JOASH, or JEH0ASH (Heb. "Yahweh is strong, or hath given"), the name of two kings of Palestine in the Bible.
1. Son of Ahaziah (see Jehoram, 2) and king of Judah. He obtained the throne by means of a revolt in which Athaliah perished, and his accession was marked by a solemn covenant, and by the overthrow of the temple of Baal and of its priest Mattan(-Baal). In this the priest Jehoiada (who must have continued to act as regent) took the leading part. The account of Joash's reign is not from a contemporary source (2 Kings xi. 4 - xii. 16), and 2 Chronicles adds several new details, including a tradition of a conflict between the king and priests after the death of Jehoiada (xxii. II; xxiv. 3, 15 sqq.). 1 At an unstated period, the Aramaeans under Hazael captured Gath, and Jerusalem only escaped by buying off the enemy (2 Kings xii. 17 sqq.). This may perhaps be associated with the Aramaean attacks upon Israel (2 below), but the tradition recorded in 2 Chron. xxiv. 23 seq. differs widely and cannot be wholly rejected. The king perished in a conspiracy, the origin of which is not clear; it may have been for his attack upon the priests, it was scarcely for the course he took to save Jerusalem. He was succeeded by his son Amaziah, whose moderation in avenging his father's death receives special mention. After defeating the Edomites, Amaziah turned his attention to Israel.
2. Son of Jehoahaz and king of Israel. Like his grandfather Jehu, he enjoyed the favour of the prophet Elisha, who promised him a triple defeat of the Aramaeans at Aphek (2 Kings xiii. 14 sqq. 22-25). The cities which had been taken from his father by Hazael the father of Ben-hadad were recovered (cf. 1 Kings xx. 34, time of Ahab) and the relief gained by Israel from the previous blows of Syria prepared the way for its speedy extension of power. When challenged by Amaziah of Judah, Joash uttered the famous fable of the thistle and cedar (for another example see Judg. ix. 8-15; see also Abimelech), and a battle was fought at Beth-shemesh, in which Israel was completely successful. An obscure statement in 2 Chron. xxv. 13 would show that this was not the only conflict; at all events, Amaziah was captured, the fortifications of Jerusalem were partially destroyed, the treasures of the Temple and palace were looted, and hostages were carried away to Samaria. According to one statement, Amaziah survived the disaster fifteen years, and lost his life in a conspiracy; but there is a gap in the history of Judah which the narratives do not enable us to fill (I Kings xv. 1; see xiv. 17, 23). See further UzzIAH; Jeroboam (2); and Jews.
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