2 Kings 12 – The Reign of King Jehoash over Judah
Joash and Jehoash are simply variant spellings of the same name.
A. Jehoash repairs the temple.
1. (1-3) A summary of the reign of Jehoash.
In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
a. He reigned forty years in Jerusalem: This was a long and mostly blessed reign. Jehoash fell short of full commitment and complete godliness, but he did advance the cause of God in the kingdom of Judah.
b. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him: This implies that when Jehoiada died, Jehoash no longer did what was right in the sight of the LORD. 2 Chronicles 24:15-23 tells us that he turned to idolatry when Jehoiada died, and judgment followed.
i. “After the death of the godly high priest, Jehoash fell into the hands of godless advisors who turned his heart to Canaanite practices.” (Patterson and Austel)
c. The high places were not taken away: This indicates that Jehoash implemented a half-way reformation and not a total reforming of Israel’s worship. He did not take on the more difficult job of removing the high places.
i. “The people were so fondly and strangely addicted to the high places, that the foregoing kings, though men of riper years, and great power and courage, and finally settled in their thrones, could not take them away; and therefore it is not strange if Jehoiada could not now remove them.” (Poole)
2. (4-5) Jehoash makes a decree regarding the repair of the temple.
And Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the dedicated gifts that are brought into the house of the LORD— each man’s census money, each man’s assessment money— and all the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the LORD, let the priests take it themselves, each from his constituency; and let them repair the damages of the temple, wherever any dilapidation is found.”
a. All the money of the dedicated gifts: There was a regular income coming into the temple from several different sources. King Jehoash wanted to put that money towards a particular purpose.
i. This money was received in three ways:
· Each man’s census money: This was the half shekel each Israelite older than the age of twenty had to pay every year (Exodus 20:13).
· Each man’s assessment money: “That is, literally, ‘each man the money of his souls of his estimating.’ This was a kind of property tax based on the personal assessment of each individual (Leviticus 27:2).” (Dilday)
· All the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the LORD: These were freely given offerings over and above the required donations.
ii. “All these sources had ever been in some measure open, but instead of repairing the dilapidations in the Lord’s house, the priests and the Levites had converted the income to their own use.” (Clarke) King Joash, working through the priests, corrected this problem.
b. Let them repair the damages of the temple: It was natural for Joash to have a high regard for the condition of the temple, because it was his home as a young boy.
i. The temple needed restoration because it was vandalized by Athaliah and her sons (2 Chronicles 24:7).
3. (6-13) Money is gathered for the rebuilding work.
Now it was so, by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, that the priests had not repaired the damages of the temple. So King Jehoash called Jehoiada the priest and the other priests, and said to them, “Why have you not repaired the damages of the temple? Now therefore, do not take more money from your constituency, but deliver it for repairing the damages of the temple.” And the priests agreed that they would neither receive more money from the people, nor repair the damages of the temple. Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who kept the door put there all the money brought into the house of the LORD. So it was, whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and put it in bags, and counted the money that was found in the house of the LORD. Then they gave the money, which had been apportioned, into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they paid it out to the carpenters and builders who worked on the house of the LORD, and to masons and stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone, to repair the damage of the house of the LORD, and for all that was paid out to repair the temple. However there were not made for the house of the LORD basins of silver, trimmers, sprinkling-bowls, trumpets, any articles of gold or articles of silver, from the money brought into the house of the LORD.
a. By the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, that the priests had not repaired the damages of the temple: Building projects take a long time, and renovating an old building is almost always more difficult and expensive than building a new one. Nevertheless, it appears that King Jehoash had to wait a very long time until the damages of the temple were repaired. The work was going far too slowly.
i. “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.” (Clarke)
b. The priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar: Under the direction of King Jehoash, the priests gave the people the opportunity to give. Even willing givers should be given an opportunity.
i. “Then he placed a collection chest in a strategic location on the right side of the altar, giving the repair project a high priority and a corresponding high visibility.” (Dilday)
c. Now therefore, do not take more money from your constituency, but deliver it for repairing the damages of the temple: King Joash got to the heart of the problem – the building project was plagued by poor administration and financial mismanagement. Through Jehoiada the priest, he implemented a system where the money would be set aside, saved, and then wisely spent for the repair and refurbishing of the temple.
i. “When the people were assured that the money would really be used for the purpose for which it was given, they responded generously and so similar arrangements were continued by Josiah (2 Kings 22:3-7).” (Wiseman)
ii. “So successful had been the king’s program and so well did all concerned carry out their duties that there was even money left over for the provision of sacred vessels for the sanctuary service (2 Chronicles 24:14).” (Patterson and Austel)
4. (14-16) The temple is repaired.
But they gave that to the workmen, and they repaired the house of the LORD with it. Moreover they did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to be paid to workmen, for they dealt faithfully. The money from the trespass offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD. It belonged to the priests.
a. Moreover they did not require an account from the men into whose hand they delivered the money: Through good administration of the project, they were able to find men who could be trusted to use the money wisely and honestly. The project was previously stalled, not because of a lack of money, but because of poor money management.
b. It belonged to the priests: The point is made that the project succeeded without taking anything away from the priests. The temple was not repaired and refurbished at their expense; they still received money from the trespass offerings and from the sin offerings.
B. The decline of King Jehoash.
1. (17-18) King Jehoash pays King Hazael of Syria tribute money to avoid an attack against Jerusalem.
Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it; then Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that his fathers, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred things, and all the gold found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and in the king’s house, and sent them to Hazael king of Syria. Then he went away from Jerusalem.
a. Then Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem: At this time, the kingdom of Syria attacked Judah with an inferior army, but God used them as an instrument of judgment against the disobedient Joash. King Joash was wounded in a battle outside of Jerusalem.
i. 2 Chronicles 24:23-24 tells the story: So it happened in the spring of the year that the army of Syria came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the leaders of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; but the LORD delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash.
b. And Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things… and sent them to Hazael king of Syria: Instead of trusting God, Jehoash traded prior blessing – the sacred treasures of the temple – to protect his capital and kingdom against the attacking Syrians.
i. He was in a difficult place: wounded, with an attacking and successful army bearing down on Jerusalem. He found it hard to trust God in this difficult place because he had stopped trusting God in easier circumstances long before.
2. (19-21) The assassination of Joash.
Now 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 formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash in the house of the Millo, which goes down to Silla. For Jozachar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him. So he died, and they buried him with his fathers in the City of David. Then Amaziah his son reigned in his place.
a. Now the rest of the acts of Joash: There is no record of repentance on Joash’s part. He never came back to or fulfilled his bright early promise.
i. “O how few of the few who begin to live to God continue unto the end!” (Clarke)
b. His servants arose and formed a conspiracy, and killed Joash: This is startling, and shows that the blessing of God long before vanished from the compromised king who began so well, but failed to finish well.
i. “The murder of Joash by his officials or servants implies that it may have been the result of disaffection following the defeat by Hazael.” (Wiseman)
ii. “So disobedience brings its own bitter reward, and what God’s people sow they always, in some way or another, reap. Joash abundantly deserved his inglorious and terrible end.” (Knapp)
iii. “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.” (Clarke)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission