2 Kings 12-14
Little Joash becomes king of Judah. Make sure you’ve got that, because his name is also written as Jehoash or Joas, and furthermore he is a different king than King Jehoash of Israel, son of Jehoahaz (we’ll meet them in chapter 13). I’m confused already.
Joash’s reign brings corruption among the clergy. The temple is in disrepair, and Joash orders the priests to set aside all the money brought in, “whether it is a regular assessment, a payment of vows, or a voluntary gift. Let the priests take some of that money to pay for whatever repairs are needed at the Temple.” (v 4-5 NLT). And what do you suppose happens? That’s right, nothing gets repaired (wonder where the money went – haha). So Joash sets up a secure collection box and stations guards beside it. When it’s full, the money is used for building materials and laborers to repair the temple (note no mention of slave labor here). However, the money from the “guilt offerings and sin offerings was not brought into the Lord’s Temple. It was given to the priests for their own use” (v 16). Their cut? Salary? Not much more is said, and Joash is assassinated at the end of the chapter.
Don’t lose me here. Chapter 13 starts out with King Jehoahaz, who reigns Israel during the same time that Joash (or Jehoash) is King of Judah. Jehoahaz is evil, so the lord allows him to be defeated in battle. (v 3). (Aside – it seems that the main point of worshipping these various gods was to account for natural phenomena that could not be explained in pre-literate and pre-scientific societies. If your child died, your crops failed, or you lost a battle, some god was responsible and needed to be appeased.) When Jehoahaz dies, his son Jehoash becomes king. Still following? Now we have Joash of Judah and Jehoash of Israel on the throne at the same time.
Now get ready for some crazy superstitious sh*t. Elisha is on his deathbed when Jehoash seeks him out to help Israel win a battle. Elisha shoots an arrow (with assistance) as prophesy of victory (v 17). Then he tells Jehoash to strike the ground with a bunch of the arrows. But because Jehoash chooses to make only 3 hits, Elisha foretells only 3 victories and chides him for not striking the ground 5 or 6 times. This makes about as much sense as “don’t step on a crack…” And with that Elisha dies and is buried. No whirlwind up to heaven for him.
Next crazy sh*t. Some Israelites become startled by bad guys while burying a man, so they toss the corpse onto Elisha’s tomb, and it jumps back to life and stands up. The chapter concludes with more of ‘who battled whom’ and the succession of kings.
Joash’s son Amaziah becomes King of Judah, and he begins his reign by executing the men who assassinated his father. But he doesn’t execute their children, according to the law of Deuteronomy 24:16. (Funny, that law has already been contradicted numerous times throughout the OT.)
Then Amaziah taunts Jehoash of Israel into battle, for no good reason that I can see. Jehoash of Israel defeats Judah in a rout, captures Amaziah, and heads into Jerusalem where he loots the temple and the palace. The rest of the chapter continues on with more suffering, more killing, and more successions of bad kings, one after another. The names are starting to become a blur.