Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 12:2

Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Jehoiada;   Joash;   Zeal, Religious;   Thompson Chain Reference - Boys, Pious;   Children;   Home;   Instruction;   Piety;   Sight, in God's;   Young Men;   Young People;   Youthful Piety;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Temple;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jehoash;   Priest;   Teacher;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Zeal;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jehoiada;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Kings, 1 and 2;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Government;   Jerusalem;   Name, Names;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jehoiada ;   Joash ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Jehoiada;   Joash;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Jeho'ash;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Jehoash;   Uzziah (Azariah);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Parashiyyot, the Four;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Jehoash did - right in the sight of the Lord - While Jehoiada the priest, who was a pious, holy man, lived, Jehoash walked uprightly; but it appears from 2 Chronicles 24:17, 2 Chronicles 24:18, that he departed from the worship of the true God after the death of this eminent high priest, lapsed into idolatry, and seems to have had a share in the murder of Zechariah, who testified against his transgressions, and those of the princes of Judah. See above, 2 Kings 11:20-21; (note).

O how few of the few who begin to live to God continue unto the end!

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

All his days … - i. e., so long as Jehoiada was his adviser” (compare 2 Chronicles 24:15-22). Jehoida was, practically speaking, regent during the minority of Jehoash, i. e., 10 or 12 years. An increase of power to the priestly order was the natural consequence. Jehoiada bore the title of “high priest” 2 Kings 12:10, which had been dropped since the time of Eleazar Joshua 20:6, and the Levitical order from this time became more mixed up with public affairs and possessed greater influence than previously. Jehoiada‘s successors traced their office to him rather than to Aaron Jeremiah 29:26.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-12.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Kings 12:2

And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Influence

For the right understanding of the character and reign of Jehoash we should consult not only the account given in the present chapter, but also that in the parallel chapter in the book of Chronicles; the narrative in the book of Kings being more full of matters pertaining to the early piety of the monarch, while that of the Chronicles details with more minuteness the causes that led to his declension, and the occasion of his shameful fall. During the minority of Jehoash the affairs of the kingdom went on comparatively well. His beginnings were full of promise, and even for several years after he was of full age the young king seemed chiefly anxious to carry out the plans and projects of Jehoiada; not only on account of the comfort he would naturally feel in leaning on a stronger arm, but in some degree, no doubt, from gratitude to one to whom he felt he was indebted both for his life and his throne. So that, as both histories inform us, “All the days of Jehoiada, Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” But while the king was yet in his prime, his faithful adviser died, and very soon other and far different counsels were in the ascendant. The princes of Judah, knowing that a want of self-reliance was a great infirmity of the king’s character, seeing that his prop was gone, and persuaded that he was as much dependant upon that prop for his religion as upon anything else, plied him with audacious proposals to forsake the temple of God, and to transfer his worship to the idols of the grove “And he hearkened to them.” From this time his fall was rapid. The moral of it, the point which stands out from all others, is the evil of a religion which is based upon the influence of another mind; which has no root in itself, but which, being unstable as water, and flexible as a reed shaken with the wind, will neither bear fruit unto holiness, nor have its end in everlasting life.

1. And, first, let us advert to the habit of mind itself against which we are cautioned, in order that we may detach from it for separate consideration so much as may be due to a constitutional weakness of character--to a natural diffidence end dread of having to go alone, which, as not coming within the scope of our moral powers entirely to eradicate, we must believe either the mercy of God will pardon, or His grace will rectify and render harmless. We cannot doubt that the existence of this is a common form of mental infirmity, which allies itself to intellects of the highest reach, and to souls of the most indomitable and commanding power. That tyrant, who at the beginning of the present century made more than half the nations of Europe tremble, had as little of the self-reliant element in his nature as the lowest subaltern he ever ordered to the field. True, when he had resolved upon a step, neither difficulty nor danger moved him; but to make him resolve upon it he must have the consents of some trusted and approving mind; in private life, being as much influenced by his empress, as in public matters, he leaned on the counsels of Talleyrand. If this practical subjugation to the will and counsel of another, this tendency to hang on, and hold on by what is felt to be a stronger judgment, be found among the higher and more towering spirits of our race, how much more shall we look for it in the humbler and more dependant ranks. Some men are born into the world with a soft, pliant, treacherous debility of will. They must have somebody to think after, and speak after, and act after. They hold their wills, as it were, by feudal tenure under other people’s will, changing both Lord and service, if need be, seven times a day. Such persons appear, at first sight, to be a good deal at the mercy of their providential lot, in the power of those accidents and associations which shall bring them under the permanent ascendant of a better or of a more corrupt mind; of a Jehoiada who will lead them in the good and the right way, or of the dissolute princes of Judah who will be as oracles to mislead, and as guides to destroy. But we allow not that our soul’s life can be suspended on any such precarious issues we must not make a god of temperament, nor a god of circumstances; but we must believe of original tendencies of character as of any other cause which may be injurious to our moral steadfastness, that there is provided for us, in the economy of grace, a way of escape, an ordained antidote to our nature’s evil, whereby God may get honour upon our infirmities, and out of weakness make us strong. But passing from the case of any constitutional liability to be influenced by other minds, let us address ourselves to the evil of the habit itself, when it allows others to think and act for us in the great concerns of personal religion. And proceeding upon the example furnished by our text, we ought to take a case where the influencing or ascendant mind is, according to our common human estimates, a strong mind, a good mind, a mind formed to lead, and honestly and earnestly bent on leading right. In many cases, no doubt, this may be a great advantage. It is a happy thing for young people setting out in life to be under the instruction and control of one whose desire is always to lead them in the good and the right way. And yet we ought to show that if our religion stands only in the power which this mental control wields over us, and goes no lower down to the depths of our moral being than that example can reach, or that influence can minister to, such religion will be vain, will never become more than a surface religion, will not keep itself fixed and fastened in the roots of our moral nature, and consequently in time of temptation we shall fall away. The relation out of which this subordinating influence arises, makes no difference in the evil and danger of becoming enslaved to it. It may be that of a parent exercising a control over the filial conscience which belongs to him by the eternal prescription of heaven; or that of a husband drawing the wife into assimilations of thought and feeling, almost before she is aware of it--affection promoting the influence, and the marriage sanctities giving to it the force of law. Or it may be that of a pastor, having begotten us, in Christ Jesus through the Gospel. You will ask me why? I answer, first, because such a religion is essentially false and defective in principle. It originates neither in love to God, nor gratitude to Christ, nor deep views of sin, nor in delight in holy service, nor in aspirations after the sanctity and bliss of heaven; but chiefly in a desire to approve itself to some dominant and controlling influence. Water cannot rise above its level; and as Jehoiada, whether from temperament or policy, had done nothing to remove the high places of sacrifice, though confessedly a reproach to the temple service, Jehoash would do nothing either; and so the eulogium, even of his early goodness, has to be qualified by the remark, “But the high places were not taken away.” The examples are rare where, in the race of goodness, the disciple outstrips his chosen guide; and if he does so, it is because a better guide has taken him in hand, and the master influence has become merged in the mightier power of the Spirit of God. But, as a rule, the subject mind will keep below the religious standards and measures of its superior. All its goodness is derived goodness, and it shines only in a borrowed light. And as the standard of piety is low, so the acts of which it specially consists are prompted, often by a feeble sentimentality, or perhaps with a view to the praise of men. Conspicuous among the pious acts of Jehoash was his zeal in setting about the repairs of the temple, injured less by the hand of time than by the sacrilegious spoliations of idolators. It were easy to account for this zeal on other grounds than those of personal goodness. That temple was very dear to him. How natural to address himself vigorously to a work so gratifying to Jehoiada, so easily mistaken by himself for the dictate of pious emotion, and so calculated to gain him favour with his subjects for a loving attachment to the truth of God. And so, also, it may be with us, while our religion is in other’s keeping. We may love the temple, have joy in ordinances, feel a thrill of sacred pleasure under the power of the Word, and for the largeness of our alms be called “the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the path to dwell in,” while of any principle of vital godliness we may be as destitute as Jehoash was. Rooted and grounded in the depths of the carnal heart may be hidden the seeds of an unsuspected idolatry, which wait bus the scorching sun of temptation to develop into pernicious fruit, to turn the repairer of the temple into a worshipper of the grove, and lead a lover of faithful teaching to slay between the temple and the altar a servant of the living God.

2. But, secondly, we say of a religion that owes its being to any merely mental deferences, that it will always be feeble and languid, and inefficient in itself, that it will leave its possessor unprepared for the struggles, and temptations, and rough discipline of life, a prey to the first evil influence that shall try to make a captive of him, and to be overcome by the first afflictive trial which shall send him to the foundation of his trusts. So weak was the hold which the religion of Jehoash had upon his conscience, that he yielded to the most visible and transparent lure ever man’s soul was taken withal, namely, the fawning sycophancy of a few unprincipled courtiers, asking as the boon price of their service, that he should cast off the worship of his fathers, violate the covenant of his God, and bow the knee only before the divinities of the grove. “And the king hearkened to them.” Yes, for why should he not? His religion had all along been the creature of influence, and therefore, must change as often as the ascendant influence changed. Strength of its own, such religion has none, either to resist or attack. It is impotent as the autumn leaf, now lifted up in circling eddies by the blast, now waiting in passive helplessness the first footstep that shall crush it to the earth. And hence, I say in all this religion obtained at second hand, this derived Christianity of another mind, there will generally be found a sickly irresolution Of purpose, a sort of letting out of one’s moral powers to the highest and most powerful bidder. The man who trusts in it is not his own master; he is the property of the first strong will that shall think the appendage worth having. But true religion, that which is rooted in a Divine principle and a Divine influence, is a hardy thing, a manly thing. It is furnished for the cloudy and dark day, and expects its coming. Deep in the springs of its unseen life is an element of strength which gives dignity to the character, composure to the spirit, a settledness and perseverance to the once-formed resolve which nothing can bend, nothing can turn aside.

3. But the text suggests a third reason for predicting the inevitable miscarriage of a religion which is dependant for its life on surrounding influences, namely, that the very friends that helped to make us as good as we are, may, in the providence of God be taken away. “Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” But Jehoiada died; and what did he do then? Why, evil, and evil only. The morning cloud disperseth not sooner, nor the early dew when it passeth away, than did that fabric of gossamer and unsubstantial goodness, which a breath was to destroy even as a breath had made. And it seems to be in obedience to a law, as if it was a Nemesis of God on the mind that leans on human trusts, that Jehoash became more impious and profane for having known something of the semblance of piety before. Just as the emperor Nero, conspicuous for humanity and virtue while he had the counsels of Seneca to guide him, went down to the grave a monster with the execration of posterity upon his head. Some lessons arise from this aspect of our subject brethren, whether as applied to those who consciously and of purpose have joined themselves to the train of a superior mind, and, only to please him, kept up a show of goodness, or to those who, having a loving and leaning confidence in another’s wisdom and piety, have been content to draw from him all their soul’s life and strength, and, unconsciously to themselves, to let him be to them instead of God. To the former Jehoash leaves the lesson that it would have been better for them never to have known good things at all. They are fretting under a yoke for a season, only to indulge in more unrestrained licence as soon as it shall be taken off. The instant the weight is lifted off, the bent bow will fly back with more violent rebound. There may be love for a season, zeal for a season, concern for holy things for a season, but when Jehoiada is dead, the long pent-up energies of evil will burst forth, and like the heir long kept out of the expected inheritance, the heart plunges into the thick of its carnal thoughts, and as if to take revenge on itself for its forced early goodness, the man endeavours to crowd as much iniquity as he can into the remainder of his days. But there is a lesson also to those who do not fret under their mental subjection, who, in heart love their Jehoiada, and indeed, whose chief danger is that they love him too much, and who, therefore, think within themselves, “If he should be taken away what good will our lives be to us, or what power shall keep us faithful unto our pious work?” So may reason the son, who, breathing from his youth the pure atmosphere of domestic piety, has seen in the life of his parents all that could ennoble godliness, and all that could make virtue loved. But I must conclude with a few practical counsels, am helpful to guide us from the danger of which this history warns us.

The fruit of wise guardianship seen in later life

At Frogmore, on the 16th of March 1861, the Duchess of Kent, mother of our beloved Queen, passed tranquilly into eternity at the ripe age of seventy-five. Her husband, the Duke of Kent, died six days before his father, George III., leaving the presumptive heir to England’s crown in charge of the Duchess, his wife. “I do nominate, constitute, and appoint my beloved wife Victoria, Duchess of Kent,” said the Duke in his will, “to be sole guardian of our dear child, Princess Alexandra Victoria, to all intents and for all purposes whatsoever.” During the seventeen years which elapsed between her husband’s death and the accession of her daughter, the Duchess devoted heart and soul to the responsible but honourable task committed to her, and she lived to see the blessed results of her labour of love. It is to the wise, virtuous, and self-sacrificing discharge of her maternal duties, under the blessing of God, that this country is largely indebted for possessing a Queen whose life illustrates all that we most love in woman, and whose reign exemplifies all that we most respect in a Sovereign. (William Francis.)

A lean-to religion

“Many men owe their religion, not to grace, but to the favour of the times; they follow it because it is in fashion, and they can profess it at a cheap rate, because none contradict it. They do not build upon the rock, but set up a shed leaning to another man’s house, which costs them nothing.” The idea of a lean-to religion is somewhat rough, hut eminently suggestive. Weak characters cannot stand alone, like mansions; but must needs lean on others, like the miserable shops which nestle under certain Continental cathedrals. Under the eaves of old customs many build their plaster-nests, like swallows. Such are good, if good at all, because their patrons made virtue the price of their patronage. They love honesty because it proves to be the best policy, and piety because it serves as an introduction to trade with saints. Their religion is little more than courtesy to other men’s opinions, civility to godliness. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Kings 12:2". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/2-kings-12.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days,.... Worshipping the only true God, and ruling and walking according to the law of God:

wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him; and so long as he observed his instructions, and as long as that priest lived, he reigned well; for to that period "all his days must be limited"; for after his death he was seduced by the princes of Judah to idolatry, and lived scandalously, and died ignominiously; see 2 Chronicles 24:2.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Jehoash did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein a Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

(a) As long as rulers give ear to the true ministers of God, they prosper.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord — so far as related to his outward actions and the policy of his government. But it is evident from the sequel of his history that the rectitude of his administration was owing more to the salutary influence of his preserver and tutor, Jehoiada, than to the honest and sincere dictates of his own mind.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 12:2 And Jehoash did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

Ver. 2. All his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.] As when Jehoiada died, Jehoash revolted from the Lord. Nero, while he would be instructed by Seneca and Burrhus, was of so good a carriage that Trajan was wont to say, None ever came near him; but this lasted for five years only. In Apostatis -

Principium fervet, medium tepet, exitus alger.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 12:2. Jehoash did that which was right, &c.— We refer to the parallel place in Chronicles, for a fuller account of this king and his proceedings after the death of Jehoiada.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To wit, for the matter of it, though not with an honest and sincere mind, but only by the influence of his good tutor and restorer, as the words here following plainly imply.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

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.

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

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

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.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Taught him. Joiada lived, at least, till the 23d year of the reign of Joas, (ver. 6.) and the king seems to have persevered some time longer in virtue.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

all his days: i.e. all the days of Jehoiada. Compare 2 Chronicles 24:14-18. Jehoiada. His uncle. See note on Jehosheba, 2 Kings 11:2.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.

Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord - so far as related to his outward actions and the policy of his government. But it is evident from the sequel of his history, that the rectitude of his administration was owing more to the salutary influence of his preserver and tutor, Jehoiada, than to the honest and sincere dictates of his own mind.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) All his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.—The Hebrew is ambiguous, but may certainly mean this, which is the rendering of the LXX. and Vulg. (The accent dividing the verse ought to fall on “the Lord” rather than on “his days.”) Perhaps the peculiar form of the sentence arose in this way: the writer first set down the usual statement concerning kings who supported the worship of Jehovah, and then, remembering the evils which ensued upon the death of the high priest (2 Chronicles 24:17), added as a correction of that statement, “during which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” Thenius says the words can only be rendered, all his life long, because Jehoiada had instructed him. They certainly can, however, be rendered as our version renders them, and further, thus: “And Jehoash did . . . all his days, whom Jehoiada the priest instructed.” But the ambiguity of the statement gave an opportunity for discrediting the chronicler.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
14:3; 2 Chronicles 24:2,17-22; 25:2; 26:4
Reciprocal: Judges 2:7 - the people;  Judges 8:33 - as soon;  2 Kings 11:2 - Joash;  2 Kings 12:7 - Jehoiada;  2 Kings 15:3 - GeneralJeremiah 34:15 - ye;  Galatians 4:1 - That

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-12.html.