When we read 2nd Kings 12 (a little more than 2 months ago), we saw the sad decline that occurred in Judah after the passing of the priest, Jehoiada. The same story is recounted here with additional details.
We could focus on the early success of Joash... specifically, the hefty offering which he collected for the remodeling of the temple. Or, we could focus on the evils that defined the end of his reign. He was, after all, guilty of the blood of Jehoiada's son. And he approved of the reintroduction of idolatry into his realm. Instead, let's meditate briefly on the moral and spiritual vacillation of the princes of Judah.
The Jewish princes helped Jehoiada to make his coup a success (2nd Chronicles 23:13). Then they gave generously to the building fund collection so that Joash and Jehoiada could improve and restore the temple (2nd Chronicles 24:10). Yet, when Jehoiada was dead, the princes came promptly to King Joash and requested that they be allowed to move on from Jehoiada's faith to their own (2nd Chronicles 24:17 & 18). Those same princes rejected the word of God (2nd Chronicles 24:19) and were even part and parcel to the execution of their preacher in the same temple that they had both funded and forsaken (2nd Chronicles 24:21). Not surprisingly, those fickle aristocrats did not escape unscathed in their apostasy. 2nd Chronicles 24:23 & 24 tells us that God allowed Syrians to come into Judah and to destroy those same princes.
It is true, Joash was guilty. And, Joash paid for his own sinful desertion. At the end of his life, he was diseased and unloved. Finally, his own servants assassinated him. But, might his story have ended differently if the princes in Judah had behaved differently?