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King Joash of Judah
Joash was seven years old when he became the king of Judah, and he ruled in Jerusalem for 40 years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba city. Joash did what pleased Yahweh as long as Jehoiada was the Supreme Priest. Jehoiada chose two women to be Joash’s wives. And they bore Joash sons and daughters.
Some years later, Joash decided that the temple should be repaired. He summoned the priests and other descendants of Levi and said to them, “Go to the towns in Judah and collect from the people the tax money that they are required to pay each year, and use that money to pay for repairing the temple. Do it immediately.” But the descendants of Levi did not do it immediately.
So the king summoned Jehoiada and said to him, “Why have you not required the descendants of Levi to bring to Jerusalem from various places in Judah the annual/yearly tax that Moses said that the people of Judah must pay, for taking care of the Sacred Tent?”
The temple needed to be repaired because the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah had entered into the temple and had wrecked some of the things, and had also used some of the sacred items that were in it for the worship of Baal.
So, obeying what the king commanded, the descendants of Levi made a chest and placed it outside the temple, at one of the entrances. Then the king sent letters everywhere in Judah, requesting everyone to bring their tax money to the temple, like Moses had required the Israeli people to do when they were in the desert. 10 All the officials and the other people agreed, and they brought their contributions gladly. They put the money into the chest until it was full. 11 Whenever the descendants of Levi brought the chest to the king’s officials, and they saw that there was a lot of money in it, the king’s secretary and the assistant to the Supreme Priest would take all the money from the chest, and then put the chest back in its place. They did this frequently, and they collected a huge amount of money. 12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the men who were supervising the work of repairing the temple. Those men hired stoneworkers and carpenters to repair the temple. They also hired men who worked with iron and bronze to repair things in the temple that were broken.
13 The men who did the repair work worked hard, and the work of repairing the temple progressed. They rebuilt the temple so that it was like it was originally, and they even made it stronger. 14 When they had finished the repair work, they brought to the king and to Jehoiada the money that they had not used for the repairs. That money was used to make things to use for offering the sacrifices that were completely burned on the altar, and to make bowls and other gold and silver things for the temple. As long as Joash lived, the people continually brought to the temple sacrifices that were to be completely burned on the altar.
15 Jehoiada lived to become very old. He died when he was 130 years old. 16 He was buried where the kings had been buried, in the part of Jerusalem called ‘The City of David’. He was buried there because of the good things that he had done in Judah for God and for God’s temple.
Joash and the people of Judah turned away from Yahweh
17 After Jehoiada died, the leaders of Judah went to Joash, bowed in front of him, and persuaded him to do what they wanted. 18 So they and the other people stopped worshiping at the temple, and they started worshiping the poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah and other idols. Because of their doing those sinful things, God was very angry with the people of Jerusalem and with the people in other places in Judah. 19 Although Yahweh sent prophets to persuade them to return to him, and although the prophets tod them about the evil things that they had done, the people would not pay attention.
20 Then God’s Spirit came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the Supreme Priest. He stood up front of the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why are you disobeying what I, Yahweh, have commanded? You have abandoned me, so I will abandon you.’ ”
21 But the people planned to kill Zechariah. And the king joined them in doing it. The people killed Zechariah by throwing stones at him in the temple courtyard. 22 King Joash had forgotten about how Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had been kind to him. That’s why he gave orders for the people to kill Jehoiada’s son Zechariah, who said as he was dying, “I hope that Yahweh will see what you are doing to me and punish you for doing it.”
23 Near the end of that year (OR, early in the following year), the army of Syria marched to attack the army of Joash. They invaded Judah and attacked Jerusalem and killed all the leaders of the people. They seized many valuable things and sent them to their king in Damascus, their capital city. 24 The army of Syria that came to Judah was very small, but Yahweh allowed them to defeat the large army of Judah, because he was punishing Joash and the other people of Judah for having abandoned him, the God whom their ancestors worshiped. 25 Before the battle ended, Joash was severely wounded. Then his officials decided to kill him for murdering Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the Supreme Priest. They killed him while he was in his bed. He was buried in the part of Jerusalem called ‘The City of David’, but they did not bury him in the place where the other kings had been buried.
26 Those who conspired to kill him were Zabad the son of Shimeath, who was a woman from the Ammon people-group, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith, who was a woman from the Moab people-group. 27 An account of the things that were done by the sons of Joash and the many prophecies about Joash and what he did to repair the temple are written in the scroll called ‘the History of the Kings of Judah and Israel’. Then after Joash died, Amaziah his son became the king.