2 KINGS CHAPTER 12.
The Reign of Jehoash of Judah.
THE TEMPLE REPAIRED. — V. 1. In the seventh year of Jehu, the king of Israel who had eradicated Baal-worship in Israel, Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name, which is mentioned on account of the influence of the queen-mother in an Oriental harem, was Zibiah of Beersheba. V. 2. And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada, the priest, instructed him; as long as this staunch, faithful, God-fearing priest lived, he permitted himself to be guided by his instruction. V. 3. But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned Incense in the high places, they persisted in using the hills for the erection and maintenance of altars, to Jehovah indeed, but against His wish. It was most unfortunate that a change in the behavior of Jehoash took place after the death of Jehoiada, 2 Chron. 24, 17-22. V. 4. And Jehoash said to the priests, in the first part of his reign, while he was still being guided in all his undertakings by the faithful old high priest, All the money of the dedicated things, such as were consecrated to Jehovah by special vow or commandment, that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, literally, “the money of valuation of a man, that which the priest assessed him upon the completion of a vow, Lev. 27, 2ff., the money that every man is set at, the half-shekel poll-tax, Ex. 30, 13. 15, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord, all the free-will offerings outside of the fixed contributions, Ex. 13,2. 12. 13; Num. 18, 15-17, v.5. let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance, the people of his own city and district; and let them repair the breaches of the house, where the Temple was in need of repairs on account of the ravages of time and through the willful destruction of Athaliah, 2 Chron. 24, 7, wheresoever any breach shall be found. V. 6. But it was so that in the three and twentieth year of King Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house, the reason for this strange neglect not being given. Cp. 2 Chron. 24, 5. V. 7. Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada, the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? The matter having been left to their discretion, the priests had probably used all the money for the needs of the worship. Now, therefore, receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house. The entire matter had not been carried forward with the energy which its importance demanded, and so new measures were determined upon. V. 8. And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, they would no longer act as collectors and custodians of these contributions, neither to repair the breaches of the house, the responsibility for the repairs would no longer rest upon them. It was the usual case of burdening the men in the office of the ministry with business affairs. Cp. Acts 6, 2. V. 9. But Jehoiada, the priest, took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, where the money-contributions of every form could be dropped, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord, on the right side of the entrance to the priests’ court, near the altar of burnt offering, cp. 2 Chron. 24, 9. 10; and the priests that kept the door, those whose duty consisted in guarding the threshold of the inner court, put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord. V. 10. And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe, his chief civil secretary, as representing the state in this public affair, and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, binding it up in special receptacles for the purpose, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord, estimating the sum which had been received by weighing the bags. V. 11. And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, the contractors in charge of the repairs, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord; and they laid it out, literally, “let it go forth,” to the carpenters and builders that wrought upon the house of the Lord, v. 12. and to masons and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. The fund was used to pay the wages of the different workmen, and to purchase the necessary building materials. V. 13. Howbeit, there were not made for the house of the Lord, namely, while the work of repairing was going on, bowls of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, cp. 1 Kings 7, 50, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord; v. 14. but they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord. It was only after all the repair work was finished that gold and silver utensils were procured with the money remaining, 2 Chron. 24, 14. V. 15. Moreover, they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen, they demanded no account of funds received and dispensed of the overseers of the building; for they dealt faithfully, implicit trust was placed in their integrity. V. 16. The trespass-money and sin-money was not brought into the house of the Lord; it was the priests’; they lost no revenue on account of the entire arrangement, for the income from these two sources still remained, Num. 5, 8.9; Lev. 5, 16; 6,24. Even today it is a work well pleasing to God, if Christians serve the Lord with their offerings for the extension of His kingdom at home and abroad. And the leaders of the Church do well in setting the duty of believers before them always, lest the work of the Lord be hindered.
WAR WITH HAZAEL. — V. 17. Then Hazael, king of Syria, the same king who had harassed Israel for so many years, went up and fought against Gath, the Philistine city which at that time was in the hands of Judah, 2 Chron. 11, 8, cp. 2 Chron. 24, 15-24, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem, at which time, according to the account in Chronicles, he administered the severe defeat upon the army of Jehoash, who had forsaken Jehovah after the death of Jehoiada. V. 18. And Jehoash, king of Judah, took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahazlah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, gifts of consecration to Jehovah, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord and In the king’s house, and sent It to Hazael, king of Syria; and he went away from Jerusalem. The utensils which, according to 2 Chron. 24, 7, Athaliah and her sons had taken from the Temple, and misappropriated to the service of Baal, had no doubt been restored to their original purpose before the occasion mentioned in chap. 11, 18.3) So Jehoash was obliged to buy the immunity of the city of Jerusalem from HazaeL in such a shameful manner, all for his denial of the Lord in the last years of his reign. V. 19. And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? V. 20. And his servants, who had not forgotten the tyranny of the king against the sons of Jehoiada, 2 Chron. 24, 25, arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash In the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla, probably in the castle of the fortress of Jerusalem, where it bounded on the main street of the city. V. 21. For Jozachar, the son of Shimmeath, and Jehozabad, the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David. And Amaziah, his son, reigned in his stead. Although Jehoash was buried in the city of David, he was not given the honor of a burial in the tombs of the kings, probably on account of the sins named 2 Chron. 24, 17-22. This story is a solemn warning for such as have been enthusiastic in the service of the Lord, but afterward have fallen into ways of sin. Only he who is faithful to the end will be saved.