2 Kings 12

CHAPTER XII

Jehoash reigns well under the instructions of Jehoiada the

priest, 1-3.

He directs the repairing of the temple; the account of what

was done, 4-16.

Hazael takes Gath; and, proceeding to besiege Jerusalem, is

prevented by Jehoash, who gives him all the treasures and

hallowed things of the house of the Lord, 17, 18.

The servants of Jehoash conspire against and slay him, 19-21.

NOTES ON CHAP. XII

Verse 2. Jehoash did-right in the sight of the Lord] While

Jehoiada the priest, who was a pious, holy man, lived, Jehoash

walked uprightly; but it appears from 2Ch 24:17, 18, that he

departed from the worship of the true God after the death of this

eminent high priest, lapsed into idolatry, and seems to have had a

share in the murder of Zechariah, who testified against his

transgressions, and those of the princes of Judah. See above,

2Ch 24:20-22.

O how few of the few who begin to live to God continue unto the

end!

Verse 3. The high places were not taken away] Without the total

destruction of these there could be no radical reform. The

toleration of any species of idolatry in the land, whatever else

was done in behalf of true religion, left, and in effect fostered,

a seed which springing up, regenerated in time the whole infernal

system. Jehoiada did not use his influence as he might have done;

for as he had the king's heart and hand with him, he might have

done what he pleased.

Verse 4. All the money of the dedicated things] From all this

account we find that the temple was in a very ruinous state; the

walls were falling down, some had perhaps actually fallen, and

there was no person so zealous for the pure worship of God, as to

exert himself to shore up the falling temple!

The king himself seems to have been the first who noticed these

dilapidations, and took measures for the necessary repairs. The

repairs were made from the following sources: 1. The things which

pious persons had dedicated to the service of God. 2. The

free-will offerings of strangers who had visited Jerusalem: the

money of every one that passeth. 3. The half-shekel which the

males were obliged to pay from the age of twenty years (Ex 30:12)

for the redemption of their souls, that is their lives, which is

here called the money that every man is set at. All these sources

had ever been in some measure open, but instead of repairing the

dilapidations in the Lord's house, the priests and Levites had

converted the income to their own use.

Verse 6. In the three and twentieth year] In what year Jehoash

gave the orders for these repairs, we cannot tell; but the account

here plainly intimates that they had been long given, and that

nothing was done, merely through the inactivity and negligence of

the priests; see 2Ch 24:6.

It seems that the people had brought money in abundance, and the

pious Jehoiada was over the priests, and yet nothing was done!

Though Jehoiada was a good man, he does not appear to have had

much of the spirit of an active zeal; and simple piety, without

zeal and activity, is of little use when a reformation in religion

and manners is necessary to be brought about. Philip Melancthon

was orthodox, pious, and learned, but he was a man of comparative

inactivity. In many respects Martin Luther was by far his

inferior, but in zeal and activity he was a flaming and consuming

fire; and by him, under God, was the mighty Reformation, from the

corruptions of popery, effected. Ten thousand Jehoiadas and

Melancthons might have wished it in vain; Luther worked, and God

worked by him, in him, and for him.

Verse 9. Jehoiada-took a chest] This chest was at first set

beside the altar, as is here mentioned; but afterwards, for the

convenience of the people, it was set without the gate; see

2Ch 24:8.

Verse 10. The king's scribe and the high priest] It was

necessary to associate with the high priest some civil authority

and activity, in order to get the neglected work performed.

Verse 13. Howbeit there were not made-bowls, &c.] That is, there

were no vessels made for the service of the temple till all the

outward repairs were completed; but after this was done, they

brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada,

whereof were made vessels of gold and silver; 2Ch 24:14.

Verse 15. They reckoned not with the men] They placed great

confidence in them, and were not disappointed, for they dealt

faithfully.

Verse 17. Hazael-fought against Gath, and took it] This city,

with its satrapy or lordship, had been taken from the Philistines

by David, (see 2Sa 8:1, and 1Ch 18:1;) and it had continued in

the possession of the kings of Judah till this time. On what

pretence Hazael seized it, we cannot tell; he had the ultima ratio

regum, power to do it, and he wanted more territory.

Verse 18. Took all the hallowed things] He dearly bought a peace

which was of short duration, for the next year Hazael returned,

and Jehoash, having no more treasures, was obliged to hazard a

battle, which he lost, with the principal part of his nobility, so

that Judah was totally ruined, and Jehoash shortly after slain in

his bed by his own servants; 2Ch 24:23.

Verse 19. The rest of the acts of Joash] We have already seen

that this man, so promising in the beginning of his reign,

apostatized, became an idolater, encouraged idolatry among his

subjects, and put the high priest Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada

his benefactor, to death; and now God visited that blood upon him

by the hands of the tyrannous king of Syria, and by his own

servants.

Verse 20. The house of Millo] Was a royal palace, built by

David; (see 2Sa 5:9;) and

Silla is supposed to be the name of the road or causeway that

led to it. Millo was situated between the old city of Jerusalem,

and the city of David.

Verse 21. For Jozachar] This person is called Zabad in

2Ch 24:26; and

Shimeath his mother is said to be an Ammonitess, as Jehozabad is

said to be the son, not of Shomer, but of Shimrith, a Moabitess.

They buried him with his fathers in the city of David] But they

did not bury him in the sepulchres of the kings; this is supposed

to express the popular disapprobation of his conduct. Thus ended a

reign full of promise and hope in the beginning, but profligate,

cruel, and ruinous in the end. Never was the hand of God's justice

more signally stretched out against an apostate king and faithless

people, than at this time. Now Hazael had a plenary commission;

the king, the nobles, and the people, were food for his sword, and

by a handful of Syrians the mighty armies of Israel were

overthrown: 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, 2Ch 24:24. Thus, as

righteousness exalteth a nation, so sin is the disgrace and

confusion of any people. Sin destroys both counsel and strength;

and the wicked flee when none pursue.

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