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In this chapter some account is given of the reign of Jehoash, that it was long, and the beginning of it good, during the life of Jehoiada, ( 2 Kings 12:1-3) how urgent he was to have the temple repaired, and what methods were taken for that purpose, ( 2 Kings 12:4-16), how meanly, as well as impiously, he behaved, when the king of Syria was about to come up to Jerusalem and besiege it, ( 2 Kings 12:17,18), and the chapter is closed with an account of his death, and the manner of it, ( 2 Kings 12:19-21).
Ver. 1 . In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign , etc.] So that he reigned twenty one or twenty two years contemporary with Jehu’s reign, for Jehu reigned twenty eight years: and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem ; the same number of years David and Solomon reigned: and his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba ; a city in the tribe of Simeon, in the extreme part of the land of Canaan southward; her name in the Chaldee dialect is Tabitha, the same with Dorcas in Greek, ( Acts 9:36).
Ver. 2 . And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days , etc.] Worshipping the only true God, and ruling and walking according to the law of God: wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him ; and so long as he observed his instructions, and as long as that priest lived, he reigned well; for to that period “all his days must be limited”; for after his death he was seduced by the princes of Judah to idolatry, and lived scandalously, and died ignominiously; (see 2 Chronicles 24:2,7,25).
Ver. 3 . But the high places were not taken away , etc.] Used before the temple was built, or set up in Rehoboam’s time, ( 1 Kings 14:23) contrary to the law of God, which required that sacrifices should only be offered in the place the Lord chose to dwell in, ( Deuteronomy 12:4,6) the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places; as they had done in the times of Athaliah, and though the pure worship of God was restored at Jerusalem; and indeed this they did in all preceding reigns; nor was it in the power of the best of kings, at least they did not think it safe to attempt to remove them till Hezekiah’s time; so fond were the people of them because of their antiquity and supposed sanctity, and for the sake of ease.
Ver. 4 . And Jehoash said to the priests , etc.] Being minded or having it in his heart, to repair the temple, as in ( 2 Chronicles 24:4) not only because it was the sanctuary of the Lord, though that chiefly, but because it had been a sanctuary to him, where he was hid and preserved six years: all the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord : or rather, “that is to be brought”, as De Dieu, and others render it, the particulars of which follow: even the money of everyone that passeth [the account] ; or that passeth among them that are numbered, as in ( Exodus 30:13,14) that were upwards of twenty years of age, and bound to pay the half shekel for the ransom of their souls; and it is called the collection or burden Moses laid on them in the wilderness, ( 2 Chronicles 24:6,9) the money that every man is set at ; the price the priest set upon or estimated a man at, or whomsoever that belonged to him, that he devoted to the Lord, which by the law he was bound to pay for his redemption, and, till that was done, he and they were not his, but the Lord’s, of which (see Leviticus 27:1-8) and here the Targum calls it, the money of the redemption of souls, which is the gift of a man for the redemption of his soul: and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord : vows and freewill offerings made of their own accord.
Ver. 5 . Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance , etc.] Of those that were most known by them; for the priests had cities assigned them in several parts of the land, and they that dwelt with them in them, or in the parts adjacent to them, were best known by them; and they were sent into all the cities, some to one and some to another, where they were most acquainted, to collect money, both what was due by law, and what the people should freely give, (see 2 Chronicles 24:5) and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found : that is, of the temple, which, according to the Jewish chronology f132 , had been built but one hundred and fifty five years; and being built very strong, would have needed no considerable repairs as yet, but that it had been broken up and misused by Athaliah and her sons, ( Chronicles 24:7).
Ver. 6 . But it was so, that in the twenty and third year of King Jehoash, the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house .] Either the people being backward to pay in the money, or the priests converted it to their own use: or, however, were negligent of doing the work enjoined them by the king, either in collecting the money, or in using it as they were directed.
Ver. 7 . Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests , etc.] The common priests, Jehoiada being high priest: and said unto them, why repair ye not the breaches of the house ? in which they appeared to him very dilatory; the reason might be, the people were not forward to pay in their money, and they might not choose to begin the repairs until they had got it all in, or at least what was sufficient to carry them through them: now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance ; suspecting that what they had received they kept for their own use: but deliver it for the breaches of the house ; into other hands for that use, and so dismissed them at once from collecting the money, and being concerned in the repairs of the temple.
Ver. 8 . And the priests consented to receive no [more] money of the people , etc.] And delivered up what they had: neither to repair the breaches of the house ; being very willing to be stop both services, and especially since they seemed to be suspected.
Ver. 9 . But Jehoiada the priest took a chest , etc.] By the commandment of the king, ( 2 Chronicles 24:8), to put the money collected into, to prevent any fraud, or suspicion of any: and bored a hole in the lid of it ; to drop the money into, by which means it could not be taken out without taking off the lid: and set it beside the altar ; the altar of burnt offering, in the court: on the right side, as one cometh into the house of the Lord ; that is, on the north; for the entrance into the temple was at the east: in ( 2 Chronicles 24:8), it is said to be set without at the gate of the house; which Dr.
Lightfoot thinks respects another time, and that either another chest was made, or the same that was first placed by the altar, in the court of the priests, and so in their hands, and the money not coming in apace, was removed without the court at the entrance of it, whither the people brought it readily: and the priests that kept the door ; the door of the outward court, the levites, the porters, or rather, as the Targum, the priests, the treasurers, who were appointed to this service in the room of the others dismissed; and so Kimchi and other Jewish commentators interpret this of the keepers of the vessels of the sanctuary, and not of the doors of it: these put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord ; by the people from the several parts of the country, who, by proclamation, were required so to do, and very readily did, ( Chronicles 24:9,10).
Ver. 10 . And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest , etc.] Which might easily be guessed at by the number of the people which contributed: that the king’s and the high priest came up ; to the temple; the high priest did not choose to come alone, lest he should be suspected, but to have the king’s secretary with him, that the money might be taken out of the chest, and told in the presence of them both: in ( 2 Chronicles 24:11) instead of the “high priest”, it is the “high priest’s officer”, which the Targum there calls the Sagan of the high priest, or his deputy, who, perhaps, attended when the high priest could not: and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord ; that is, they poured the money out of the chest, or emptied it, as in ( 2 Chronicles 24:11) and counted it, and very likely set down the sum in writing, and put it up in bags, very probably sealed.
Ver. 11 . And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord , etc.] Who were appointed overseers of the workmen employed in the repairs of the temple; which overseers were laymen, and not priests, they being discharged from any concern in the repairs: this money “told”, Kimchi interprets of its being coined; he supposes money coined and uncoined to be brought, which was put in separate bags; and that, which was not coined, they coined it before they delivered it to the overseers to pay the workmen with: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders that wrought upon the house of the Lord ; paid them with it, some that wrought in cutting the timber, and others in building with it.
Ver. 12 . And to masons, and hewers of stone , etc.] Which they cut out of the mountain, and the masons repaired the stone walls with: and to buy timber ; felled in Lebanon: and hewed stone ; fitted for building with: to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord ; where both timber and stone were wanting: and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it ; in whatsoever else it needed, as iron and brass to mend it, ( 2 Chronicles 24:12).
Ver. 13 . Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord, bowls of silver , etc.] Either to hold the blood of the sacrifices, or the drink offerings of wine: snuffers ; to trim the lamps; or, as Jarchi and other writers, both Jewish and Christian, musical instruments: basins ; vessels to sprinkle the blood with, as the word signifies: trumpets ; silver ones, to call the assembly, blow over the sacrifices, etc. any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver ; for any other use: these were not made of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord ; yet, in ( Chronicles 24:14), it is said they were, which is to be reconciled thus; they did not make any of those things at first, until the house was repaired, and the charges of it defrayed; and then of what remained they made vessels for the house, which were wanting, that Athaliah had bestowed on Baalim, ( 2 Chronicles 24:7).
Ver. 14 . But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord .] They took care that the workmen should first be paid for the repairs of the temple.
Ver. 15 . Moreover, they reckoned not with the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on the workmen , etc.] That is, the king’s secretary and the high priest, or his officer, never called to account the overseers of the workmen, to whom they committed the money to pay them with; never examined how they laid it out, and for what: for they dealt faithfully ; they saw they acted such an honest and upright part, and such an high opinion had they of them, that they never examined their accounts, or called for their bills.
Ver. 16 . The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the Lord , etc.] Which was the money persons at a distance sent for their trespass and sin offerings instead of cattle, with which the sacrifices were bought; and what remained of the money was not brought into the temple, and made use of in the above manner: it was the priest’s ; the overplus of it, and such of the sacrifices which by the law were appropriated to them.
Ver. 17 . Then Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it , etc.] When Jehoiada was dead, and Jehoash was become an apostate, the Lord suffered the king of Syria to be a scourge to him; who first attacked Gath, and took it, which was formerly one of the principalities of the Philistines, but was subdued by David, and had been in the hands of the Israelites ever since; the king of Syria began with this, as nearest to him, to open the way for what he had further in view: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem ; he made such preparations, and took such measures, as plainly indicated what his design was.
Ver. 18 . And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated , etc.] To sacred uses, and had laid up in the temple: and his own hallowed things : which he had devoted to the same uses: and all the gold [that was] found in the treasures of the house of the Lord : which were gifts and presents from divers persons for sacred services: and sent it to Hazael king of Syria, and he went away from Jerusalem ; to bribe him, that he might desist from his purpose; which showed a meanness of spirit, and was the effect of his idolatry and apostasy, having forsaken the Lord, and being forsaken by him; in whom should have been his trust and confidence, and then he need not have been afraid to meet the king of Syria.
Ver. 19 . And the rest of the acts of Jehoash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah ?] In the registers and annals of those princes; some of them are to be met with in ( 2 Chronicles 24:1-27).
Ver. 20 . And his servants arose , etc.] This was after he had slain Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who reproved him for his idolatry; and after a second expedition of the king of Syria, who came to Jerusalem, and spoiled it, and left Jehoash diseased, as is recorded in ( 2 Chronicles 24:23-26), and made a conspiracy ; not to get the kingdom into their hands, for his son succeeded him, but to avenge the death of Zechariah; and slew Jehoash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla ; these are both names of places; perhaps the latter is mentioned, to distinguish this Bethmillo from Millo in Zion; or rather that itself is meant, and described by the descent from it to a causeway, as Silla may signify, which led to the royal palace.
Ver. 21 . For Jozachar the son of Shimeath , etc.] Said to be an Ammonitess, and this man’s name Zabad, ( 2 Chronicles 24:26), and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants ; who is said in the same place to be the son of Shimrith a Moabitess: these smote him, and he died ; justly did he fall by the hands of such persons for his idolatry: and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David ; but not in the sepulchres of the kings, because of his idolatry and murder of a priest of the Lord: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead ; the conspirators not seeking the kingdom, but vengeance on him for his sins, which, whether right in them to do, was suffered by the Lord.