JEHOASH, JOASH (jē-hō'ăsh, Heb. yehô’āsh; jō'ăsh, Heb. yô’āsh). A word of uncertain meaning, perhaps Jehovah supports or whom Jehovah gave.

1. A son of Beker and grandson of Benjamin, probably born soon after the descent into Egypt (1Chr.7.8).

2. An early descendant of Judah through Shelah, who with his brother Saraph ruled in Moab (1Chr.4.22).

3. A descendant of Abiezer son of Manasseh (Josh.17.2; Judg.6.11). Evidently his family had become insignificant, for Gideon his son said, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judg.6.15); but in spite of that Gideon could call on ten of his servants for help (Judg.6.27). This Joash, though “Jehovah” was a part of his name, had succumbed to the polytheism around him and had built an altar to Baal; but when the men of his city demanded the death of Gideon for destroying the altar, Joash, truer to his family than to his god, stood by his son and said, “Jerubbaal,” i.e., “Let Baal plead!” This exclamation became a nickname for Gideon, whom many called “Jerubbaal” thereafter (Judg.6.30-Judg.6.32). Gideon was later buried in Joash’s sepulcher (Judg.8.32).

4. The keeper of David’s cellars of oil (1Chr.27.28).

5. One of the relatives of King Saul who fell away to David while he was in voluntary exile at Ziklag and became one of the commanders of his forces (1Chr.12.3).

6. A son of King Ahab who was ordered to imprison Micaiah the prophet and to feed him “nothing but bread and water” till Ahab would return to deal with him—but Ahab never returned, and Joash presumably freed Micaiah (1Kgs.22.26; 2Chr.18.25-2Chr.18.26).

8. The king of Israel from 848 to 832 b.c. (2Kgs.13.10-2Kgs.13.13; 2Kgs.14.8-2Kgs.14.16; 2Chr.25.17-2Chr.25.24). He was son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, and was father of [[Jeroboam II]]. These four comprised the dynasty of Jehu (2Kgs.10.30-2Kgs.10.31). Jehoash, like the other kings of the north, was an idolater.

Joash ben Ahaziah,

king of Judah following Athaliah’s six-year usurpation of the throne. As an infant he was saved from the massacre of the royal family, which Athaliah perpetrated on the death of her son Ahaziah. He owed his life to the courage and devotion of his aunt Jehosheba, the wife of the priest Jehoiada, who conveyed him away, concealed him and brought him up in their own home (2 Kings 11:1-3).


In 837 b.c., when Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada took him to the Temple court (prob. by the pillar Jachin—R. Scott, JBL LVIII [1939], pp. 43ff.), and crowned him before a congregation of Levites, Temple guards, and elders and people from the country towns. As he was acclaimed king, his grandmother appeared in the court and was swiftly removed to her death. With due ceremony Jehoiada inaugurated a fresh covenant of kingship, acknowledging the Lord’s dominion; and the temple of Baal was destroyed by the crowd.

The definition of the “people of the land” as a political force is not so clear in this context as in the closing years of the monarchy (see [[Jehoahaz]]). Montgomery’s assessment (ICC, p. 417) that they were “tempering for the remainder of the history of Judah the power of the monarchy” may be an overstatement, for whereas the people elevated Uzziah to the kingship (in his father’s lifetime, if Thiele is right), they seem to have had relatively little to do with making policy in the ensuing hundred years. Neither is it clear how “the people” could have maintained control from the accession of their chosen king until his majority. The “conservative circles of country nobility” postulated by von Rad appear largely hypothetical, and it is doubtful whether they can be equated with the “princes of Judah” who seem to have gravitated to Jerusalem.

The concept of “the people,” however, comes to the fore at the coronation of Joash, and von Rad is undoubtedly right in drawing attention to the related phrases “people of the land” and “people of the Lord.” They were a free people who had almost been enslaved, and a covenant people who had neglected the covenant; for conservatism had not kept them from petty idolatry. This situation sufficiently explains the twin covenants made by Jehoiada, to the first of which (the one related in Chronicles) the king and the people stood as one party (2 Chron 23:16; cf. Gen 17:7). In the second covenant, there was a return to the traditional concept of the kingship; it is probable that the testimony (perhaps an inscribed stone or tablet, JBL LVII [1938], p. 181) was related to this. So Joash was enthroned, with Jehoiada as his tutor and regent (see [[Jehoiada]]).

Reign and death.

According to Chronicles, Joash was not buried in the existing royal tombs; the phrase in Kings “with his fathers” is capable of a wider meaning than “in their tombs”; and Chronicles agrees on his burial in the city, as befitted a king (see S. Yeivin, JNES, VII [1948], pp. 32, 36).

Temple repairs.

The Syrian expedition (2 Kings 12:17f.) appears to have taken place some fifteen years before the death of Joash, at the beginning of the Syrian domination of the coastal plain; their interest at that time was in the trade route to Egypt. This was prob. before the rebuilding of the Temple, which was the main achievement of Joash, and which began in the twenty-third year of his reign.

After years of neglect, and of spoliation by the Baalists, the Temple—well past its century when Joash came to the throne—was in need of structural repairs. It was first arranged that these should be financed, as particular defects were observed, from the taxes that the priests were to collect and from the general fund of freewill offerings; but by 813 b.c. it was evident that nothing effective had been done, and it may be inferred from 2 Kings 12:13 that any available money had been spent on furniture and utensils. The makkarim of the priests (only mentioned in this passage) may have been minor officials, as Gray suggests (p. 531); ERV tr. “acquaintance”; similarly BDB, citing “recognize,” but with caution; Montgomery, ICC, pp. 429, 432, prefers to derive the word “trade.” Keil points out that the priests need not be charged with embezzlement, since no specific obligation was laid down; the fault lay in the system in the first place, though it might be regretted that the Temple fabric was always left as the last call on the priests’ income, so that in practice nothing was ever begun. Perhaps it seemed too big a problem for ad hoc treatment, and so was always put off. For the tax, Myers cites Exodus 30:12-16; 38:25-28; this relates to a census, but the Chronicler’s phrase “tax levied by Moses”

The king imposed a reform by which the priests were relieved of responsibility for maintenance, and in return gave up their right to collect and dispose of the taxes, retaining only the dues or contributions directly relating to the service of the sanctuary. A special fund was launched, controlled jointly by the king and high priest, and the people responded with enthusiasm; indeed, when work on the building had been completed, there was a surplus available for equipment.

Joash ben Jehoahaz,

For the situation at the beginning of the reign, see [[Jehoahaz]]. Adadnirari III of Assyria (810-782) had already forced the Syrians to submit and pay heavy tribute (ANET, 281f.). Hazael died, and his son Ben-hadad III was not in the same class as a military leader. Joash inflicted three defeats on him which marked the beginning of Israel’s political revival. The story is preserved of how this was prophesied by Elisha as he lay dying (2 Kings 13:14-25). Joash obviously had a great regard for Elisha, although he retained allegiance to the cult of Bethel; he showed more concern at losing Elisha than faith in Elisha’s God. Consequently, his response to the prophet’s demand for symbolic action was halfhearted. With Elisha’s hands on his, in token of the power of God in a human instrument, he shot an arrow; and Elisha assured him of victory. Then the prophet told him to take arrows and pitch them into the ground. Joash was not entering into the spirit of the thing; he pitched three and waited. Very disappointed, Elisha foresaw that the answer to prayer would be limited by the king’s uncertainty, which betrayed his lack of earnestness and faith. The passage illustrates James 1:7f.

It is interesting that at least one battle was fought in Aphek, almost certainly in the valley running eastward from Lake Chinnereth toward Bashan (the other sites of this name, SE of Samaria and N of Carmel, are unlikely). This shows that Syria was still very much concerned with the Trans-Jordan trade route, and that Israel had not abandoned the Gilead-Bashan area either. Defeat of the Syrians relieved pressure on Galilee.

In 2 Kings 14:8-14 is recorded the defeat of Amaziah by Joash at Beth-Shemesh, which may well have occasioned the start of Uzziah’s co-regency (791/0 b.c.). Some background to this affair is given in 2 Chronicles 25; Amaziah had hired men from Israel to join him against Edom, and had sent them home before the campaign, at the behest of a prophet. They got their pay, but no booty; and they vented their resentment on the border towns. It may have been for this reason that Amaziah, confident in the flush of victory, challenged Joash to defend his border at the western end; but the Israelites won the battle and sacked Jerusalem. Joash took hostages; it is not clear whether these were in addition to, or in exchange for, Amaziah himself. Keil’s interpretation is prob. right, that he was more concerned with political security than with plunder; hence, also his destruction of a length of wall not adjoining the Temple, so that the breach was not defensible from the flank. These events may be dated to 791 or perhaps a little earlier; but it is not at all certain that Joash made his son co-regent as a precaution against his own death in the battle, as Schedl suggests; the regency began not later than 793/2 b.c., and it does not appear that the campaign was planned far ahead. The immediate reason for making Jeroboam co-regent so early in the reign is thus obscure, though the general aim of securing the dynasty is not in doubt.


C. Keil, Kings (n.d.); J. Montgomery, Kings (ICC), (1951); E. Thiele, Vet Test 4 (1954), 193, 194; J. Pritchard, ANET2 (1955), 281f.; D. W. Thomas (ed.), Documents of OT Times (1958), 50; W. Hallo, BA, XXII (1960), 42; B. Mazar, BA, XXV (1962), 114; C. Schedl, Vet Test, XII (1962), 97; H. Tadmor, IEJ, XII (1962), 114ff.; J. Gray, Kings (1964); V. Pavlovsky, E. Vogt, Biblica, XLV (1964), 326ff.; E. Thiele, Mysterious Numbers2 (1965), 72-86; Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible (1966), 315-324.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

je-ho’-ash, the uncontracted form of (yeho’ash, yo’ash, "Yahweh has bestowed"; compare 2Ki 11:2,21; 12:1,19; 2Ch 24:1, etc.; Ioas):

(1) The 9th king of Judah; son of Ahaziah and Zibiah, a woman of Beersheba (2Ki 11-12; 2Ch 22:10-24:27). Jehoash was 7 years old at his accession, and reigned 40 years. His accession may be placed in 852 BC. Some include in the years of his reign the 6 years of Athaliah’s usurpation.

I. Ninth King of Judah

1. His Early Preservation:

When, on Athaliah’s usurpation of the throne, she massacred the royal princes, Jehoash was saved from her unnatural fury by the action of his aunt Jehosheba, the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest (2Ki 11:1,2; 2Ch 22:10,11). During 6 years he was concealed in the house of Jehoiada, which adjoined the temple; hence, is said to have been "hid in the house of Yahweh"--a perfectly legitimate use of the phrase according to the idiom of the time.

2. The Counter-Revolution:

During these formative years of Jehoash’s early life, he was under the moral and spiritual influence of Jehoiada--a man of lofty character and devout spirit. At the end of 6 years, a counter-revolution was planned by Jehoiada, and was successfully carried out on a Sabbath, at one of the great festivals. The accounts of this revolution in Kings and Chronicles supplement each other, but though the Levitical interest of the Chronicler is apparent in the details to which he gives prominence, the narratives do not necessarily collide, as has often been represented. The event was prepared for by the young king being privately exhibited to the 5 captains of the "executioners" (the [[Revised Version]] (British and American) "Carites") and "runners" (2Ki 11:4; 2Ch 23:1). These entered into covenant with Jehoiada, and, by his direction, summoned the Levites from Judah (2Ch 23:2), and made the necessary arrangements for guarding the palace and the person of the king. In these dispositions both the royal body-guard and the Levites seem to have had their parts. Jehoash next appears standing on a platform in front of the temple, the law of the testimony in his hand and the crown upon his head. Amid acclamations, he is anointed king. Athaliah, rushing on the scene with cries of "treason" (see [[Athaliah]]), is driven forth and slain. A new covenant is made between Yahweh and the king and people, and, at the conclusion of the ceremony, a great procession is formed, and the king is conducted with honor to the royal house (2Ki 11:19; 2Ch 23:20). Thus auspiciously did the new reign begin.

3. Repair of the Temple:

4. A New Expedient:

Time passed, and in the 23rd year of the king’s reign (his 30th year), it was found that the breaches of the house had still not been repaired. A new plan was adopted. It was arranged that a chest with a hole bored in its lid should be set up on the right side of the altar in the temple-court, under the care of two persons, one the king’s scribe, the other an officer of the high priest, and that the people should be invited to bring voluntarily their half-shekel tax or other offerings, and put it in this box (2Ki 12:9; 2Ch 24:8,9). Gifts from worshippers who did not visit the altar were received by priests at the gate, and brought to the box. The expedient proved brilliantly successful. The people cheerfully responded, large sums were contributed, the money was honestly expended, and the temple was thoroughly renovated. There remained even a surplus, with which gold and silver vessels were made, or replaced, for the use of the temple. Jehoiada’s long and useful life seems to have closed soon after.

5. The King’s Declension:

With the death of this good man, it soon became evident that the strongest pillar of the state was removed. It is recorded that "Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (2Ki 12:2), but after Jehoiada had been honorably interred in the sepulchers of the kings (2Ch 24:16), a sad declension became manifest. The princes of Judah came to Jehoash and expressed their wish for greater freedom in worship than had been permitted them by the aged priest. With weak complaisance, the king "hearkened unto them" (2Ch 24:17). Soon idols and Asherahs began to be set up in Jerusalem and the other cities of Judah. Unnamed prophets raised their protests in vain. The high priest Zechariah, a worthy son of Jehoiada, testified in his place that as the nation had forsaken Yahweh, he also would forsake it, and that disaster would follow (2Ch 24:20). Wrathful at the rebuke, the king gave orders that Zechariah should be stoned with stones in the temple-court (2Ch 24:21). This was done, and the act of sacrilege, murder, and ingratitude was perpetrated to which Jesus seems to refer in Mt 23:35; Lu 11:51 ("son of Barachiah" in the former passage is probably an early copyist’s gloss through confusion with the prophet Zechariah).

6. Calamities and Assassination:

The high priest’s dying words, "Yahweh look upon it, and require it," soon found an answer. Within a year of Zechariah’s death, the armies of Hazael, the Syrian king, were ravaging and laying waste Judah. The city of Gath fell, and a battle, the place of which is not given, placed Jerusalem at the mercy of the foe (2Ki 12:17; 2Ch 24:23,24). To save the capital from the indignity of foreign occupation, Jehoash, then in dire sickness, collected all the hallowed things of the temple, and all the gold of the palace, and sent them to Hazael (2Ki 12:17,18). This failure of his policy, in both church and state, excited such popular feeling against Jehoash, that a conspiracy was formed to assassinate him. His physical sufferings won for him no sympathy, and two of his own officers slew him, while asleep, in the fortress of Millo, where he was paying a visit (2Ki 12:20). He was buried in the city of David, but not in the royal sepulchers, as Jehoiada had been (2Ch 24:25).

Jehoash is mentioned as the father of Amaziah (2Ki 14:1; 2Ch 25:25). His contemporaries in Israel were Jehoahaz (2Ki 13:1) and Jehoash (2Ki 13:10).

(2) The son of Jehoahaz, and 12th king of Israel (2Ki 13:10-25; 14:8-16; 2Ch 25:17-24).

II. Twelveth King of Israel

1. Accession and Reign:

Jehoash reigned for 16 years. His accession may be placed in 813 BC. There were almost simultaneous changes in the sovereignties of Judah and of Assyria--Amazih succeeding to the throne of Judah in the 2nd year of Jehoash, and Ramman-nirari III coming to the throne of Assyria in 811 BC--which had important effects on the history of Israel in this reign.

2. Elisha and Jehoash:

During the three previous reigns, for half a century, Elisha had been the prophet of Yahweh to Israel. He was now aged and on his deathbed. Hearing of his illness, the young king came to Dothan, where the prophet was, and had a touching interview with him. His affectionate exclamation, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof" (2Ki 13:14; compare 2:12), casts a pleasing light upon his character. On his lips the words had another meaning than they bore when used by Elish himself at Elijah’s translation. Then they referred to the "appearance" which parted Elisha from his master; now they referred to the great service rendered by the prophet to the kingdom. Not only had Elisha repeatedly saved the armies of Israel from the ambushes prepared for them by the Syrians (2Ki 6:8-23), but he had given assurance of the relief of the capital when it was at its worst extremity (2Ki 6:24 ). To Jehoash, Elisha’s presence was indeed in place of chariots and horse. The truth was anew demonstrated by the promise which the dying prophet now made to him. Directing Jehoash in the symbolical action of the shooting of certain arrows, he predicted three victories over the Syrians--the first at Aphek, now Fik, on the East of the Lake of Galilee--and more would have been granted, had the faith of the king risen to the opportunity then afforded him (2Ki 6:15-19).

3. Assyria and Damascus:

An interesting light is thrown by the annals of Assyria on the circumstances which may have made these victories of Jehoash possible. Ramman-nirari III, who succeeded to the throne in 811 BC, made an expedition against Damascus, Edom and Philistia, in his account of which he says: "I shut up the king (of Syria) in his chief city, Damascus. .... He clasped my feet, and gave himself up. .... His countless wealth and goods I seized in Damascus." With the Syrian power thus broken during the remainder of this ruler’s reign of 27 years, it may be understood how Jehoash should be able to recover, as it is stated he did, the cities which Ben-hadad had taken from his father Jehoahaz (2Ki 13:25). Schrader and others see in this Assyrian ruler the "saviour" of Israel alluded to in 2Ki 13:5; more usually the reference is taken to be to Jehoash himself, and to [[Jeroboam II]] (compare 2Ki 14:27).

4. War With Judah:

The epitome of Jehoash’s reign is very brief, but the favorable impression formed of him from the acts of Elisha is strengthened by another gained from the history of Amaziah of Judah (2Ki 14:8-16; 2Ch 25:17-24). For the purpose of a southern campaign Amaziah had hired a large contingent of troops from Samaria. Being sent back unemployed, these mercenaries committed ravages on their way home, for which, apparently, no redress was given. On the first challenge of the king of Judah, Jehoash magnanimously refused the call to arms, but on Amaziah persisting, the peace established nearly 80 years before by Jehoshaphat (1Ki 22:44) was broken at the battle of Beth-shemesh, in which Amaziah was defeated and captured. Jerusalem opened its gates to the victor, and was despoiled of all its treasure, both of palace and temple. A portion of the wall was broken down, and hostages for future behavior were taken to Samaria (2Ki 14:13,14).

5. Character:

Jehoash did not long survive his crowning victory, but left a resuscitated state, and laid the foundation for a subsequent rule which raised Israel to the zenith of its power. Josephus gives Jehoash a high character for godliness, but, like each of his predecessors, he followed in the footsteps of [[Jeroboam I]] in permitting, if not encouraging, the worship of the golden calves. Hence, his conduct is pronounced "evil" by the historian (2Ki 13:11). He was succeeded by his son Jeroboam II.

W. Shaw Caldecott

(yo’ash, "Yahweh is strong" or "Yahweh has bestowed"; Ioas):

(2) Called "the king’s son" (1Ki 22:26; 2Ch 18:25; compare Jer 36:26; 38:6), or, less probably, "the son of Hammelech," the [[Revised Version]] margin; perhaps a son of Ahab. Micaiah the prophet was handed over to his custody and that of Amon by Ahab.

(3) A Judahite, descendant of Shelah (1Ch 4:22).

(4) A Benjamite recruit of David at Ziklag. Commentators read here, "Joash the son of Shemaiah (or Jehoshamai), the Gibeathite" (1Ch 12:3).

(5) In 2Ki 11:2, etc. = Jehoash, king of Judah.

(6) In 2Ki 13:9, etc. = Jehoash, king of Northern Israel.

(yo`ash, "Yahweh has aided"):

(1) A Benjamite, or, more probably, a Zebulunite (1Ch 7:8).

(2) One of David’s officers; Joash was "over the cellars of oil" (1Ch 27:28).

See also

  • [[Jehoash]]