SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
2 Chronicles 21:1-24:27
21:1 Jehoshaphat passed away and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoram replaced him as king.
2 His brothers, Jehoshaphat’s sons, were Azariah, Jechiel, Zechariah, Azariahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. All these were sons of King Jehoshaphat of Israel. 3 Their father gave them many presents, including silver, gold, and other precious items, along with fortified cities in Judah. But he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the firstborn.
4 Jehoram took control of his father’s kingdom and became powerful. Then he killed all his brothers, as well as some of the officials of Israel. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for eight years in Jerusalem. 6 He followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel, just as Ahab’s dynasty had done, for he married Ahab’s daughter. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. 7 But the Lord was unwilling to destroy David’s dynasty because of the promise he had made to give David a perpetual dynasty.
8 During Jehoram’s reign Edom freed themselves from Judah’s control and set up their own king. 9 Jehoram crossed over with his officers and all his chariots. The Edomites, who had surrounded him, attacked at night and defeated him and his chariot officers. 10 So Edom has remained free from Judah’s control to this very day. At that same time Libnah also rebelled and freed themselves from Judah’s control because Jehoram rejected the Lord God of his ancestors. 11 He also built high places on the hills of Judah; he encouraged the residents of Jerusalem to be unfaithful to the Lord and led Judah away from the Lord.
12 Jehoram received this letter from Elijah the prophet: “This is what the Lord God of your ancestor David says: ‘You have not followed in the footsteps of your father Jehoshaphat and of King Asa of Judah, 13 but have instead followed in the footsteps of the kings of Israel. You encouraged the people of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem to be unfaithful to the Lord, just as the family of Ahab does in Israel. You also killed your brothers, members of your father’s family, who were better than you. 14 So look, the Lord is about to severely afflict your people, your sons, your wives, and all you own. 15 And you will get a serious, chronic intestinal disease which will cause your intestines to come out.’”
16 The Lord stirred up against Jehoram the Philistines and the Arabs who lived beside the Cushites. 17 They attacked Judah and swept through it. They carried off everything they found in the royal palace, including his sons and wives. None of his sons was left, except for his youngest, Ahaziah. 18 After all this happened, the Lord afflicted him with an incurable intestinal disease. 19 After about two years his intestines came out because of the disease, so that he died a very painful death. His people did not make a bonfire to honor him, as they had done for his ancestors.
20 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. No one regretted his death; he was buried in the City of David, but not in the royal tombs.
22:1 The residents of Jerusalem made his youngest son Ahaziah king in his place, for the raiding party that invaded the camp with the Arabs had killed all the older sons. So Ahaziah son of Jehoram became king of Judah. 2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned for one year in Jerusalem. His mother was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri. 3 He followed in the footsteps of Ahab’s dynasty, for his mother gave him evil advice. 4 He did evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab’s dynasty because, after his father’s death, they gave him advice that led to his destruction. 5 He followed their advice and joined Ahab’s son King Joram of Israel in a battle against King Hazael of Syria at Ramoth Gilead in which the Syrians defeated Joram. 6 Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds he received from the Syrians in Ramah when he fought against King Hazael of Syria. Ahaziah son of King Jehoram of Judah went down to visit Joram son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he had been wounded.
7 God brought about Ahaziah’s downfall through his visit to Joram. When Ahaziah arrived, he went out with Joram to meet Jehu son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had commissioned to wipe out Ahab’s family. 8 While Jehu was dishing out punishment to Ahab’s family, he discovered the officials of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s relatives who were serving Ahaziah and killed them. 9 He looked for Ahaziah, who was captured while hiding in Samaria. They brought him to Jehu and then executed him. They did give him a burial, for they reasoned, “He is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with his whole heart.” There was no one in Ahaziah’s family strong enough to rule in his place.
10 When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she was determined to destroy the entire royal line of Judah. 11 So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of King Jehoram, took Ahaziah’s son Joash and stole him away from the rest of the royal descendants who were to be executed. She hid him and his nurse in the room where the bed covers were stored. So Jehoshabeath the daughter of King Jehoram, wife of Jehoiada the priest and sister of Ahaziah, hid him from Athaliah so she could not execute him. 12 He remained in hiding in God’s temple for six years while Athaliah was ruling over the land.
23:1 In the seventh year Jehoiada made a bold move. He made a pact with the officers of the units of hundreds: Azariah son of Jehoram, Ishmael son of Jehochanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zikri. 2 They traveled throughout Judah and assembled the Levites from all the cities of Judah, as well as the Israelite family leaders.
They came to Jerusalem, 3 and the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in the temple of God. Jehoiada said to them, “The king’s son will rule, just as the Lord promised David’s descendants. 4 This is what you must do. One-third of you priests and Levites who are on duty during the Sabbath will guard the doors. 5 Another third of you will be stationed at the royal palace and still another third at the Foundation Gate. All the others will stand in the courtyards of the Lord’s temple. 6 No one must enter the Lord’s temple except the priests and Levites who are on duty. They may enter because they are ceremonially pure. All the others should carry out their assigned service to the Lord. 7 The Levites must surround the king. Each of you must hold his weapon in his hand. Whoever tries to enter the temple must be killed. You must accompany the king wherever he goes.”
8 The Levites and all the men of Judah did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each of them took his men, those who were on duty during the Sabbath as well as those who were off duty on the Sabbath. Jehoiada the priest did not release his divisions from their duties. 9 Jehoiada the priest gave to the officers of the units of hundreds King David’s spears and shields that were kept in God’s temple. 10 He placed the men at their posts, each holding his weapon in his hand. They lined up from the south side of the temple to the north side and stood near the altar and the temple, surrounding the king. 11 Jehoiada and his sons led out the king’s son and placed on him the crown and the royal insignia. They proclaimed him king and poured olive oil on his head. They declared, “Long live the king!”
12 When Athaliah heard the royal guard shouting and praising the king, she joined the crowd at the Lord’s temple. 13 Then she saw the king standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and trumpeters stood beside the king and all the people of the land were celebrating and blowing trumpets, and the musicians with various instruments were leading the celebration. Athaliah tore her clothes and yelled, “Treason! Treason!” 14 Jehoiada the priest sent out the officers of the units of hundreds, who were in charge of the army, and ordered them, “Bring her outside the temple to the guards. Put the sword to anyone who follows her.” The priest gave this order because he had decided she should not be executed in the Lord’s temple. 15 They seized her and took her into the precincts of the royal palace through the horses’ entrance. There they executed her.
16 Jehoiada then drew up a covenant stipulating that he, all the people, and the king should be loyal to the Lord. 17 All the people went and demolished the temple of Baal. They smashed its altars and idols. They killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. 18 Jehoiada then assigned the duties of the Lord’s temple to the priests, the Levites whom David had assigned to the Lord’s temple. They were responsible for offering burnt sacrifices to the Lord with joy and music, according to the law of Moses and the edict of David. 19 He posted guards at the gates of the Lord’s temple, so no one who was ceremonially unclean in any way could enter. 20 He summoned the officers of the units of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people, and all the people of the land, and he then led the king down from the Lord’s temple. They entered the royal palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the royal throne. 21 All the people of the land celebrated, for the city had rest now that they had killed Athaliah.
24:1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign. He reigned for forty years in Jerusalem. His mother was Zibiah, who was from Beer Sheba. 2 Joash did what the Lord approved throughout the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest. 3 Jehoiada chose two wives for him who gave him sons and daughters.
4 Later, Joash was determined to repair the Lord’s temple. 5 He assembled the priests and Levites and ordered them, “Go out to the cities of Judah and collect the annual quota of silver from all Israel for repairs on the temple of your God. Be quick about it!” But the Levites delayed.
6 So the king summoned Jehoiada the chief priest, and said to him, “Why have you not made the Levites collect from Judah and Jerusalem the tax authorized by Moses the Lord’s servant and by the assembly of Israel at the tent containing the tablets of the law?” 7 (Wicked Athaliah and her sons had broken into God’s temple and used all the holy items of the Lord’s temple in their worship of the Baals.) 8 The king ordered a chest to be made and placed outside the gate of the Lord’s temple. 9 An edict was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem requiring the people to bring to the Lord the tax that Moses, God’s servant, imposed on Israel in the wilderness. 10 All the officials and all the people gladly brought their silver and threw it into the chest until it was full. 11 Whenever the Levites brought the chest to the royal accountant and they saw there was a lot of silver, the royal scribe and the accountant of the high priest emptied the chest and then took it back to its place. They went through this routine every day and collected a large amount of silver.
12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to the construction foremen assigned to the Lord’s temple. They hired carpenters and craftsmen to repair the Lord’s temple, as well as those skilled in working with iron and bronze to restore the Lord’s temple. 13 They worked hard and made the repairs. They followed the measurements specified for God’s temple and restored it. 14 When they were finished, they brought the rest of the silver to the king and Jehoiada. They used it to make items for the Lord’s temple, including items used in the temple service and for burnt sacrifices, pans, and various other gold and silver items. Throughout Jehoiada’s lifetime, burnt sacrifices were offered regularly in the Lord’s temple.
15 Jehoiada grew old and died at the age of 130. 16 He was buried in the City of David with the kings, because he had accomplished good in Israel and for God and his temple.
17 After Jehoiada died, the officials of Judah visited the king and declared their loyalty to him. The king listened to their advice. 18 They abandoned the temple of the Lord God of their ancestors and worshiped the Asherah poles and idols. Because of this sinful activity, God was angry with Judah and Jerusalem. 19 The Lord sent prophets among them to lead them back to him. They warned the people, but they would not pay attention. 20 God’s Spirit energized Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood up before the people and said to them, “This is what God says: ‘Why are you violating the commands of the Lord? You will not be prosperous. Because you have rejected the Lord, he has rejected you!’” 21 They plotted against him and by royal decree stoned him to death in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. 22 King Joash disregarded the loyalty Zechariah’s father Jehoiada had shown him and killed Jehoiada’s son. As Zechariah was dying, he said, “May the Lord take notice and seek vengeance!”
23 At the beginning of the year the Syrian army attacked Joash and invaded Judah and Jerusalem. They wiped out all the leaders of the people and sent all the plunder they gathered to the king of Damascus. 24 Even though the invading Syrian army was relatively weak, the Lord handed over to them Judah’s very large army, for the people of Judah had abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors. The Syrians gave Joash what he deserved. 25 When they withdrew, they left Joash badly wounded. His servants plotted against him because of what he had done to the son of Jehoiada the priest. They murdered him on his bed. Thus he died and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 26 The conspirators were Zabad son of Shimeath (an Ammonite woman) and Jehozabad son of Shimrith (a Moabite woman).
27 The list of Joash’s sons, the many prophetic oracles about him, and the account of his building project on God’s temple are included in the record of the Scroll of the Kings. His son Amaziah replaced him as king.