Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text V-The Seeds of Destruction
“In the seventh year of Yehu, Yoashbecame king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Yoash did what was right in the eyes of God all the years Yehoiada the kohen instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there (II Kings 12:1-3).”
In these few verses we find the seeds of one of the greatest tragedies that would be part of the process that led to the destruction of the Temple and part of the actual destruction; the murder of Zechariah, whose blood would bubble and boil on the Temple floor until its destruction. The verse makes it clear that Yoash only continued to do what was right in the eyes of God as long as his teacher Yehoiada lived. Yehoiada had even assumed fatherly responsibilities: “Yehoiada chose two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters (II Chronicles 25:3).” Yoash would come to murder Yehoiada’s son, a kohen and prophet. (See: Biblical Personalities-Yoash) We also see that there was still a lack of a strong connection between the people and God’s House because they continued to worship in the “High Places.”
Our story will include Yoash’s efforts to strengthen the connection between the people and the Temple, however, let us first reflect on these seeds of destruction:
“Now Yehoiada was old and full of years, and he died at the age of a hundred and thirty. He was buried with the kings in the City of David, because of the good he had done in Israel for the Lord and His temple. After the death of Yehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. They abandoned the temple of God, the Lord of their ancestors, and worshiped Asherah poles and idols. Because of their guilt, the Lord’s anger came on Judah and Jerusalem. Although God sent prophets to the people to bring them back to him, and though they testified against them, they would not listen.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Zechariah son of Yehoiada the kohen. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey God’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken God, he has forsaken you.’”
But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of God’s temple. King Yoash did not remember the kindness Zechariah’s father Yehoiada had shown him but killed his son, who said as he lay dying, ‘May God see this and call you to account’ (II Chronicles 24:15-22).”
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