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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 22

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

Verses 1-8

XII

THE REIGNS OF AHAZIAH (OF JUDAH),

JEHORAM (OF ISRAEL) AND THE RISE OF THE HOUSE OF NIMSHI

2 Kings 8:25-10:17; 2 Chronicles 22:1-8

In the scriptures cited for this chapter there are some apparent discrepancies which first claim our attention. 2 Kings 8:25 says, "In the twelfth year of Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign," while 2 Kings 9:29 says, "And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah." There are two possible solutions of this difficulty: (1) it may be accounted for by their method of reckoning in which they counted the king’s "first year" twice; first, from the accession to the end of the civil year and second, from the accession to the same day of the next year; (2) he may have begun to reign with his father as viceroy in the eleventh year and as full king in the twelfth year. Either of these explanations relieves us from the difficulty of an apparent discrepancy.


A second apparent discrepancy occurs in 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2. The Kings passage says that Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, while the Chronicles passage says that he was forty-two. The latter statement is impossible because his father was only forty years old when he died. So the only explanation of this difference in statement is that it must be an error of the copyist. Twenty-two is more advanced than we would ordinarily expect but it is probable in view of the early marriages in the Orient and also that each prince had, besides his wife, several concubines. That Jehoram had several appears from 2 Chronicles 21:17.


The character of Ahaziah is set forth in the record with the author’s accustomed clearness showing some of the antecedent forces that operated in his life. The first thing mentioned is the fact that his mother’s name was Athaliah, the daughter (granddaughter) of Omri, who is here mentioned because of his prominence. She was a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, passing on to this king the full benefit of the law of heredity. So we are not surprised that the record says that he walked in the ways of the house of Ahab. The Kings account says, "for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab," i.e., he was related to the house of Ahab by marriage. An added reason for this course of Ahaziah is given by the Chronicles account: "for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly . . . for they [the house of Ahab] were his counsellors after the death of his father, to his destruction." Our sympathy goes out to Ahaziah in view of these conditions. How could he, in view of these hereditary traits and special maternal instruction) have done otherwise than to walk in the "ways of the house of Ahab"? Only by the grace of God which is able to overcome all the forces of the past, whether they be hereditary or environmental.


On Elisha’s interview with Hazael we need to note: (1) this visit of the prophet to Damascus was perhaps for protection, but it is not definitely known as to why he went there; (2) that Elisha, whatever his reason for going, did not hide himself but was recognized upon his arrival; (3) that in his answer to Hazael he sarcastically told him to tell his master just what Hazael wanted to tell him and then gave him the true revelation of the case; (4) that Hazael did not tell his master all that Elisha said and thus falsified to him, but it was not the fault of the prophet; (5) that Elisha here showed his great heart of sympathy for his people in their sufferings, and (6) that God revealed the future of Benhadad, Hazael and Israel to Elisha, a clear proof of predictive prophecy.


The next topic for our discussion is the aid rendered Jehoram by Ahaziah in the defense of Ramothgilead; then follows the other events leading up to the anointing of Jehu as king over Israel. In the defense of Ramothgilead Ahaziah and Jehoram co-operate, uniting their forces against Hazael, king of Syria. Here Jehoram was wounded. Then the two kings withdrew – Ahaziah to Jerusalem and Jehoram to Jezreel to be nursed. Soon after this Ahaziah visited Jehoram there and Just at this time Elisha appears upon the scene and commissions a son of the prophets to anoint Jehu. Thus the events pass in rapid succession leading to the destruction of the house of Ahab. We should note in this connection the striking fact that Jehu was not in the regular line of succession and was one of the two kings of Israel selected by Jehovah.


The circumstances and events of his anointing are graphically told by the author of Kings. The prophet who had been commissioned by Elisha went to Ramothgilead, found the captains sitting, called out Jehu, anointed him, gave him his commission, outlined his work and fled. According to this prophecy Jehu was to avenge the blood of the prophets against the house of Ahab by destroying every man child, as in the case of Jehoram and Baasha, and the dogs were to eat Jezebel in Jezreel. Immediately Jehu returned to the servants, his fellow captains, and made known unto them the prophet’s message and they arose at once and proclaimed him king. This involved the duty of preaching righteousness and executing God’s orders as sheriff, a very great responsibility and no small task. Later we see that Jehu was equal to the task thrust upon him, and God is abundantly vindicated in making this selection.


The chief characteristic of Jehu’s work is, that it is iconoclastic. He was an image smasher, a great revolutionist. Was he pious? Not very pious, i.e. in the sense of reverencing the traditions of the past. He was, perhaps, filial toward his parents; we don’t know, but he had full regard for his mission under God. If he was not pious he was religious in that he executed the program that God handed to him through the prophet. To be sure he was not a "sissy" but was a kind of "dare-devil" in spirit, a stern, John the Baptist sort of fellow. Such are the characteristics of the men who have led great revolutionary movements.


The first act of his reign was the slaying of Jehoram which is vividly presented in 2 Kings 9:14-26. The salient points in this story are: (1) Jehu’s journey to Jezreel and his approach recognized by the watchman in the tower; (2) Jehoram’s messengers to Jehu and his disposition of them; (3) Jehoram and Ahaziah’s advance to meet Jehu, Jehoram’s greeting and Jehu’s reply; (4) Jehu’s execution of Jehoram and Ahaziah’s escape, and (5) the disposition of the body of Jehoram and the fulfilment of prophecy. The second act of his reign was the slaying of Ahaziah. After the death of Jehoram Jehu pursued Ahaziah who had fled by the way of the "garden house" or perhaps a better translation would be, "Beth-Gan," a town at the foot of the hills bounding the plain of Esdraelon, south of Jezreel, and on the road to Samaria. It is somewhat difficult, but not impossible, to harmonize the Kings account with the Chronicles account of this episode. Omitting the italics in 2 Kings 9:27 and inserting 2 Chronicles 22:9 a just after "and he fled to Megiddo," we may conceive of this transaction as follows: Jehu ordered Ahaziah to be smitten at the ascent of Gur, but he fled to Megiddo where he was wounded, then carried to Samaria and concealed but was discovered by the emissaries of Jehu who carried him to Megiddo where Jehu was at this time; then and there Jehu put him to death. Such is a possible combination of the two accounts and removes the difficulty so far as a contradiction is concerned. 2 Chronicles 22:7 explains Ahaziah’s death as the direct cause of his alliance with Jehoram and his untimely death was a judgment upon him for his idolatry. Murphy (Handbook on Chronicles) explains his hiding in Samaria thus, "And he was about to hide in Samaria," but he was turned aside by his pursuers, was wounded and went to Megiddo where he died. There is one fault with this explanation: it does not provide for the expression, "they caught him and carried him to Jehu," etc. So withal the method of combining, as given above, is more satisfactory.


Here may be raised the question of the morality of the action of Jehu in killing Jehoram and Ahaziah. The answer is simple and easy. It was clearly God’s execution, and was therefore nothing more than the stroke of the law. The Jehovah religion was very much endangered by the house of Ahab and these kings, one of Israel and the other of Judah, were branches of that house. If Jehu sinned, it was in the method or spirit in which he did the work, rather than in the taking of the life of these men. That was clearly his commission from Jehovah. He did not sin in this transaction any more than a sheriff does who executes a criminal under the penalty of the law. God had rendered the verdict and appointed Jehu the executioner. But if he used unnecessary cruelty in this execution, or did it in the spirit of vengeance, then we would admit that he sinned, because God has said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay" and no man, mob, or court of men has the right to execute a criminal in the spirit of vengeance. The cruel fate of Jezebel is horrifying and bloodcurdling. Her cunning attempt to thwart her predicted fate is repulsing and disgusting. Upon learning of Jehu’s approach, Cleopatra-like, she painted her eyes, attired her head, and from a window saluted her executioner with, "Is it peace?" From Jehu came the prompt and decisive response, "Who is on my side? Throw her down," and down she came with a crash, spattering her blood upon the wall and upon the horses. Then Jehu drove right over her body trampling her underfoot. She was so mangled that the dogs found her body an easy prey and when they went to take her up to bury her there was nothing left except the skull, the palms of her hands and her feet. What a horrible picture, but it was the just recompense for sin. She was the greatest enemy of the Jehovah religion after the days of Pharaoh, and God made Pharaoh an example to the world; so did he make Jezebel, and in Revelation we find her followers given space to repent and then sternly threatened with eternal destruction. All this was according to the prophecy of Elijah, 1 Kings 21:17 ff. How definitely and surely God forecasts the fate of the wicked. We should not be deceived. "God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." When one walks the streets of a modern city and beholds the painted faces of our own American women, he is constrained to ask, "Have all our women become Jezebels, and what will the harvest of this generation be?"


Jehu did not stop with the execution of Jehoram, Ahaziah and Jezebel but pursued his destructive work in the judgment on the house of Ahab. The record says that Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria, meaning descendants, sons and grandsons, whom Jehu ordered the elders or rulers of Jezreel to slay. He first challenged them to select one for a king and "put up" their fight, but they declared their allegiance to Jehu. Then he wrote them to execute these sons at once and bring him their heads. This they did, upon which Jehu justified his course by citing a prophecy (1 Kings 21:17 ff), and then extended his destructive course so as to include the rest of Ahab’s house at Jezreel: his great men, his familiar friends and his priests. What a sweep of destruction in human life! But he did not stop there. The princes of Judah were a menace to his reign and therefore he must dispose of them. This he did in wholesale massacre at the shearing house of the shepherds. These princes royal of Judah were on their way to see their relatives at Samaria when they met Jehu who took them in charge at once and put them to death. Pursuing his course, Jehu met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him, and after an exchange of greetings he found in this man a suitable companion and associate in his "zeal for the Lord," as Jehu called it.


With Jehonadab originated the Rechabites, taking the name from Rechab, Jehonadab’s father. They were descended from a family of the Kenites and were a very sturdy people, with some remarkable characteristics. They drank no wine, built no permanent dwelling houses, planted no vineyards, sowed no seed, but lived in tents and followed the most simple habits of life. In Jeremiah’s day they were still holding to the tenets of Jehonadab in teaching and practice and because of their faithfulness in obeying the commandments of Jehonadab, Jehovah promised that Jehonadab should never want a man to stand before him. This promise is being fulfilled to this day. In the vicinity of Medina are to be found today the descendants of the Rechabites with the same characteristics and habits. This is a remarkable fulfilment of promise, but it is just what may come to any people who will keep the commands of Jehovah. He will not suffer his faithfulness to fail, and consistent with his holy nature, "He never denies himself, but he abideth faithful."


Jehonadab’s character is not hard to determine in the light of his affiliations. Two cannot walk together except they be agreed. Jehu was a "dare-devil" sort of character, and he found his match in Jehonadab. They were partners and coworkers from this time on and the work of Jehu was the work of Jehonadab.


Jehu’s last act of establishing himself on the throne of Israel is recorded in 2 Kings 10:17, and refers, perhaps, to the destruction of the female descendants of Ahab. Thus was finally completed the political revolution which transferred the throne from the house of Omri to that of Nimshi, the fifth of the royal families of Israel.

QUESTIONS

1. How do you harmonize the apparent discrepancies in 2 Kings 8:25 and 2 Kings 9:29; 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2?

2. What was the character of Ahaziah and what were the examples of a mother’s influence here?

3. Describe the interview of Elisha with Hazael and explain the difficulty of this passage.

4. What were the events which led to the anointing of Jehu as king over Israel? . .

5. What striking fact with reference to Jehu’s anointing?

6. Recite the circumstances and events of his anointing.

7. According to this prophecy what was Jehu to do and what was to be the fate of Jezebel?

8. How was he made king and what involved in his call to be king?

9. What were the chief characteristics of his work, was he pious, what is the meaning of piety and what kind of character necessary to a resolution.

10. What was the first act of his reign and how was this accomplished?

11. What was the second act of his reign and how was this accomplished?

12. How does Chronicles explain Ahaziah’s death?

13. What question of ethics relative to Jehu’s slaying Jehoram and Ahaziah and what the explanation?

14. What was Jezebel’s fate and what prophecy was fulfilled in her death?

15. What was the judgment on the house of Ahab?

16. What prophecy was fulfilled in the judgment on the house of Ahab?

17. What was the judgment on the princes Royal of Judah?

18. Whom did Jehu attach to his support, and what is the origin of the Rechabites and what were their practices?

19. What was the character and work of Jehonadab?

20. What was Jehu’s last act in establishing himself on the throne of Israel?

Verses 9-24

XIII

FROM THE RISE OF JEHU TO THE REIGN OF JEHOASH AND THE CORRESPONDING HISTORY OF JUDAH

2 Kings 10:18-13:9; 2 Chronicles 22:9-24:24.


Israel is now on a rapid decline, while Judah is under the sway of a wicked woman. There are some antecedent facts which relate to the Southern Kingdom, Judah, and the story of her fortunes which we need to review here. In previous chapters we have considered the character and reign of Jehoshaphat. He is described as a good man, a great king, an eminently righteous and successful king, one of the best kings that Judah ever had, and the record tells of the various reforms which he instituted, the cities which he built, the new system of judiciary which he established and the various other great improvements in his kingdom. But Jehoshaphat made three mistakes in his reign:


First, he married his son to the daughter of Jezebel. It was the cause of great disaster to his realm, almost to the extinction of his dynasty and the wrecking of his kingdom. Second, he made an alliance with Ahab to reconquer Ramothgilead, and take it from Syria. The 400 false prophets all promised him victory, but Micaiah prophesied failure, and that prophecy came true as they failed to take Ramothgilead and Ahab was slain, and Jehoshaphat returned home to Jerusalem in partial disgrace. There is no question but that Jehoshaphat lost a great deal of popularity by that mistake and failure.


Third, he made an alliance with Jehoram, son of Ahab, in an attempt to reconquer and subject Moab to the northern realm. But for Elisha who told them to make the valley full of trenches and thus make room for water to flow down that their hosts might have drink he would there have suffered probably an ignominious defeat. Through Elisha and the providence of God he was saved but the expedition proved fruitless. The king of Moab sacrificed his first-born son and great wrath came upon Israel and they retired from the siege and went home and left King Mesha still master of his own country. Shortly before his death we find Jehoshaphat appoints his son Jehoram as king with him and they are joint kings over southern Israel. Jehoram becomes co-regent with Jehoshaphat when thirty-two years of age. Very soon we find the influence of Athaliah his wife. She had him under her control even more than Jezebel had Ahab under her control. She was a vicious, strong-minded, self-willed, determined, and depraved woman. Here is Athaliah’s influence. We can almost see Jezebel herself here. Under the influence of this northern woman Jehoram begins his murderous work by shedding the blood of six of his brothers. We find his character described thus: "He had the daughter of Ahab to wife, and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord." Notice further: "Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to go a whoring, and led Judah astray." That is, he attempted to lead all southern Israel after the worship of Baal, just as Jezebel had tried to lead all northern Israel after the worship of Baal. Athaliah is her mother’s daughter.


All this leads to great troubles. His dynasty is in danger. The first thing we read is that disaster befalls the kingdom. In the same account we have the story of the revolt of Edom, one of his provinces which paid him heavy tribute. He undertakes to put down the rebellion, and, in a desperate conflict the Edomites with their chariots and horsemen having surrounded him, he rises up at night and breaks through the rank of the enemy and saves himself, but Edom passes out of his hands and is lost to his realm, and a large revenue is, of course, lost with it. This is the first stage of the downfall of himself and kingdom.


The next stage is the revolt of Libnah. This Philistine city had been paying tribute no doubt and now revolts against him and secures its freedom and thus another stronghold is cut off from his kingdom. This added to his unpopularity still more.


Shortly after this we have the story of the posthumous message from Elijah the prophet written before the going away of the great servant of God, doubtless preserved by Elisha and now sent to Jehoram. It is the prophet Elijah’s message of doom to this wicked king: "Behold, the Lord will smite with a great plague thy people, and thy children and thy wives, and all thy substance," and Jehoram is to be smitten with a horrible and loathsome disease, too loathsome to be mentioned. We don’t know what that plague was nor how many people perished because of it. These things would add greatly to the unpopularity of Jehoram throughout his realm.


Another invasion takes place: "And the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, which are beside the Ethiopians: and they came up against Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of the sons." They invaded his capital, took his treasures, and his harem, and carried them away, only one son left, Jehoahaz, known more correctly as Ahaziah.


Shortly after this Jehoram falls a prey to his sickness or disease and dies, unlamented, undesired. In some respects a blessed death, that is, to those who were left. He is refused burial in the sepulchers of the kings. They buried him in the City of David but not in the sepulchers of the kings. He is too loathsome to be buried in the sacred burying grounds of the kings of Israel where David was buried. This reign is one of the first fruitages of that ill-fated alliance of Jehoshaphat with the house of Ahab.


Then follows the reign of Ahaziah his son, which lasts about one year. He is a worthy son of his unspeakable mother. We find his record very short and is all a failure and ends in disgrace and murder. The record says that he entered into an alliance with Jehoram, his uncle, of northern Israel to fight against Ramothgilead, and bring it back into subjection out of the hands of Syria. Evidently their onslaught is successful. Ramothgilead is captured and Jehu left in charge of it. Jehoram is wounded and has to return to Jezreel in order that he might be healed, and while he is recovering Ahaziah goes back to Jerusalem, then pays a visit to Jehoram at Jezreel, and while they are at Jezreel we have enacted a scene which we discussed in a previous chapter. Jehoram is slain by an arrow shot from the bow of Jehu. Ahaziah flees for his life and is pursued by Jehu’s men, wounded in his chariot, escapes to Megiddo, and there dies. This is the end of the second of the kings of Judah that came under the influence of this unholy alliance of northern Israel.


Now we take up the reign of Athaliah. As soon as Athaliah heard of the death of Ahaziah her son, and knowing that all of Ahaziah’s brothers had been captured and taken away by the Arabians and Philistines, and there was no proper heir to the throne excepting her grandsons, the narrative says that she arose and destroyed all the seed royal, that is, all her own grandsons. A woman that would do that is a monster rather than a woman. Fortunately, however, providence interposes. The chief priest of the nation, Jehoiada, a man of great influence and power, had married a sister of Ahaziah, and daughter of Athaliah, and by means of intimacy which this relationship permitted, took the only son of Ahaziah, just one year old, and hid him. Thus the dynasty is preserved.


Now let us look at Jehu’s reign. The first great act which he performs is the destruction of Baal and Baal -worshipers, and he does it under false pretense. He does it in a most treacherous manner under the guise of zeal for their religion and he deceives them. He says, "Ahab served Baal little, Jehu shall serve him much," and in that way gains the popularity of all those in favor of Baal worship. In that way he manages to secure the presence of a great host of Baal worshipers, but took pains to see that none of the Jehovah worshipers were there. All the priests of Baal are butchered. That is different from the death of the 450 prophets of Baal and the 450 prophets of Asherah by Elijah at Mount Carmel. That was a fair teat by Elijah, but they failed, and therefore deserved death. This was treachery on the part of Jehu, treachery that was inexcusable, and having done that, he breaks down the altars of Baal, destroys all the Baal worshipers in the capital of Samaria. But that does not imply that there were no Baal worshipers anywhere else in the kingdom for there were Baal cults in various sections still. Although Jehu had destroyed Baal worship as a state religion he institutes one very little better. He is a worshiper of Jehovah but it is a corrupt worship of the calves of Dan and Bethel and he follows in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin. It is awful how all of these men are said to have followed Jeroboam the son of Nebat in that he made Israel to sin. Every one of them does the same thing. There is a sermon on that statement entitled, "The Monotony of Sin." All for generations doing the same thing and they are doing the same thing now; they have been doing the same thing for thousands of years. Jehu’s reign is on the whole an evil reign. The religion of Jehovah made little progress under his rule.


Now Athaliah reigns and we have the strange spectacle of a woman on the throne of Judah, the daughter of Jezebel with Phoenician blood in her veins. We would expect that she would try to do what Jezebel did, viz: install, as the state religion of Judah, the worship of Baal, and so she did. There was no persecution of the prophets in southern Israel. She evidently could not do that, but she partly destroyed the Temple, took the sacred vessels out of it, established priests in her own temple of Baal and set up Baal worship, using the vessels that had been dedicated to Jehovah. Shrines were built throughout the whole kingdom, and now southern Judah is in danger of being brought under the sway of Baal as northern Israel was before Elijah appeared upon the scene. But there was one man in the realm raised up by divine providence to save the situation. Jehoiada is the son-in-law of Athaliah, a -man of influence and power, and evidently a man of great wisdom and piety, the foremost counsellor in the realm, the wisest and best man in the kingdom, the high priest. Six years of silence passes, and Jehoiada is wise enough to know how to hold his tongue and hold his wife’s tongue all that time. It is something for a man to be able to hold his tongue on such a great secret as he possessed, for six years. When little Joash had grown to be seven years old we find that Jehoiada began to strengthen himself in the kingdom and to mature his plans to set Joash upon the throne and destroy his mother-in-law, Athaliah. The time is ripe for action, the people are evidently dissatisfied with the reign of Athaliah, and are ready for the change. Jehoiada matures his plans with great deliberation, extreme caution and great shrewdness. We can’t understand all the details of the situation, the exact relation of the house and the Temple, but we find that he divides the Temple guards and palace guards into three companies, and stations them in separate places surrounding the king, so that he is perfectly safe, and no enemies can get to him. A way is left open by which Athaliah may come into the Temple and any who may follow her, but they will at once be slain as they attempt to pass through. At a given time and a given signal, all the soldiers in their places, the people throng around and raise the shout, Joash is set upon the throne; he is handed the testimony of the law according to the command of Moses, the crown is placed upon his head, and Joash is proclaimed king. Athaliah does not know what is taking place, she hears the noise, rushes forth and pretends to be horrified, tears her clothes and shouts, "Treason! Treason!" Was it treason? How many people there are who know they are in the wrong, and yet when the people turn against them, are ready to cry out like that. They put on an air of injured innocence. Hypocrites! This avails her nothing. She is in the Temple courts and they will not spill Phoenician blood there. "Have her forth between the ranks," says Jehoiada, and as they made way for her she went to the entry of the horse gate and there she is slain. Jehoiada matured his plans as perfectly as Jehu and carried them out almost as quickly and successfully. That ends the reign of Phoenician blood upon the throne of Israel. There is no doubt that most of the people of Israel felt that a great crisis had passed.


Now let us look at the reign of Joash. He reigned for forty years beginning when a boy only seven. Joash was a grandson of Athaliah on his father’s side, so there was a little of the Phoenician blood in his veins. It is not all pure Hebrew blood, and as blood will tell sooner or later, we find that his Phoenician, corrupt, heathen blood manifests itself in the life of Joash afterward.


His great religious revolutions and reforms were instituted by Jehoiada. As soon as Joash is made king, Jehoiada renews the covenant thus: "And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself and all the people, and the king, that they should be the Lord’s people." That covenant had been broken through Athaliah’s introduction of Baal worship, through the breaking up of the Temple services and the defection of the people to Baal. Now Jehoiada must renew the covenant between God and Judah. The covenant made at Sinai had been broken more than once, and had been renewed. He establishes a covenant between the king and the people, and between the king and Jehovah on the basis of the law of Moses. The king is to be representative of Jehovah and must rule as Jehovah directs through his prophets. Now there is a revival of true religion and a reformation is begun. The first thing to be done is to destroy Baal: "And all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the Lord." They carried out a work in southern Israel almost similar to what Jehu did-in northern Israel: the priests of Baal are slain, the temple of Baal is broken down, and the shrines of Baal destroyed, and Baal worship is given a severe blow in southern Israel, but it is not extinguished; there are still Baal worshipers in high places, shrines here and there throughout the country where they carry on this vile and licentious worship of their deity.


The next thing was to reorganize the Temple service: "And Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of the Lord under the hand of the priests and Levites whom David had distributed in the house of the Lord, to offer the burnt sacrifices of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David." The reorganization of the Temple service, a reinstitution of the sacrifices of the burnt offerings and thus once more the nation is brought back to the worship of the true God, Jehovah. Again, it is said, "So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet." A brief pointed statement, but there is a history behind it. There must have been turmoil, strife, confusion, bloodshed, and unrest in the city of Jerusalem as this revolution in religion was going on, but Jehoiada’s hands have hold of the reigns of power and the city calms down and is quiet. Joash is a good and faithful king so long as he is under the influence of Jehoiada, who did the strange thing to take two wives for Joash, which is very hard to account for.


There were great reforms instituted by Joash. Notice what the king himself institutes. He begins first to repair the Temple that had been broken down during the reign of Athaliah and Jehoram, and in order to do that he must raise money, and to raise money he commands the priests to bring in the revenue which they receive from the people. Under the law of Moses every man of Israel had to pay a shekel or a half-shekel every year. Now the priests or Levites were to receive that money and bring it to the king to be utilized in repairing the Temple. Joash depends upon the honesty of the priests. We see here a very inefficient organization, and it doesn’t work. "Howbeit the Levites hastened it not." They pocketed the money. It didn’t go into the treasury and therefore the house of the Lord could not be repaired. That scheme failed because the priests lacked honesty and integrity.


Now let us look at Jehu’s political relations. We find by consulting Price’s The Monuments and the Old Testament, that Jehu was forced to pay heavy tribute to Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. Shalmaneser says himself at that time, "I received tribute of the Tyreans and the Sidonians and of Jehu the son of Omri," in one of his inscriptions and on the back of an obelisk left by Shalmaneser we have pictures of Jehu bringing to him presents of gold, basins of gold, bowls of gold, cups of gold, lead, a royal scepter and staves. Thus we see that Jehu had to pay heavy tribute in order to maintain the integrity of his kingdom after thus securing it. We have no record that Jehu ever fought against Shalmaneser or that Shalmaneser ever fought against Jehu; but Shalmaneser had gained a great victory over Damascus and Syria, and Jehu had to pay him this heavy tribute to keep him away from Israel. Thus Jehu’s reign was not all peace and prosperity. He is in a sense under the iron heel of Assyria. We also see from 2 Kings 10:32-33 that Jehu lost all eastern Palestine, which was smitten by Hazael, king of Syria, and thus his kingdom was stripped and there was left to him only a small portion of western Palestine: "In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short; and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel; from Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the valley of Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan." Thus Jehu is stripped of all of his possessions east of the Jordan. Though one of the ablest of the monarchs of northern Israel, Jehu was also the one that led Israel into sin, and his kingdom was in worse condition at the end than it was at the beginning.


Now let us take up the reign of Jehoahaz. Jehu reigned twenty-eight years, and was succeeded by Jehoahaz his son, who reigned only seventeen years, and followed in the footsteps of his father and Jeroboam the son of Nebat which made Israel to sin. In the reign of Jehoahaz we read: "And Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, continually "That means that they were compelled to pay tribute, heavy tribute to their conquerors, which drained them of all their resources and left them little better than slaves.


Jehoiada brings forth a new scheme. He is a wise man, and when he finds this other plan of Joash will not work, he suggests that they make a great chest, or box, and bore a hole in the top of it so that no man can get his hand into it, and place this box beside the altar near the entrance to the house of the Lord where the people come and go so that every man could put his tax into the box. It is not long before they find a large amount of money in it, and they are very careful how it should be counted and paid out, and very careful about the men who are to count it and hand it over to the workmen. We see how they go on with the details of the work, and they found enough money to repair the breaches of the Temple that had been broken down, and to provide the various vessels, the cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, vessels of gold, or vessels of silver. Then we find that the Temple worship is resumed, and the burnt offerings were offered continually as it had been for several years previous. Then follows an account of the death of Jehoiada, an old man, 130 years old. They buried him in the city of David among the kings as he was a king’s son-in-law, and was honored as few other Israelites have been who were not of the royal family.


After his death the bad blood flowing in the veins of Joash is manifest. A change comes; the pressure is off; the wise counsellor is gone, and Joash now begins to show what is his true nature and character. He comes under the influence of the princes of Judah, the upper ten or the upper 400, who secretly or openly preferred the worship of Baal to the worship of Jehovah, possibly because of its licentiousness. Joash is foolish enough to listen to them, sanctions the worship of Baal and of Asherah, turns his back upon the worship of Jehovah. Worse than that, Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, a prophet of God, is raised up to rebuke and reprove Joash for his sin, but Joash commands that Zechariah be stoned to death in the Temple area because he has dared to warn and admonish the king. Base ingratitude. "O, what a falling off was this!" Zechariah’s last words, "The Lord look upon it and require it," were remembered and recorded, as was the dying statement of Jesus Christ and of Stephen, the martyr. Some scholars think that when Jesus Christ was speaking to the Pharisees about the blood of Zechariah, which should be required of their generation, that he referred to this same Zechariah. Joash has incurred the hostility of the prophets and the worshipers of Jehovah in his realm. The best people of his country conspired against him, and very soon he is put to death. Israel is in a desperate condition during the reign of Jehoahaz. Hazael and Benhadad have assaulted him and-defeated him to such an extent that only fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen are left. For the king of Syria destroyed them and made them like the dust in the threshing. The kingdom could hardly be lower and exist at all. It is at its lowest ebb. Joash’s reign ends in misery and defeat. Hazael whom Elijah had anointed in Damascus, that ruthless monarch of Syria, who has crushed northern Israel under his feet and ground it to dust, advances as far south as Judah and Jerusalem and meets a large army of Joash and defeats it utterly, kills the princes of the people, and sends all the spoil that he captures back to Damascus. Then Hazael goes down to Philistia and takes the strong city of Gath, then he turns his eye upon Jerusalem with its vast treasures and is intending to advance up one of those mountain defiles to the hilltop whereon Jerusalem is situated and conquer the capital and take all its treasures. The only thing Joash can do, is to buy Hazael off. Then Joash strips the Temple of all the hallowed things, takes the gold and the treasure and hands it over to Hazael. Hazael is satisfied, as all he wants is the plunder and the treasure of the Temple, and in this way he got it without fighting for it.


Joash perishes by the hands of his own servants who had become disgusted with him because of his apostasy and evil reign. They buried him with the family in the City of David, but it does not say in the sepulchers of the kings.

QUESTIONS

1. What was the condition of Israel at this time?

2. What were the antecedent facts in the history of Judah bearing on this period?

3. After the death of Ahaziah who reigned in his stead, how did she get the throne, and how was God’s promise to David made sure?

4. What was Jehu’s policy and what was his scheme to destroy Baal?

5. What right had Jehu to destroy so many people?

6. What do you think of his method and what did God command in Jehu?

7. How did the Lord reward Jehu for his service and wherein did Jehu fail?

8. Recite the story of how the royal line of David was restored.

9. How did Athaliah meet with her deserts?

10. Who was Joash’s mother and what was the bearing on the life of Joash?

11. What was the character of Jehoiada and what were his works?

12. What was Jehoiada’s influence over Joash, what was the spiritual condition of the kingdom of Judah at this time, what strange thing did Jehoiada do and how do you account for it?

13. What command did Joash give and what was his plan for carrying it out?

14. What happened to Israel during the reign of Joash and what was the character of the Syrians.

15. Who succeeded Jehu, what was his character, who oppressed Israel during this time and what were the events in his reign?

16. How did Joash’s plan for repairing the Temple work, what was the fault with the plans and what was the lesson?

17. What new plan did they adopt and what custom perhaps originated here?

18. What order did he here reset?

19. What was the lesson here of the value of the preacher to the world?

20. What prophetic book has its setting here?

21. What distinction in Jehoiada’s burial?

22. What was his sin of omission; his sin of commission?

23. What indicates Joash’s weakness, what were his sins, what was the origin of the high places and groves, and what was the paliation for the sins of Joash?

24. How did the Lord try to bring them back, how did they receive the Lord’s prophet’s what special case cited, how did Joash show his ingratitude in his case, and what New Testament use of this incident?

25. What was the judgment executed on Joash and how did he escape?

26. Rewrite the story of Joash’s death and contrast this death with that of Jehoiada.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 22". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/2-chronicles-22.html.
 
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