God wants his people to remember how faithful he has been to uphold their covenant. So the Chronicler continues telling about Judah’s kings.
Nothing like his God-following father Jehoshaphat, King Jehoram murders all of his brothers who might be threats to the throne. God is furious. “You have abandoned God. He is going to abandon you,” a prophet reports. Jehoram comes down with a painful bowel disease and dies.
His vile son Ahaziah reigns for a year before being killed by Jehu. Ahaziah’s wicked mother, Athaliah, takes over, slaughtering the royal family. One of Ahaziah’s infant sons, Joash, is spared, rescued by the high priest’s wife. Joash lives at the temple under the protection of Jehoiada the high priest for six years. When Joash is seven, Jehoiada stages a successful coup. The evil Athaliah is killed.
Joash walks with God while Jehoiada, his spiritual mentor, is alive. But after Jehoaida’s death, Joash listens to idolatrous leaders who steer him away from God. Jehoaida’s son, Zechariah, comes to Joash to give him God’s message: God isn’t pleased that Joash has abandoned him. Joash has his loyal mentor’s son killed—in the courtyard of God’s holy temple.
Members of Joash’s own court assassinate him. His son Amaziah doesn’t wholeheartedly walk with God, and when he challenges Israel to go to battle, Judah loses. Badly. God’s temple is plundered.
The King’s Heart
God told David, “Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).
Yet when King Jehoram came to power, he killed all of his brothers—slaughtering potential future Davidic kings. Whether he was aware of it or not, he was doing more than that—he was sabotaging the covenant. But God intervened. “Nevertheless, because of the covenant the Lord had made with David, the Lord was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever” (2 Chronicles 21:7).
Then Jehoram’s wife, Athaliah, slaughtered the royal family—the Davidic royal family. She didn’t think she left any heirs. Again, God’s people were sabotaging his covenant. But God intervened again, rescuing Joash.
Despite sin and selfishness, slaughter and subterfuge, God protected his promise. As history—and our everyday lives—testify, the only thing holding God’s covenant together is . . . God.
Jehoiada was God’s man in a dark time. He preserved Joash, made sure God’s law was in his hands, renewed God’s covenant with the people and was the catalyst for tearing down Judah’s demonic Baal-altars. God blessed him with 130 years of life and honored him with a burial fit for a king.