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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 12

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary



This chapter, which contains the history of the reign of Joash, or Jehoash, may be divided into four parts. The first (2 Kings 12:1-3) states the general character of his reign; the second (4-16) informs us how he repaired the temple; the third (17-18) gives a short notice of the Syrian invasion under Hazael, and the fourth (19-21) gives some account of the king’s assassination and burial. The parallel history in 2 Chronicles 24:0 records a number of important items not noticed here at all. Joash, though pious and upright in his early years, yielded, after the death of the high priest, to the voice of evil counsellors, and the people lapsed into idolatry again, and even went so far as to murder the son of Jehoiada because he rebuked their disobedience and idolatry. Hence the Syrian invasion and his own foul death were judgments upon him for his sins.

Verse 2

2. All his days wherein Jehoiada… instructed him As long as he remained true to the counsels of the high priest he did right and prospered. The words imply, though the fact is not stated, that he afterwards departed from the instructions of his benefactor. How this came to pass is told in Chronicles.

Verse 3

3. High places were not taken away And these were a constant temptation to idolatry. A nation that had been so thoroughly flooded with idolatrous practices as Israel could not be morally safe with these temptations ever before their eyes. The failure to abolish these was one great mistake of Joash and other kings who attempted reformation. Compare notes on 1 Kings 3:2; 1 Kings 15:14.

Verse 4

4. All the money of the dedicated things The annual contributions to the sanctuary which Moses ordained in the wilderness. Compare Exodus 30:12-16, and 2 Chronicles 24:6; 2 Chronicles 24:9. These contributions might be of three kinds, 1.)

The money of every one that passeth the account Explained by Exodus 30:13: “Every one that passeth among them that are numbered [in the census] shall give half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary.” This half shekel was properly a poll tax. 2.)

The money that every man is set at That is, the amount at which every one who makes a singular vow is estimated, according to the law of Leviticus 27:1-8. Large revenues may sometimes have come to the sanctuary from this source alone. 3.)

Money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring That is, free-will offerings, which any one might give over and above his poll tax, or other obligation.

Verse 5

5. Every man of his acquaintance From this, and more particularly from Chronicles, (2 Kings 12:5,) it appears that the priests and Levites were not to wait at the temple to receive contributions, but were to “go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of God from year to year.” But this method failed, probably because the priests took little interest in the measure, and received little or no more than was sufficient for their own subsistence. The people, too, seemed little inclined to fall in with this measure, for when a new method was adopted, and a chest set by the temple to receive their offerings, they “rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.” 2 Chronicles 24:8-10. So in other ages of the Church, travelling agents sent forth to collect funds have often cost more than the amounts they collected, and have injured the cause besides.

Verse 9

9. Jehoiada… took a chest This, according to 2 Chronicles 24:8, was done “at the king’s commandment,” and was a much more popular measure than the one tried before. It provided that the contributions be audited and used by other persons besides the priests. Their’s was the trespass money and sin money, (2 Kings 12:16,) but the chest was to receive the contributions for the repairing of the temple. “It was expected,” says Keil, “that the people would give more, when the collection was appointed for the special purpose of repairing the temple, than when they were to give the legal and voluntary payments only to the priests, whereby no giver knew how much of it might be applied for building.”

The priests… put therein all the money Chronicles, however, seems to show that the people cast their money in the chest with their own hand. It may all have passed through the priests’ hands, but so publicly and with such oversight of interested parties as prevented all chance for embezzlement. There is not the slightest evidence that the priests and Levites had been guilty of any dishonesty in former collections, and yet there might have been suspicions.

Verse 13

13. Not made… any vessels of gold That is, as is explained in Chronicles, none of the money collected was used for this purpose until all the work of repairing the building was completed. After the repairs were finished the rest of the money was devoted to provide vessels for the house of the Lord. Athaliah had robbed the Lord’s house of these vessels to provide for her Baal worship.

Verse 15

15. Reckoned not with the men The men who had charge of the disbursement of the funds were men of such high standing and integrity, and gave such general evidence of having done their work faithfully, that no one desired any special reckoning with them.

Verse 16

16. Trespass money and sin money Money brought to the priests as a trespass offering or a sin offering, according to the law of Leviticus 5:15-19. See also Leviticus 7:7, and Numbers 18:9.

Verse 17

17. Hazael On this man’s elevation to the throne of Syria, see 2 Kings 8:7-15. On his victories over Israel and the eastern tribes, see 2 Kings 10:32-33.

Fought against Gath Having the northern kingdom in subjection, he could easily march his army through its territory and down the western border of Judah to Gath. On the position of Gath, see 1 Samuel 5:8, note.

Set his face to go up to Jerusalem Chronicles adds to this, that he did send a company to Jerusalem, and defeated a great host of Israelites, destroyed their princes, and carried off great spoil. The two accounts are brief, and not designed to record all the facts in the case, but they are by no means necessarily contradictory. See 2 Chronicles 24:23.

Verse 18

18. Took all the hallowed things This was a too expensive buying of an uncertain peace, and led to no permanent security. Asa before him, (1 Kings 15:18,) and Ahaz and Hezekiah after him, (2 Kings 16:8; 2 Kings 18:15,) did the like foolish thing, to the great damage of the kingdom.

Verse 20

20. House of Millo The castle or citadel on Zion which David had fortified. 2 Samuel 5:9, note.

Which goeth down to Silla “What or where Silla was is entirely matter of conjecture. It must have been in the valley below, overlooked by that part of the citadel which was used as a residence. The situation of the present so-called Pool of Siloam would be appropriate, and the agreement between the two names is tempting; but the likeness exists in the Greek and English versions only. Gesenius, with less than his usual caution, affirms Silla to be a town in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Others refer it to a place on or connected with the causeway, or flight of steps, which led from the central valley of the city up to the court of the temple.” GROVE, in Smith’s Dictionary.

Verse 21

21. Buried him with his fathers But not, says 2 Chronicles 24:25, “in the sepulchres of the kings.” For a fuller account of Joash’s history, see the parallel history in Chronicles.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-kings-12.html. 1874-1909.
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