Jehoahaz the Deportee

Michael Wilcock

READ : 2 Kings 23:28-34

He came to Egypt and died there. (v. 34)

In the story of the kings, Jehoahaz is nowhere near as important as his father Josiah, but his little portrait is still worth a look.

Josiah had been killed in battle, trying to halt an Egyptian army on its way to a theater of war in the north. When the army returned three months later, the Egyptian pharaoh was not pleased to find a son of Josiah on the throne of Judah. Especially since he had the same political views as his father. Jehoahaz was duly removed and taken away into exile.

At this point the prophet Jeremiah (22:10) had a message for the nation. He and Josiah had been much of an age, the two greatest figures in Israel in those days. “Don’t grieve over the one who has died,” said God through his prophet; “grieve over the one who is going into exile.” Josiah the Departed: a tragic loss, cut off in his prime? Maybe; but his work was done, and had been done well and thoroughly. Jehoahaz the Deported—now that really should dismay Yahweh’s disobedient people, as the king of their choice is carried off to Egypt, and the hopes they pinned to him disappear, as it were, into the sand. The way is cleared for another, of all the sons of David the greatest blasphemer, to take the crown. He will be pharaoh’s choice (though at the same time Yahweh’s choice), and the trigger for invasion, the destruction of city and kingdom, and exile in Babylon.

PRAYER

Remind us, Lord: for good or ill, your plans are unstoppable.