Kings of Judah


Jehoahaz or Joachaz in the Douay-Rheims and some other English translations (Hebrew: יְהוֹאָחָז, Modern {{{2}}} Tiberian {{{3}}}, meaning "Jehovah has held"; Greek: Ιωαχαζ; Latin: Joachaz) was king of Judah (3 months in 609 BC) and son of king Josiah whom he succeeded and Hamautal, daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. (2 Kings 23:31) He was born in 633/632 BC and his birth name was Shallum (1 Chronicles 3:15). Although he was two years younger than his brother, Eliakim,[1] he was elected to succeed his father on the throne at the age of twenty-three, under the name Jehoahaz. He reigned for only three months, before being deposed by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho II (2 Kings 23:31-34) and taken into Egytian captivity.

He disregarded the reforms of his father Josiah. (2 Kings 23:32; Jeremiah 22:15-16)

Both William F. Albright and E. R. Thiele dated his reign to 609 BC,[2] making his birth in 633/632 BC. Jehoahaz was the first king of Judah to die in exile.

War Against Egypt

In the spring or early summer of 609 BC, Necho II went to war against Babylon, in aid of the Assyrians. He moved his forces along the coast route Via Maris into Syria, the low tracts of Philistia and Sharon and prepared to cross the ridge of hills which shuts in on the south the Jezreel Valley. There he found his passage blocked at Megiddo by the Judean army led by Josiah, who sided with the Babylonians. After a fierce battle Josiah was killed. (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:20-24) The Assyrians and their allies the Egyptians fought the Babylonians at Harran. The Babylonian Chronicle dates the battle from Tammuz (July-August) to Elul (August-September) of 609 BC. Josiah was therefore killed in the month of Tammuz, 609 BC, 609 BC or the month prior, when the Egyptians were on their way to Harran.[3] Chronological considerations related to his successor limit the month in which Josiah was killed and Jehoahaz took the throne to Tammuz. He was deposed three months later, in the month Tishri (2 Kings 23:31).

Necho proceeded with his campaign against the Babylonians, joining forces with the Assyrian Ashur-uballit II and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran, which they failed to capture, and retreated back to northern Syria, and the Assyrian Empire collapsed.

On his return march from the Babylonian campaign, Necho dealt with the Judeans who had fought for the wrong side. He found that the Judeans had selected Jehoahaz to succeed his father Josiah. Necho deposed Jehoahaz and appointed his older brother Eliakim as king, who took the throne name Jehoiakim. He also imposed a tribute of 100 talents of silver and unknown amount of gold upon Judah. He brought Jehoahaz back to Egypt as his prisoner, where Jehoahaz ended his days.[4] (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chronicles 36:1-4)

Jehoahaz of Judah
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Judah
Tammuz (July) to
Tishri (October) 609 BC
Succeeded by


  1. 2 Kings 23:36
  2. Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, (1st ed.; New York: Macmillan, 1951; 2d ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965; 3rd ed.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan/Kregel, 1983). ISBN 082543825X, 9780825438257, 217.
  3. Ibid., 182, 184-185.
  4. Philip J. King, Jeremiah: An Archaeological Companion (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), page 20.

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