The End of Je(h)oash (2 Kings 12:17 – 21)

The King of Judah is called Joash and Jehoash interchangeably, which is simply an oddity of the Hebrew language.  They are listed as two separate words in the Hebrew Lexicon, but most notes say that Joash is simply a shorter form of Jehoash.  Either way, the story here turns to a time when Hazael, king of Syria, went out to war and captured Gath, a Philistine city.  He then felt ambitious and decided he would attack Jerusalem.  Jehoash took all the sacred items that the previous kings of Judah had dedicated, plus his own, and sent them to Hazael as a peace offering.  At a later time, his servants arose and conspired against him to kill him in the house of the Millo, which means landfill.  He basically was thrown down on the garbage heap.  Ahaziah his son reigned in his place.

The thoughts that come to mind reach beyond the actual events in Johoash’s story.  First, although a descendant of David, Jehoash did not have a warrior’s heart.  Instead of fighting against Hazael and defending Jerusalem and it’s precious things and people, Hazael gave anything precious up to Hazael to avoid war.  While this may be a good negotiation technique in some circles, it was a departure from the ways of Israel and Judah.  It also nearly bankrupted the king’s house.  This young king, who had waged war against Baal and other idols, and for whose cause his own grandmother was killed, is now afraid of a fight.  Jehoash, whose name literally means, “The Lord is strong,” does not feel strong enough in the Lord to fight against one of his own enemies.  This moment of fear or indecision leads to his eventual demise.  Another thought relates to the Millo, or landfill.  What an ignominious way to die, at a landfill.  It was not outside the temple, in the palace, or on the battefield, but at a garbage dump.  Better to fall in the arena against an enemy of the Lord than to be killed by your own servants at the trash heap.  Fight the good fight, fear not, and trust the Lord for the victory.  Fear and hesitation may cost you your life or your kingdom!

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