Bible Commentary: 2 Chronicles 23 and Related

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2 Chronicles 23 and Related

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Joash Becomes King of Judah

In the seventh year of the reign of evil Queen Athaliah, Jehoida the priest, with the support and protection of the “captains of hundreds” of the army and the Levites and the “chief fathers of Israel,” anointed Joash to be the new king of Judah. This was done on the Sabbath (2 Chronicles 23:4 2 Chronicles 23:4This is the thing that you shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors;
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, 8). Joash was seven years old when he was appointed and proclaimed to be the new king (2 Kings 11:21 2 Kings 11:21Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign.
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, 12). Jehoida had Queen Athaliah killed by the captains of the army (2 Chronicles 23:14-15 2 Chronicles 23:14-15 [14] Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said to them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoever follows her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD. [15] So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king’s house, they slew her there.
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). He then “made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people, and also between the king and the people” (2 Kings 11:17 2 Kings 11:17And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD’s people; between the king also and the people.
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; 2 Chronicles 23:16 2 Chronicles 23:16And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’s people.
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adds that the priest was also a party to this covenant.)

Note that two agreements (covenants) were made: one between the Lord, the king and the people, rededicating themselves to God; and a second between only the king and the people. This second covenant was apparently a rededication to constitutional monarchy, in which the king is not above the law. Jehoiada was engaged in reestablishing right government in Judah after the disastrous reigns of Ahaziah and Athaliah. A feature of that reestablishment was settling Judah’s government upon its original ground—that of a limited monarchy established under Samuel’s superintendence when he “explained to the people the regulations of the kingship” (1 Samuel 10:25 1 Samuel 10:25Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.
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, NIV).

Also interesting in this reading is that when Joash was crowned he “stood by his pillar” (2 Chronicles 23:13 2 Chronicles 23:13And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of music, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.
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)—2 Kings 11:14 2 Kings 11:14And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
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reads “a pillar.” Israel’s kings, according to the custom (2 Kings 11:14 2 Kings 11:14And when she looked, behold, the king stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the king, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets: and Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, Treason.
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), were crowned in a ceremony involving a “pillar.” This pillar was apparently a matsebah, a standing stone. It is interesting to note that Britain’s sovereigns are also crowned in a ceremony involving a “pillar”—Jacob’s stone. The Hebrew in these passages is even more interesting, for it literally says the king stood “upon his pillar.” Britain’s monarchs are also crowned “upon” a pillar stone—sitting upon it (i.e., upon a throne that contains it). Thus, though slightly modified, the custom still prevails thousands of years later. Indeed, the royal house of Britain is a continuation of the very same dynasty of ancient Judah—the dynasty of David (see “The Throne of David: Its Biblical Origin and Future”).

As a consequence of renewed commitment to God under Joash, the people destroyed the center of Baal worship in Judah (2 Kings 11:18 2 Kings 11:18And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and broke it down; his altars and his images broke they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.
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; 2 Chronicles 23:17 2 Chronicles 23:17Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and broke it down, and broke his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
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), and they reinstituted the proper sacrificial worship system, as commanded “in the Law of Moses” (verse 18). But, as we will see, some idolatry remained in the land.

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