In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.All his days ... - i. e., so long as Jehoiada was his adviser" (compare 2 Chronicles 24:15-22). Jehoida was, practically speaking, regent during the minority of Jehoash, i. e., 10 or 12 years. An increase of power to the priestly order was the natural consequence. Jehoiada bore the title of "high priest" 2 Kings 12:10, which had been dropped since the time of Eleazar Joshua 20:6, and the Levitical order from this time became more mixed up with public affairs and possessed greater influence than previously. Jehoiada's successors traced their office to him rather than to Aaron Jeremiah 29:26.
But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.The worship on the "high places" seems to have continued uninterruptedly to the time of Hezekiah, who abolished it 2 Kings 18:4. It was, however, again established by Manasseh, his son 2 Kings 21:3. The priests at this time cannot have regarded it as idolatrous, or Jehoiada would have put it during his regency.
And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of the LORD,It is remarkable that the first movement toward restoring the fabric of the temple should have come, not from Jehoiada, but from Jehoash (compare 2 Chronicles 24:4). Jehoiada had, it seems, allowed the mischief done in Athaliah's time to remain unrepaired during the whole term of his government.
The money of every one ... - Three kinds of sacred money are here distinguished - first, the half shekel required in the Law Exodus 30:13 to be paid by every one above twenty years of age when he passed the numbering; secondly, the money to be paid by such as had devoted themselves, or those belonging to them, by vow to Yahweh, which was a variable sum dependent on age, sex, and property Leviticus 27:2-8; and thirdly, the money offered in the way of free-will offerings.
Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.The collection was not to be made in Jerusalem only, but in all "the cities of Judah" 2 Chronicles 24:5; the various priests and Levites being collectors in their own neighborhoods.
Breaches - The word in the original includes every kind and degree of ruin or dilapidation.
But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.No money had for some time been brought in (marginal reference "g"). Perhaps it was difficult for the priests and Levites to know exactly what proportion of the money paid to them was fairly applicable to the temple service and to their own support; and what, consequently, was the balance which they ought to apply to the repairs.
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? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.
But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.The priests that kept the door - The north door into the priests' court Ezekiel 40:35-43 seems to be intended, not the door of the temple building. The chest must have been placed a little to the right of this north door, between it and the altar of burnt-offering, so that the people could see it from the doorway. The people were not ordinarily allowed to go within the doorway into this court, which belonged to the priests and Levites only.
And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD.The king's scribe - Or "secretary" (1 Kings 4:3 note). Such persons are often seen in the Assyrian sculptures, with a roll, apparently of parchment, in one hand and a pen in the other, taking account for the king of the spoil brought in from foreign expeditions.
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: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,
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.
Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the LORD:Comparing this verse with the marginal reference, it will be seen that the author of Kings desires to point out, that the repairs were not delayed by any deductions from the money that flowed in. The writer of Chronicles describes what became of the surplus in the chest after the last repairs were completed.
The need of supplying fresh bowls, snuffers, etc., arose from the pollution of those previously used in the temple service by their application to the Baal worship during the reigns of Ahaziah and Athaliah (see 2 Chronicles 24:7).
But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the LORD.
Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.
The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD: it was the priests'.The trespass money and the sin money - In all cases of injury done to another, a man was bound by the Law to make compensation, to the sufferer, if possible; if not, to his nearest kinsman. If the man was dead and had left no kinsman, then the compensation was to be made to the priest Numbers 5:8. This would form a part of the trespass and sin money. The remainder would accrue from the voluntary gifts made to the priests by those who came to make atonement for sins or trespasses Numbers 5:10. On the difference between "sins" and "trespasses," see Leviticus 5:14 note.
Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.There was probably a considerable interval between the conclusion of the arrangement for the repairs and the Syrian expedition related in these verses. For the events which had happened, see 2 Chronicles 24:15-22.
This is the first and last time that we hear of the Damascene Syrians undertaking so distant an expedition. Gath (see Joshua 13:3 note) could only be reached from Syria through Israel or Judah. It was not more than 25 or 30 miles from Jerusalem. It is uncertain whether the city belonged at this time to Judah or to the Philistines.
Hazael set his face ... - This is a phrase for determination generally, but especially for determination to proceed somewhere (compare Jeremiah 42:15; Luke 9:51). Jerusalem can scarcely have been the primary object of this expedition, or it would have been attacked by a less circuitous route. Perhaps the Syrians were induced to make a sudden march against the Jewish capital, by learning, while at Gath, that a revolution had occurred there (compare 2 Chronicles 24:18-23).
And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, 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.Jehoash did not submit without a struggle. See the details in Chronicles. It was not until his army was defeated that he followed the example of his ancestor, Asa, and bought the friendship of the Syrians with the temple treasures (1 Kings 15:18. Compare the conduct of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:15-16).
Jehoram and Ahaziah - Though these two monarchs had been worshippers of Baal, yet they had combined with that idolatrous cult a certain amount of decent respect for the old religion. It is evident from this passage that they had made costly offerings to the temple.
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?
And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.A conspiracy - Compare the marginal reference Joash, either from a suspicion of intended treason, or from some other unknown cause, took up his abode in the fortress of Millo 1 Kings 9:24. This conspiracy was connected with religion. Soon after the death of Jehoiada, Joash had apostatised; had renewed the worship of Baal; and, despite of many prophetic warnings, had persisted in his evil courses, even commanding Zechariah to be slain when he rebuked them 2 Chronicles 24:18-27. The conspirators, who wished to avenge Zechariah, no doubt wished also to put down the Baal worship. In this it appears that they succeeded. For, though Amaziah punished the actual murderers after a while 2 Kings 14:5, yet he appears not to have been a Baal-worshipper. The only idolatries laid to his charge are the maintenance of the high places 2 Kings 14:4, and a worship of the gods of Edom 2 Chronicles 25:14-20.
Silla - This place is quite unknown.
For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, 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.