In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.
Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the Lord, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the Lord, let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house. Therefore King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your donors, but hand it over for the repair of the house.” So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house. 2 Kings 12:1-8.
Jehoash began well because he was being raised to follow the Lord from an early age. We know he was crowned when he was seven, but we don’t know at what age he was ruling autonomously. For instance, he ordered that the temple of Solomon be repaired, but by the time he was thirty, he noticed it wasn’t getting done and he took over the project and made sure the workmen got paid.
This chapter gives only a thumbnail account of his life. But the Chronicles fill in some details about his less righteous later life. Although he was zealous to rebuild the temple, he didn’t tear down the high places and stop those idolatrous practices. Unfortunately, those became a snare to him later. And his assassination at the end of this chapter makes more sense according to the other account of his life.
The story of Jehoash does underscore that it is important to raise children in the way of the Lord. It has a profound effect on their lives and others. The later accounts will go a long way towards vindicating one of my own axioms: “It’s never too late to screw up.”
But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. Ezekiel 18:24.