2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 23
The Accession of Joash.
JOASH MADE KING. — V. 1. And in the seventh year, namely, after Athaliah had usurped the power in Judah, Jehoiada strengthened himself, was filled with courage and energy, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah, the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael, the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah, the son of Obed, and Maaseiah, the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat, the son of Zichri, into covenant with him, these commanders of the guard being exceptionally trustworthy men. Cp. 2 Kings 11, 4. V. 2. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. So the centurions of the guard were reinforced by the Levites and by the tribe-chiefs, the heads of the father houses. All these were pledged to support the plan of Jehoiada, as it was put in operation in the Temple on a certain day. V. 3. And all the congregation, whose cooperation had been secured by the wise plan of Jehoiada, made a covenant with the king in the house of God, pledging him their support, in overthrowing Athaliah's tyranny and in upholding the rightful heir to the throne. And he, Jehoiada, said unto them, Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the Lord hath said of the sons of David, 2 Sam. 7, 12. V. 4. This is the thing that ye shall do: A third part of you entering on the Sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors, guarding the thresholds. It should be remembered that a certain part of the Levites retired from service every Sabbath, while an equal number resumed their ministry on that day. On this occasion they were apparently placed under the command of the centurions of the guards to insure proper military order, in case necessity should arise. V. 5. And a third part shall be at the king's house, posted near the royal palace, able to guard the entire passageway between palace and Temple; and a third part at the gate of the foundation, at the gate Jesod or Sur, 2 Kings 11, 6; and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the Lord, it being an easy matter to have such an assembly at one of the great annual festivals, when the number of visitors in Jerusalem was very great. V. 6. But let none come into the house of the Lord, the inner Temple, the Sanctuary proper with its court, save the priests and they that minister of the Levites, namely, in assisting in the offering of sacrifices; they shall go in, for they are holy, set apart especially for this duty; but all the people shall keep the watch of the Lord, behaving in a manner which would be in full accordance with all the precepts of the Lord. V. 7. And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand, furnished from the armory of David on the Temple grounds; and whosoever else cometh into the house, without being authorized to enter the inner Temple grounds, he shall be put to death; but be ye with the king when he cometh in and when he goeth out, to guard his life at all times. V. 8. So the Levites and all Judah, under the command of the centurions of the guard, did according to all things that Jehoiada, the priest, had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the Sabbath, for their regular term of duty, with them that were to go out on the Sabbath; for Jehoiada, the priest, dismissed not the courses, he, upon this occasion, detained those who would ordinarily have been excused, because he needed as large a force as he could possibly gather. V. 9. Moreover, Jehoiada, the priest, delivered to the captains of hundreds of spears and bucklers and shields that had been King David's, which were in the house of God, for captured arms were deposited as trophies in the house of God, 1 Chron. 18, 7 ff.; 2 Chron. 9, 24; 12, 10. V. 10. And he set all the people, those selected for this special work, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the Temple to the left side of the Temple, all the way across its entire area, along by the altar and the Temple, both the altar of burnt offering and the Sanctuary itself being included in this ring of defenders, by the king round about, who was placed inside this cordon. V. 11. Then they brought out the king's son, from his place of concealment somewhere in the Temple chambers, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, either a copy of the entire Law, or of that part which related to the duties of a king, Deut. 17, 18, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him and said, God save the king! literally, "May the king live!" an acclamation of loyalty. After days of darkness and affliction the Lord often sends days of special joy and blessing upon His people.
ATHALIAH SLAIN. — V. 12. Now, when Athaliah, from her palace on the other side of the valley, heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, for the joyful shouts of the people and the loud blasts of the Temple trumpets indicated an unusual occurrence on the Temple grounds, she came to the people, having rushed across the magnificent bridge of Solomon to the Temple grounds, into the house of the Lord; v. 13. and she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar, at the entering in, apparently some sort of a platform near the entrance to the Temple proper, and the princes and the trumpets by the king. And all the people of the land rejoiced and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of music, rendering some of the Temple music in honor of Jehovah, and such as taught to sing praise, with the psalms used on festival occasions. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, in grief and anger, signifying her deep disgust, and said, Treason, treason! This call was a last desperate attempt to stop the proceedings, as if they were unlawful. V. 14. Then Jehoiada, the priest, brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the hosts, those in charge of the guard and the Levites upon this occasion, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges, out of the Temple grounds, in such a way that she was led out between ranks of soldiers and had no chance to communicate with any followers; and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the Lord, where her blood would desecrate the Sanctuary. V. 15. So they laid hands on her, they arrested her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king's house, the entrance where the horses were led into the complex of buildings which formed the royal palace, near the royal stables, they slew her there. Thus the Lord's punishment was visited upon her for her idolatry and for her murders. The vengeance of the Lord is sometimes slow in coming, but it always finds the transgressors some time.
THE RIGHT WORSHIP RESTORED. — V. 16. And Jehoiada, who represented Jehovah at this assembly, 2 Kings 11, 17, made a covenant between him and between all the people and between the king, all of them joining in a solemn covenant of loyalty, that they should be the Lord's people. V. 17. Then all the people went to the house of Baal, a temple of idolatry erected under the direction of Athaliah somewhere in that neighborhood, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mat-tan, the priest of Baal, before the altars, thus putting an end to idolatry in Jerusalem. V. 18. Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the Lord, all the various orders of assistants and ministers on duty in the Temple and its grounds, by the hand of the priests, the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, assigning both their special tasks and the order of their serving by lot, 1 Chron. 23 to 25, to offer the burnt offerings of the Lord, as it is written in the Law of Moses, Num. 28, 2, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David, for the orders of singers were especially designated. V. 19. And he set the porters, in special divisions guarding the various entrances, at the gates of the house of the Lord, that none which was unclean in anything should enter in, for the contact of Levitically unclean persons defiled the Sanctuary, Lev. 5, 2. 3. V. 20. And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, all those occupying positions of influence and authority in ruling the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the Lord. And they came through the high gate, probably the gate of the Temple which led to the royal palace, into the king's house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom, the great ivory throne of Solomon. V. 21. And all the people of the land rejoiced; and the city was quiet after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword, any followers whom she might still have had in the city thought it best to hold their peace and not to attempt any hostile demonstration. Thus the Lord had put an end to the persecution of the tyrant and restored the true worship in Jerusalem. The usual result of persecution has ever been to cause the Church to be filled with new zeal for God and for His Word.