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JEHOAHAZ (Heb. יוֹאָחָז ,יְהוֹאָחָז; "YHWH has grasped"), son of *Josiah and Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah (II Kings 23:31), king of Judah (609 B.C.E.). At first his name was Shallum (Jer. 22:11) but it was later changed to Jehoahaz, apparently when he was made king. The new name with the theophoric element referring to YHWH may be a reflection of the reforming spirit of Josiah. In the genealogical list of the descendants of David in I Chronicles 3:15, Shallum is entered as the fourth son of Josiah, whereas the first born was Johanan. It seems probable therefore that despite the Septuagint, which reads Jehoahaz instead of Johanan in I Chronicles 3:15, Jehoahaz was not the first born and that the Am ha-Areẓ ("People of the land") deliberately gave him precedence (II Chron. 36:1). Jehoahaz was made king, at the age of 23, in the summer of 609 B.C.E., after Josiah his father had been killed in the battle against Pharaoh *Necoh at Megiddo. It has been suggested that he was the nominee of the circles which favored the alliance with the ascending Neo-Babylonian Kingdom – bitter enemies of Assyria – who were hostile to Egypt's attempt to save Assyria from total destruction. Three months later, when Necoh returned from fighting the Babylonians and their allies – the Medes (from the district of Haran) – he deposed Jehoahaz and put his elder brother Eliakim, i.e., *Jehoiakim, in his place (II Kings 23:33–34; II Chron. 36:3–4). Accordingly, Jehoahaz reigned from about Tammuz to Tishri of that year (609 B.C.E.). Possibly the notice that "he did evil in the eyes of YHWH" (II King 23:2) is inspired by the needs of theodicy to account for the shortness of his reign. It would seem that the tradition of II Kings 23:33, which says that Jehoahaz was deposed at Riblah in the land of Hamath, is to be preferred to that of II Chronicles 36:3, according to which he was deposed in Jerusalem. It is probable that Jehoahaz came before Necoh at Riblah, where his temporary headquarters were, in order to humble himself, but that Necoh did not accept his submission. He imposed a monetary fine of "a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold" upon Judah (II Kings 23:33). This fine was paid by Jehoiakim, who collected it from the Am ha-Areẓ (ibid. 23:33–35). The tragic fate of Jehoahaz son of Josiah, who was exiled to Egypt and died there, served as the subject of an elegy by Jeremiah (Jer. 22: 10–12) and later by Ezekiel (Ezek. 19:4). An (unprovenanced) seal with the image of a rooster, dated paleographically to the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.E., reads: lyhwʾḥz bn hmlk, "belonging to Jehoahaz son of the king."


Bright, Hist, 303; Tadmor, in: JNES, 15 (1956), 226–30; Vogt, in: VT, Supplement, 4 (1957), 92–97; S. Yeivin, in: Tarbiz, 14 (1941), 264–5; Malamat, in: IEJ, 18 (1968), 137–44. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: N. Avigad, Eretz Israel, 9 (1969), 9; B. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings (AB; 1988), 303–4; S. Ahituv, Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions (1992), 118.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.