Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

2 Kings 12

Verses 4-16

Jehoash"s restoration of the temple12:4-16

This was the first such project the writer recorded in Kings. Later, Hezekiah and Josiah also repaired the temple. Until now, temple expenses came out of the royal treasury, but Jehoash moved this obligation into the private sector. [Note: Jones, 2:490.] Jehoash"s original plan was to use part of the money that the people contributed for the maintenance of the priesthood to pay for the restoration (cf. Exodus 30:11-16; Leviticus 27; Numbers 30). Apparently the priests did not cooperate with this plan, perhaps out of selfishness. Consequently the king adopted a completely freewill offering approach and appointed non-priests to supervise its administration. This plan proved effective. Many other ancient Near Eastern governments used this approach to maintaining their temples at this time. [Note: A. L. Oppenheim, "A Fiscal Practice of the Ancient Near East," Journal of Near Eastern Studies6 (1947):116-20; Victor Hurowitz, "Another Fiscal Practice in the Ancient Near East: 2 Kings 12:5-17 and a Letter to Esarhaddon (Las277)," Journal of Near Eastern Studies45:4 (October1986):289-94.] The administrators of the program proved trustworthy. Integrity returned to Judah, partially, when the people rededicated themselves to Yahweh ( 2 Kings 11:17).

Verses 17-21

Jehoash"s unfaithfulness and assassination12:17-21

King Hazael of Aram had defeated Israel during the reigns of Jehu and Jehoahaz ( 2 Kings 13:3; 2 Kings 13:22). He then pressed south along the Mediterranean coast toward Judah. He captured Gath and then sent soldiers against Jerusalem who killed many Judean leaders. Rather than turning to Yahweh for deliverance, Jehoash bought Hazael off with gold from the renovated temple. Later, Hazael returned to Judah and Jerusalem with a small company of men, destroyed all the nobility of Judah, and sent their spoil to the king of Damascus ( 2 Chronicles 24:23).

The Arameans had wounded Jehoash, who went to recuperate in a town named Beth Millo ( 2 Chronicles 24:25). There, several of his officials assassinated him ( 2 Kings 12:20), primarily because he had slain the high priest Zechariah ( 2 Chronicles 24:20-22). The king was buried in Jerusalem but not in the royal tombs ( 2 Chronicles 24:25) because the people did not have great respect for him.

"Once a promising, God-fearing young ruler, Joash died a disappointment. By bribing Hazael with Temple treasures, he tarnished his one great achievement, the Temple restoration." [Note: Hubbard, p185.]

Jehoash"s reign started off well but ended poorly because he turned from Yahweh. Instead of continuing to follow the high priest"s counsel, he silenced him by killing him. Consequently, God"s blessing on his earlier years in office turned into chastening later in his life.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.