2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 24
Chief Events of the Reign of Joash.
THE GOOD RULE OF JOASH DURING JEHOIADA'S LIFE. — V. 1. Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, having been a mere infant when his aunt saved his life, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Zibiah of Beersheba. V. 2. And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada, the priest. A single man who, like this venerable priest, adheres firmly to the Word of the Lord may be a very strong moral support for the whole Church. V. 3. And Jehoiada, when the young king had reached the proper age, took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters. V. 4. And it came to pass after this that Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord, to renew and replace all those parts and sections which showed signs of decay, or which had been ruined by the idolaters. V. 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, of all those who belonged to the true Israel, who still professed their belief in Jehovah, money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that ye hasten the matter. Things were in such a condition that haste was required. Howbeit, the Levites hastened it not, the collecting of the Temple tax was not a task that appealed to them. V. 6. And the king called for Jehoiada, the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, the tax, or assessment, according to the commandment of Moses, the servant of the Lord, Ex. 30, 12-16, and of the congregation of Israel, for the Tabernacle of Witness? for it was for this tent and its service that the assessment had originally been levied. V. 7. For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, the notorious idolater, the worshiper of Baal and Astarte, had broken up the house of God, doing considerable damage in parts of the buildings; and also all the dedicated things of the house of the Lord did they bestow upon Baalim, profaning the gold and silver vessels consecrated to Jehovah by using them for their idolatrous worship. V. 8. And at the king's commandment they, the Levites, made a chest and set it without at the gate of the house of the Lord, evidently at the entrance to the Court of the Priests, where it was accessible to all members of the Jewish Church. V. 9. And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem to bring in to the Lord the collection that Moses, the servant of God, laid upon Israel in the wilderness, the half-shekel Sanctuary money which all adults were required to pay every year. V. 10. And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest until they had made an end, either until all members of the nation had paid, or until the chest was full to the top. V. 11. Now it came to pass that at what time the chest was brought unto the king's office by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king's scribe, his secretary, and the high priest's officer, his personal representative, came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, every day that it was necessary, whenever the chest was full, and gathered money in abundance. V. 12. And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord, those in charge of the repair work in the Temple, and hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the Lord, and also such as wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the Lord, wherever the metal work required renewing. V. 13. So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, literally, “and there was completed the healing,” that is, they finished all the repairs; and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it. V. 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, such as were used in the Temple worship, even vessels to minister and to offer withal, altar vessels, and spoons, cuplike vessels for incense, and vessels of gold and silver, as it became necessary to replace the old and worn-out ones. And they offered burnt offerings in the house of the Lord continually all the days of Jehoiada, under his direction the entire worship was conducted in the legal manner, as prescribed by the Lord. It is well-pleasing to God if believers serve Him with their gifts and sacrifices, with their money and possessions, if they aid in the spreading of the Word. At the same time the teachers of the Church ought to lead the way and admonish the members of the Church, in order that the sacred work may not suffer for want of interest.
THE DEFECTION OF JOASH AND ITS PUNISHMENT. — V. 15. But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died, he lived to reach an unusually great age; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died. V. 16. And they buried him in the City of David among the kings, giving him one of the highest honors which could be bestowed upon any man in Judah, because he had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward His house. This was, as in many similar cases, followed by a strange reaction in the land. V. 17. Now, after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah and made obeisance to the king. As long as the old priest had lived, they had not dared to show their preference for the idolatrous customs of the heathen, but they thought the time had now come to assert themselves and to gain control of the king. Then the king hearkened unto them, permitting himself to be swayed by their wicked whisperings. This incident shows how deeply the nation had been corrupted at the time of Jehoiada's reformation, how firmly even the leaders had been attached to idolatry. V. 18. And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers and served groves, Asherim, the wooden pillars erected in honor of Astarte, and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass, for this is the inevitable consequence of the desertion of the true God and the turning to idolatry in any form. V. 19. Yet He, the Lord, sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them, with warnings which pointed out the certain consequences of such behavior; but they would not give ear, they were too deeply steeped in their sins and too stubborn to heed the words which were intended to bring them back to the right pathway. V. 20. And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, that is, the grandson, for his father’s name was Barachias, the priest, which stood above the people, for the inner court, where he stood, was higher than the outer court, where the people were assembled, 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. Forsaking the Lord invariably brought misfortune, as the people should have known without this inspired warning. V. 21. And they, the people, conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the Lord. This shows how quickly and how deeply Joash had fallen from the right way after the death of Jehoiada. The incident is referred to by Christ in one of His warnings to the Jews of His time, Matt. 23, 35; Luke 11, 51. V. 22. Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada, his father, had done to him, in being his steadfast and reliable counselor for so many years, but slew his son. Ingratitude is the mark of the godless. And when he, Zechariah, died, he said, The Lord look upon it and require it, he left the vengeance, the punishment of this crime, to Jehovah. V. 23. And it came to pass at the end of the year, at the season when campaigns were usually opened, that the host of Syria came up against him, the Lord's withdrawing the blessing of peace from His people being direct evidence that He had forsaken them. And they came to Judah and Jerusalem, under the leadership of their King Hazael, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, probably including the very ones who had reintroduced idolatry, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of Damascus. V. 24. For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, just as Moses had predicted would happen, Lev. 26, 8; Deut. 32, 30, and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand because they had forsaken the Lord God of their fathers. So they, the soldiers of the enemy, executed judgment against Joash, the Lord made use of them in carrying out His sentence of punishment upon the backsliding nation. V. 25. And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases, with many wounds, which resulted in a painful malady,) 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, for public opinion ascribed these great disasters to the king. And they buried him in the City of David; but they burled him not in the sepulchers of the kings, he was not given that distinction, but was treated with dishonor, like Jehoram, chap. 21, 20. V. 26. And these are they that conspired against him: Zabad (or Jozachar), the son of Shlmeath, an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad, the son of Shimrlth (or Shomer), a Moabitess, neither of them members of the Jewish nation. V. 27. Now, concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, the treasure which he had to send as a tribute to Hazael of Syria, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the Book of the Kings. And Amaziah, his son, reigned in his stead, 2 Kings 12, 21. The history of Joash contains an earnest warning to all those who at one time were zealous for the Lord, but later turned to the opposite extreme. If one deliberately turns to the service of sin, all the efforts of an earlier blameless life will be of no avail.