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JEHOAHAZ (jē-hō'a-hăz, Heb. yehô’āhāz, Jehovah has grasped)

JEHOAHAZ jĭ hō’ ə hăz (יְהוֹאָחָ֨ז, 2 Kings 14:1, [not KJV]; LXX ̓Ιωαχας, the Lord has taken hold, cf. Ps 73:23 [Noth, Isr. Personennamen 62, 179]; equivalent to Ahaz[iah], e.g., for Ahaziah of Judah, 2 Chron 21:17; 22:1 before he was king [cf. 25:23 Heb]; and for Ahaz [Annals of Tiglath Pileser, Documents of OT Times 56f.]). JOAHAZ, jō’ e hăs, 2 Kings 14:1.

Jehoahaz ben Jehu,

who succeeded his father in 814/3 b.c. (the twenty-third year of Joash of Judah) and reigned for seventeen years (2 Kings 13:1-9). His son Joash (Jehoash) succeeded in the thirty-seventh year of Joash of Judah (13:10); Albright therefore emends “seventeen” to fifteen in 13:1, but Thiele explains “seventeen” by assuming the introduction of postdating (accession year reckoning) in the reign of Jehoahaz (see Joash), and by reckoning the regnal year from spring in Israel, but fall in Judah. His theory avoids emendations, but the motive for change is obscure. Assyrian influence (usually cited to explain the later prevalence of postdating) was in 798 b.c. only beginning to recover from setbacks; perhaps the shift was due to the Syr. domination of Israel. Pavlovsky and Vogt do not admit postdating before Pekah; they emend “thirty-seventh” to thirty-ninth, and date Jehoahaz from summer 813 to summer 797 b.c.

At this ebb tide of Israel’s prosperity, Syria controlled virtually the whole country, having penetrated down the coastal road, taken Gath, and extracted heavy tribute from Judah. Jehoahaz was only allowed to maintain ten chariots and fifty horsemen with 10,000 footmen; Ahab’s army at Qarqar, with the same infantry, had 2,000 chariots. Although Jehoahaz had no idea of abandoning the apostate cult of Bethel (“the sins of Jeroboam”) or removing the “Asherah” from Samaria (2 Kings 13:6, cf. 21:3), he did in desperation invoke the name of the Lord, and his prayer was answered in God’s compassion for His people (13:4f.). The oblique reference to “a savior” may suggest Adadnirari III, the Assyrian king who began in 805 b.c. to resume the pressure on Syria. Gray, however, suggests Elisha as the deliverer.


J. Montgomery, Kings, ICC (1951); W. Hallo, BA, 23 (1960), 42; J. Gray, Kings (1964); E. Thiele, Mysterious Numbers2 (1965).

Jehoahaz ben Josiah,

also known as Shallum, a son of Josiah king of Judah, chosen to succeed his father in the summer of 609 b.c., but deposed by Pharaoh Necho three months later (2 Kings 23:30-34; 2 Chron 36:1-4). For the date see Josiah.

Shallum was a shortened form of Shelemiah, cf. Shelomo (Solomon). Albright considers it a personal name, although not as in Solomon’s case, where as Jehoahaz was a throne name like Jehoiakim (JBL 51, p. 85 n. 25; cf. Jer 22:11), a very personal reference. Shallum was the fourth son of Josiah (1 Chron 3:15).

Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim were twenty-three and twenty-five respectively in 609 b.c. (2 Kings 23:31, 36). This means that Jehoiakim was born when his father (Josiah) was only fourteen; he could hardly have been much younger, as Jehoiakim’s son Jehoiachin was born in 616. However, Chronicles names first Johanan (who perhaps died young), and third Zedekiah, though he was ten when Jehoahaz became king (24:18). Albright doubts the genuineness of the figures, and concludes that Jehoahaz was senior and that Jehoiakim was not passed over. However, the text is consistent on this point, and the intervention of the “people of the land” seems to imply that Jehoahaz was not the natural successor.


W. F. Albright, JBL, LI (1932), 85, 92; R. Gordis, JQR, xxv (1935), 242ff.; S. E. Wurthwein, Der ’Am ha’aretz, BWANT (1936); J. Montgomery, Kings ICC, (1951); A. Alt, Kleine Schriften II (1953), 237; D. J. Wiseman, Chronology of the Chaldaean Kings (1956), 18ff.; E. Kutsch, ZATW, LXXI (1959), 270ff.; J. Gray, Kings (1964); J. Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (1964), s. 313; E. Thiele, Mysterious Numbers2 (1965), 163-165.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

je-ho’-a-haz, je-ho-a’-haz (yeho’achaz, "Yah has grasped"; Ioachas; 2Ki 13:1-9):

(1) Son of Jehu, and 11th king of Israel. He is stated to have reigned 17 years.

1. Chronology of Reign:

Josephus was already aware (Ant., IX, viii, 5) of the chronological difficulty involved in the cross-references in 2Ki 13:1 and 10, the former of which states that Jehoahaz began to reign in the 23rd year of Jehoash of Jerusalem, and reigned 17 years; while the latter gives him a successor in Jehoash’s 37th year, or 14 years later. Josephus alters the figure of 13:1 to 21; and, to meet the same difficulty, the Septuagint (Aldine edition) changes 37 to 39 in 13:10. The difficulty may be met by supposing that Jehoahaz was associated with his father Jehu for several years in the government of the country before the death of the latter, and that these years were counted as a part of his reign. This view has in its favor the fact that Jehu was an old man when he died, and may have been incapacitated for the full discharge of administrative duties before the end came. The accession of Jehoahaz as sole ruler may be dated about 825 BC.

2. Low Condition of the Kingdom:

When Jehoahaz came to the throne, he found a discouraged and humiliated people. The territory beyond Jordan, embracing 2 1/2 tribes, or one-fourth of the whole kingdom, had been lost in warfare with the Syrian king, Hazael (2Ki 10:32,33). A heavy annual subsidy was still payable to Assyria, as by his father Jehu. The neighboring kingdom of Judah was still unfriendly to any member of the house of Jehu. Elisha the prophet, though then in the zenith of his influence, does not seem to have done anything toward the stability of Jehu’s throne.

3. Israel and Syria:

Specially did Israel suffer during this reign from the continuance of the hostility of Damascus (2Ki 13:3,4,22). Hazael had been selected, together with Jehu, as the instrument by which the idolatry of Israel was to be punished (1Ki 19:16). Later the instruments of vengeance fell out. On Jehu’s death, the pressure from the east on Hazael was greatly relieved. The great conqueror, Shalmaneser II, had died, and his son Samsi-Ramman IV had to meet a revolt within the empire, and was busy with expeditions against Babylon and Media during the 12 years of his reign (824-812 BC). During these years, the kingdoms of the seaboard of the Mediterranean were unmolested. They coincide with the years of Jehoahaz, and explain the freedom which Hazael had to harass the dominions of that king.

4. The Elisha Episodes:

Particulars of the several campaigns in which the troops of Damascus harassed Israel are not given. The life of Elisha extended through the 3 reigns of Jehoram (12 years), Jehu (28 years) and Jehoahaz (12 or 13 years), into the reign of Joash (2Ki 13:1). It is therefore probable that in the memorabilia of his life in 2Ki 4-8, now one and now another king of Israel should figure, and that some of the episodes there recorded belong to the reign of Jehoahaz. There are evidences that strict chronological order is not observed in the narrative of Elisha, e.g. Gehazi appears in waiting on the king of Israel in 8:5, after the account of his leprosy in 5:27. The terrible siege of Samaria in 2Ki 7 is generally referred to the reign of Jehoram; but no atmosphere is so suitable to it as that of the reign of Jehoahaz, in one of the later years of whom it may have occurred. The statement in 13:7 that "the king of Syria destroyed them, and made them like the dust in threshing," and the statistics there given of the depleted army of Jehoahaz, would correspond with the state of things that siege implies. In this case the Ben-hadad of 2Ki 6:24 would be the son of Hazael (13:3).

5. His Idolatry:

Jehoahaz, like his father, maintained the calf-worship in Bethel and Dan, and revived also the cult of the Asherah, a form of Canaanitish idolatry introduced by Ahab (1Ki 16:33). It centered round a sacred tree or pole, and was probably connected with phallic worship (compare 1 K 15:13, where Maacah, mother of Asa, is said to have "made an abominable image for an Asherah" in Jerusalem).

6. Partial Reform:

The close of this dark reign, however, is brightened by a partial reform. In his distress, we are told, "Jehoahaz besought Yahweh, and Yahweh hearkened unto him" (2Ki 13:4). If the siege of Samaria in 2Ki 6 belongs to his reign, we might connect this with his wearing "sackcloth within upon his flesh" (6:30)--an act of humiliation only accidentally discovered by the rending of his garments. 2Ki 6:5 goes on to say that "Yahweh gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians." The "saviour" may refer to Joash, under whom the deliverance began (13:25), or to Jeroboam II, of whom it is declared that by him God "saved" Israel (14:27). Others take it to refer to Ramman-nirari III, king of Assyria, whose conquest of Damascus made possible the victories of these kings.

See Jehoash.

W. Shaw Caldecott

Josiah’s ill-advised meddling with the designs of Pharaoh-necoh (see under JOSIAH) had had, in fact, the ill effect of plunging Judah again into the vortex of oriental politics, from which it had long been comparatively free. The Egyptian king immediately concluded that so presumptuous a state must not be left in his rear unpunished. Arrived at Riblah on his Mesopotamian expedition, he put Jehoahaz in bonds, and later carried him prisoner to Egypt, where he died; raised his brother Jehoiakim to the throne as a vassal king; and imposed on the realm a fine of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. So the fortunes of the Judean state, so soon after Josiah’s good reign, began their melancholy change for the worse.

John Franklin Genung

(3) In 2Ch 21:17; 25:23 = AHAZIAH, king of Judah (which see) (2Ki 8:25 ff; 2Ch 22:1 ).