Jehoiada, in the Bible, was an important priest in the kingdom of Judah during the reigns of Ahaziah (c. 842 – 841 BCE), Athaliah (c. 841–835 BCE), and Joash (c. 836–796 BC). His name means “Yahweh knows.”
Jehoiada the priest married Jehosheba, the sister of King Ahaziah of Judah. Both Jehosheba and Ahaziah were children of King Jehoram of Judah (reigned c. 849 – 842 BCE). Ahaziah died a year after assuming the throne.
The crowing of Joash
When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she killed all the royal heirs. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram (Joram) and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being murdered. And she hid him and his nurse in the bedroom, from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. Thus, he was hidden in the house of the Lord for six years, while Athaliah reigned over the land (2 Kings 11:1-3).
When the young king grew to be six years old, Jehoiada the priest called the captains of the hundreds and Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the chief fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. Then, he revealed to them the identity of the rightful king to the throne of King David and he made a covenant with them to back up the king (2 Chronicles 23:1-7; 2 Kings 11:4-8). Then, Jehoiada crowned the king and gave him the Testimony of the law and the people clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!” (2 Chronicles 23:11; 2 Kings 11:12).
The death of wicked Athaliah
When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people in the temple of the Lord where the king was standing at the entrance; and the leaders and the trumpeters were by the king. And she tore her clothes and said, “Treason! Treason!” Then, Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds who were set over the army, and said to them, “Take her outside under guard, and slay with the sword whoever follows her.” So, they seized her and killed her (2 Chronicles 23: 12-15; 2 Kings 11: 13-21).
Destruction of Idolatry
And Jehoiada made a covenant between the king and the people that they would abolish Baal worship. So, the people destroyed the temple of Baal and killed its chief priest (2 Chronicles 23:17; 2 Kings 11:18). Joash, just 7 years old, ruled Judah for 40 years. And he “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him” (2 Kings 12:1–3).
But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. This situation continued during the reigns of Asa (1 Kings 15:14), Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43), Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Amaziah (2 Kings 14:4), Azariah (2 Kings 15:4), Jotham (2 kings 15:35), and Ahaz (2 kings 16:4). It was not till the rule of Hezekiah that the high places were finally destroyed (2 kings 18:4).
The death of Jehoiada
Jehoiada lived 130 years and was buried in Jerusalem with the kings for his great work for God (2 Chronicles 24:15). This great honor was due to his religious devotion, to his services to the nation in overthrowing Athaliah and the placing of Joash upon the throne, and to the fact that he must have been king for some 10 or 12 years, till Joash became old enough to reign.
Regrettably, after Jehoiada died, King Joash took the advise of the adulterous leaders of Judah and they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols so the wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass (2 Chronicles 24:17–19). Also, King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada had shown him by saving his life but killed his son Zechariah for speaking the truth and rebuking sin (2 Chronicles 24:22).
In His service,
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