2 Chronicles 23&24: Athaliah & Joash

A look at the boy who became king of Judah at the age of 7! Plus discussion on the parallels between Athaliah's murders and end of days prophecies.

Introduction

Joash was one of the youngest kings to be crowned in Israel. The youngest son of Ahaziah, Joash was in danger of being killed by Queen Athaliah when she purged the kingdom of Ahaziah's line to usurp power. Fortunately, Joash was saved by his aunt and able to reclaim the throne. Although Joash reigned for 40 years, like Solomon and David, he stilled died at the young age of 47.
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The Purge

There have been 2 obvious attempts by Satan to stop the Messiah from being born. In Genesis 3:15, God tells Satan that the seed of Eve (a reference the New Testament confirms to be about Jesus), would defeat him. As with most movies we've seen, the villain always wants to eliminate the hero before he has a chance to become the hero. Satan's first attempt to foil God's plan came when the Israelites were in Egypt. If they were forced to be slaves forever, they could never cultivate their relationship with God or set forth the laws of God as example for the world to see. Satan didn't want them delivered from Israel, so he inspired Pharaoh to have all the male children killed. Because God's plan always comes to fruition, Moses was spared and came back to save Israel. This paved the way for the nation that would eventually bring the Messiah into the world. Flash forward to Jesus' birth, and Satan inspires Herod to kill the male children to eradicate the real Messiah. Once again, God protects His chosen heir and protects Jesus. Ironically, it is to Egypt that Mary and Joseph flee with the baby. The attempted purge of the Davidic line by Athaliah, was no doubt an inspiration from Satan and another of his attempt to prevent the Messiah from arriving.
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Foreshadowing

What is most interesting about this is the foreshadowing of end times events and the parallel conflict between God and Satan. In the northern kingdom of Israel, they kings were from Omri's dynasty, and God had placed a curse of them due to Ahab's immense idolatry. God had vowed to eliminate Ahab's line from the throne. Meanwhile, in the southern kingdom, the kings were from David's dynasty, and God had promised that they would have dominion forever (a promise fulfilled through the Messiah). While Jehu was cleansing the north of Ahab's descendants per God's order, Athaliah was trying to rid the south of David's descendants per the devil's order. However, there was overlap! Ahaziah was a descendant of both Ahab and David, thus the same was true of his sons and their sons.

In Revelation, there are two women featured; one represents the true church of God and the other represents the false church. Here, David's line represented the true church of God, the rightful heirs to the throne, while Ahab's line represented the false church. Most of David's descendants attempted to follow God, though many made mistakes and ultimately succumbed to idolatry. The kings of the north made no attempt to follow God at all. However, unlike the explicitly pagan nations surrounding them, God hadn't declared a separation between these two. There was nothing the forbade Jehoram from marrying Ahab's daughter the way Solomon had been forbidden to marry his pagan wives. This ushered in a new lineage in the southern kingdom that was actually the product of both lines. This foreshadows the daughters of the whore of Babylon. In Revelation 17, we are told that the false church is the mother of harlots, which means it produces more like itself. Similarly, Ahaziah followed the ways of Ahab (the false church). Today, we see a mixture of paganism and Biblical teachings and the two have become so intertwined that we cannot differentiate between them. Just as the true line of David has to be restored, the true church of God has to be called out from Babylon (Revelation 18:4).

Satan adds to the confusion by mimicking God's actions. We know which is which because we are reading about the events and hindsight is 20/20, but during the end times, we won't have the benefit of hindsight. We will need to be able to recognize the true church from the false church and differentiate God punishing the false church from Satan persecuting the true church.
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Joash Spared

DISCLAIMER: No one knows what anyone from the Bible
looks like, this image is just a reminder of Joash's youth.
Photocredit: Unsplash.com/Joseph Gonzalez
Ahaziah's sister, Jehoshabeath, smuggles the infant Joash from out of Athaliah's clutches. She takes the baby to her husband Jehoida, who was a priest, for safe keeping. Joash spends 6 years hiding out under the protection of the priests in the Temple. (Can you still see the parallels to revelation?) During the seventh year, Jehoida calls together an army to protect him so that he can ascend the throne. It was likely a hard task to keep the boy confined to the Temple. Further, Athaliah was damaging Israel's relationship with God, so it behooved them to put a man of God back on the throne as soon as possible.

Jehoida's army was strategically placed around the Temple with weapons to guard the young king. Once they were in place, Joash is anointed king. This act causes great jubilation and rejoicing which attracts the attention of Athaliah. When the queen comes to investigate the noisy celebration, she is killed by the army set to protect the young king.
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Joash's Reign

Joash starts off a great king; he follows God and honors the law. One of his first orders of business it to make repairs to the Temple, which has become run down. Between aging over time and the carting off of its riches, it stands to reason that at this point in time, the Temple may have been a bit shabby. Having grown up in God's home, Joash would have been quite aware of these damages and probably had a stronger desire than any one else to restore the Temple.

However, like many of Judah's kings, during the end of Joash's reign, he succumbs to the devil's temptations. A son of Jehoida the priest named Zechariah speaks out against the idolatry that has crept back into Judah. Zechariah prophesies destruction if they continue down that path. This enrages Joash to the point that he has Zechariah stoned! In doing so, Joash is not only rejecting the message of God, he is allowing and even sanctioning sinful behavior in his people. Further, Jehoida would have likely been the only father figure Joash had ever had and it was because of him that Joash was even able to reclaim the throne. How cruel is it that Joash has Jehoida's son, who may have been like a brother to him, stoned? Naturally God punishes this change of heart. Joash's fall is so great that when he dies, he is not buried with the other kings of Judah.
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Zechariah

The first question I had after reading these chapters, was if Zechariah the son of Jehoida was the same Zechariah in the Book of Zechariah. Apparently this is quite the hot topic.

In Matthew 23:31-35, Jesus says that Zechariah was the son of Berechiah and that he died between the Temple and the altar. The Zechariah of 2 Chronicles 24 was stone in the courtyard of the Temple and is the son of Jehoida. Does this mean there's a contradiction? Or are these passages referencing different Zechariahs? Or, are these passages saying the same thing in different ways? There are enough similarities to suggest that the court of the Temple was located between the Temple of the altar and since "son of" could refer to distant ancestors, both Berechiah and Jehoida could be the "fathers" of Zechariah. However, if we read Zechariah 1:1, we see that the Zechariah Jesus is referencing ruled during the reign of Darius I of Persia, some 300 years after the Zechariah of 2 Chronicles 24 lived. Thus, these are not the same men.[2]
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References

  1. Revelation 17
  2. Tim Chaffey. "Was Jesus Wrong About Zechariah’s Father?". Answers in Genesis. February 2012

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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