King Joash of Judah: The Day the ‘Music’ Almost Died
2 Kings 11.1-21 | Lesson 9 | Lesson Notes/Talking Points
Read 2 Kings 11.1-21 & 2 Chronicles 21-24
I / INTRODUCTION
- Yes, I’m alluding here to Don McLean’s song “The Day the Music Died” just to make a connection to our lesson. Don McLean wrote that song to mourn the deaths of three of the most prominent musicians in the early days of rock and roll music: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson. They were just introducing and innovating their revolutionary trend of music when they died in a plane crash in Iowa while going from one gig to the next. As far as Don McLean was concerned [along with many others of that era], their style of music and the ways they wrote, played, and sang it was ‘the music.’ And so, when they died, ‘the music died.’
- The ’music’ we will focus on in this lesson is the promises Yahweh had made to King David in 2 Samuel 7, that one of David’s physical descendants would always sit on the throne of Israel / see 2 Samuel 7.12-13, 16 [and many other repetitions throughout Scripture].
- This promise is also succinctly summarized, established, and confirmed in Jeremiah 33.17: “For thus says the LORD, ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel…’”
- This promise was actually made to Christ and would be fulfilled in Christ / see Matthew 1.1; Luke 1.31-33; Acts 2.29-32; et al.
- One of the most prominent names by which Jesus Christ, God’s Messiah, was prophesied, expected, known, called, and which He called Himself is: “Son of David.”
- But in order for the prophetic promise to be fulfilled in the fullness of time with the virgin birth of the Christ, ‘The Son of David,’ a physical descendant of King David and of the royal family line would have to live until His coming. The physical, human family tree and lineage from David to Christ would have to be perpetuated, continued, and kept intact until Christ Himself was born to fulfill it!
- This story of King Joash [Jehoash] of Judah is the story of the day that prophetic promise [‘music’] almost died!
- This six-year-old child king was the only surviving male heir of that royal family of King David … and his wicked grandmother tried to kill even him / 2 Kings 11.1-3.
- But we’re getting way ahead of our story again…
II / MAKING THE CONNECTION / CAST OF CHARACTERS
Read 2 Kings 11.1-3
So, to get our story started, we need to name the characters, who they are, how they are related, where they came from, and the roles they played in this saga: “The Day the ‘Music’ Almost Died”
- She was the wife of former Judah King Jehoram.
- [Jehoram, by the way, had already killed all his brothers, making him the sole heir of ‘the sons of David’ and the throne in his generation / 2 Chronicles 21.4-6]
- NOTE: v 4 / When Jehoram had ascended the throne of his father and was established, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and also some of the princes of Israel.
- She was the granddaughter of former Israel King Omri [father of Ahab] / 2 Chronicles 22.2
- She was the daughter of Israel King Ahab and Jezebel / 2 Chronicles 21.6
- She was the mother of Judah Ahaziah [who had just been killed in battle against the Syrians].
- This Ahaziah, the youngest son of Jehoram, thus became the sole surviving ‘son of David’ and heir to the throne of David when his other brothers had been killed by the Arabians, leaving him only to carry on the royal line / 2 Chronicles 21.16-17 & 22.1 [he is called both Jehoahaz and Ahaziah]
- ch 21.16-17 / And the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabians who are near the Ethiopians. 17 And they came up against Judah and invaded it and carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son.
- ch 22.1 / And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah, his youngest son, king in his place, for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.
- She became the chief counselor to her son, Ahaziah / 2 Chronicles 22.2-4
- When Ahaziah was killed in battle, Athaliah seized control of the throne of Judah and reigned as queen for six years / 2 Kings 11.3 & 2 Chronicles 22.12
- It was this Athaliah who proceeded to massacre ALL of Ahaziah’s sons, her grandsons, which would have left NO surviving ‘son of David’ to ascend to and occupy the Throne of David. That’s what this story is all about … we’re getting there… [2 Kings 11.1-3]
JEHOSHEBA [also called Jehoshabeath in 2 Chronicles 22.11]
- She is the daughter of Judah King Jehoram [probably by another mother than Athaliah] / 2 Kings 11.2
- She is also the half-sister of Judah King Ahaziah [who succeeded Jehoram]
- This would have made her Joash’s aunt.
- She is also the wife of Jehoiada, the High-Priest/counselor to the young king Joash / 2 Chronicles 22.11
JOASH [also called Jehoash in 2 Kings 11.21 & 12.1]
- He was the son of the former Judah King Ahaziah who had just been killed by the Syrians.
- He was the grandson of the wicked Athaliah.
- When his grandmother, Athaliah, murdered all of her grandsons, the sons of former King Ahaziah, this infant Joash was snatched away by his aunt Jehoshabeath [and her husband, Jehoiada], hidden in secrecy, and spared from the massacre / 2 Kings 11.1-3 & 2 Chronicles 22.10-12
- He was the husband of Jehosheba/Jehoshabeath / 2 Chronicles 22.11
- He conspired with her to hide Joash from wicked Queen Athaliah’s murderous purge of all of her deceased son Ahaziah’s royal heirs to the throne of David.
- NOTE: If she had succeeded in murdering ALL of Ahaziah’s sons, this would have terminated the ‘house and lineage of David.’
- He was the chief priest of Yahweh in His Temple at that time, and in that capacity, he had charge of all the faithful servants of Yahweh who were still serving the best they could in His Temple.
Now, I know that all this may be just a jumbled-up, tangled mass of relationships – and if it is new to you, it will be complicated to unravel and keep straight in your mind as we unfold the story. But I want to give you thumbnail sketches of their bios and profiles here at the beginning so you can appreciate how Yahweh preserves His royal line of King David’s sons against all attempts to destroy and exterminate them … so He can keep the royal lineage intact … so can fulfill His promises to David and to Christ that a son of David will always sit on the Throne of Israel and reign over His Kingdom … FOREVER! In the Person of King Jesus, the Son of David!
Just so you can see from the beginning where Yahweh is going in all the ways He dealt with the sins of these kings who were in the lineage of the sons of David – let me give you a couple of Yahweh’s purpose statements along the way … the Holy Spirit-inspired narrator [author] inserts these pointers into the narrative to alert us to the prophetic significances of these events – to show us what Yahweh is doing:
1 Kings 15.4 / Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem…
- This is said of Judah King Abijam who walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
- Yet, Yahweh would not punish him as his sins deserved because it was necessary to continue the human, physical lineage of David for the purpose of bringing Christ into the world in the fullness of time.
- So Yahweh allowed the lineage of David to continue to the next generation … and the next… to keep the Messianic prophetic ‘lamp’ burning – to keep the ‘music’ promise from dying!
2 Chronicles 21.7 / Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David, because of the covenant that He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.
- This was said of Judah King Jehoram [the son of Judah King Jehoshaphat] after he had intermarried with Athaliah, the daughter of Israel King Ahab
- … and after he had killed all his royal brothers to make him the only surviving son of David.
- Yahweh could and should have punished him with death, but that would have extinguished the royal seed, descendants, lineage, and ‘lamp’ of David. Yahweh will not permit that to happen!
III / 2 Kings 11.1-3 / HOW DID THE ‘MUSIC’ ALMOST DIE?
- v 1 / This wicked woman, Athaliah, the mother of Judah King Ahaziah, heard that he had been killed in battle against the Syrians / 2 Kings 9.27-28
- She seized this opportunity to enthrone herself as queen of Judah. But in order to be sure no one would challenge her, she then proceeded to kill all her grandsons – the sons of Ahaziah – so there would be no male heirs to the throne.
- Keep in mind also, that Ahaziah had no uncles because his father, Judah King Jehoram, had killed them all [2 Chronicles 21.4] … and he had no brothers because the Arabians had killed all of them [2 Chronicles 21.16-17] … leaving him only to occupy the Throne of David.
- But Ahaziah had sons to succeed him – so Athaliah must kill them all … leaving her as the sole occupant of the Thone of David and no heirs of the lineage of David to succeed her.
- v 2 / BUT … Yahweh will not allow the ‘lamp’ of the royal lineage of David to be extinguished. So, He arranges in His sovereign Providence to save a royal heir to the Throne of David.
- BUT Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram [Judah King Jehoram], sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not put to death.
- v 3 / Joash was kept alive and raised in secrecy from his murderous grandmother, Athaliah, for the six years she reigned as queen.
IV / vv 4-12 / “LONG LIVE THE KING!” [JOASH]
- For these long six years, everyone in Judah mourned under the assumption that the ‘seed of David’ was dead … that the royal line of David had been terminated … that the ‘lamp’ of David had been extinguished … that the promise that Yahweh had made to David that ‘you shall never lack one of your sons to sit on your throne forever’ had been broken.
- Jehoiada, the chief priest in charge of the Temple, knew. And his wife Jehosheba knew. But they couldn’t dare let the secret out – until now!
- v 4 / When little Joash was six years old, it was time to let the faithful priests and Levites – all the servants of the Temple – know. So he got them all together, swore them to secrecy, and he showed them the king’s son!
- vv 5-8 / Jehoiada divided all the priests, Levites, Temple servants and guards into three companies. Each company was assigned their duties to guard the little king and to prevent anyone from interfering with his coronation.
- vv 9-12 / When Jehoida gave the signal, Then he brought out the king’s son and put the crown of him and gave him the testimony [see Deuteronomy 17.18-20]. And they proclaimed him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king!”
- They were clapping their hands to the ‘music’ of Yahweh’s promise that had ‘almost’ died – but it didn’t die!
V / vv 13-20 / “TREASON! TREASON!” ~Athalia
- vv 13-14 / The ‘music’ of their celebration of Yahweh’s kept promise resounded all over Jerusalem – and Athaliah had to check it out … she went to where she didn’t often frequent…
- When Athaliah heard the noise of the guard and of the people, she went into the house of the LORD to the people. 14 And when she looked, there was the king standing by the pillar, according to the custom, and the captains and the trumpeters beside the king, and all the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets. And Athaliah tore her clothes and cried, “Treason! Treason!”
- But she was the one who had been committing the treason against Yahweh!
- vv 14-16 / Jehoiada gave the orders that she must be carried out of the house of Yahweh – along with anyone who followed her and took her side – and executed. The sentence was carried out.
- v 17 / And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people, that they should be the LORD’s people, and also between the king and the people. He called them back … again … to re-commit themselves to worship and serve Yahweh.
- v 18 / They carried out a mission of destruction of all the remnants of Baal worship…
- v 19 / And he took the captains, the Carites, the guards, and all the people of the land, and they brought the king down from the house of the LORD, marching through the gate of the guards to the king’s house. And he took his seat on the throne of the kings.
- A ‘son of David’ was once again sitting on ‘The Throne of David’!
- You have to hear faint pre-echoes of this shadowy pre-enactment of Psalm 2.6: As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill … which would be perfectly fulfilled in Christ yet to come from this royal lineage!
- v 20 / “Happy days are here again!” So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword at the king’s house.
And thus was preserved the ‘music’ of the promise of Yahweh which would be fulfilled in Christ!
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the LORD God will give to Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” / Luke 1.31-33
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified! / Acts 2.29-36