Does 2 Chronicles contradict 2 Kings 12 in its description of Joash?
Thank you for your continuous effort for defending and explaining the word of God so we all can grow in knowing and understanding it! I have issues with the consistency of some scriptures, and I hope you’ll help me overcome it. It’s about 2 Chronicles 24 and 2 Kings 12. We recently had a sermon on 2 Chronicles 24 about Joash and how he was good while the priest Jehoiada was his mentor, and after his death he turns bad and vicious. It’s even summed up in verse 2: “And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.”. The sermon was focused on Joash’s mistakes and sins after the death of Jehoiada. But if we look in 2 Kings 12, the verse 2 claims “And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” Later verse 3 mentions that he didn’t remove the high places, but all the overall “tone” of 2 Kings 12 is very positive of Jehoash/Joash till the end of chapter as he is the character to look up to? I must say I was surprised to read 2 Kings 12 after the sermon as if we’re not talking about the same king? Why is such a discrepancy in the accounts? Since this was discouraging for me, could you help me out understand it better, discard the doubts of contradictions and find the God’s wisdom in those verses. Thank you in advance!
Personally, I see no contradiction here, although I can see why, at first glance, it might appear that there is a discrepancy. First of all, we obviously know that Joash was a sinner and that he committed sins throughout his life. So, when 2 Chronicles says that he did right during the time of Jehoiada, this does not imply that he did not sin. It implies that he remained more or less faithful to God and I would assume that he did not get involved in obvious idolatry.
Both accounts agree that Joash went downhill, relatively, after the time he was influenced by Jehoiada. I believe that your description of him after Jehoiada died that he was bad and vicious might be just a bit overstated. I can think of no material claim in either account which contradicts the other. It may be true that 2 Kings puts a more positive “spin” on the life of Joash. In fact, compared to many other kings, he was relatively quite good. His biggest sin was not idolatry on his part, but it was lack of sufficiently strongly opposing the idolatry of those who continued to go to the high places. If we regard Joash for his life personally, he was relatively righteous, and both Chronicles and Kings see his life this way. If we regard him as a leader who should have more vigorously opposed the idolatry of his subjects, again, both accounts agree that Joash was relatively weak compared to kings such as Hezekiah and Josiah.