Saturday

19 June 2010

"They did not bury him in the tomb of the kings." (v.25)

Background

In yesterday's passage we read that the young king Joash began his reign well and had rebuilt the Temple. The Chronicler (the traditional name for the author of 1 and 2 Chronicles) divides the reign into the good years and the bad years. The divide comes when Joash's wise advisor Jehoiada dies. The suggestion in this passage is that new advisors led the king astray, but there is also the inference that that he was compliant in the process.

All the things established in the early part of Joash's reign restoring the worship of Yahweh (another name for God) and the justice of the community are abandoned. There is also the suggestion that the purging of Baal (a local god) worship was not as thorough as the early passage of this chapter would suggest (see 2 Kings 12:3).

The role of Zechariah is significant, if brief. The prophet Zechariah confirms the plight of Israel which abandons Yahweh and forsakes its faith. Always the prophets hold together the notion that to abandon faith and worship in Yahweh leads inevitably to corruption, injustice and defeat.

In the 'holy war' ideology of Israel, Yahweh fought for the people so that a small force could overthrow a larger force (eg Gideon, David) but here the reverse happens. A small force from Aram (in modern-day Syria) sweeps up the coastal plain and overpowers Damascus and all in its path. King Joash meets his end and is consigned to an ignominious grave. Jehoiada, the earlier advisor, had been accorded the honour of being buried in the tomb of the kings, but not so for Joash, who began so well but allowed himself to be deceived.

To Ponder

The prophets held together doing justice and preaching grace. How is your church doing?

Reflect on your journey of faith. How easy is it to abandon the things you say that you hold dear?

How would you like to be remembered? What needs to be done to effect that?

Bible notes author: Revd Dr Howard Mellor

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