose power at this time we had also evidence in the preceding article. Jehoash, it is true, followed the example of his predecessors in the policy of keeping up the worship of the golden calves; but, apart from this, he bears a fair character, and had intervals, at least, of sincere piety and true devotion to the God of his fathers (comp. Josephus, Ant. 9, 8, 6). Indeed, custom and long habit had so established the views of political expediency on which the schismatical establishments at Dan and Bethel were founded, that at length the reprehension which regularly recurs in the record of each king's reign seems rather to apply to it as a mark of the continuance of a public crime than as indicative of the character or disposition of the reigning prince, which is to be sought in the more detailed accounts of his own conduct. These accounts are favorable with respect to Jehoash. He held the prophet. Elisha in high honor, looking up to him as a father. When he heard of his last illness he repaired to the bedside of the dying prophet, wept over his face, and addressed him as "the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof." The prophet promised him deliverance from the Syrian yoke in Aphelk, the scene of Ahab's great victory over a former Benhadad (1 Kings 20:26-30). He then bid him smite upon the ground, and the king smote thrice and then stayed. The prophet rebuked him for staying, and limited to three his victories over Syria.

These promises were accomplished after the prophet's death. God took compassion upon the extreme misery of Israel, and, in remembrance of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, interposed to save them from entire destruction. In three signal and successive victories Jehoash overcame the Syrians and retook from them the towns which Hazael had rent from Israel. These advantages rendered the kingdom of Israel more potent than that of Judah. Jehoash, however, sought no quarrel with that kingdom, but he nevertheless became involved in a war with Amaziah, king of Jadah. The grounds of this war are given fully in 2 Chronicles 25. (See AMAZIAH).

The hiring of 100,000 men of Israel for 100 talents of silver by Amaziah is the only instance on record of such a transaction and implies that at that time the kingdom of Israel was free from all fear of the Syrians. These mercenary soldiers, having been dismissed by Amaziah, at the instigation of a prophet, without being allowed to take part in the Edomitish expedition, returned in great wrath to their own country, and sacked and plundered the cities of Judah in revenge for the slight put upon them, and also to indemnify themselves for the loss of their share of the plunder. It was to avenge this injury that Amaziah, on his return from his triumph over the Edomites, declared war against Jehoash, in spite of the warning of the prophet; but Jehoash, when he received the defiance from Amaziah, answered with becoming spirit in a parable (q.v.), which by its images calls to mind that of Jotham; the cool disdain of the answer must have been, and in fact was, exceedingly galling to Amaziah: "The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife; and there came by a wild beast that was in Lebanon and trod down the thistle." This was admirable; nor was the application less so: "Thou has indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this and tarry at home; for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou and Judah with thee." In the war, or, rather, action which followed, Jehoash was victorious. Having defeated Amaziah at Beth-shemesh, in Judah, he advanced to Jerusalem, broke down the wall to the extent of 400 cubits and carried away the treasures both of the Temple and the palace, together with hostages for the future good behavior of the crestfallen Amaziah. Jehoash himself did not long survive this victory; he died in peace and was buried in Samaria (2 Kings 14:1-17). (See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Jehoash'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/j/jehoash.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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