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This chapter begins with the reign of Joash king of Judah, son of Ahaziah, ( 2 Chronicles 24:1-3), relates his concern and care to repair the temple, ( 2 Chronicles 24:4-14), the death of Jehoiada the priest, during whose life he reigned well, but after his death sadly apostatized, ( 2 Chronicles 24:15-19), for which, being reproved by Zechariah, he was so wroth with him as to order him to be stoned, ( 2 Chronicles 24:20-22), wherefore for these evils enemies were raised up against him; he was smitten with diseases, and his servants conspired against him and slew him, and would not bury him among the kings, ( 2 Chronicles 24:23-27).
Ver. 1 ,2. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign , etc.] This, and the following verse, are the same with ( 2 Kings 11:21 12:1,2) Ver. 3 . And Jehoiada took for him two wives , etc.] Not for himself; he had a wife who was aunt to King Joash, and he had sons who were concerned with him in anointing him, ( 2 Chronicles 22:11 23:11) and was now upwards of one hundred years of age; but for the king, when he was at an age fit for marriage, he advised him to marry, and proposed wives to him, whom he thought would be agreeable; for, observing what mischief was done both in church and state through Jehoram’s marrying Athaliah, he was desirous of preventing any such disagreeable marriage; and as the young king was in all things guided and directed by him, so he was in this; and no doubt they were good women he pitched upon, and proposed to the king; one of them was Jehoadan, ( 2 Chronicles 25:1), but the name of the other we know not: and he begat sons and daughters ; how many is not said, nor do we read of the names of any of them, but of Amaziah who succeeded him.
Ver. 4 . And it came to pass after this , etc.] After his marriage, when he was about twenty or twenty one years of age, perhaps: that Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord ; which in some places might be fallen to decay, having been built one hundred and fifty years or more, and in others defaced by Athaliah, and needed ornamenting, (see 2 Kings 12:4).
Ver. 5 . And he gathered together the priests and Levites , etc.] To communicate his mind unto, and give them a charge and instructions: and said unto them, go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year ; what money he means is more fully explained in ( 2 Kings 12:4), and see that ye haste the matter ; for he was very desirous of having this work accomplished, it being the place of the worship of God, and where he had been preserved in his infancy: howbeit, the Levites hastened it not ; either through negligence in them to collect the money, or backwardness in the people to give, or through an avaricious disposition to keep it, and use it for themselves; so that it was delayed unto the twenty third year of his reign ( 2 Kings 12:6).
Ver. 6 . And the king called for Jehoiada the chief , etc.] Who was either the high priest, or the head of his course, or, however, the chief of the priests and Levites concerned in this affair, and, indeed, was the chief or prime minister of state: and said unto him, why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah, and out of Jerusalem, the collection ; the money to repair the house they were ordered to collect, ( 2 Chronicles 25:6) according to the commandment of Moses the servant of the Lord and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness ? for the repair of it, such as Moses required, and the people used to pay, referring to the half shekel; or to a freewill offering of the people, Moses enjoined or directed to.
Ver. 7 . For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman , etc.] Not Ahaziah and his brethren, in the lifetime of Jehoram, but sons of Athaliah by another man, as Kimchi suggests: had broken up the house of God ; not that they had made ruptures in it, or broke down the walls of it, but had defaced it by taking off the gold and silver upon it: and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon Baalim ; not strictly all, but a great many of them, as this word in many instances is used, as Kimchi observes, and with them furnished, beautified, and adorned the temple of Baal.
Ver. 9 . And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem , etc.] By heralds appointed for the purpose: to bring in to the Lord ; into the house of the Lord, and for the reparation of it; and so for his service, honour, and glory: the collection that Moses the servant of the Lord laid upon Israel in the wilderness ; not to bring in the tabernacle of Moses, as the Targum here and in ( 2 Chronicles 24:6), but such a voluntary gift as Moses moved the children of Israel to bring, when in the wilderness, for the service of the tabernacle.
Ver. 10 . And all the princes and all the people rejoiced , etc.] When they heard the proclamation, and understood for what use the money was to be given, and in what manner; all was agreeable and pleasing to them: and brought in, and cast into the chest ; through the hole that was in the lid of it, ( 2 Kings 12:9), until they had made an end : everyone had given as much as he could, or thought fit to give.
Ver. 11 . Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king’s office by the hand of the Levites , etc.] The place where his officer or officers met, appointed for this service; very probably in one of the chambers of the temple, and when they saw that there was much money : (see 2 Kings 12:10), the king’s scribe ; or secretary: and the high priest’s officer ; his “sagan”, or deputy priest: came and emptied the chest ; poured out the money, and told it, and put it up in bags, ( 2 Kings 12:10) and took it, and carried it to its place again, ( 2 Chronicles 24:8), by the hands of the Levites that brought it; and thus they did day by day ; as often as the chest was full, or they perceived there was much in it: and gathered money in abundance ; enough to repair the house, ornament it, and furnish it with vessels that were wanting.
Ver. 12 . And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord , etc.] That is, they gave it to those who were overseers of them, to pay them with it, ( 2 Kings 12:11) and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the Lord (see Kings 12:12) and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the Lord ; where it required any work of that kind.
Ver. 13 . So the workmen wrought , etc.] The masons, carpenters, blacksmiths, and brasiers: and the work was perfected by them ; the business of repairs was completely finished: and they set the house of God in his state ; as it was at first: and strengthened it ; so that it seemed as firm and stable as when first built.
Ver. 14 . And when they had finished it , etc.] The repairs of the house, all that were necessary: they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada : that is, the overseers, when they had paid the workmen, brought what was left of the money collected to the king and the priest, to dispose of as they should think fit: whereof were made vessels for the house of the Lord ; in the room of such that Athaliah and her sons had taken away, and converted to the use of Baal; for though it is said, ( 2 Kings 12:13), that none were made of this money, the meaning is, that none were made of it until the work was finished, and the workmen paid: even vessels to minister and offer withal ; which, according to Jarchi, were pestles and mortars to beat spices with; but Kimchi thinks they were small vessels with which they drew wine out of the bin for drink offerings: and spoons and vessels of gold and silver: (see 2 Kings 12:13), and they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada ; the daily sacrifice, morning and evening.
Ver. 15 . But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died , etc.] A very old man; few at this time arrived to such an age; he was a rare instance: One hundred and thirty years old was he when he died ; the oldest man we read of from the times of Moses, and older than he by ten years.
Ver. 16 . And they buried him in the city of David among the kings , etc.] In honour to him, he having been the preserver of the king, and of the kingdom, and being by marriage a relation of the present king, uncle to him: because he had done good in Israel ; in that part of it which belonged to the kingdom of the house of David: both towards God, and towards his house ; both for the restoring the pure worship of God, and the repairs of the temple.
Ver. 17 . Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah , etc.] Who had been secretly inclined to idolatry, but durst not discover it during the life of Jehoiada; whose influence at court was too great for them to counterwork, but when dead they came to court: and made obeisance to the king ; bowed in a very lowly manner, fawned upon him, and flattered him. Some Jewish writers, as Kimchi observes, understand this of religious adoration, that they made a god of him, and worshipped him, pretending, as a foundation for it, his being hid six months in the temple, and preserved; but it designs no more than civil worship and homage: then the king hearkened unto them ; coursing with him about divine worship, which the business they came about; desiring that they might, not be obliged to come to Jerusalem to worship, but might make use of the high places, and by that means worship what idol they pleased, which he granted to them; the Targum is, “he received their idols from them.”
Ver. 18 . And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers , etc.] Came no more to the temple at Jerusalem, forsook the worship and service of it: and served groves and idols ; worshipped idols in groves, which were upon high places: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass : their idolatry, and particularly on these princes, the Syrian army coming against them, and destroying them, ( 2 Chronicles 24:23).
Ver. 19 . Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord , etc.] To reprove them for their sin, to warn them of their danger, to exhort them to their duty, and endeavour to restore them, and reduce them to the obedience and worship, of God; such was his clemency, goodness, and condescension to them, before he executed his wrath upon them: and they testified against them ; against their sins, and declared what would befall them, and called heaven and earth to witness for God and against them: but they would not give ear : to their reproofs, admonitions, cautions, and exhortations, but went on in their own ways.
Ver. 20 . And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest , etc.] The spirit of prophecy, as the Targum; he was moved and influenced by it to speak what is after related: which stood above the people ; in a desk, or sort of pulpit, in which the priests stood when they taught the people, that they might be the better heard, like that which Ezra used, ( Nehemiah 8:4) and said unto them, thus saith God ; being moved and directed by his Spirit, he spake in his name: why transgress ye the command of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper ? by committing idolatry, than which nothing could more hinder prosperity, both in things spiritual and temporal, in soul and body: because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you ; because they had forsaken the worship of God, as the Targum, God had forsaken them, and was about to give them up into the hand of their enemies.
Ver. 21 . And they conspired against him , etc.] Consulted together to take away his life, and got the order of the king to do it: and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord ; where he had stood and reproved them; this they did before he went out, while in the temple; and if he is the same Zechariah, as some think, our Lord speaks of, he was slain between the temple porch and the altar, ( Matthew 23:35).
Ver. 22 . Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him , etc.] In preserving him in his infancy, and nourishing him; in settling him on the throne, and assisting him with his advice and counsel: but slew his son ; who also assisted at his coronation, and with his father and brethren anointed him king, as is probable, ( 2 Chronicles 23:11), and when he died, he said, the Lord look upon it, and requite it ; meaning his blood; this he said, not from a private spirit of revenge, but with a view to the glory of divine justice, and which he delivered not as a wish, or by way of imprecation, that so it might be, but as a prophecy that so it would be.
Ver. 23 . And it came to pass at the end of the year , etc.] After the death of Zechariah; so soon had his prophecy its accomplishment: that the host of Syria came up against him ; against Joash, king of Judah, under Hazael king of Syria, or however sent by him; for some think this is a different expedition from that in ( 2 Kings 12:17) though others take it to be the same: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem ; not only came into the land of Judah, but as far as Jerusalem, the forces of Joash not being able to stop them: and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people ; the idolatrous princes of Judah, ( 2 Chronicles 24:17), which is very remarkable that they should be distinguished from the people in their destruction, who had been the chief cause of the wrath of God coming upon them: and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus ; all the riches that were taken from them were sent to the king of Syria at Damascus; this looks as if Hazael was not with this army.
Ver. 24 . For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men , etc.] It consisted but of few: and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand ; which the king of Judah and his princes had got together to oppose them: because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers ; therefore the Lord forsook them, and gave them up into the hand of their enemies: so they executed judgment against Joash ; were the instruments God made use of to execute his vengeance on him for his idolatry and murder.
Ver. 25 . And when they were departed from him , etc.] Having got what wealth and spoil they could: for they left him in great diseases ; through the wounds they gave him, and the distress they brought him into: his own servants conspired against him, for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest ; for perhaps more than one was slain at the same time; the rest vindicating the cause of their brother, shared the same fate; or the plural is put for the singular: and slew him on his bed ; in the house of Millo, where he lay ill of his wounds, and sick of his diseases, and could not defend himself: and he died : of the wounds his servants gave him: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings ; (see 2 Kings 12:21).
Ver. 26 . And these are they that conspired against him, Zabad the son of Shimeah an Ammonitess , etc.] Called Jozachar, the son of Shimeah, ( Kings 12:21), and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess ; called in the same place the son of Shomer.
Ver. 27 . Now concerning his sons , etc.] The sons of Joash; how many they were, and what their names: and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him ; which some understand of the hard and heavy prophecies of the Lord against him; and others of the heavy taxes and tribute imposed on him by the king of Syria; and others of the collection for the repairs of the temple, ( 2 Chronicles 24:6), where the word used signifies a burden; and it follows, and the repairing of the house of the Lord ; the whole history of that: behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings ; not in the canonical book so called, but in the history, commentaries, or annals of the kings of Judah now lost: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead ; (see 2 Kings 12:21).