The name ‘Jehoiada’ may not be among the top names you know from the Bible. It is possible you are not familiar with him. But he was a key person in the history of the kingdom of Judah.
When King Ahaziah was killed by Jehu (who became king of Israel), his mother Athaliah usurped the throne of Judah for herself. We read this about the situation in Judah after Ahaziah’s death: “So there was no-one in the house of Ahaziah powerful enough to retain the kingdom” (2 Chronicles 22:9 NIV).
Athaliah made a grab for power. Athaliah was the daughter of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel (2 Chronicles 21:6). She first killed all of Ahaziah’s children, her grandchildren, so there would be no one left with a claim to the throne. Although she thought she was successful, she missed one.
“But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes who were about to be murdered and put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Because Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and wife of the priest Jehoiada, was Ahaziah’s sister, she hid the child from Athaliah so that she could not kill him. He remained hidden with them at the temple of God for six years while Athaliah ruled the land.” (2 Chronicles 22:11-12)
After six years of Athaliah’s idolatrous reign, it was time for Jehoiada, the high priest, to take action. He organised the commanders of the army to go throughout Judah and gather the Levites and family heads to come to Jerusalem. When they assembled they made a covenant with the rightful king of Judah, seven year old Joash.
Jehoiada organised the priests and Levites to be stationed at various parts of the temple to prevent anyone from entering except the priests and Levites who were on duty. He gave the army the spears and shields that belonged to David so they could be an armed guard for the young king. They then anointed Joash as the king of Judah and gave him a copy of the covenant.
When Athaliah heard the noise of people cheering for the new king, she went into the temple and saw her young grandson staying at the entrance. She began shouting, “Treason! Treason!” (2 Chronicles 23:13).
Jehoiada sent soldiers to capture Athaliah and take her outside the temple to be executed. Worship in the temple was restored. For the next few years Jehoiada seems to have acted as an advisor to the young king. He greatly influenced him and steered him to follow the Lord: “Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2).
When Jehoiada died, so great was the respect the people had for him that he was buried with the kings.
“Now Jehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for God and his temple.” (2 Chronicles 24:15-16)
What a great legacy, to be remembered because of the good he did for God!
As we look at our lives, isn’t this the type of legacy we would like to have? What if, on our gravestone, it was written “he/she did good for Jesus and his people”? Wouldn’t that be a great legacy for people to read for years to come?
Let’s live now so that this could be our legacy by doing all we can to proclaim Jesus to the world and help strengthen Christians.
Gravestone of Albert and Jean Winstanley, Ulverston, England, by Jon Galloway.
Readings for next week: 2 Chronicles 21-24; 2 Kings 9-12