Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text III-The Form of the Covenant II
Yehoiada then made a covenant between God and the king and people that they would be God’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Then Yehoiada the kohen posted guards at the temple of God. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of God and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.
Yoash was seven years old when he began to reign. (II Kings 11:17-21)
“Between God, and between the King, and between the nation… And between the King and between the nation.” There are numerous covenants being sealed in this verse. We have already discussed the initial covenant between the people and God that they would relate to each other as a nation. Yehoiada insists that the covenant not only be between the people and God, the people to each other, but that the new and young King act as a separate participant in the sealing of this covenant.
As we have seen in Historical Background V, long after Ahab had violated the covenant between God and the people, he violated the covenant between the King and the people. When he allowed Jezebel to frame Naboth so that he could seize the vineyard, Ahab violated the covenant of a King to protect his subjects. The violation was all the greater because he stepped back and allowed Jezebel, his evil Queen, to manipulate all the events so that he could pretend to be innocent. This was not just a king seizing property; this was a King seizing property under the guise of righteousness, an innocent beneficiary of someone else’s evil plan. This was the King pretending to care about his people even as he allowed Jezebel to violate them. Yehoiada insisted that the new King commit himself as King to this covenant of the nation, before God, to relate to each other as a nation. Yoash had to repair the damage that Ahab and Jezebel had done to the relationship between the King and the people. He would never succeed in truly serving as a king who could unify the people unless he too pledged himself to renew the covenant of a king to protect his subjects.
Yehoiada also had to address the damage caused by Athaliah when she massacred King David’s family (Historical Background III). The people had lost any sense of the royal families serving the people; there had been close to a century of people in power fighting only for their own power and not for the sake of the people. This renewed covenant had to reassure the people that their young and inexperienced king would focus on his role, serving God as he leads the people, and serving the nation as they relate to God.
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