2Kings 12:1 ¶ In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
2Kings 12:2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
2Kings 12:3 But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.
It was during the seventh year of Jehu’s reign as king of Israel that Joash became king in Judah. His reign in Jerusalem would last for 40 years. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
We learn that Joash did right before the LORD during the days that Jehoiada the priest instructed him. However, the people were still allowed to offer sacrifices and burn incense in the high places outside the temple.
2Kings 12:4 ¶ And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD,
2Kings 12:5 Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.
2Kings 12:6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
We aren’t told when, but it seems obvious to me that it was many years later that Joash decided it was time to make repairs to the temple. He ordered that all the money that was given for sacred purposes was to be used to repair the damaged areas of the temple.
Guzik provides a good explanation of the sources of money: “This money was received in three ways:
Š Each man’s census money: This was the half shekel each Israelite older than the age of twenty had to pay every year (Exodus 20:13).
Š Each man’s assessment money: ….This was a kind of property tax based on the personal assessment of each individual (Leviticus 27:2). (Dilday)
Š All the money that a man purposes in his heart to bring into the house of the Lord: These were freely given offerings over and above the required donations.”
The repairs were needed because the sons of Athaliah had damaged and looted the temple to provide support for the worship of Baal.
2 Chronicles 24:7 “For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim.”
The Chronicler tells us that the king’s command included going out to all the cities of Judah to collect the needed money and to be quick about it. The Levites ignored the command to be quick about it.
2 Chronicles 24:5 “And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not.”
It is noted that in the 23rd year of the king’s reign the priests had still not seen to the needed repairs at the temple.
2Kings 12:7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
2Kings 12:8 And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.
Joash called for a meeting with Jehoiada and the other priests to ask why the repairs had not been done. He then forbade the priests to use any money contributed for their personal use. It was to be used to repair the temple.
Instead of following the king’s instruction, the priests decided that they would no longer accept personal gifts of money, but neither would they repair the temple.
2Kings 12:9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.
2Kings 12:10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD.
2Kings 12:11 And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,
2Kings 12:12 And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
So Jehoiada the priest essentially made a donation box that he set beside the altar on the right side of the entrance to the temple. The Chronicler notes that this was at the command of the king.
2 Chronicles 24:8 “And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD.”
The priests that guarded the entrance to the temple made sure that all the money brought to the temple was put in the box.
When the chest was quite full, the king’s scribe and the high priest came and put the money in bags as they counted it. They then hired carpenters, builders, masons and stonecutters to do the needed repairs. The money was also used to buy the timber and cut stone that was needed to complete the work.
2Kings 12:13 Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the LORD:
2Kings 12:14 But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the LORD.
2Kings 12:15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.
2Kings 12:16 The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD: it was the priests’.
After paying the workmen, there was not enough money left to make the bowls of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets or vessels of gold and silver that were used in the temple. This seems to contradict the account of the Chronicler.
2 Chronicles 24:14 “And when they had finished it, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels for the house of the LORD, even vessels to minister, and to offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver.”
Clark offers this explanation: “That is, there were no vessels made for the service of the temple till all the outward repairs were completed; but after this was done, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels of gold and silver.”
It is also noted that they required no accounting from the men hired to do the work, because they were men of integrity.
The money that was brought into the temple as trespass and sin offerings was not used for the repair work; it was given to the priests. Gill explains this practice: This “…was the money persons at a distance sent for their trespass and sin offerings instead of cattle, with which the sacrifices were bought; and what remained of the money was not brought into the temple, and made use of in the above manner….”
2Kings 12:17 ¶ Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.
2Kings 12:18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.
After the work was completed, Hazael, king of Syria, attacked and conquered Gath. He then decided to attack Jerusalem.
When Joash was made aware of Hazael’s intentions, he took all the consecrated vessels that he and his forefathers had given to the temple, as well as all the gold found in the temple and palace treasuries and sent it to Hazael. This evidently satisfied the Syrian king and he left Jerusalem alone.
You would think that Joash, who had been trained by Jehoiada, would have thought to seek the LORD when threatened with an attack by the Syrian king. Sadly, his first thought was to bribe the man. Bribes never provide a long-term solution. The enemy is never satisfied and always comes back for more.
2Kings 12:19 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
2Kings 12:20 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
2Kings 12:21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
The historian notes that the rest of the acts of Joash were recorded in the chronicles of the kings of Judah. After his death, his son Amaziah became king.
The Chronicler tells us more about the death of Joash. He notes that after Jehoiada died at the age of 130, the leaders of Judah rebelled against the LORD and began to worship idols once again. When Jehoiada’s son Zechariah spoke out against their rebellion against the LORD, Joash had him killed.
The LORD’s judgment came in the form of an attack from a small contingent of Syrians that achieved a great victory over the Jews. When they left, the servants of Joash (Jozachar son of Shimeath and Jehozabad son of Shomer) killed him in an act of vengeance for the death of the sons (plural) of Jehoiada. It seems that Zechariah wasn’t the only son of Jehoiada to suffer for his stand for the LORD.
The Chronicler also notes that though Joash was buried in Jerusalem, he was not accorded a burial in the burying place of the kings.
2 Chronicles 24:20–25 “And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it. And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand, because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they executed judgment against Joash. And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.”