Fausset's Bible Dictionary


1. Jehu's son and successor; king over northern Israel nearly 17 years, 856-840 B.C. (2Ki_13:1-9). His reign began in the 22nd or even the 21st year (Josephus) of Joash of Judah, rather than the 23rd year. His persevering in his father's sin, namely, the worship of Jeroboam's calves, and his leaving the Asherah still standing in Samaria from the time of Ahab (1Ki_16:33), brought on Israel Jehovah's anger more than in Jehu's time; for the longer sin is persevered in, the heavier the final reckoning, an accumulated entail of guilt descends (Exo_20:5).

Hazael of Syria and his son Benhadad, as his commander in chief, scourged the people all Jehoahaz' (not as KJV "their") days (Exo_20:3; Exo_20:22), leaving him only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 footmen, "making the people like the dust by threshing": (Amo_1:3) "they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron," i.e. sledges on wheels with iron teeth, cutting the straw as well as threshing out the grain (2Sa_12:31; Isa_28:27). In his affliction Jehoahaz besought the Lord (Hos_5:15; Psa_78:34). "Jehovah hearkened unto him," Israel's oppression moving God's pity, irrespective of Israel's merits (2Ki_14:25-26). So "He gave Israel a saviour," not in Jehoahaz' reign, but in that of Joash and Jeroboam II his successors, who were each in turn "a saviour"; for the answer to prayer often comes when the petitioner is dead and gone (2Ki_14:22-25). Notwithstanding his misfortunes, Jehoahaz had shown "might" in the conflict with Syria.

2. The name given to Jehoram's youngest son during his father's lifetime. Ahaziah was his name as king (2Ch_21:17).

3. Son of Josiah; at his father's death the people took and made him king, 610 B.C., in preference to his two elder brothers, Johanan and Jehoiakim (1Ch_3:15; Jer_22:11; 2Ki_23:30-31; 2Ki_23:36; 2Ch_36:2). Zedekiah, though put before Jehoahaz or Shallum in 1Ch_3:15, was younger; 2Ch_36:11 he is given precedence because of his longer reign, namely, eleven years, whereas Jehoahaz reigned but three months, then was carried by Pharaoh Necho to Egypt, never to return. Jehoahaz, or Shallum, was born of the same mother as Zedekiah, namely, Hamutal; so they are put together, whereas Jehoiakim was son of Zebudah. With Josiah the regular succession of David's house ceased. The people set up Jehoahaz out of order; Johanan is never after mentioned; the pagan Pharaoh set up Jehoiakim; Nebuchadnezzar Zedekiah.

Jeremiah gave Jehoahaz the significant name Shallum, i.e. "to whom it is requited"; a second "Shallum," son of Jabesh, who reigned only one mouth in Samaria (2Ki_15:13), instead of Shalom, "peaceful," like Solomon: bitter irony! The popular party set great hopes upon him (Jer_22:10-12), as though he would deliver the kingdom from Pharaoh Necho, and "anointed" him with extraordinary ceremony to compensate for his defective title to the throne. Eze_19:3-4 compares him to "a young lion" which "learned to catch the prey and devoured men."

His mother, "Jerusalem," is called "a lioness," referring to her heathenish practices in sad contrast to Jerusalem's name (Isa_29:1) Ariel, "the lion of God," and Judah, "a lion's whelp ... an old lion" in a good sense (Gen_49:9). Meditating revenge for his father's death at Megiddo (2Ki_23:29-30), Jehoahaz was carried captive from "Riblah" in Hamath to Egypt by Pharaoh Necho; "they brought him with chains (or hooks or rings, fastened in wild beasts' noses, appropriate figure as he was compared to a 'lion'; the Assyrian king literally put a hook through the nose of captives, as appears in the Ninevite remains) unto ... Egypt." "He did evil in the sight of the Lord according to all that his fathers had done." Josephus says "he was godless and tyrannical (literally, polluted) in disposition." In 2Ch_36:3 "Jerusalem" is stated to be the place where the king of Egypt deposed him.

Doubtless Pharaoh, having there dethroned him, took him thence to "Riblah." After his victory at Megiddo, Necho intended to march forward to the Euphrates, but hearing that Jehoahaz had ascended the throne as the people's favorite, whose leanings would be on the side of Babylon against Egypt, like Josiah's, he sent a division of his army, which took Jerusalem and dethroned Jehoahaz, and laid a heavy tribute on the land. Eliakim would readily act as his vassal, as owing his elevation to the throne, under the name Jehoiakim to Necho.

Indeed Pharaoh did not recognize the reign of Jehoahaz because elevated without his consent; therefore the words are "Pharaoh made Eliakim king in the room of Josiah his father" (2Ki_23:34). The main army marched slowly to Riblab, his head quarters, and thither he had Jehoahaz brought, then chained and taken to Egypt. The people, feeling Jehoiakim's heavy taxation for the tribute to Egypt (2Ki_23:35), lamented for their favorite in spite of his faults. Jer_22:10; "weep ye not for the dead (Josiah; 2Ch_35:24-25), (so much as) for him that goeth away; for he shall return no more," namely, Jehoahaz. Dying saints are to be envied, living sinners to be pitied. Jeremiah's undesigned coincidence with the facts recorded in the history confirms the truth of both.


Taken from: Fausset's Bible Dictionary by Andrew Robert Fausset (1821-1910)