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Jehoiada (Hebrew: יהוידע, Yehōyāḏā; "Name means::YHWH knows") (970-fl. ca. 889840BC by Ussher, or 927-fl. 841-d. 797BC by Thiele) was a Levite and high priest of the Temple of Jerusalem throughout the reigns of Kings Ahaziah and Joash in the Kingdom of Judah and probably throughout the sole reign of King Jehoram. He is remembered chiefly for hiding the infant king Joash in his room in the Temple during the six-year reign (or perhaps more properly, usurpation) of Ahaziah's mother Athaliah, who tried to destroy the entire House of David in the year of the coup of King Jehu of the Kingdom of Israel. He is further known for restoring Joash to his rightful place on the throne and for serving Joash as a strong and faithful religious adviser for the rest of his, Jehoiada's life.

Early Life

son of::Amariah
husband of::Jehosheba
father of::Zechariah I
grandfather of::Zadok II
ancestor of::Jerushah
ancestor of::Azariah II
ancestor of::Zechariah II
ancestor of::Abi
ancestor of::Urijah

Jehoiada was born either five or three years after the Division of the Kingdoms. He therefore was alive during Shishak's raid against King Rehoboam. If he followed the usual course of priestly education and training, then he would have taken up his duties during the reign of King Asa. Those duties would then have spanned the reigns of Kings Jehoshaphat and Jehoram. When he became high priest, the Bible does not say.

King Jehoram allowed him, or perhaps arranged for him, to marry his daughter Jehosheba. He had one definite son, named Zechariah. He would have been eighty-four or eighty-five years old at this time.

The Chronicler mentions (2_Chronicles 24:3 ) that Jehoiada married two different women in the course of his life (the Bible does not mention the other wife's name) and had many sons and daughters by them. One of these sons was Zechariah, who unfortunately would come to a sad end at the hand of the very king to whom Jehoiada would render his most memorable service. 2_Chronicles 24:20

Athaliah's Coup

In 886 BC (or 841 BC), General Jehu, commander-in-theater at Ramoth-gilead, abruptly galloped to Jezreel, killed King Jehoram of Israel, and seized the throne. In the process he killed King Ahaziah and most of his cousins. Athaliah then started to kill every member of the royal family whom she could hunt down.

But Jehosheba managed to help the infant king Joash and his wet nurse to escape from the palace and hide in her room in the Temple. Jehoiada continued to give them shelter for six years, during which time he and his wife must have raised Joash and given him some form of education.2_Kings 11:1-3 2_Chronicles 23:10-12

Restoration of Joash


Jehoiada waited until the seventh year of Athaliah (and Jehu) to take action to restore Joash to his rightful place. Somehow he won the loyalty of all of the company commanders in the royal army. He made a covenant with them—a very solemn and serious agreement indeed. Furthermore, he gathered all the Levites from all the cities in the Kingdom of Judah. (All Levites had long since migrated to the Kingdom of Judah in the reign of King Asa.)

He introduced Joash to this congregation and announced that he was going to restore Joash to his throne. He had already made a plan of action. He divided the Levites into three contingents, one to guard the doors to the Temple, one to stand watch at the palace, and the final third to guard the foundations of the Temple. All the people were to come to the Temple court, but only the priests, being properly sanctified, were to enter the Temple itself. Finally they were to arrange themselves around the king, and kill any person who tried to come near. As a further indication of his planning, he issued to the company commanders the spears and shields that originally belonged to King David.

The people obeyed his instructions to the letter. At the proper moment, he presented Joash to the people, anointed him with oil, set the crown upon his head, and said, "God save the king." The people made a grand celebration, and the Chronicler specifically mentions the prominent role that music played in that celebration.

Apparently Athaliah was none the wiser until she heard the noise of the celebration, and the music, coming from the Temple. But all at once she was standing in the Temple door, looking at Joash, and at Jehoiada, and at all the people. Then she tore her royal robes and shouted, "Treason! Treason!"

Jehoiada wasted neither time nor words, but ordered the company commanders to arrest Athaliah, take her outside, and execute her. And so they took her outside and put her to death near the Temple stables.2_Kings 11:4-16 2_Chronicles 23:1-15

Religious renewal

Jehoiada was now firmly in command, functioning in essence as regent. At his orders the people marched to the temple of Baal and broke it down, and also broke the images of Baal. They arrested Mattan, priest of Baal, and summarily executed him in front of his own altars.

Next Jehoiada announced his appointment of a full roster of "courses" of the Levites, and of doorkeepers to make sure that no ceremonially unclean object would ever enter the Temple.

Finally he escorted the seven-year-old king to the palace and watched as he took his throne.2_Kings 11:17-20 2_Chronicles 23:16-21

In the king's service

Jehoiada served Joash faithfully as high priest and as Joash's religious adviser. The Bible credits Jehoiada with making sure that Joash never wavered from worship of God so long as he, Jehoiada, was still alive.2_Kings 12:2 2_Chronicles 24:2

Joash realized early that the Temple was in disrepair, with holes in its walls. He directed the Levites and the priests to use the annual offering to make the badly-needed repairs. But in the twenty-third year of his reign, king and high priest discovered that nothing, or next to nothing, had been done. Joash questioned Jehoiada closely on the matter, and gave him specific orders to get the job done any way he knew how.

Jehoiada recognized that the problem was a simple one of accountability for the offerings. His solution was highly elegant: he built a chest, cut a hole in its lid, and set it out in the temple. Every priest who was of a mind, could put a portion into the chest—money that would not go to any purpose other than Temple repair work, because what one does not see, one cannot spend. Eventually the chest had a great amount of money in it, and Jehoiada and the royal secretary counted it out and hired workmen to do the repair work. The Chronicler records that no one demanded any accounting of the workmen, nor did anyone need to. And when the Temple was fully repaired, Jehoiada commissioned Temple vessels with what remained.2_Kings 12:4-16 2_Chronicles 24:4-14

Jehoiada died in the thirty-ninth year of Joash's reign, at the age of 130.2_Chronicles 24:15

Preceded by
Successor of::Amariah
Member of::High priest
Flourit::Abib 3115 AMDied::Abib 3164 AM
Succeeded by
Succeeded by::Zechariah I

See Also

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