11 Then they brought out the king's son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, Let the king live.

Crowning the king at the temple

The counter-revolution may have been planned for one of the great feast days, when a gathering at the temple, and an enlarged presence of Levites, might not have occasioned comment. At the least, Jehoiada timed the event to coincide with the sabbath, when the normal exchange of weekly courses took place.

Since all leave had been cancelled, 13 the number of Levites was suddenly doubled, for Jehoiada intended them to be in the vanguard of an uprising which would begin at the sanctuary. First and foremost, this was to be a spiritual revolution. Under the High Priest, therefore, the Levites were divided into three companies, the first to stand guard at the temple itself, the second to be stationed at the palace, and the third to be positioned at the gate of the foundation. 14

From the king's house, all the way to the house of God, the street was bounded by ranks of Levites who lined the way. 15 It was more than an honour guard, for Jehoiada had furnished these Levites with weapons from the temple treasury, since it would be their task to protect the young king. 16

With the Levites in place, the people were assembled in the court of Yahweh's house, where they also stood ready to prevent any unauthorised entrance into the temple precinct itself. 17 They did not yet know the full reason for their gathering, but an air of excitement hung over the multitude.

They were not to be disappointed, for with the scene set, Jehoiada dramatically brought forth Joash, and presented him before the nation. Upon the head of the young king they put the crown, and into his hand they placed the scroll of the law, perhaps removing it from beside the ark of the Covenant for this occasion. The effect was dramatic indeed, and for good reason.

All the faithful in the nation must have been gripped with despair when hearing that Athaliah had extinguished the royal line, for a worse catastrophe could not have been imagined. But to find that a descendant of David had been saved, and stood before them now as king elect, was a discovery that amazed and enthralled everyone.

Not only was Joash crowned, but Jehoiada anointed him to office, something he had certainly not done when Athaliah had seized the throne. Through the providence of God working with this faithful couple, the royal line of David was not only saved from extinction but also restored to its rightful place. But the reinstatement of David's line was also a call to return to the spiritual standards of David's day.

Joash was but the symbol for this return to the past, a symbol which Jehoiada wisely used to help inspire the nation. And inspire them it did, for a great shout echoed out across the temple mount, as the assembly grasped the significance of this day, and the possibilities it brought.

13 2 Chronicles 23: 8.

14 2 Chronicles 23: 4,5.

15 The phrase "have her forth of the ranges" (2 Chronicles 23: 14) refers to these two rows of Levites who lined the street. Cp. Rotherham: "take her forth within the ranks."

16 A careful reading of the narrative suggests that it was only the Levites and guards who were armed (2 Chronicles 23: 7-9), and that these were therefore the "people" referred to as directly surrounding the king (verse 10).

17 2 Chronicles 23: 5,6.

Restoring true worship in the nation

16 And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be Yahweh's people.

Jehoiada had planned the outcome of this day. He knew that it must reach beyond the overthrow of Athaliah and the enthronement of Joash. A deeper change was needed within the nation; and, capturing the joy of the people at the overthrow of so wicked a despot, the old priest immediately solemnised a covenant between himself, the people, and their king. It was a vow to return to the true worship of the God who had called them, for implicit in their covenant to be Yahweh's people lay a recognition that they had departed from Him.

This day, then, marked not only the coronation of a new king, but also the inauguration of a new epoch. Jehoiada wanted it to begin with the very best of standards as the benchmark to follow, for, new epoch though it was, it would certainly not be founded on new ideas, or new principles. He was anxious that there be no deviation from the original standards of worship prescribed of old.

The work of the priests would be reinstated in strict accord with the requirements of Moses as written in thee law, and the role of the singers was to be resumed in exact conformity to the writings of David in his ordinances. 20 Jehoiada had good cause to recommence the daily burnt offering, for the Evening and morning lamb of the continual sacrifice was the very foundation and framework of the Mosaic system. 21

The "daily" was symbolic of the entire schedule of offerings, and its own perpetuity was to become synonymous with the survival of the nation itself. Its reinstatement would mark a return to the purity of their original worship, a worship which had so evidently been interrupted in the dark reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah and Athaliah.

But the continual lamb was linked to the offering of continual incense 22 and to the giving of continual praise. 23 The priests were needed for the former, but singers for the latter; and, of all the singers, the family already famous for their music to accompany the daily lamb was the House of Asaph. From the day of Asaph's appointment, this family had sung every evening and every morning before the ark, as part of the service of the tamiyd.

Who better, then, to have the oversight of resuming this song, than the House of Asaph, whose guardian care had more than once brought the nation back to its spiritual centre? Here they were, then, again. Whenever there was a spiritual revival in the nation, this family was immediately there, and immediately ready to contribute. It spoke volumes about their own commitment, that when the nation went astray, they did not waver or decline from their own standard of continual faithfulness.

It was to the credit of Jehoiada that, from the moment of this inauguration until his own death, itself perhaps divinely prolonged, 24 the daily burnt offering was made, and that with it arose the daily song of praise. 25 The House of Asaph were there to sing for the old priest, and many of them were the same singers who had helped deliver the nation in the time of Jehoshaphat, some twenty-five years earlier.

A few of the oldest voices were gone, and some of the youngest ones but recently added, but when a faithful leader needed them, this illustrious household was yet again instant in its response.

20 2 Chronicles 23:18.

21 The schedule of offerings set down in the law was comprehensively listed (Numbers

28-29), but it all began with the daily evening and morning lamb (28:1-8).

22 Exodus 30:7,8.

23 1 Chronicles 16:37; 23:30.

24 His death at the remarkable age of one hundred and thirty (2 Chronicles 24:15) might reasonably imply that his life was miraculously extended to assist with the instruction of young J oash for as long as possible.

25 Attention is drawn in the record to this practice (again using the term tamiyd) while Jehoiada remained alive (2 Chronicles 24:14-16). It was a testimony to his faithful spirit in restoring true worship in the nation.

Bro Roger Lewis - The House of Asaph