2 Chronicles 24

Joash rules Judah as king

1 Joash was seven years old when he became the king of Judah. He ruled in Jerusalem for 40 years. His mother was Zibiah, who came from Beersheba. 2 Joash did things that pleased the Lord. He continued to do that all the time that Jehoiada the priest was alive. 3 Jehoiada chose two women for Joash to marry. She gave birth to sons and daughters for him.

4 After some time, Joash decided to repair the Lord's temple. 5 He brought together the priests and the Levites. He told them, ‘Go around to all the towns in Judah. Bring here all the money that Israel's people offer each year for the temple. We will use it to repair the temple of your God. Go quickly and do it now!’

But the Levites did not do it immediately.

6 So the king told Jehoiada, the leader of the priests, to come to him. He said to him, ‘You have not told the Levites to bring the money that the people of Judah and Jerusalem have given. Why have you not done that? The Lord's servant Moses and all Israel's people made the rule that people should give the money each year. It would be a tax to help with the tent of God's covenant.’

24:6The tent of God's covenant was the special tent where they put the Covenant Box before they built the temple.

7 The sons of wicked Queen Athaliah had broken the door of God's temple. They had gone in there and they had taken the holy things. They had used them to worship the idols of Baal. That is why Joash wanted to repair the Lord's temple.

People bring money to the temple

8 The king told the Levites to make a big box. They put it outside the gate of the Lord's temple. 9 Then he sent a command to everyone in Jerusalem and in the rest of Judah. He told them to bring the money to pay their tax to the Lord. That was the tax that God's servant Moses had told the Israelites that they should pay when they were in the wilderness. 10 All the officers and all the people were happy to give this money. They brought it to Jerusalem and they threw it into the box, until the box was full. 11 Every time that the box became full of money, the Levites took it to the king's officers. Then the king's secretary and the officer who served the leader of the priests took the money out of the box. Then they put the box outside the temple gate again. They did that every day, so that they had a lot of money.

12 The king and Jehoiada gave the money to the men who would take care of the work on the Lord's temple. They paid men who could work with stone and wood to repair the temple. They also paid men who knew how to work with iron and bronze for this work.

13 These workers worked well so that they soon finished the work. They built the temple to be very strong, in the way that it should be. 14 When they had finished, there was some money that remained. So the workers took the money to the king and to Jehoiada. They decided to make tools to use in the temple. There were things that the priests used to serve the Lord in the temple, and to offer burnt offerings. They used gold and silver to make dishes and other things. While Jehoiada was still alive, the priests always made burnt offerings as sacrifices to the Lord in his temple.

15 But Jehoiada became very old and he died when he was 130 years old. 16 They buried him beside the kings in the City of David. They gave him that honour, because he had done many good things in Israel for God and for the temple.

Joash and the people turn away from the Lord

17 After Jehoiada died, the important officers of Judah came to the king. They bent down low in front of him to give him honour. The king listened to their advice. 18 They stopped worshipping the Lord, the God of their ancestors, in his temple. Instead, they worshipped Asherah poles and idols. So God became very angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem, because they were guilty of these sins. 19 The Lord sent his prophets to tell the people to turn back to him. They warned the people, but the people would not listen to them.

20 Then God's Spirit came to Jehoiada's son Zechariah with power. Zechariah stood in front of the people and he said, ‘This is what God says: “You are not obeying the Lord's commands. So nothing will go well for you. You have turned away from the Lord, so now he has turned away from you!” ’

21 The people decided to punish Zechariah. The king gave a command to punish him with death. So they threw stones at him to kill him in the yard of the Lord's temple. 22 King Joash forgot that Zechariah's father Jehoiada had been a faithful servant. He killed Jehoiada's son. Zechariah said, as he was dying, ‘I pray that the Lord sees what you have done! May he punish you because of it!’

Joash dies

23 At the end of that year, Syria's army attacked Judah and Jerusalem, where Joash lived. They killed all the leaders of Judah's people. They took many valuable things to send to their king in Damascus. 24 Syria's army was very small but the Lord gave them power over Judah's large army. He did that because Judah's people had turned away from the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Syria's army punished Joash as he deserved.

25-26 Joash had received bad wounds in the battle. When Syria's army went away, Joash's officers decided to kill him. They were angry because he had killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest. So they murdered him in his bed. The two officers who did this were Zabad and Jehozabad. Zabad's mother was Shimeath, who came from Ammon. Jehozabad's mother was Shimrith, who came from Moab.

Joash's people buried him in the City of David. But they did not bury him beside the graves of the other kings.

27 The things that happened while Joash was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The history of the kings’. It includes a list of Joash's sons, and the many messages that prophets spoke about him. It also includes a report of the work which he did on God's temple.

Joash's son Amaziah became king after him.