K I N G S
chapter gives us the history of the reign of Joash, which does not answer to
that glorious beginning of it which we had an account of in the foregoing
chapter; he was not so illustrious at forty years old as he was at seven, yet
his reign is to be reckoned one of the better sort, and appears much worse in
Chronicles (2 Chron. xxiv.) than it does here, for there we find the blood of
one of God's prophets laid at his door; here we are only told, I. That he did
well while Jehoiada lived, ver. 1-3. II. That he was careful and active to
repair the temple, ver. 4-16. III. That after a mean compact with Hazael (ver.
17, 18) he died ingloriously, ver. 19-21.
Reign of Joash, King of Judah.
1 In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to
reign; and forty years reigned he in
Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zibiah of
Beer-sheba. 2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the
sight of the LORD
all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 But the
high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense
in the high places.
The general account here given of Joash is, 1. That he reigned forty years. As
he began his reign when he was very young, he might, in the course of nature,
have continued much longer, for he was cut off when he was but forty-seven
years old, v. 1. 2. That he did that which was right as long as
Jehoiada lived to instruct him, v. 2. Many young men have come too soon
to an estate--have had wealth, and power, and liberty, before they knew how to
use them--and it has been of bad consequence to them; but against this danger
Joash was well guarded by having such a good director as Jehoiada was, so
wise, and experienced, and faithful to him, and by having so much wisdom as to
hearken to him and be directed by him, even when he was grown up. Note, It is
a great mercy to young people, and especially to young princes, and all young
men of consequence, to be under good direction, and to have those about them
that will instruct them to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord;
and they then do wisely and well for themselves when they are willing to be
counselled and ruled by such. A child left to himself brings his mother to
shame, but a child left to such a tuition may bring himself to honour and
comfort. 3. That the high places were not taken away, v. 3. Up
and down the country they had altars both for sacrifice and incense, to the
honour of the God of Israel only, but in competition with, and at least in
tacit contempt of, his altar at
. These private altars, perhaps, had been more used in the late bad reigns
than formerly, because it was not safe to go up to Jerusalem, nor was the
temple-service performed as it should have been; and, it may be, Jehoiada
connived at them, because some well-meaning people were glad of them when they
could not have better, and he hoped that the reforming of the temple, and
putting things into a good posture there, would by degrees draw people from
their high places and they would dwindle of themselves; or perhaps neither the
king nor the priest had zeal enough to carry on their reformation so far, nor
courage and strength enough to encounter such an inveterate usage.
Repairing of the
4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the
money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD,
even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money
that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man's
heart to bring into the house of the LORD,
5 Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and
let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be
found. 6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth
year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the
house. 7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the
other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of
the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance,
but deliver it for the breaches of the house. 8 And the priests
consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the
breaches of the house. 9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and
bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side
as one cometh into the house of the LORD:
and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was
brought into the house of the LORD.
10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the
chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in
bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD.
11 And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the
work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon
the house of the LORD,
12 And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to
repair the breaches of the house of the LORD,
and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
13 Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers,
basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that
was brought into the house of the LORD:
14 But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the
15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the
money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully. 16 The
trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD:
it was the priests'.
We have here an account of the repairing of the temple in the reign of Joash.
I. It seems, the temple had gone out of repair. Though Solomon built it very
strong, of the best materials and in the best manner, yet in time it went to
decay, and there were breaches found in it (v. 5), in the roofs,
or walls, or floors, the ceiling, or wainscoting, or windows, or the
partitions of the courts. Even temples themselves are the worse for the
wearing; but the heavenly temple will never wax old. Yet it was not only the
teeth of time that made these breaches, the sons of Athaliah had broken up
the house of God (2 Chron. xxiv. 7), and, out of enmity to the service of
the temple, had damaged the buildings of it, and the priests had not taken
care to repair the breaches in time, so that they went worse and worse.
Unworthy were those husbandmen to have this valuable vineyard let out to them
upon such easy terms who could not afford to keep the winepress in due and
tenantable repair, Matt. xxi. 33. Justly did their great Lord sue them for
this permissive waste, and by his judgments recover locum vastatum--for
dilapidations (as the law speaks), when this neglected temple was laid
even with the ground.
II. The king himself was (as it should seem) the first and forwardest man that
took care for the repair of it. We do not find that the priests complained of
it or that Jehoiada himself was active in it, but the king was zealous in the
matter, 1. Because he was king, and God expects and requires from those who
have power that they use it for the maintenance and support of religion, the
redress of grievances, and reparation of decays, for the exciting and engaging
of ministers to do their part and people theirs. 2. Because the temple had
been both his nursery and his sanctuary when he was a child, in a grateful
remembrance of which he now appeared zealous for the honour of it. Those who
have experienced the comfort and benefit of religious assemblies will make the
reproach of them their burden (Zeph. iii. 18), the support of them their care,
and the prosperity of them their chief joy.
III. The priests were ordered to collect money for these repairs, and to take
care that the work was done. The king had the affairs of his kingdom to mind,
and could not himself inspect this affair, but he employed the priests to
manage it, the fittest persons, and most likely, one would think, to be hearty
in it. 1. He gave them orders for the levying of the money of the dedicated
things. They must not stay till it was paid in, but they must call for it
where they knew it was due, in their respective districts, as redemption-money
(by virtue of the law, Lev. xxvii. 2, 3), or as a free-will offering, v.
4. This they were to gather every man of his acquaintance, and it was supposed
that there was no man but had acquaintance with some or other of the priests.
Note, We should take the opportunity that God gives us of exciting those we
have a particular acquaintance with to that which is good. 2. He gave them
orders for laying out the money they had levied in repairing the breaches
of the house, v. 5.
IV. This method did not answer the intention, v. 6. Little money was
raised. Either the priests were careless, and did not call on the people to
pay in their dues, or the people had so little confidence in the priests'
management that they were backward to pay money into their hands; if they were
distrusted without cause, it was the people's shame; if with, it was more
theirs. But what money was raised was not applied to the proper use: The
breaches of the house were not repaired; the priests thought it might
serve as well as it had done, and therefore put off repairing from time to
time. Church work is usually slow work, but it is a pity that churchmen, of
all men, should be slow at it. Perhaps what little money they raised they
thought it necessary to use for the maintenance of the priests, which must
needs fall much short when ten tribes had wholly revolted and the other two
were wretchedly corrupted.
V. Another method was therefore taken. The king had his heart much set upon
having the breaches of the house repaired, v. 7. His apostasy,
at last, gives us cause to question whether he had as good an affection for
the service of the temple as he had for the structure. Many have been zealous
for building and beautifying churches, and for other forms of godliness, who
yet have been strangers to the power of it. However, we commend his zeal, and
blame him not for reproving even his tutor Jehoiada himself when he saw him
remiss; and so convincing was his reproof that the priests owned themselves
unworthy to be any longer employed, and consented to the taking of some other
measures, and the giving up of the money they had received into other hands, v.
8. It was honestly done, when they found they had not spirit to do it
themselves, not to hinder other people from doing it. Another course was
1. For raising money, v. 9, 10. The money was not paid into private
hands, but put into a public chest, and then people brought it in readily and
in great abundance, not only their dues, but their free-will offerings for so
good a work. The high priest and the secretary of state counted the money out
of the chest, and laid it by in specie for the use to which it was
appropriated. When public distributions are made faithfully public
contributions will be made cheerfully. The money that was given, (1.) Was
dropped into the chest through a hole in the lid, past recall, to intimate
that what has been once resigned to God must never be resumed. Every man,
as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give. (2.) The chest was put on
the right hand as they went in, which, some think, is alluded to in that rule
of charity which our Saviour gives, Let not thy left hand know what thy
right hand doeth. But, while they were getting all they could for the
repair of the temple, they did not break in upon that which was the stated
maintenance of the priests, v. 16. The trespass-money and the sin-money
(which were given to them by that law, Lev. v. 15, 16) were reserved to them.
Let not the servants of the temple be starved under colour of repairing the
breaches of it.
2. For laying out the money that was raised.
(1.) They did not put it into the hands of the priests, who were not versed in
affairs of this nature, having other work to mind, but into the hands of
those that did the work, or at least had the oversight of it, v.
11. Those were fittest to be entrusted with this business whose employment lay
that way. Tractant fabrilia fabri--Every artist has his trade
assigned; but let not those who are called to war the holy warfare
entangle themselves in the affairs of this life. Those that were thus
entrusted did the business, [1.] Carefully, purchasing materials and paying
workmen, v. 12. Business is done with expedition when those are
employed in it that understand it and know which way to go about it. [2.]
Faithfully; such a reputation they got for honesty that there was no occasion
to examine their bills or audit their accounts. Let all that are entrusted
with public money, or public work, learn hence to deal faithfully, as those
that know God will reckon with them, whether men do or no. Those that think it
is no sin to cheat the government, cheat the country, or cheat the church,
will be of another mind when God shall set their sins in order before them.
(2.) They did not lay it out in ornaments for the temple, in vessels of gold
or silver, but in necessary repairs first (v. 13), whence we may learn,
in all our expenses to give that the preference which is most needful, and, in
dealing for the public, to deal as we would for ourselves. After the repairs
were finished we find the overplus turned into plate for the service of the
temple, 2 Chron. xxiv. 14.
of Joash, King of Judah.
17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and
fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to
Jerusalem. 18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed
things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of
Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that
was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD,
and in the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he
went away from Jerusalem. 19 And 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? 20 And his servants arose, and made a
conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his
servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the
city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
When Joash had revolted from God and become both an idolater and a persecutor
the hand of the Lord went out against him, and his last state was worse
than his first.
I. His wealth and honour became an easy prey to his neighbours. Hazael, when
he had chastised Israel (ch. x. 32), threatened Judah and Jerusalem
likewise, took Gath, a strong city (v. 17), and thence intended to
march with his forces against Jerusalem, the royal city, the holy city, but
whose defence, on account of its sinfulness, had departed. Joash had neither
spirit nor strength to make head against him, but gave him all the hallowed
things, and all the gold that was found both in his exchequer and in the
treasures of the temple (v. 18), to bribe him to march another way. If
it were lawful to do this for the public safety, better part with the gold of
the temple than expose the temple itself; yet, 1. If he had not forsaken God,
and forfeited his protection, his affairs would not have been brought to this
extremity, but he might have forced Hazael to retire. 2. He diminished
himself, and made himself very mean, lost the honour of a prince and a
soldier, and of an Israelite too, in alienating the dedicated things. 3. He
impoverished himself and his kingdom. And, 4. He tempted Hazael to come again,
when he could carry home so rich a booty without striking a stroke. And it had
this effect, for the next year the host of
came up against
, destroyed the prince, and plundered the city, 2 Chron. xxiv. 23, 24.
II. His life became an easy prey to his own servants. They conspired against
him and slew him (v. 20, 21), not aiming at his kingdom, for they
opposed not his son's succeeding him, but to be avenged on him for some crime
he had committed; and we are told in Chronicles that his murdering the
prophet, Jehoiada's son, was the provocation. In this, how unrighteous soever
they were (vengeance was not theirs, nor did it belong to them to repay), God
was righteous; and this was not the only time that he let even kings know that
it was at their peril if they touched his anointed and did his prophets any
harm, and that, when he comes to make inquisition for blood, the blood of
prophets will run the account very high. Thus fell Joash, who began in the
spirit and ended in the flesh. God usually sets marks of his displeasure upon
apostates, even in this life; for they, of all sinners, do most reproach