Joash has been hidden for six years in the Temple of the Lord. It is time he emerge and take the throne; to be the rightful rulers of Judah, the house of David.
We encountered this story in 2 Kings 11. In our time in the story we took a boots on the ground look at the story. When rereading that blog today I found that we covered more than is in our reading today. We covered the events of this entire chapter. I’m going to link back to that story but take the story here in the pieces it is broken down into (by whoever put the subheadings in).
Today we see the revelation of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, descendant of David. He is the rightful ruler of Judah by God’s command. But I’m wondering what it was that brought Jehoiada to reveal him to the people at this time and no other.
Did the Lord speak to Jehoiada in a dream? Did a prophecy come to him? Did Joash exhibit some special sign that indicated his readiness? We KNOW Joash was nowhere near ready to rule the kingdom alone. He was still a child in the eyes of everyone. Was he just now weaned? This last one is a possibility because of how long children nursed in bible days.
Joash was in his first year of life when he was saved from his grandmother’s murderous efforts to secure the throne for herself. He stayed in hiding for six years. Athaliah was free to do as she chose during this time. She had NO clue what was coming. Jehoiada, his wife, and Joash’s nurse were the only ones who knew of Joash’s existence (that we know of). These three must have had some pretty tight lips! They knew the penalty they and the child would pay if their secret were discovered before the time was accomplished for him to take the throne.
Our text tells us that “Jehoiada took courage and entered into a covenant with the commanders of hundreds” (verse 1a). Something I didn’t have the first time I told the story is the names of the principal captains Jehoiada made his covenant with. I probably should have looked it up but it didn’t even occur to me at the time. Today we are told their names. Azariah the son of Jeroham, Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, Azariah the son of Obed, Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri” (verse 1b). They were the first ones to learn that an heir of the king had survived. That must have been an amazing trust between all six members of this covenant! One word to the wrong person would have spelled disaster.
The job of the five men listed above was to go prepare the scene for the revelation to the rest of the nation. This meant gathering the Levites from all over the nation. I wonder if they knew why they were gathering the Levites and if so they told the Levites of the purpose. I’m thinking that the five might have known but that they kept the reason for the gathering to themselves. “Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead” Benjamin Franklin.
Because Athaliah and Ahaziah had been Baal worshipers the Levites throughout the land were probably afraid. Jehoram followed after Baal too. But these rulers didn’t do what Jezebel had done; kill the prophets of the Lord and the Levites. There was apparently still some of the daily rituals of the Temple being performed. The Temple was still open to the people who sought the Lord. So rounding up all the Levites didn’t appear to pose a threat to them or an alarm to the queen. What it did though was provide a large buffer between the queen and Josiah. He would be surrounded by those faithful to the Lord when he emerged from hiding.
How long did it take for the plans of Jehoiada to be completed? Did it take a couple of days or was it months? I should have said the plans of God instead as He was the one truly in charge of all that transpired. But from the moment the covenant was made with the five men, how long did it take before Josiah was standing beside the king’s pillar? I wonder if Joash knew of the plans as they were developing. Was he champing at the bit or shaking in fear? Did he believe he was ready? Did he realize how much he would rely on Jehoiada? Did Jehoiada instill him with confidence or did he receive this as a gift from God? I wonder how long it was before Joash issued his own commands from the throne.
SO MANY QUESTIONS! Honestly, that is one of the things I like best about journaling with my bible. My questions are not ones of ‘doubt’ but ones of wonder instead. I like considering what went on behind the scenes in the stories we read. These questions are the beginnings of the boots on the ground stories. I believe the Holy Spirit allows me to ask as many as I can come up with and then helps me weave them into a narrative of possibilities. They are what bring the stories to life for me. The looking beyond the surface moments really pull me into the story. I hope they do you too.
Father God, thank You for allowing me to ask questions, to experience the story, to imagine what might have been. Thank You for time and time again weaving those questions into story form. For taking me into Your word. I didn’t want to go there today because we visited the story the last time it was told. But I wonder now if I missed out because this part feels like a prequel to the last story. Maybe You will help me write it later on IF You allow me to put them all together into a book. I hope You will, on both counts.
I would still like to know what it was that prompted Jehoiada to choose this time to reveal Joash to the people. Was it little things that finally added up in his heart or was there a ‘neon sign’ that moved him forward?
I like looking back over the ‘little things’ in my life that brought me to where I am today. At the time, many of them seemed HUGE but looking back I see how small they really were in Your overall plan for my life. But those ‘little things’ made a HUGE difference because they brought me closer to You. Thank You for the ‘little things’. And the ‘neon signs’ too!