JEHOIADA (Heb. יְהוֹיָדָע; "yhwh has known," "yhwh has directed"), chief priest in the Temple in Jerusalem during the reigns of *Athaliah and *Joash of Judah. According to ii Chron. 22:11, Jehoiada was married to Jehosheba (called Jehoshabath in Chronicles), the daughter of King *Jehoram and the sister of Jehoram's son *Ahaziah (ii Kings 11:2; ii Chron. 22:11). Jehoiada had the most important role in the return of the throne to the house of David and the introduction of new administrative procedures in the Temple in Jerusalem. After Athaliah assumed the throne and killed all the royal family (ii Kings 11:1; ii Chron. 22:10), it was feared that the entire house of David would be exterminated. Jehosheba succeeded in saving the year-old Joash, the youngest son of Ahaziah. She hid him and his nurse for six years in a chamber of the Temple (ii Kings 11:2–3; ii Chron. 22:11–12), an undertaking to which Jehoiada, as "high priest" (ii Chron. 24: 6 calls him ha-rosh) was able to give much assistance.
As a result of the increased opposition to Athaliah and the Tyrian cult, which she had introduced in Jerusalem, Jehoiada led the resistance to the queen; the first account of a priest's involvement in the affairs of state in Judah (ii Kings 11:4–12; ii Chron. 23:1–11). According to Kings, the major forces against Athaliah were the priesthood and the *am haareẓ ("the People of the Land"), whose exact composition is debated, and the leaders of the Temple and palace guards, "the Carites and the guards" (the Carites, being foreigners, are omitted from the account of the Chronicler because he excludes foreigners from the temple). According to Chronicles, the entire people was involved in the revolt. The insurrection against Athaliah was preceded by the coronation ceremony of Joash in the temple. The young king was given the royal nezer, "diadem," and the edut. Gersonides takes this last to refer to the Torah; others to some covenant document or to an engraved amulet comparable to the priestly diadem of Ex. 23:36. He was also anointed (ii Kings 11:17–20; ii Chron. 23:16–21). After the ceremony Athaliah was killed outside the Temple (ii Kings 11:13–16; ii Chron. 23:12–15). Jehoiada then made a covenant between "yhwh, the king, and the people," and afterward, apparently between the people and the king (ii Kings 11:17; ii Chron. 23:16). Thus, the kingship of the Davidic dynasty was legally restored. It may be noted that an inscription carved in stone found in South Arabia, which served as a kind of constitution for the state of Qatabân, contains a similar covenant between God, the people, and the king (Pritchard, Texts, 511). The covenant of Jehoiada obligated the people to become "a people of yhwh"; i.e., to eliminate the Baal cult. Jehoiada remained the adviser teacher of the young king, but it seems that his influence was not limited to the religious sphere alone (ii Chron. 24:3).
Jehoiada's other functions were mainly related to the Temple. He instituted special directions concerning the sanctification of the altar and the purification of the Temple (ibid. 23:18–19), which were still in effect in the generation before the destruction of the Temple (Jer. 29:26). With the cooperation of the adolescent king, Jehoiada arranged for repairs of the Temple which had been neglected during the turmoil of the previous regime. After the priests refused to set aside money from that which was brought to the Temple for repairs, as they were supposed to have done (according to the version of the story in ii Chronicles 24, the priests refused to collect money in provincial cities), Jehoiada and the king agreed to designate a special box or chest (called shofar in the Second Temple period) in which "all the money brought to the house of the Lord" would be put (except for the purchase of guilt and sin offerings, which was kept by the priesthood). Jehoiada and the king then paid for the repairs from the money thus collected. According to Chronicles, Jehoiada lived 130 years, but this figure must be an exaggeration, especially since he died while Joash was still king. That he was much respected is attested by his burial in the city of David together with the kings (ii Chron. 24:16). According to ii Chronicles 24:17–22, of his sons, *Zechariah, was killed after his father's death because he rebuked Joash in harsh terms.
[Yehoshua M. Grintz /
S. David Sperling (2nd ed.)]
In the Aggadah
Jehoiada's piety was such that the verse "Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites" (i Chron. 12:28) is explained to the effect that "Had Aaron lived in the same generation, Jehoiada would have been superior to him" (Eccl. R. 1:4, no. 4). Jehoiada and his wife, Jehosheba, preserved the young Joash by hiding him in the upper chambers of the Temple during the summer, and in the cellars during the winter (Mid. Ps. 18:23).
Grintz, in: Zion, 23–24 (1958–59), 124ff.; J.A. Montgomery, The Book of Kings (icc, 1951), 416ff.; Bright, Hist, 234, 237; Rudolph, in: Bertholet-Festschrift (1950), 473ff. in the aggadah: Ginzberg, Legends, 4 (1947), 258; 6 (1946), 354; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964), 167. add. bibliography: M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, ii Kings (1988), 124–41; S. Japhet, i & ii Chronicles (1993), 825–51.