Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zibiah of Beersheba.The reign of Joash; cf. 2 Kings 12. - In both accounts only two main events in Joash's reign of forty years are narrated at any length, - the repair of the temple, and the campaign of the Syrian king Hazael against Jerusalem. Besides this, at the beginning, we have a statement as to the duration and spirit of his reign; and in conclusion, the murder of Joash in consequence of a conspiracy is mentioned. Both accounts agree in all essential points, but are shown to be extracts containing the most important part of a more complete history of Joash, by the fact that, on the one hand, in 2 Kings 12 single circumstances are communicated in a more detailed and more exact form than that in which the Chronicle states them; while, on the other hand, the account of the Chronicle supplements the account in 2 Kings 12 in many respects. To these latter belong the account of the marriage of Joash, and his many children, the account of the death of Jehoiada at the age of 130 years, and his honourable burial with the kings, etc.; see on 2 Chronicles 24:15.
And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.
And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house of the LORD.As to the repair of the temple, see the commentary on 2 Kings 12:5-17, where both the formal divergences and the essential agreement of the two narratives are pointed out.
And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to 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, and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not.
And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, according to the commandment of Moses the servant of the LORD, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness?
For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim.
And at the king's commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD.
And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.
And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought unto the king's office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king's scribe and the high priest's officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.וגו יביא בּעת ויהי, translate: It came to pass at the time when they brought the chest to the guard of the king by the Levites, i.e., to the board of oversight appointed by the king from among the Levites. עת stat. constr. before a sentence following. בּכום ליום does not denote every day, but every time when there was much money in the chest.
And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the LORD.
So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it.ארוּכה ותּעל, and there was a band laid upon the work, i.e., the restoration of the house of God was furthered; cf. for this symbolical expression, Nehemiah 4:1; Jeremiah 8:7.
And when they had finished it, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, even vessels to minister, and to offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada.כּלים ויּעשׂהוּ, therefrom (the king) caused to be made (prepared) vessels for the house of Jahve, (namely) vessels of the service, i.e., according to Numbers 4:12, in the holy place, and for the offering of burnt-offering, i.e., altar vessels, and (besides) bowls, and (other) vessels of gold and silver. The last clause of 2 Chronicles 24:14 leads on to the following: "They (king and people) offered burnt-offering continually so long as Jehoiada lived."
But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.Jehoiada's death: the fall of the people into idolatry: the protest of the prophet Zechariah against it, and the stoning of him. - This section is not found in 2 Kings 12, but is important for the understanding of the later history of Joash (2 Chronicles 24:23.). With the death of the grey-haired high priest came a turning-point in the reign of Joash. Jehoiada had saved the life and throne of Joash, preserved to the kingdom the royal house of David, to which the promises belonged, and had put an end to the idolatry which had been transplanted into Judah by Joram's marriage into the royal house of Ahab, restoring the Jahve-worship. For this he was honoured at his death, his body being laid in the city of David among the kings: "For he had done good in Israel, and towards God and His house" (the temple). According to 2 Kings 12:7, he still took an active part in the repair of the temple in the twenty-third year of Joash, and according to 2 Chronicles 24:14 he lived for some time after the completion of that work. But after his death the people soon forgot the benefits they owed him.
And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house.
Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.The princes of Judah besought the king to allow them to worship the Astartes and idols, and the king hearkened to them, did not venture to deny their request. למּלך ישׁתּחווּ, they bowed themselves before the king, i.e., they besought him. What they thus beseechingly requested is not stated, but may be gathered from what they did, according to 2 Chronicles 24:18. They forsook Jahve the God of their fathers, etc. There came wrath upon Judah because of this their trespass. קצף, a wrathful judgment of the Lord, cf. 2 Chronicles 29:8, viz., the invasion of the land by Hazael, 2 Chronicles 24:23. On the construction זאת אשׁמתם, cf. Ew. 293, c, S. 740. Against this defection prophets whom the Lord sent did indeed lift up their testimony, but they would not hearken to them. Of these prophets, one, Zechariah the son of the high priest Jehoiada, is mentioned by name in 2 Chronicles 24:20., who, seized by the Spirit of the Lord, announced to the people divine punishment for their defection, and was thereupon, at the king's command, stoned in the court of the temple. With לבשׁה רוּח cf. 1 Chronicles 12:18, and the commentary on Judges 6:34. לעם מעל, above the people, viz., as we learn from 2 Chronicles 24:21, in the inner, higher-lying court, so that he was above the people who were in the outer court. "Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, and (why) will ye not prosper?" Fidelity to the Lord is the condition of prosperity. If Israel forsake the Lord, the Lord will also forsake it; cf. 2 Chronicles 12:5; 2 Chronicles 15:2.
And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.
Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.And they (the princes and the people) conspired against him, and stoned him, at the command of the king, in the court of the temple. This זכריה is the Ζαχαρίας whose slaughter is mentioned by Christ in Matthew 23:36 and Luke 11:51 as the last prophet-murder narrated in the Old Testament, whose blood would come upon the people, although Matthew calls him υἱὸς Βαραχίου. According to these passages, he was slain between the temple and the altar of burnt-offering, consequently in the most sacred part of the court of the priests. That the king, Joash, could give the command for this murder, shows how his compliance with the princes' demands (2 Chronicles 24:17) had made him the slave of sin. Probably the idolatrous princes accused the witness for God of being a seditious person and a rebel against the majesty of the crown, and thereby extorted from the weak king the command for his death. For it is not said that Joash himself worshipped the idols; and even in 2 Chronicles 24:22 it is only the base ingratitude of which Joash had been guilty, in the slaughter of the son of his benefactor, which is adduced against him. But Zechariah at his death said, "May the Lord look upon it, and take vengeance" (דּרשׁ, to seek or require a crime, i.e., punish it). This word became a prophecy, which soon began to be fulfilled, 2 Chronicles 24:23.
Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus.The punishment comes upon them. Joash afflicted by the invasion of Judah by Hazael the Syrian; and his death in consequence of a conspiracy against him. - These two events are narrated in 2 Kings 12:18-21 also, the progress of Hazael's invasion being more exactly traced; see the commentary on 2 Kings 12:18. The author of the Chronicle brings forward only those parts of it which show how God punished Joash for his defection from Him.
"At the revolution of a year," i.e., scarcely a year after the murder of the prophet Zechariah, a Syrian army invaded Judah and advanced upon Jerusalem; "and they destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people," i.e., they smote the army of Joash in a battle, in which the princes (the chief and leaders) were destroyed, i.e., partly slain, partly wounded. This punishment came upon the princes as the originators of the defection from the Lord, 2 Chronicles 24:17. "And they sent all their booty to the king (Hazael) to Damascus." In this booty the treasures which Joash gave to the Syrians (2 Kings 12:19) to buy their withdrawal are also included. In order to show that this invasion of the Syrians was a divine judgment, it is remarked in 2 Chronicles 24:24 that the Syrians, with a small army, gained a victory over the very large army of Judah, and executed judgment upon Joash. שׁפטים עשׂה, as in Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4, frequently in Ezekiel, usually construed with בּ, here with את, analogous to the את טּוב עשׂה, e.g., 1 Samuel 24:19. These words refer to the wounding of Joash, and its results, 2 Chronicles 24:25. In the war Joash was badly wounded; the Syrians on their withdrawal had left him behind in many wounds (מחליים only met with here, synonymous with תּחלאים, 2 Chronicles 21:19). Then his own servants, the court officials named in 2 Chronicles 24:26, conspired against him, and smote him upon his bed. In 2 Kings 12:21, the place where the king, lying sick upon his bed, was slain is stated. He met with his end thus, "because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest" which had been shed. The plural בּני is perhaps only an orthographical error for בּן, occasioned by the preceding דּמי (Berth.); but more probably it is, like בּנין, 2 Chronicles 28:3 and 2 Chronicles 33:6, a rhetorical plural, which says nothing as to the number, but only brings out that Joash had brought blood-guiltiness upon himself in respect of the children of his benefactor Jehoiada; see on 2 Chronicles 28:3. Upon the murdered king, moreover, the honour of being buried in the graves of the kings was not bestowed; cf. 2 Chronicles 21:20. On the names of the two conspirators, 2 Chronicles 24:26, see on 2 Kings 12:21. In 2 Chronicles 24:27 it is doubtful how ורב is to be read. The Keri demands ירב, which Berth. understands thus: And as regards his sons, may the utterance concerning him increase; which might signify, "May the wish of the dying Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:22, be fulfilled on them in a still greater degree than on their father." But that is hardly the meaning of the Keri. The older theologians took ירב relatively: et quam creverit s. multiplicatum fuerit. Without doubt, the Keth. ורב or ורב is the correct reading. המּשּׂא, too, is variously interpreted. Vulg., Luther, and others take it to be synonymous with משׂאת, 2 Chronicles 24:6, 2 Chronicles 24:9, and understand it of the money derived from Moses' tax; but to that עליו is by no means suitable. Others (as Then.) think of the tribute laid upon him, 2 Kings 12:19, but very arbitrarily. On the other hand, Clericus and others rightly understand it of prophetic threatenings against him, corresponding to the statement in 2 Chronicles 24:19, that God sent prophets against him. As to the Midrash of the book of Kings, see the Introduction.
For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash.
And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.
And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.
Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.