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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 23

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 23

2 Chronicles 23:1 "And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him."

In the last lesson, Athaliah had killed all of her grandchildren {except one}, so that she could be queen. Joash had been hidden in the temple. He was the rightful heir to the throne. Jehoiada was the high priest who had hidden the baby, Joash. Now, he had strengthened his courage enough that he called the leaders of the army to him to anoint Joash king. These were leaders of various segments of the troops. We may assume that Jehoiada knew them well enough to know that he could trust them. Jehoiada had risked his own life, and the life of his family, to hide the baby these years.

2 Chronicles 23:2 "And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem."

They had to do this secretly not to arouse the suspicion of this evil queen. The decision to anoint this youngster as king and overthrow the queen would need to be sanctioned by the Levitical tribe. All of these who came were people in authority.

2 Chronicles 23:3 "And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David."

This covenant was an unbreakable agreement of these men of authority gathered in the temple. It is explained to everyone that the LORD had promised David that his lineage would sit on the throne of Judah. This young boy, Joash, is the only living heir to the throne. It appears, that all were in agreement.

2 Chronicles 23:4 "This [is] the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, [shall be] porters of the doors;"

It was not unusual for Levites to come to the temple on sabbath. 1/3 of them shall be keepers of the door. They could not take a chance on someone entering who was not aware of what is going on.

2 Chronicles 23:5 "And a third part [shall be] at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people [shall be] in the courts of the house of the LORD."

This is just explaining that Joash, the king to be, would be guarded every step of the way. No one would be able to get to him.

2 Chronicles 23:6 "But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they [are] holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the LORD."

The people, who are not the Levites, are to guard from the outside all of the entrances to the place where the young boy will be anointed king. Only the priests, who have been anointed of God themselves to take place in the services in the temple would be in the near vicinity of Joash {Jehoash}.

2 Chronicles 23:7 "And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever [else] cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out."

The Levites had swords in their hands, ready to kill anyone who came near the boy. They made a human wall around Joash. Anyone trying to enter who was not part of the anointing service would be killed.

2 Chronicles 23:8 "So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go [out] on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses."

It would appear to be a normal sabbath at the temple. Everyone did just as Jehoiada had planned.

2 Chronicles 23:9 "Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that [had been] king David’s, which [were] in the house of God."

It appears, these weapons of David’s had been kept in the temple. Now, they were distributed out to the leaders of the groops of men who would protect the young king. We must remember that the temple was like a complex. The temple, itself, was surrounded by other buildings.

2 Chronicles 23:10 "And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about."

The weapon being in their hand showed their readiness to use it. These men covered the entire wall, so that no one could possibly get through to Joash.

2 Chronicles 23:11 "Then they brought out the king’s son, and put upon him the crown, and [gave him] the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king."

The high priest, Jehoiada, and his sons, the priests did the actual anointing of Joash as king. They put a crown on his head, and put the book of the law into his hands. He had been trained by the high priest in the temple. They gave him God’s law as a guide to judge by.

2 Chronicles 23:12 "Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:"

It is interesting that all of this went on without her knowing it was happening. The people could not contain their joy, when Joash was anointed king. Athaliah came to see for herself what was happening.

2 Chronicles 23:13 "And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of music, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason."

She was shocked, when she saw the young boy crowned king in her stead. She immediately understood what had happened, and she began to tear her clothes in mourning. The treason was not against the land, but against her as queen.

2 Chronicles 23:14 "Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD."

Jehoiada reminded them not to kill her in the house of the LORD, but to take her away from the temple to kill her. Anyone who was with her was to be slain along with her. It would be hard to see why anyone would follow so evil a woman.

2 Chronicles 23:15 "So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king’s house, they slew her there."

They killed her by the horse gate, because she was no more than an animal. She had no conscience at all. She would be killed in disgrace.

2 Chronicles 23:16 "And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’S people."

Jehoiada had taught the new king the ways of the LORD, while he was in his care. The queen was evil, and had led the country away from God. The agreement that the people, the officials, Jehoiada, and the king made would succeed only, if they returned to the LORD. The covenant with the LORD in this would be a special effort to get back into good relationship with the LORD.

2 Chronicles 23:17 "Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars."

Ahab and Jezebel had brought the worship of Baal into Israel. Their daughter, Athaliah, had introduced it in Judah. It appears, she had actually built a building to this false god. The very first thing to do to show the LORD they were sincere, would be to tear down the building, the images, and to do away with the priest of Baal. This was the first step in bringing Judah into fellowship with the LORD. We must remember, that Jehoiada had been like a father to Joash while he was in hiding. Joash would do what Jehoiada wanted him to do.

2 Chronicles 23:18 "Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the LORD by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the LORD, to offer the burnt offerings of the LORD, as [it is] written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, [as it was ordained] by David."

It appears, that the worship in the temple had been limited during the reign of Athaliah. Now, the worship in the temple would be re-established. Jehoiada would go by the example that David started in the temple. He would be high priest, his sons, the priests, and all of the others who serve in any capacity in the temple would be established according to their families. We have discussed before, that musicians and singers are ministers called of God, as well as the priests.

2 Chronicles 23:19 "And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the LORD, that none [which was] unclean in any thing should enter in."

Even these porters had to be of the Levites. They were to guard the entrance against intruders.

2 Chronicles 23:20 "And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the LORD: and they came through the high gate into the king’s house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom."

The anointing of the king was done by the priests, but the placing of the king on his throne in his house, was a joint participation. All of the officials in the land were involved in this. Partially for the king’s safety, and partially showing their approval of Joash as king, they accompanied him to his throne.

2 Chronicles 23:21 "And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword."

We can see that the tyrant, Athaliah, was gone, now all the people rejoiced, again. The young king would rule pleasing unto God, as long as the high priest was living to guide him.

2 Chronicles 23 Questions

1. When did Jehoiada strengthen himself?

2. Who had Athaliah killed, so that she might be queen?

3. Where had Joash been hidden?

4. Who was the high priest in the temple at the time?

5. Who does Jehoiada call to the temple?

6. Who did they gather out of Judah to come to Jerusalem to the temple?

7. Why had Jehoida called these men of authority?

8. Why was it important that Joash reign as king?

9. What was this covenant?

10. What shall 1/3 of the Levites do, when they enter on the chosen sabbath?

11. Where will the others be stationed?

12. Who are the only ones to enter into the house of the LORD? 13. Where will the Levites’ weapons be?

14. Why did the queen not suspicion something was going on?

15. Where did they find weapons to use?

16. What did the weapon being in their hands show?

17. They brought out the young man, and crowned him, and put the ________ __ ____ ____ in his hand.

18. Who actually anointed Joash king?

19. What did Athaliah do, when she heard the noise of praise?

20. What did she do, when she saw what was going on?

21. Where did they kill her?

22. In 2 Chronicles 23:16, we read they made a covenant to be what?

23. What did they do with the altars of Baal?

24. Who had brought the worship of Baal into Israel?

25. Jehoiada had been like a _________ to Joash.

26. Who were the porters at the gate?

27. Who went with Joash to the house of the king, to set him on his throne?

28. How long did Joash reign righteously in the land?

Verses 1-7

2Ch 23:1-7

2 Chronicles 23:1-7

THE SIX-YEAR REIGN OF ATHALIAH ENDS IN HER EXECUTION

JOASH (837-800 B.C.)

JEHOIADA’S PLAN TO CROWN JOASH AND EXECUTE ATHALIAH

"And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him. And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the heads of fathers’ houses of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem. And all the assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as Jehovah hath spoken concerning the sons of David. This is the thing that ye shall do: a third part of you, that come in on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the thresholds; and a third part shall be at the king’s house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of Jehovah. But let none come into the house of Jehovah, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall come in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the charge of Jehovah. And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever cometh into the house, let him be slain: and be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 23:1. When an heir to the throne was too young to act as king, the affairs were managed by the priest in those days. Joash was but an infant when he barely escaped death at the hands of Athaliah. The woman who saved him was the wife of Jehoiada the priest. When the boy was in his seventh year, this priest concluded it was time to do something on behalf of the rightful heir to the throne. He formed a group of army men who were captains over hundreds of soldiers.

2 Chronicles 23:2. As a starter for the action, they went throughout the various cities and gathered the Levites, together with the elderly men of Israel (Israelites in general), and came to Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah.

2 Chronicles 23:3. Covenant with the king means the covenant was on his behalf. The procedure was being handled by the priest since the king was but a young lad. He said means the priest said, for he was leading the movements for the king.

2 Chronicles 23:4-5. The arrangement described was to safeguard the important transaction about to be undertaken. Not only was the throne then being held unlawfully, but it was by an unscrupulous woman who was already guilty of multiple murder. Nothing must be left undone to prevent her escape from the fate due her. The priest classified his forces into three parts. The ones from the priestly tribe were to guard the entrances to the temple, giving special attention on the sabbath days. Another group was to stand guard at the king’s palace, while another part was to stand guard further outward, protecting the foundation of the gate. The above assignments were for special groups of men and at special places. Then the people in general were to be on hand for any possible need. The courts of the temple were open to the public, and the bulk of the citizens received orders to be present in these courts.

2 Chronicles 23:6. The priests only were allowed to enter the temple proper, but their service was to be protected from possible violence by the people "standing by" in the courts. This grand setup appears to have been intended as a permanent arrangement, but no one knew just when the opportune time would come for the climax nor how long it would take; every precaution must be taken.

2 Chronicles 23:7. It was not customary for a new king to be crowned in the manner that was being planned for Joash. But the circumstances were very unusual, in that a woman had usurped the throne, wading to it through a torrent of blood. The king was to be escorted in and out of the temple, the Levites forming the bodyguard in close contact.

Verses 8-11

2Ch 23:8-11

2 Chronicles 23:8-11

LONG LIVE THE KING!

"So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men, those that were to come in on the sabbath; with those that were to go out on the sabbath; for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses. And Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds the spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God. And he set all the people, every man with his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, by the king round about. Then they brought out the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony, and made him king: and Jehoiada and his sons anointed him; and they said, Long live the king!"

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 23:8. The orders of Jehoiada were obeyed to the letter. Dismissed not the courses refers to the courses or turns that David had instituted for the priests, after the eligible men became too numerous to be needed at the same time. (1 Chronicles 24.) But the occasion now is exceptional, and called for the combined service of all eligible men.

2 Chronicles 23:9. As possible violence was feared, the priest gave the men the weapons that had belonged to David, the first king of the tribe of Judah.

2 Chronicles 23:10. The spot selected for the crowning act was in front of the temple, facing the altar. The armed men formed a guard that reached from side to side of the temple.

2 Chronicles 23:11. Within this impressive setting the king was given his position. There, with the guard all ready for any possible emergency, a crown was placed on his head. The august formality was concluded with the anointing of the king by the priest and his sons, and the acclamation, "God save the king."

Verses 12-15

2Ch 23:12-15

2 Chronicles 23:12-15

THE EXECUTION OF ATHALIAH

"And when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of Jehovah: and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by his pillar at the entrance, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets; the singers also played on instruments of music, and led the singing of p raise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason! treason! And Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth between the ranks; and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword: for the priest said, Slay her not in the house of Jehovah. So they made way for her; and she went to the entrance of the horse gate to the king’s house: and they slew her there."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 23:12. While the foregoing actions were proceeding, Athaliah was in the palace which she was occupying unlawfully. The sound made by the people caught her ears, and she came to the temple to investigate.

2 Chronicles 23:13. When she arrived at the house of the Lord an imposing scene met her. The young king, whom she thought she had murdered, was at his post by the entrance, wearing the royal crown. Nearby was the retinue of chief men, ready to support him by force if necessary. At the same time, the mighty chorus of singers and trumpeters, accompanied by various instruments of music, all sounded in the ears of the wicked usurper like a death knell. She rent her clothes, which was a custom when people were under great tension from grief or anxiety. With a despairing wail, like a, swan song, she impudently shouted, Treason, Treason. There is an old saying that a thief sometimes tries to divert attention from himself by crying, "Stop thief." Such an attitude was manifested by this wicked woman.

2 Chronicles 23:14-15. Ranges means the rows of soldiers. Forth. of the ranges means to bring her out through or between the rows of soldiers, to conduct her from where she was to some other place for execution. He had told them not to slay her in the house of God. She was such a wicked woman, and did not deserve even to have the honor of being slain in such a holy place. As they began their death march, the priest gave orders to kill any who would try to follow. Curiosity alone might be the motive for following, yet it might be for the purpose of interfering with the execution. But whatever the motive, such persons must be killed. The place selected for the execution was very appropriate for such an unworthy person. It was at the horse gate, "by the way by which the horses came into the king’s house." (2 Kings 11:16.)

Verses 16-21

2Ch 23:16-21

2 Chronicles 23:16-21

JOASH WAS ESTABLISHED AS THE YOUNG KING OF JUDAH

"And Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, and all the people, and the king, that they should be Jehovah’s people. And all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And Jehoiada appointed the officers of the house of Jehovah under the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of Jehovah, to offer the burnt-offerings of Jehovah, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. And he set the porters at the gates of the house of Jehovah, that none that was unclean in anything should enter in. And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of Jehovah: and they came through the upper gate unto the king’s house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom. So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. And Athaliah they had slain with the sword."

This whole chapter, along with the last three verses of the previous chapter, is parallel with 2 Kings 11. There are a few unimportant variations, but the narratives are essentially identical.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 23:16. This verse is similar, in some respects, to the call that Moses made on the occasion of the golden calf. (Exodus 32:26.) The wicked woman had suffered idolatry to creep into the practices of the people. The woman was out of the way, now it would be in line to clarify the stand of the people. The priest formed a covenant between the new king and his people, that they should be known as the people of the Lord, not of Baal. They agreed to the proposition as the next verse will show.

2 Chronicles 23:17. This verse is what verifies the statements on the preceding one. Actions speak for the heart, and by declaring themselves in favor of the true.

2 Chronicles 23:18. It would be expected that the worship of Baal would disrupt the lawful kind. Now that the evil had been destroyed, the way was opened to reinstate the true service. Offices means the duties; Jehoiada appointed the duties or offices or official tasks pertaining to the house of the Lord. These tasks could be performed only by the Levites, lawfully, and by those particular Levites who were priests; the descendants of Aaron. Distributed in the house of the Lord denotes that the priests were given their particular assignments so that the whole service would be orderly.

2 Chronicles 23:19. The porters were the same as janitors, but the specific item of such a job that was expected of these men was to watch the doors, and see that no one entered who was unclean. The law of Moses was very definite in requiring all who participated in the sacrifices to be clean.

2 Chronicles 23:20. The persons mentioned had been at the temple, engaged in the ceremonies of crowning the king. The proper place for the ruler was in the palace, hence Jehoiada had this great assembly to attend the king as he was escorted to the throne. High gate refers to one more important. It is described in 2 Kings 11:19 as "the gate of the guard." It was fitting to bring the king in through a gate that was guarded, for a revolution about the throne had taken place, and every precaution was in order.

2 Chronicles 23:21. The mere fact of a woman having been slain should not cause rejoicing. The motive of the rejoicing was the knowledge that a murderous usurper had been slain.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 23". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-23.html.
 
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