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JEHOIADA (jē-hoi'a-da, Heb. yehôyādhā‘, Jehovah knows)

JEHOIADA jĭ hoi’ ə də (יְהוֹיָדָ֤ע; LXX ̓Ιωδαε, the Lord knows or has acknowledged; for a technical sense, see H. Huffmon, BASOR 181 [1966], 31ff.; RSV JOIADA, joi’ e de, Heb. יֹֽויָדָע, Neh 3:6). 1. Father of Benaiah, who was a commander of David’s bodyguard (2 Sam 23:20).

2. An Aaronite prince who joined David at Hebron (1 Chron 12:27).

3. A son of Benaiah (1 Chron 27:34).

4. Priest of the Lord in Jerusalem, who organized the coup that set Joash on the throne, and was for many years his trusted adviser (2 Kings 11; 12; 2 Chron 23; 24). He was already old when Athaliah massacred the royal family, but his wife Jehosheba, daughter of King Jehoram, must have been young; 2 Chronicles 23:11 implies that Jehoiada already had a family.

Some six years after Jehosheba had rescued her infant nephew Joash from the massacre, Jehoiada ventured all in appeal to popular loyalty to the House of David. First he secured the support of the mercenaries (Carians), who were assigned as Temple and palace guards (2 Kings 11:4-8). The Chronicler adds that he enlisted the chiefs of the towns where the Levites resided; this tallies with references to “the people of the land” in 2 Kings 11:14, 20. Rudolph thinks this an interpolation, arguing that such an assembly could not have been secret; however, the queens’ policy had evidently not restricted access to the Temple, and the crowd present when the guard was changed that Sabbath appeared orderly and peaceable. Upon the king’s coronation, their rejoicing drew the attention of Athaliah; but Jehoiada was ready, and her death ended all opposition. Jehoiada followed up the coronation with a covenant of religious restoration in which “the people” took part (vv. 16, 17; not the country folk as such, but the congregation, as representing all Judah).

Jehoiada continued to guide Joash, though age doubtless weakened his administrative ability (2 Chron 24:4-7). He was honored with a royal burial; but the nobility soon rebelled against his strict religious tradition (vv. 17f.).


W. Rudolph, Festschrift Bertholet (1950), 473-478; J. Gray, Kings (1964), 524.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(yehoyadha`, "Yahweh knows"; Iodae):

1. Jehoiada and the Revolt against Athaliah:

(a) The account in 2Ch 23:1-21 differs in many respects from that in 2Ki 11:4-20, but even the latter has its problems, and Stade (ZATW, 1885, 280 ff) pointed out two sources in it. This view is accepted by many. A reader is struck at once by the double reference to the death of Athaliah (2Ki 11:16,20), and the construction of the Hebrew for "making a covenant" is different in 2Ki 11:4 from that in 11:17. Stade holds that there is one narrative in 11:4-12,18b-20 and another in 11:13-18a.

In the first, Jehoiada makes an agreement with the captains of the foreign body-guard, and arranges that both the incoming and outgoing temple-guard shall be kept in the temple at the time when the guard should be changed on the Sabbath, and also that th e young prince, Jehoash, who had been kept in hiding, shall be proclaimed. The captains do this, and the prince is crowned and proclaimed (2Ki 11:4-12). Then officers are set up in the temple, and Jehoash is taken to the royal palace and enthroned. The revolt proves popular with the people of Jerusalem and those of the district, and Athaliah is slain in the palace.

But there are difficulties in this narrative, though the above gives the trend of events; 2Ki 11:5 refers to a third of the guard who "came in on the sabbath," and 11:7 to two companies who "go forth on the sabbath"; the Hebrew is, "they that enter the sabbath" and "they that go out of the sabbath." 2Ki 11:9 makes clear the connection between 11:5 and 7. But 11:6 introduces a difficulty: it seems to denote a division of those who "enter" into three divisions, i.e. the two in 11:6 and one in 11:5. If 11:6 be omitted, as is proposed by many, this difficulty vanishes. But there still remains the question of the change of guards. Commentators say that "they who enter the sabbath" are those who leave the temple and enter their quarters at the beginning of the Sabbath, presumably, while "those who go out" are those who leave their quarters to mount guard. This is not impossible as an explanation of the Hebrew. It is further believed that the guard at the temple on the Sabbath was double that on other days. The other explanation, held by older commentators is that on the Sabbath the guard was only half its usual size; this gives another meaning to the Hebrew phrases. On the other hand, it may be held that the revolt took place at the close of the Sabbath, and that the double-sized guard was kept by Jehoiada even after the usual-sized one had come to take their place. It should be added that Wellhausen proposed to read (tse`adhoth), "armlets" (compare Isa 3:19), for (`edhuth), "testimony," in 2Ki 11:12; and in 11:19 the words "and all the people of the land" are held to be an addition.

(b) The 2nd narrative (2Ki 11:13-18 a) begins suddenly. Presumably, its earlier part was identical with the earlier part of the 1st narrative, unless 2Ki 11:6 was a part originally of this 2nd account. Athaliah hears the noise of the people (11:13, where "the guard" is a gloss and so to be omitted), and comes to the temple, where she witnesses the revolt and cries, "Treason! treason!" Jehoiada orders her to be put forth (omit "between the ranks" in 11:15), so that she should not be slain in the temple, and she is murdered at one of the palace entrances (11:16, where the Revised Version (British and American), following Septuagint of 2Ch 23:15, translates the first sentence wrongly: it should be "So they laid hands on her"). Jehoiada then makes the king and the people enter into a solemn covenant to be Yahweh’s people, and the result is the destruction of the temple of Baal, and the death of Mattan, its priest (1Ki 11:17,18 a). This 2nd narrative gives a religious significance to the revolt, but it is incomplete. The other narrative presents a very natural course of events, for it was absolutely necessary for Jehoiada to secure the allegiance of the royal foreign body-guard.

(c) The account in 2Ch 23:1-21, though following that of 2Ki in the main, differs from it considerably. The guard is here composed of Levites; it does not mention the foreign body-guard, and relates how the revolt was planned with the Levites of the cities of Judah--a method which would have become known to Athaliah and for which she would have made preparations, no doubt. Ch makes it a wholly religious movement, while 2 Kings gives two points of view. The value of the Chronicler’s account depends largely on one’s estimate of the Books of Chronicles and one’s views as to the development of the Jewish priestly system. A. Van Hoonacker, Lesacerdoce levitique dans la loi et dans l’histoire des Hebreux, 93-100, defends the account in 2 Chronicles.

2. Jehoiada and the Restoration of the Temple:

The part which Jehoiada played in the restoration of the temple buildings is described in 2Ki 11:21-12:16 (Hebrew 12:1-17) parallel 2Ch 24:1-14. Here again the narratives of 2Ki and 2Ch differ to a large extent.

(a) According to 2 Kings,

(i) the priests are commanded by Jehoash to devote the dues or free-will offerings of the people to repairing the breaches in the temple. They fail to do so, and

(ii) Jehoiada is summoned by the king and rebuked. Then

(iii) a new regulation is put into force: the offerings, except the guilt offerings and sin offerings, are no longer to be given to the priests, but to be put into a chest provided in the temple for the purpose.

(iv) The money got in this way is devoted to repairing the temple, but

(v) none of it is used to provide temple vessels.

(b) Chronicles, on the other hand,

(i) relates that the priests and Levites are commanded to go through Judah to collect the necessary money. They "hastened it not." Then

(ii) Jehoiada is summoned to account for this disobedience, and

(iii) a chest is put outside the temple to receive the tax commanded by Moses.

(iv) This the people pay willingly, and the temple is repaired. There is such a surplus that

(v) there is money also to provide vessels for the temple.

It is at least questionable whether the additions in 2 Chronicles are trustworthy; the contradictions against 2 Kings are clear, and the latter gives the more likely narrative, although Van Hoonackcr (op. cit., 10114) defends the former.

According to 2Ch 24:15, Jehoiada lived to be 130 years old, and was buried among the kings--a unique distinction.

(3) The King James Version in Ne 3:6 = JOIADA (which see).

(4) There is a Jehoiada, the priest mentioned in Jer 29:26, in whose stead Zephaniah was declared priest by Shemaiah in a letter.

Giesebrecht takes him to be the same as the priest of Athaliah’s time (see (2) above), but Duhm says that nothing is known of him. In any case, Zephaniah could not have been the direct successor of the well-known Jehoiada, and so the reference can scarcely be to him if it is to have any meaning.