The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Jehoram and Joash
II Chronicles xxi:
1, to xxiv: 27.
Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, was a good man and a
wise king, but he made one mistake which brought
great trouble upon his family and upon his land in
after days. He married his son Jehoram to Athaliah,
the daughter of Ahab and the wicked Jezebel. When
Jehoshaphat died and Jehoram became king of Judah,
his wife, Athaliah, led him into all the wickedness
of the house of Arab. Jehoram killed all his
brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, so that no one of
them might rise up against him. His queen Athaliah,
set up idols all around Jerusalem and in Judah, and
led the people in worshipping them.
The prophet Elijah was still living in Israel when
Jehoram began to reign in Judah. He sent to King
Jehoram a letter containing a message from the Lord.
"Thus saith the Lord, the God of David, 'Because you
have not walked in the ways of your father,
Jehoshaphat, but have walked in the ways of the
kings of Israel, and have led the people of
Jerusalem and of Judah to turn from the Lord to
idols, and because you have slain your brothers, who
were better than you, therefore the Lord will strike
you and your house, and your people; and you shall
have a terrible disease that none can cure."
And after this great troubles came upon Jehoram and
his land. The Edomites on the south, who had been
under the rule of Judah since the days of David,
broke away from King Jehoram and set up a kingdom of
their own. The Philistines on the west and the
Arabians of the desert made war upon him. They broke
into his palace, and carried away his treasures, and
killed all his children except one, the youngest.
And upon Jehoram himself fell a sickness that lasted
many years, and caused him great suffering. No cure
could be found, and after long years of pain Jehoram
died. So evil had been his reign of eight years that
no one was sorry to have him die, and they would not
allow his body to be buried among the kings of
After Jehoram his youngest son, Ahaziah, became
king. His mother was the wicked Athaliah, the
daughter of Jezebel. Ahaziah reigned only one year;
for while he was visiting King Jehoram of Israel,
his uncle, he was slain by Jehu, for this was the
time when Jehu rose against the house of Ahab,
killed Jehoram, Ahab's son, and Jezebel, Ahab's
widow, and made himself king of Israel. But Jehu
gave to the body of Ahaziah a king's burial, for he
said, "He was the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the
Lord with all his heart."
When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, heard that her
son was dead, all the fierceness of her mother
Jezebel arose in her. She seized the princes who
belonged to the family of David and killed them, so
that there was not a man of the royal line left. And
she made herself queen and ruler over the land of
Judah. She shut up the house of the Lord, and built
a temple for Baal; and for six years led the people
of Judah in all wickedness.
In the slaughter of the royal family by Athaliah one
little child of Ahaziah had been saved alive. His
name was Joash. He was a baby, only a year old when
his grandmother, Athaliah, seized the throne, and
his aunt, a sister of Ahaziah and the wife of the
priest Jehoiada, hid him in the Temple of the Lord,
and kept him safe from the hate of Queen Athaliah.
There he stayed for six years, while Jehoiada, the
priest, was preparing to make him king.
When all things were ready and little Joash was
seven years old, Jehoiada, the priest, brought him
out of his hiding-place, and set him before the
people and the rulers in the temple, and placed the
crown upon his head. Then all the people shouted,
"Long live the king! Long live the king!"
Queen Athaliah heard the noise of the shouting, and
came out of her palace to see what had taken place.
She saw the little boy-king standing by a pillar in
the Temple, with the crown upon his head, and around
him the soldiers and the people, crying aloud, "Long
live the king!"
Athaliah was very angry as she saw all this. She
called for her servants and her soldiers to break up
this gathering of the people, and to take the
boy-king. But no one would follow her, for they were
tired of her cruel rule, and they wished to have for
their king one who came from the line of David.
Jehoiada said to the soldiers, "Take this woman a
prisoner, and carry her out of the Temple of the
Lord. Let not her blood be spilled in the holy
So they seized Athaliah, and dragged her out of the
Temple, and killed her. Then Jehoiada and all the
people made a promise to serve the Lord only. They
tore down the house of the idol Baal, and destroyed
the images, and broke its altar in pieces. They made
the Temple holy once more, and set the house in
order, and offered the sacrifices, and held the
daily worship before the altar. And all the people
were glad to have a descendant of David, one of the
royal line, once more on the throne of Judah.
As long as Jehoiada the good priest lived, Joash
ruled well, and his people served the Lord. When
King Joash grew up he wished to have the Temple of
the Lord made new and beautiful; for in the years
that had passed since the Temple had been built by
Solomon, it had grown old, and had fallen into
decay. Then, too, Queen Athaliah and the men who
worshipped Baal had broken down the walls in many
places, and they had carried away the gold and the
silver of the temple to use in the worship of Baal.
At first King Joash told the priests and Levites,
who served in the Temple, to go through the land,
and ask the people for money to be spent in the
fitting up of the Temple. But the priests and the
Levites were slow in the work, and the king tried
another plan for getting the money that was needed.
He caused a large box or chest to be made, and had
it placed at the door of the Temple, so that all
would see it when they went to worship the Lord. In
the lid of the box was a hole through which they
dropped money into the box. And the king caused word
to be sent through all the land that the princes and
the people should bring gifts of money, and drop it
into the chest, whenever they came to the Temple.
The people were glad, and brought their gifts
willingly; for they all wished to have God's house
made beautiful. In a short time the box was full of
gold and silver. Then the king's officers opened the
box, and tied up the money in bags, and placed the
bags of money in a safe place. The box was filled
with gold and silver many times, until there was
money in abundance to pay for all the work needed in
the Temple, and for making new ornaments of gold and
silver for the house.
When Jehoiada, the good priest, was very old, he
died; and after his death there was no one to keep
King Joash in the right way. The princes of the land
loved to worship idols, and did not serve God, and
they led King Joash into wicked ways after he had
done so well. God was not pleased with Joash after
he forsook the Lord, and God allowed the Syrians
from the north to come upon the land. They robbed
the cities and left Joash sick and poor. Soon after
the coming of the Syrians his own servants killed
him, and made Amaziah, his son, king in his place.
Jehoram and Joash