Jo'tham (Heb. Yotham',יוֹתָ, Jehovah is upright; Sept. and N. Test. Ι᾿ωάθαμ, but Ι᾿ωαθάμ in 1Ch 2:47 Ι᾿ωνάθαν v.r. Ι᾿ωαθαν in 1Ch 3:12; v.r. Ι᾿ωθάμ in 1Ch 5:17; v.r. Ι᾿ωάθαν in 2Ch 26:21; v.r. Ι᾿ωνάθαν in 2Ch 26:23; Josephus Ι᾿ωάθαμος, Ant. 5, 7, 2; 9,11, 2 sq. Vulg. Joathan and Joatham; Auth. Vers. "Joatham," Mt 1:9), the name of several men.
1. The second named of the six sons of Jahdai, of the family of Caleb the Hezronite (l Chronicles 2:47). B.C. post 1612.
2. The youngest of Gideon's seventy legitimate sons, and the only one who escaped when the rest were massacred by the order of Abimelech (Jg 9:5). B.C. 1322. When the fratricide was made King by the people of Shechem, the young Jotham was so daring as to make his appearance on Mount Gerizim for the purpose of lifting up a protesting voice, and of giving vent to his feelings (see Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 210). This he did in a beautiful parable, wherein the trees are represented as making choice of a king, and bestowing on the bramble the honor which the cedar, the olive. and the vine would not accept. SEE FABLE. The obvious application, which, indeed, Jotham failed not himself to point out, must have been highly exasperating to Abimelech and his friends; but the speaker fled, as soon as he had delivered his parable, to the town of Beer and remained there out of his brother's reach (Jg 9:7-21). We hear no more of him; but three years after, if then living, he saw the accomplishment of the malediction he had pronounced (Jg 9:57);
3. A person named by Josephus (Ι᾿ωάθαμος, Ant. 8, 1, 3) as the son of Bukki and father of Meraioth, in the regular line of Phinehas's descendants, although he (incorrectly) states that these lived privately; he seems to refer to ZERAHIAH SEE ZERAHIAH (q.v.) of the scriptural list (1Ch 6:5). SEE HIGH PRIEST.
4. The eleventh king of the separate kingdom of Judah, and son of Uzziah (by Jerusha, daughter of Zadok), whom he succeeded B.C. 756; he reigned sixteen years (comp. the synchronism in 1Ch 5:17). His father having during his last years been excluded by leprosy from public life, the government was administered by his son, at that time twenty-five years of age (2Ch 26:21; 2Ch 27:1; 2Ki 15:33). B.C. 781. SEE UZZIAH. For the chronological difficulties of his reign (see Crusius, De oera Jothamica, Lips. 1756; Winer's Realwörterb. s.v.), SEE CHRONOLOGY. Jotham profited by the experience which the reign of his father, and of the kings who preceded him, afforded, and he ruled in the fear of God, although he was unable to correct all the corrupt practices into which the people had fallen. His sincere intentions were rewarded with a prosperous reign. He was successful in his wars. The Ammonites, who had "given gifts" as a sort of tribute to Uzziah, but had ceased to do so after his leprosy had incapacitated him from governing, were constrained by Jotham, but not till several years after he had become settled as sole monarch, to pay, for the three remaining years of his reign, a heavy tribute in silver, wheat, and barley (2Ch 26:8; 2Ch 27:5-6). Many important public works were also undertaken and accomplished by Jotham. The principal gate of the Temple was rebuilt by him on a more magnificent scale; the quarter of Ophel, in Jerusalem, was strengthened by new fortifications; various towns were built or rebuilt in the mountains of Judah; and castles and towers of defense were erected in the wilderness. Jotham died greatly lamented by his people, and was buried in the sepulchre of the kings (2Ki 15:38; 2Ch 17:3,9). B.C. 740. His reign was favored with the ministrations of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah (Isa 1:1; Isa 7:1; Ho 1:1; Mic 1:1). SEE JUDAH.
5. A high priest named by Josephus (Ι᾿ωάθσμος, Ant. 10, 8, 6) as son of Joel and father of Urijah in the regular incumbency; probably the AMARIAH SEE AMARIAH (q.v.) of 1Ch 6:11). SEE HIGH PRIEST.