The first Joash in the Bible, the one from Judah, “reigned in Jerusalem forty years […] Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him” 2 Kings 12:1–3.
In the Holy Book, we are presented with two different people carrying the name Joash. One of them was once king of Judah, who reigned in 835-796 BC, and the other was a king of Israel, who reigned in 798-782 BC. So they did overlap for a little while, but nothing too notable happened between them.
The king of Israel, with the same name, reigned for 16 years. He is known because, like most before him on the throne, he “did evil in the eyes of the Lord. And did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. He continued in them” (2 Kings 13:11).
Although both kings were corrupt and did not follow God in the end. Joash of Judah did good in the eyes of our Lord for a part of his reign. But, sadly, after his priest and mentor, Jehoiada, passed away, he began listening to the wrong advisers. Who ultimately pushed him to revive Baal and Asherah.
What Happened to the Good King, Joash of Judah?
Jehu was asked by God to wipe out any trace of King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and their line because, at that time, “There was never anyone like Ahab. Who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel, his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.” (1 Kings 21:25–26) Jehu became king of Israel, and he set out on a journey to kill Ahaziah and Joram.
King Ahaziah’s mother, Athaliah, went into the palace and destroyed the royal family to avenge her son’s death. But she missed a grandson, a very young Joash.
Ahaziah’s good sister took young Joash and hid him in one of the Lord’s temples for six years while Athaliah ruled the land. “Thus they hid him from Athaliah so that he was not put to death. And he remained with her six years, hidden in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land.” (2 Kings 11:1–3)
The seventh year came, and the priest Jehoiada decided to show the captains of the guards the sole survivor of the royal family, Joash in the Bible. The people were ecstatic to see Joash. And they quickly removed the evil Ahaziah from the throne.
“Jehoiada then made a covenant between the Lord and the king and people that they would be the Lord’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people” (2 Kings 11:17). And so, the temple of Baal was destroyed and king Joash became one of the kings who did good in the eyes of the Lord. But only for a short time.
Why Did King Joash of Judah Turn Bad?
Weak people who lack personality have a tendency to let themselves be controlled or influenced by other people who they find superior. Such was the case of Joash in the Bible, the king of Judah who reigned for 40 years. For most of his reign, he followed God and was overall considered one of the few good kings.
However, this would all change when his advisor, mentor, and high priest, Jehoiada, passed away. Suddenly there was nobody to guide him through a dark world. And he soon fell prey to the ill-minded, who made him bring back the worship of false gods.
“Now, after the death of Jehoiada, the princes of Judah came and paid homage to the king. Then the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the Lord, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs.” (2 Chronicles 24:17–19)
God tried many times to guide him back on track. He sent prophets who would warn him, but he never listened to them in the end. God even sent Zechariah, the son of Joash’s old friend, mentor, and high priest, Jehoiada. Unfortunately, Joash ordered his people to stone Zechariah to death.
Joash in the Bible, did not realize his end was near. So, after angering God, “His officials conspired against him and assassinated him at Beth Millo, on the road down to Silla” (2 Kings 12:20).
The story is interesting to research mostly because it shows how someone could have anything they want, easily delivered to them if they put their trust in God, but just as easily taken away when proving disobedient in the eyes of our Lord.
Was King Joash in the Bible an Evil King?
Israel sadly did not have many good rulers because most of them tried to seek power from false entities, and in the process, he let God down. Throughout the Holy Book, he is remembered for his military achievements and overall many victories against his enemies.
One event that was documented in the Bible is when Elisha, one of God’s prophets, was sick and close to the end. It is said that Joash in the Bible, visited Elisha.
The prophet instructed him to “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 2 Kings 13:17
However, Joash in the Bible, did not listen to Elisha and only shot three times instead of “five or six times” like the prophet asked him. As a consequence, he only defeated Syria three times. “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” (2 Kings 13:19)