2 Kings 12:8
So the priests agreed they would not receive money from the people and that they would not repair the temple themselves.
The History of JoashD. Thomas 2 Kings 12:1-21
The History of JehoashDavid Thomas, D. D.2 Kings 12:4-15
The Temple RepairedMonday Club Sermons2 Kings 12:4-15
The Repairing of the Temple Under Joash: a Missionary SermonC.H. Irwin 2 Kings 12:4-16
The Temple Repairs - a Good Purpose AccomplishedJ. Orr 2 Kings 12:7-16

When so many years had elapsed without anything being done, Joash called the priests to account, and ordered them to take no more of the money of the people for themselves, but to repair the breaches of the house. A new start was made, and this time success was attained. We may ascribe the success to -

I. PRUDENT ARRANGEMENTS. Wise, business-like arrangements have much to do with the success of any undertaking. Those now entered into were under the superintendence of Jehoiada, and afforded:

1. Security against misappropriation. Jehoiada obtained a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it. It was placed beside the altar, on the right side, and all the money that was brought was put therein. There could thus be no suspicion of any real-appropriation of the funds. Every worshipper had the certainty that what he gave would go for the purpose for which it was given.

2. A removal of temptation. The arrangement of the chest was an advantage to the priests as well as to the people. It no longer afforded any temptation to needy individuals among them to retain funds that were passing through their hands. It put the order, as a whole, above suspicion and reproach. It is well not to put needless temptations in any one's way.

3. A convenience for giving. The chest, as it stood there beside the altar, was a permanent depository to which the contributions of the faithful could be brought. The people had not to seek out persons to receive their gifts. They knew, without asking, where to take them. Sound arrangements of this sort, inspiring confidence, minimizing temptations to negligence or dishonesty, and consulting the convenience of the offerers, were admirably adapted to promote the ends aimed at. The example may be attended to with profit in the financial management of churches, charities, missionary societies, etc.

II. WILLING GIVERS. The fact that the work was taken partially out of the hands of the priests, and that the people had now security for their gifts being properly applied, had an immediate effect on the flow of contributions. We find:

1. Liberal gifts brought. It was not long, as we are told, before there was "much money" in the chest. People are seldom as willing to give for religion as they should be, but if a good cause is put before them, if they have the case properly presented, and if they feel secure as to the disposal of their gifts, it is wonderful often how freely liberality flows forth. We must not blame people for illiberality when their backwardness in giving arises from removable, and perhaps justifiable, causes.

2. A strict account kept. This is another feature in the business-like management of the funds which was now introduced, showing what great pains were taken to impress the minds of the people with confidence in the disposal of their money. When the chest was full, the king's scribe and the high priest came up, opened the box, put the money in bags, and made a strict account of the sums. Strictness in pecuniary details may seem a minor matter, but it is really not so. The man who is honest in his pecuniary affairs is likely to be honest all through. Nothing shakes confidence so much as the suspicion of small unfaithfulnesses in money transactions. Instinctively we apply the principle, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?" (Luke 16:10, 11).

III. DILIGENT WORKERS. The money contributed by the people was applied to hire the services of workers to execute the needed repairs.

1. The workers were many. There were carpenters and builders, stonemasons and hewers, and part of the money was expended also on the purchase of materials. As in this temple-building so in the Christian Church, there is need not only for givers but for workers, and every variety of gift proves to be of service. Some can give who cannot work; others can work who cannot give; others can both give and work. There are needed those with mission talent - the quarrymen and excavators; there are needed those who can educate, or hew and polish the stones when obtained; there are needed the organizers and builders - those whose function it is to put the stones in their places, and build up the holy temple to the Lord.

2. The workers were diligent. They were set on as soon as funds were forthcoming to employ them, and they wrought with good heart till the work was finished. Labor in the kingdom of God should be diligent. The many workers did not work separately, but together, all of them helping one another; and similar combination and co-operation are necessary to overtake the work of Christ.

IV. FAITHFUL OVERSEERS. Another step in the right direction, following up the previous precautions to inspire confidence, was the appointment of men to superintend the work who could be implicitly trusted. It is a noble testimony borne concerning these men who did the part of overseers in the work of the temple, that they did not need to be reckoned with, "for they dealt faithfully."

1. They were faithful in their oversight. They were men of probity and honor, who conscientiously looked after the men set under them, seeing that the work committed to their care was properly done. It is difficult to estimate the value, even in an economical respect, of the higher moral qualities of character. How much loss, suffering, disease, death, not to speak of minor annoyance, is inflicted on mankind through badly inspected, ill-done work? There is a sphere for faithfulness in the discharge of every kind of duty. Carlyle says of Louis XV., "His wide France, look at it from the fixed stars (them- selves not yet infinitude), is no wider than thy narrow brickfield, where thou, too, didst faithfully, or didst unfaithfully It is not thy works, which are all mortal, infinitely little, and the greatest no greater than the least, but only the spirit thou workest in that can have worth or continuance."

2. They were faithful in their money dealings. So perfectly faithful that it was not felt necessary to keep a strict reckoning with them as to their expenditure upon the workmen. No better tribute could be paid to their incorruptible integrity than the trust thus reposed in them. It was only a very high degree of integrity which would warrant it. As a rule, it is wise to keep account even with those whose integrity we do not dispute.

V. RESPECT FOR RIGHTS. It is added that the revenues which properly belonged to the priests, the trespass money and sin money, were not touched for the purpose of the repairs. Neither was the money given for the restoration of the building applied, until the repairs were completed, to purchase new vessels for the sanctuary - bowls of silver, snuffers, trumpets, etc. Probably in connection with the above arrangements for collecting the people's money other steps were taken to put the priests' legitimate income, the tithe dues, etc., on a more satisfactory footing. A regard for justice is thus observable throughout the whole of these dealings. Right is the proper basis to take one's stand on in works of reformation. - J.O.

And Jehoash said to the priests.
Monday Club Sermons.
1. The house of God is apt to show a decline of religion, and should share the blessings of a reformation. The tabernacle, and the temple which replaced it, were constructed with the utmost care. They were designed to resist wear and decay; but because the most durable materials are perishable, provision was made for the care of these sacred buildings. Moses, under Divine direction, created a temple fund, which was sustained by a uniform tax of half a shekel upon every member of the congregation of twenty years old and upward. In the troubled times which preceded the succession of Joash to the throne, this fund had not been collected; and in the general decline into irreligion, the temple and its furniture had been neglected, plundered, and wasted. One of the conspicuous signs of the religious condition of the nation was this house. By viewing it one could see at a glance that the service of God had been exchanged for idolatry. It is a pretty safe rule that we may judge of the state of religion in a town by the condition of the churches; if these are in good repair, without and within, the inference is, — it will not always hold, but it is the rule — that the religious institutions are flourishing, God is honoured, and His blessings are with His faithful people.

2. One reason why the temple had been neglected was that the people worshipped in the high places. We have references to these places in all the Jewish history. They were not necessarily places of idol worship. God was worshipped in them. Devout Jews, who worshipped in the temple, worshipped also at private or local altars, the high places. But, as religion declined, the tendency was to prefer the high places to the temple, and to corrupt the purer worship of these shrines by idolatries. The high places became rivals of the temple.

3. The king thought of the temple before Jehoiada, though the great priest was the reformer of his age. This seems strange. The position of Jehoiada throughout the work was strange; he seems never to have fully appreciated the importance of the repair of the temple. Probably the reason was that he was absorbed in other parts of the mighty task to which he had devoted himself. It has not been uncommon for reformers to be guilty of extraordinary oversight, their very zeal preventing their viewing their work in its true proportions. But while this was the case, the training of Jehoiada appears in the devotion of the king.

4. The first plan adopted for raising money for the repair was excellent. The priests were directed to set apart the regular income of the temple, and also to go through the country, among their acquaintances, and raise a general subscription. Each priest was to present the case to his personal friends. There could be no better plan. This is the simple scriptural method by which religion is extended. Every Christian is to go among his friends and acquaintances, and enlist them one by one.

5. The most excellent plans may fail. The plan of Jehoash failed. The failure lay immediately at the door of the priests. These good men seem to have shared the want of interest of Jehoiada in the work. They failed to collect the popular tax. And instead of using the collections which they made for the purpose for which they were raised, they expended them for current needs, and for furniture which needed to be replaced, candlesticks, tongs, and spoons.

6. A new and poor plan succeeded. His patience at length worn out, the king called a conference, discovered how things had been mismanaged, and changed his course. He learned that, notwithstanding his order, the temple tax, the half-skekel, had not been collected. With the counsel of Jehoiada, he had a collection chest placed at the gate of the temple; he stopped the private subscriptions, and had a proclamation issued, calling upon the people throughout the nation to pay the ancient tax of Moses. Simply the uniform sum fixed by Moses was required from all. The princes were not permitted to pay more; the poorest man might not pay less. The confidence of the king in the people was justified. The chest rapidly filled, and, when it was emptied, was refilled again and again. The plan was a very poor one: one of the very poorest which man has ever devised, this of a box at the church door. It succeeded because the people were interested to get the work done. It is of interest to note that, when the repair was completed, enough money was left to r furnish the temple throughout with vessels of silver and gold.

7. The depth of the reformation in the nation is shown in what is said of the honesty of Joash's master-workmen. The taxes, as they were taken from the chest at the gate of the temple, were put into the hands of these men to pay out in wages, and, moreover, they reckoned not for materials with the men into whose hands they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen; for they dealt faithfully. This is most extraordinary. This was one of the times when Israel had a dim realization of the coming millennium, when Holiness should be written on the bells of the horses, when public money could be trusted to officials, high and low, with such confidence that they would deal faithfully that they were not required to give any account.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

The whole story of Joash is soon told. He was a son of Ahaziah, and the only one of his children who escaped the murderous policy of Athaliah.

I. THE DILAPIDATING INFLUENCE OF TIME UPON THE BEST MATERIAL PRODUCTIONS OF MANKIND. The temple had not been built more than about one hundred and sixty years, had got into a state of dilapidation, there were breaches in it; where the breaches were we are not told, whether in the roof, the floor, the walls, or in the ceiling. The crumbling hand of time had touched it. No human superstructure, perhaps, ever appeared on the earth built of better materials, or in a better way, than the temple of Solomon. It was the wonder of ages. Notwithstanding this, it was subject to the invincible law of decay. The law of dilapidation seems universal throughout organic nature; the trees of the forest, the flowers of the field, and the countless tribes of sentient life that crowd the ocean, earth, and air, all fall into decay; and so, also, with the material productions of feeble man. Throughout the civilised world we see mansions, churches, cathedrals, palaces, villages, towns, and cities, in ruins. All compound bodies tend to dissolution, there is nothing enduring but primitive elements or substances. This being so, how astoundingly preposterous is man's effort to perpetuate his memory in material monuments. The only productions of men that defy the touch of time and that are enduring are true thoughts, pure sympathies, and noble deeds.

II. THE INCONGRUITY OF WORLDLY RULERS BUSYING THEMSELVES IN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS. Jehoash was no saint, the root of the matter was not in him; he had no vital and ruling sympathy with the Supreme Being, yet he seemed zealous in the work of repairing the temple.

III. THE VALUE OF THE CO-OPERATIVE PRINCIPLE IN THE ENTERPRISES OF MANKIND. It would seem that the work of repairing the temple was so great that no one man could have accomplished it. Hence the king called earnestly for the co-operation of all. They obeyed his voice. The people gave the money, and all set to work. Two remarks concerning the principle of co-operation.

1. It is a principle that should govern all men in the undertakings of life. It was never the purpose of the Almighty that man should act alone for himself, should pursue alone his own individual interests. Men are all members of one great body, and was ever member made to work alone? No. But for the good of the whole, the common weal.

2. It is a principle that has done and is doing wonders in the undertakings of life. This principle, however, has its limits. In spiritual matters it must not infringe the realm of individual responsibility. There is no partnership in moral responsibility. Each man must think, repent, and believe for himself. "Every man must bear his own burden." The narrative reminds us of —

IV. THE POTENCY OF THE RELIGIOUS ELEMENT IN EVEN DEPRAVED MEN. At this time Israel was morally as corrupt as the heathen nations. Notwithstanding this, the religious sentiment was in them, as in all men, a constituent part of their natures, and this sentiment is here appealed to, and roused into excitement, and being excited men poured forth their treasures and employed their energies for the repairing of the temple. This element in man often sleeps under the influence of depravity, but mountains of depravity cannot crush it, it lies in human nature as the mightiest latent force. Peter the Hermit, Savonarola the Priest, Wesley the Methodist, and others, in every age have roused it into mighty action even amongst the most ignorant and depraved of the race.

V. THE POWER OF MONEY TO SUBDUE ENEMIES. Here is a man, a proud, daring monarch, who was determined to invade Judea, and to take possession of Jerusalem. Relinquishing his designs, what was the force that broke his purpose? Money. It is said that Jehoash sent gold to Hazael, "and he went away from Jerusalem." Truly money answereth all things. Money tan arrest the march of armies and terminate the fiercest campaigns.

(David Thomas, D. D.)

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