2 Kings 13:1
In the twenty-third year of the reign of Joash son of Ahaziah over Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria seventeen years.
Israel's Humiliation Under JehoahazJ. Orr 2 Kings 13:1-7
The Reigns of Jehoahaz and Joash, Kings of IsraelC.H. Irwin 2 Kings 13:1-13
The Death of ElishaD. Thomas 2 Kings 13:1-21

2 Kings 13:1-13, with 2 Kings 13:22-25
Observe here -

I. THE PERPETUITY OF EVIL. How sad it is to read of one king after another, "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord"! And then the statement is usually made, "He departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin." A bad man does harm to others besides himself. "None of us liveth to himself." Not merely while we live, but after we are gone, our lives and words and deeds will influence others. We may think ourselves very obscure and insignificant, so insignificant that we may argue it does not matter to others how we live. But who can measure the circle of his influence? In ways that we know not, influence may reach other hearts and other lives. Oh! how dangerous is one evil influence in a community! It takes a long time to do away with its effects.

"The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones." Let us be careful how we are influencing others. For good or for evil we are exercising some influence, however unconsciously, on those around us. If we would influence men for good, we ourselves must live near to God.

II. THE MERCY OF GOD. God punished Jehoahaz and his people for their sins. "He delivered them into the hand of Hazael King of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all their days." When suffering or troubles come, let us see whether the cause of them is not within our own hearts and lives. But he mingled mercy with judgment. God is ever on the watch for signs of the prodigal's return. His ear is ever open for the cry of penitence, for the faintest' prayer for forgiveness and help. Jehoahaz besought the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the King of Syria oppressed them" (ver. 4; see also ver. 23).

Come, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
The desolate to mourn.

"His voice commands the tempest forth,
And stills the stormy wave;
And, though his arm be strong to smite,
'Tis also strong to save."

III. HUMAN INGRATITUDE. Though God delivered them from their difficulty and distress, and gave them peace from their enemies, yet, when the difficulty was over, they forgot all about God's mercy. They went back to their old sins. "Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat... but walked therein" (ver. 6). How prone the human heart is to forsake God! The Books of Judges and Kings are full of illustrations of this painful fact. By forsaking God the Israelites brought themselves into misery and bondage. Time after time God raised up judges and kings and prophets to be the means of their deliverance. But when these were dead, or when the immediate danger had passed away, once again the people forsook God. It is the same in the history of the individual. How ungrateful we are for God's unceasing and unfailing goodness! How forgetful of his commandments and his promises! "The way of man is not in himself; and it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." We need all the influence of Divine grace to keep us in the way that is right.

IV. A HUMBLED NATION. To what a low level sin reduces a nation! How shamefully Israel was humiliated before Syria! The King of Syria only left to Jehoahaz fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; "for the King of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing." The fate of Israel, the fate of other mighty nations of the past, are a great national lesson to be remembered so long as the world shall last. Ought we not earnestly to pray that this great British empire, which has been built up by God-fearing men, and which God has blessed and honored so highly, may not forsake God for secularism or gross corruption, and thus fall into the fate of the fallen nations of the past? Knowing how great are the forces of evil, it becomes every true Christian to be more valiant for the truth, to be more active in everything that will extend the kingdom of Christ in this and other lands. - C.H.I.

And Jehoiada the priest took a chest.
This chapter takes us away from those confusions up in northern Palestine, which seemed to be getting a little overcrowded with murder and warfare and theft. There is a deep spiritual apathy in the city and the land everywhere. The people have still idolatrous practices; around on some of the hills there are altars and groves where decorous men and women would think it not nice to go. The worst of this terrible ungodliness is found in the greediness of the priests. Evidently they are self-seekers of the vile sort. They exhaust all the income of the sanctuary, slender as it is, in their own emoluments and perquisites. The king is inefficient, as should be expected; what could a little boy do? The temple is all out of repair; there are breaches in many parts of the building. A dull period of sixteen years has been slowly drifting along. The picture is not encouraging; but let us turn ourselves to the instruction it offers for us in these modern times. The force of the story will come out in a series of observations.

I. SOMETIMES RELIGIOUS DEPRESSION SHOWS ITSELF IN MATERIAL DILAPIDATIONS. Everything is running behind-hand in the public spirit of the town, the city, or the congregation.

1. It is a bad sign when the church edifice is going into ruinous condition. Can it be said that the zeal of the Lord is eating any one up there?

2. It is a worse sign when the income of any congregation has begun to fail. In the story here, somebody must have pushed up that little seven-year-old king Jehoash to try to collect some money, for he issued a call almost at once for help to put the temple under repair. But it all came to nothing; the house of the Lord continued to discourage and chill the devotions far more than to awake them, because it was so forlorn and unclean.

3. It is a worse sign still when the minister and the employees exhaust the funds in their own uses and luxuries. That was the trouble during those sad sixteen years of Jehoash's infancy. Money went in, but the priests swallowed it up.

4. It is the worst sign of all when the people's heart is unmoved; when everybody knows and nobody cares about the cheerlessness of the facts or the prospects.


1. In this case, it was the young king and the people who did the work, though the high-priest organised the new movement, under royal direction. Let us look into the whole facts and philosophy of this uprising of the community there in Jerusalem. The religious and ordained officers in the congregation of the temple cheerfully arose to say, "Let anybody do this great and needed thing that can do it better than we can." They consented to receive none of the money, and they withdrew from ordering the repairs. In that historic hour there came first to light the earliest contribution-box used in the service of God. Was there ever anything imagined so rude or inartistic as an instrument of devotion?

2. But before you smile at the prosaic expedient, pause a moment to do simple justice to one of God's instruments of good. From that day the contribution-box has been an institution for the Church under the Old Testament and the New, probably as well known as any other in the range of our experience. It deserves now and then a decent eulogy. Its record is honourable and fair.(1) The contribution-box exhibits the wide reach of religious obligation. This one stood beside the altar.(2) The contribution-box kindles the fires of love and hope in the believer's heart. For it seems to say, "All are at work now, and all together; what are you doing for your Lord?"(3) The contribution-box keeps good and true men up to the exact end in view.(4) The contribution-box develops and commissions the most capable workers in the Lord's cause. When men have given hopeful hearts and open hands alike to the service of the Master, it is not necessary to guard them; they will surely deal faithfully.

III. SOMETIMES PIETY IS BROUGHT BACK TO ITS LEVEL UNDER A FRESH IMPULSE OF MATERIAL PROSPERITY. This is a reflection also that we might expect to be suggested by the history here.

1. The philosophy underlying such a conclusion is simple. We are all creatures of human build and constitutional weakness in relation to the practical world we live in. When the church is repulsive and the services dull, when the carpets are soiled with long using, when the prayer-circle is languishing; then, good friends, it is almost hopeless for even the best of saints to try and keep up his spirits.

2. The relief is close at hand.

3. The facts, which might be offered in illustration, are without limit.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.).

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