Kings of Judah

Before his death, Jehoshaphat gave to his sons "great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah; but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the first-born."  Jehoram is said to have reigned eight years, but for a large part of this time, he must have reigned in connection with his father. For a wife, he married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel; and by her he was led to follow their wicked example. He was reproved for his wickedness by the prophet Elijah, who sent him a letter, threatening him with the most severe afflictions; and as he did not repent, these threatenings were fully carried out; for his wives, and all his sons but the youngest, were carried away by his enemies, and he himself was smitten with a lingering disease, not only incurable, but exceedingly painful.  Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram and Athaliah, reigned but one year, when he was slain by Jehu as before noticed. His wicked mother then slew all the seed royal except the infant Joash, who was hid six years in the house of God by his aunt, the wife of Jehoiada the priest. After a wicked reign of six years, Athaliah was slain by the sword, and was succeeded by Joash, who was then only seven years old.  Joash began to reign in the seventh year of Jehu, king of Israel. Jehoiada the priest, by whose influence he was made king, counseled this young sovereign, and really guided the affairs of the kingdom. So long as this good high priest lived, Joash followed his counsel and ruled well.

During the reign of Joash the temple was repaired. Of this there was much need; for the wicked sons of Athaliah had greatly injured it, and had destroyed the sacred vessels, bestowing the treasures thus obtained upon their false gods. In order to raise money for this purpose, a chest, with a hole bored in the lid of it, was placed at the door of the temple, so that all who wished to do so might drop in money when they came to the house of the Lord. The people were very generous, and more money was obtained than was needed for repairing the house.  Jehoiada died at the advanced age of one hundred and thirty years, and on account of his eminent services was buried among the kings. 

After the death of this great and good man, the princes came to Joash, and by flattery, persuaded him to allow the worship of false gods. The Lord sent prophets to testify against such a course, but the king and the princes would not listen to them; and when Zachariah, the son of Jehoiada, stood up and boldly reproved them, they stoned him to death in the court of the temple. To this atrocious act, Joash gave consent, although he owed both his life and his kingdom to the father of Zachariah.

When Zachariah died, he said, "The Lord look upon it, and require it. "This prayer was answered; for in less than a year, Hazael, king of Syria, came against Jerusalem, killed all the princes, and would have destroyed the city, if Joash had not given him all the treasures of the temple, as well as those of his own palace. Joash was shortly after assassinated by two of his own servants, having reigned forty years.