2 Chronicles 23


‘In the seventh year Jehoiada showed his strength. He made a covenant with the commanders of units of a hundred: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zikri. They went throughout Judah and gathered the Levites and the heads of Israelite families from all the towns. When they came to Jerusalem, the whole assembly made a covenant with the king at the temple of God. Jehoiada said to them, “The king’s son shall reign, as the LORD promised concerning the descendants of David. Now this is what you are to do: A third of you priests and Levites who are going on duty on the Sabbath are to keep watch at the doors, a third of you at the royal palace and a third at the Foundation Gate, and all the others are to be in the courtyards of the temple of the LORD. No one is to enter the temple of the LORD except the priests and Levites on duty; they may enter because they are consecrated, but all the others are to observe the LORD’s command not to enter. The Levites are to station themselves around the king, each with weapon in hand. Anyone who enters the temple is to be put to death. Stay close to the king wherever he goes.” 2 Chronicles 23:1-7

During this time, Jehoiada made two covenants, the first was a covenant with those who would carry out the plan to take the throne for Joash.

This covenant involved them committing to be loyal to the new king. The second covenant included all those of the first covenant, and so, the covenant promise was by all, to be loyal to Joash as the king.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the names mentioned.

‘The five names do not occur in Kings, only, and incidentally, the five divisions of the royal guard, 2 Kings 11:5.’

The parallel passages written in 2 Kings 11:4-12, tell us that the Carites who were also known as the Kerethites, 1 Kings 1:38, were basically soldiers who were employed by kings as their protectors. They were Philistine soldiers who were very loyal to David and David’s dynasty, 2 Samuel 15:18 / 1 Samuel 30:14 / Ezekiel 25:16 / Zephaniah 2:5.

Jehoiada comes up with a great plan on how he can overthrow Athaliah. He hid Joash until he was older and he goes on to secure the loyalty of the commanders and the palace guard by making a covenant with them.

He plans to overthrow the Baal worship in which Athaliah was involved, because of this he was easily able to secure the loyalty of the priests of Jerusalem.

‘The Levites and all the men of Judah did just as Jehoiada the priest ordered. Each one took his men—those who were going on duty on the Sabbath and those who were going off duty—for Jehoiada the priest had not released any of the divisions. Then he gave the commanders of units of a hundred the spears and the large and small shields that had belonged to King David and that were in the temple of God. He stationed all the men, each with his weapon in his hand, around the king—near the altar and the temple, from the south side to the north side of the temple. Jehoiada and his sons brought out the king’s son and put the crown on him; they presented him with a copy of the covenant and proclaimed him king. They anointed him and shouted, “Long live the king!” When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and cheering the king, she went to them at the temple of the LORD. She looked, and there was the king, standing by his pillar at the entrance. The officers and the trumpeters were beside the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and musicians with their instruments were leading the praises. Then Athaliah tore her robes and shouted, “Treason! Treason!” Jehoiada the priest sent out the commanders of units of a hundred, who were in charge of the troops, and said to them: “Bring her out between the ranks and put to the sword anyone who follows her.” For the priest had said, “Do not put her to death at the temple of the LORD.” So they seized her as she reached the entrance of the Horse Gate on the palace grounds, and there they put her to death.’ 2 Chronicles 23:8-15

The priests wouldn’t normally have had weapons, but the text tells us that the weapons had been stored in the tabernacle by David, and later placed in the temple by Solomon. The soldiers and the Levites in the temple were probably intermixed in about equal proportions, 2 Kings 11:8 / 2 Kings 11:11.

When the day came for the anointing of Joash as king, he was anointed by the High Priest and an official announcement was made with the approval of the people and so, Joash was now made king at the age of seven years old. The king’s son received praise once he was recognized as their king, ‘long live the king’ they shouted, 1 Samuel 10:24 / 2 Samuel 16:16.

When queen Athaliah heard the noise, she knew what was happening but wasn’t very happy, she tore her robes and cries out ‘treason, treason’, 2 Kings 11:13-16. It’s clear that she was caught totally off guard and as a result, everything she did to try and stop Jehoiada from establishing the kingship of Joash was useless.

In order to keep the temple from becoming desecrated, she is taken outside the temple and killed. Athaliah was very much like her parents, Ahab and Jezebel, she was a murderer and promoted idolatry, Ezekiel 18:4.

‘Jehoiada then made a covenant that he, the people and the king would be the LORD’s people. All the people went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars. Then Jehoiada placed the oversight of the temple of the LORD in the hands of the Levitical priests, to whom David had made assignments in the temple, to present the burnt offerings of the LORD as written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and singing, as David had ordered. He also stationed gatekeepers at the gates of the LORD’s temple so that no one who was in any way unclean might enter. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the nobles, the rulers of the people and all the people of the land and brought the king down from the temple of the LORD. They went into the palace through the Upper Gate and seated the king on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword.’ 2 Chronicles 23:16-21

The covenant that Jehoiada made with the Lord, the king and the people, 2 Kings 11:17-21, was simply a renewal of that covenant which the Lord had made with Israel through Moses, Exodus 34:1-27.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It was the duty of the priests alone to offer the burnt offerings, Numbers 18:1-7, and of the Levites alone to praise God with singing and music, 1 Chronicles 23:5 / 1 Chronicles 25:1-7.’

Even though Solomon had built a temple to God, it appears that Baal became so popular that the people demanded that temples be built in order to worship Baal.

In 2 Kings 10 Jehu oversaw the destruction of the temple of Baal in Samaria, but here the temple of Baal in Jerusalem was destroyed by the people. Notice also they destroyed the sacred objects dedicated to Baal and they killed Mattan the priest of Baal, Deuteronomy 13:5-10.

Selman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The people’s rejoicing augmented the joy of temple worship, and sounded a note unheard since the days of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:27. That the city was quiet was a sign of God’s blessing, which often followed special acts of faith and obedience, 1 Chronicles 4:40 / 1 Chronicles 22:9 / 2 Chronicles 13:23 / 2 Chronicles 14:4-5 / 2 Chronicles 20:30.’

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