The Story of Joash
When Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, heard that he had been killed by Jehu and his men, she took the children of Ahaziah, which were her own grandchildren, and had them all put to death, in order to make herself queen. Jehosheba, the sister of Ahaziah, and the aunt of the children, took one of the sons, a little baby named Joash, and hid him away so that he was not slain.
He was hid in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem for six years, and Jehoida, the high priest, took care of him and watched over him. Athaliah knew nothing of this, but made herself queen and ruled over the land.
When Joash was seven years old, Jehoida sent for the Levites and the rulers and the captains and brought them into the temple and showed them Joash, and told them how he had taken care of the king's son. He made them take an oath that they would make Joash king. They were glad to get rid of Athaliah and to make the son of Ahaziah king so they agreed to do as Jehoida had told them.
And there were in the temple spears and shields and bucklers that belonged to King David. Jehoida gave them to the men and told them to stand on the right side of the temple and around the young child, so that no one could hurt him. Then they brought Joash out of the room where he had been kept and Jehoida and his sons anointed him king. Then everybody shouted: "God save the king!"
When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and the shouts of the people, she came to the temple. When she looked in she saw the young king standing by a pillar with a crown on his head and the princes and the trumpeters and the guards around him. The people were singing and shouting and rejoicing and crying: "God save the king," so that Athaliah knew that the end of her reign had come. She was very angry and tore her clothes and cried out: "Treason! Treason!"
Jehoida commanded the captains and the officers to drive her away, and make her leave the temple. "All those that follow after her you shall kill with the sword," were his orders. "Let her not be slain in the house of the Lord."
So they drove her out of the temple and nobody followed her, except the captains and the officers. She went quickly toward the palace and was going throt1gh the gate which the horses used, when the men overtook her and slew her, for she had been a wicked queen and had not served the Lord.
Then the people went into the temples of Baal, the heathen god, whom Athaliah had set up and worshiped, and broke down the idols and images and the altars and slew the priests of the heathen god. Then the rulers and the captains brought Joash out of the house of the Lord, and into the king's house, and he sat on the throne. The people rejoiced and shouted aloud, and then the city was quiet, for the wicked queen was slain. The idols of Baal were overthrown, and the young Joash, who had been reared in the house of the Lord, was king.
Joash reigned in Jerusalem forty years, and did what was right in the sight of the Lord, as Jehoida, the priest, had taught him. Seeing that the temple had fallen into decay and had been broken in many places, while Athaliah was queen, Joash said to the priests: "Collect money from all the people, and repair the broken places in the temple." But a long time passed and not enough money had been collected and the broken places in the temple were not repaired.
Joash ordered the priests to collect no more money from the people, but instead, he took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one came into the temple. Then he made a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem, that every man should bring a piece of money and put it into the chest.
The people were glad to do this, and as they crowded into the temple they dropped their coins into the chest until it was full. When the Levite saw that it was full they carried it off and emptied it and brought it back to be filled up again. This they did day by day until there was money in abundance to repair the temple.
Then the king and Jehoida gave the money to those in charge of the repairs of the temple, and they hired masons and carpenters, and workers in brass and iron to do all the work that was needed. The workmen labored steadily until at last the temple was repaired in every part, and was as before it had been broken by the wicked Athaliah, when she was queen.
When the temple was finished it was found that all the money had not been used. So they brought the rest of it to the king and Jehoida, who used it to make vessels of gold and silver, and spears for the service of the temple, to take the places of those that had been taken away by Athaliah.
So the temple was repaired and all the people came again to offer burnt offerings upon the altars. This they continued to do so long as Jehoida, the good priest, lived.
Jehoida was now a hundred and thirty years old, and he died. He was buried in Jerusalem, in the sepulchre of the kings, for he had done good all the days of his life, and had taught the people to worship God.
Sometime after Jehoida was dead, the princes of Judah, whose hearts were wicked, came to Joash and asked him to let them worship in their own groves and bow down to their own idols. Joash consented for them to do as they asked, and they went their way and began to worship idols as before. This was wrong of Joash and brought him and his people into great trouble.
Zechariah, the son of Jehoida, himself a priest, stood before the people and said: "You cannot prosper if you do not follow the commandments of the Lord. If you forsake God He will forsake you."
But Joash, the king, paid no attention to the words of the priest, and said to the people: "Stone him with stones until he is dead." Then the foolish people seized great rocks and stoned the priest to death for warning them of their sins.
At the end of the year, the hosts of Syria came up against Joash, and made war on Judah and Jerusalem. They entered the city and slew the wicked princes. They took all their silver and gold and whatever else they wanted and sent it to their own king at Damascus.
The strange part of it was that the army of the Syrians was very small, but a great host of the people of Judah was captured, for the Lord delivered them into the hands of their enemies on account of their wickedness.
After the Syrians had left with their spoils, a great sickness fell upon Joash, and he lay upon his bed in pain. His own servants saw their master ill and helpless and conspired to kill him. So they fell upon him in his bed and slew him. The people came and took his body and buried it in Jerusalem, but not in the sepulchre of the kings.