2 Kings 12:2. Jehoash did what was right, &c. — Having, 1st, such a good director as Jehoiada was, so wise, experienced, and faithful: and, 2d, so much wisdom as to hearken to him, and be directed by him. Here we learn of what advantage it is to princes, especially while they are young, and indeed to young people in general, to have good instructers and counsellors about them. And they then act wisely for themselves, when they are willing to be counselled and ruled by such.
2 Kings 12:3. But the high places were not taken away — The people were so much and so strangely addicted to these private altars, (on which they sacrificed to the true God,) that the preceding kings, though men of riper years and greater power and courage than Jehoash, and firmly established on their thrones, were not able to remove them. And, therefore, it is not strange that Jehoiada could not now take them away, when the king was young, and not well settled in his kingdom, and when the people were more corrupt and disorderly through Athaliah’s mal-administration.
2 Kings 12:4. And Jehoash said to the priests — The house of God having been neglected, and suffered to go to decay in the time of Athaliah and her son, Jehoash, in gratitude to God, who had preserved him there, resolved to have it repaired; and, in order thereto, commanded what money should be set apart for that purpose. All the money of the dedicated things — That had been or should hereafter be brought and dedicated to the service of God and of the temple. As it appears from 2 Chronicles 24:5, that the priests went through the land to collect money, it seems the people were required to dedicate something toward these repairs. The money of every one that passeth the account — The words, the account, are not in the Hebrew, so that it is likely this clause is to be understood of the offerings which pious people cast into the boxes prepared to receive them, as they passed into the temple. The money that every man is set at — Namely, the money that every man, who had vowed his person to God, paid or was to pay for his redemption, by the estimation made by the priest, according to the law, Leviticus 27:2-3. In the Hebrew it is the money of souls, or persons according to his taxing. As soon as this money was paid by any one, he was freed from the vow wherewith he had bound himself: but till it was paid, his life was not his own, but God’s. All the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring, &c. — This was the third sort of money for the reparation of the temple; that which any man would give freely for that service.
2 Kings 12:5. Let the priests take it to them, &c. — Let them go abroad through all the parts of the land, as they have acquaintance and interest, and gather up the money, and bring it to Jerusalem. Let them repair, &c., wheresoever any breach shall be found — Either through decay, or by ill accidents; or by the malice of Athaliath, or her relations; of which see 2 Chronicles 24:7.
2 Kings 12:6-8. In the three and twentieth year of Jehoash, the priests had not repaired, &c. — They were both dilatory and careless in collecting the money, 2 Chronicles 24:5; and did not bring in what they had gathered to begin the work, whereupon the king revoked his former order, and intrusted other men, as it here follows, with this work. Thus are things seldom done well that are committed to the care of many. Now therefore receive no more money, &c. — Jehoash ordered two things, 1st, That they should gather no more money of the people. 2d, That they should not have the care of seeing the temple repaired, but pay what had been collected into other hands. The priests consented — They submitted to the king’s new orders, and wholly committed the business to those whom he thought fit to employ. But it does not appear that they restored the money which they had received for twenty-three years past.
2 Kings 12:9. Jehoiada the priest took a chest — By the king’s order, 2 Chronicles 24:8. And set it beside the altar — In the court of the priests. Upon comparing the passage in Chronicles, just referred to, with this, it seems probable that it was first placed by the altar, and afterward removed thence to the gate of the court, for the people’s greater satisfaction, that they might come thither, and put in their money with their own hands.
2 Kings 12:10-11. The king’s scribe and the high-priest came up, &c. — The king’s secretary and the high-priest emptied the chest, and took an account of the money, and then put it up in bags, which, it is likely, they sealed; and then they set the chest in its place again. This they did every day, as we read 2 Chronicles 24:11. They gave the money to them that had the oversight, &c. — These bags of money were delivered by the king and Jehoiada, (2 Chronicles 24:12,) not to the priests, whom the king had found tardy, and, perhaps, faulty, (converting the money to their own use,) but to some select persons, who had this peculiar business committed to them, to employ good workmen, pay them their wages, and see the temple properly repaired.
2 Kings 12:14-15. But they gave that to the workmen — All the money collected was employed to pay the masons, carpenters, and such like workmen, for repairing the temple alone, till the work was finished; and then the overseers gave an account of what money remained in their hands, which was expended in purchasing such vessels as are before mentioned, for the service of the temple, 2 Chronicles 24:14. Moreover, they reckoned not with the men — They were so confident of the honesty of the overseers, that they took no account of the money which they had paid to the workmen. For they dealt faithfully — They perceived, by many experiments, that they were faithful. This was a rare example of fidelity in managing the public money.
2 Kings 12:16. The trespass-money and sin-money, &c. — “Besides the money paid to the priests for trespasses committed in holy things it is thought that persons living at a distance sent money to the priests to purchase trespass- offerings and sin-offerings, and sacrifice them in their names: and, as they commonly sent more than the sacrifices cost, the surplus became a perquisite, under the name of trespass-money and sin-money.” — Scott. This money was not employed toward the reparation of the house, because, as it follows, it was the priests’: it was given to them for their private use and maintenance.
2 Kings 12:17-18. Then Hazael went up — That is, in this king’s days, when, Jehoiada being dead, Jehoash revolted from God; of which see 2 Chronicles 24:17. And fought against Gath — Once a city of the Philistines, but taken by David, (1 Chronicles 18:1,) and now a part of the kingdom of Judah. And Hazael set his face to go to Jerusalem — Directed his march toward that city: or, undertook to march thither in good earnest. Jehoash took all the hallowed things, &c. — The preservation of his kingdom, he thought, warranted his doing this; but he brought these dangers upon himself by his apostacy from God.
2 Kings 12:20. His servants made a conspiracy, and slew Jehoash — Of which, see 2 Chronicles 24:25, where we are told that his murdering the prophet, Jehoiada’s son, was the provocation. In this, how unrighteous soever they were, yet the Lord was righteous: and this was not the only time that he let even kings know, it was at their peril if they touched his anointed, or 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 the Lord.
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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany