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JOASH BEGINS WELL
Being only seven years old at his coronation, Joash reigned 40 years, thus was only 47 when his own servants killed him (v.25). In his younger years he did what was right in the sight of the Lord for he had the good influence of Jehoiada. He had much for which to thank God under the patronage of Jehoiada and Joshabeath who had preserved him from death and enabled him to become king. But he leaned too heavily upon the godly priest and did not learn to depend truly on the Lord. In fact, we are told that Jehoiada took two wives for Joash (v.3). Why did he not simply instruct Joash to be careful to choose the wife that God desired him to have? But how often is it true that people so depend on a godly leader that they never learn to stand on their own feet! Of course the leader is to blame if he encourages this.
It is commendable, however, that Joash set his heart on repairing the house of the Lord (v.4). He gathered the priests and Levites, giving them orders to go out to the cities of Judah and gather money from the people to bear the expenses of the repairs, telling them to do this quickly (v.5). However, this was not done quickly. It may have been that they did not have a heart for demanding money from the people because people generally resist such demands. It is the principle of law-keeping, which always awakens resistance in people's minds.
Joash confronted Jehoiada with the fact that the priests and Levites had not done as they were told, for the need was evident. Athaliah and her sons had stolen the dedicated things of the temple to use them in the worship of Baal (v.7), and if restoration was to be done in the temple, it would be necessarily expensive.
The king then employed different means of raising funds for this project. Instead of demanding from the people, he had a chest made and put outside at the gate of the house of the Lord. Then a public announcement was sent throughout Judah and Jerusalem that the chest was there to receive the contributions the people would bring (v.9).
This method proved effective, for people came to give voluntarily without pressure being put on them. This is the principle of grace shown us in the New Testament, where believers are not required to give, but, being informed of definite needs. They are told, "Let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). A demand is not made, but encouragement is given. The leaders rejoiced in this, as did all the people, and they willingly brought their contributions, putting them into the chest (v.10).
Checking the chest each day, the king's officers found an abundance of money, then the king and Jehoiada gave the money to those in charge of the service of the house of the Lord, who hired masons, carpenters and iron and brass workers. When thus there was a mind to do the work, the restoration of the temple was soon accomplished (v.13).
In this project it must have been the influence of Jehoiada that moved Joash, for of course Jehoiada was in charge of the service of the temple. When the repair work had been done, there remained further money with which articles of gold and silver for serving in the temple were added. The temple being given its true place, then burnt offerings were offered continually there all the days of Jehoiada (v.14).
THE DEATH OF JEHOIADA
Jehoiada lived to an age of 130 years, a faithful, devoted man. At his death he was buried among the kings because he had really acted as a good king (v.16), not assuming the place of king, but giving that place to the rightful heir to the throne, yet influencing him rightly all the days of his life. We should rightly expect that Joash would keenly feel the loss of one through whom had had been so greatly blessed, and in mourning his death, would be purposed to continue to follow his example.
JOASH WILLINGLY MISLED
Sadly, Joash had only formally accepted Jehoiada's leadership. He did not follow the faith and example of Jehoiada. Instead of continuing to stand faithfully for God, he listened to the leaders of Judah, who came to bow down to him with the intention of influencing him to accept again the worship of idols (vv.17-18). How many since him have been more swayed by a desire to please men and therefore forget to please God!
Judah's idolatry of course incurred the anger of God, who sent prophets to them, seeking to draw them back to the Lord, testifying faithfully against their idol worship, but they refused to listen (v.19).
Finally, the Spirit of the Lord laid hold of Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, to give a strong prophetic message to Judah, "Thus says God: Why do you trespass the commandment of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you" (v.20). Since this was spoken by a priest of God who was Jehoiada's son, we should expect Joash at least to pay serious attention, but instead Joash issued the command to stone Zechariah to death in the court of the house of the Lord! (v.21). Thus Joash was guilty of despising the blessing he had received through Jehoiada and coldly rejecting the God of Israel (v.22).
The Lord Jesus referred to this solemn incident when speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, saying, "The blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar" (Matthew 23:35). It may be that Berechiah was the grandfather of Zechariah, but we know of no record of Jehoiada's father. Why did the Lord Jesus accuse the scribes and Pharisees of murdering Zechariah, when this had taken place years before? Because they were exhibiting the same, cruel, unbelieving attitude toward God by their opposition to Christ, an infinitely greater Messenger than Zechariah was. By their attitude they were identifying themselves with those who hated God.
As Zechariah died, he said, "The Lord look upon it and repay!" (v.22). This was consistent with his being under law. How different were the words of the Lord Jesus at His death, " Father, forgive them, for they not know what they do" (Luke 23:34), and the words of Stephen when he was stoned to death, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin" (Acts 7:60). But the prayer of Zechariah was answered by means of serious consequences coming on Joash and his kingdom.
JOASH SUFFERING DEFEAT AND DEATH
The Lord gave Joash at least a short time to reconsider the folly of his evil course, but there was no change in the unhappy king. In the spring of the year the army of Syria came against him, and even though the Syrian army was small in comparison to Israel's very great army (vv.23-24), the Lord delivered the Israelites into the hand of the enemy, who destroyed many of the leaders of the people, as well as taking much spoil, then retiring, leaving Joash severely wounded. They did not kill him, for God had decided that the poor king would be killed by his own servants. They took. advantage of the fact that he was wounded and killed him in bed (v.25). Thus Joash had a little time to consider that God's judgment was upon him because of his idolatry and his cruelty to the son of Jehoiada.
Jehoiada, the protector of Joash, had been buried with the kings (v.16), but Joash, though king, was not buried with the kings. The people discerned that he was not worthy of such a burial as Jehoiada was, though the people had followed Joash in his idolatry. How sad was the end of the man who wanted to please the people rather than to please God! The people themselves knew enough to despise this attitude. Amaziah, son of Joash, was then given the throne over Judah.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 24". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29