II Chronicles 24


This chapter contains the entire career of Joash, and is answered to by the

twelfth chapter of II Kings. It tells of:


·         Joash’s fidelity to God, and His worship and temple, while Jehoiada’s

 life lasted (vs. 1-14);

·         his departure from God and permission of idolatry afterwards (vs. 15-22);

·         the punishment he received at the hands of the Syrians (vs. 23-24); and

·         of his miserable end (vs. 25-27).


The differences between our chapter and the parallel, in respect of what it both omits

and supplies, are much larger than usual, and are very interesting and suggestive in

the character of them. These points will be marked particularly in the notes

underneath as they occur.


1 "Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty

years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Zibiah of Beersheba."

His mother’s name… Zibiah of Beersheba. We do not read,

in the brief account of Ahaziah, Joash’s father, whom he married. Nothing

is as yet known of Zibiah, but there must be some significance underlying

the mention of her name and native place, or known place of residence.

The references Amos 5:5 and 8:14 may possibly contain the clue, in

holding up Beersheba as the most idolatrous of idolatrous places.

Beersheba offers another reference of unhappy associations (I Samuel 8:2).

As a terminus of the land, “Dan to Beersheba (Judges 20:1; II Samuel 24:2;

I Chronicles 21:2); as a terminus of the divided Judah, Beersheba to Mount

Ephraim” (ch. 19:4), “Geba to Beersheba (II Kings 23:8); and as a terminus

of this Judah yet reduced after the Captivity, Beersheba to the valley of Hinnom

(Nehemiah 11:30); its mention is notorious. The references Genesis 21:31 and

26:23, 31-33 are full of interest, as bearing on the way in which the spot is

first known in Bible history.


2 "And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the

days of Jehoiada the priest."  All the days of Jehoiada. Of the “forty years”

mentioned in the former verse, these “days of Jehoiada” will cover, some, at

any rate, say, two years more than “twenty-two years;” for compare our

vs. 6,12-15 with the parallel, II Kings 12:6-7, 9, noting the thenceforward

silence there respecting Jehoiada, and even making ample allowance for it.



Moral Weakness (vs. 1-2)


The extremely interesting circumstances under which Joash came to the

throne (ch. 23.) make us wish that there was something satisfactory to

record of him when he sat upon it. Unfortunately, it is not so. One work in

particular he wrought (see next homily) for which he deserves honor, but

his character stands before us as that of an essentially weak man. He did

what was right all the days of Jehoiada, but no longer. He allowed one

man, to whom he was much indebted, to influence him aright; so far he did

well. That, however, is not saying very much, for it would have been

ingratitude indeed, of the deepest dye, if he had not been guided by those

who first saved his life, and then, as the greatest risk to themselves, seated

him upon the throne of his fathers. But goodness that goes no deeper than

that is essentially weak; the worth that has to be propped up by a human

hand, and that falls to the ground when the sustaining hand is withdrawn, is

of small account. It has taken no root; it will have no length of life; it will

bring forth no flowers and fruits. MORAL WEAKNESS is:


  • DISREGARDED OF GOD AND MAN. For such men as Joash the

prophet of the Lord has no word of general commendation, though he has

words of rebuke to utter (vs. 19-20). With them God “is not well

pleased.” And man is also and equally dissatisfied. Men that are wrong and

strong will find their advocates; indeed, they find all too many to honor

and praise them, both while they live and when they are departed. But men

that are good and weak find none to admire them. They may start, as Joash

apparently did, with fair intentions and blameless desires, but they have no

force of character, and being “driven with the wind and tossed,” carried

about hither and thither according to the passing breeze, they are the object

of disregard, if not of positive contempt. There is nothing honorable or

admirable in them.


  • FRUITLESS OF ANY POSITIVE GOOD. Such men as Joash may do

some good during one half of their life, or at different parts of their life; but

the good they then do is counterbalanced by the harm they work during the

other half or on other occasions; and no one can say which prevails over

the other. The measure of many a man’s life-influence is a nice sum in

spiritual subtraction; and when everything is known it will perhaps be

found to be a “negative quantity.” It is a poor and a pitiful thing to see a

man first building up and then pulling down; one day working with the

people of God and the next associating with the enemies of true and pure

religion; subscribing to a Christian charity and attending a demoralizing

spectacle; pulling in contrary directions. What can such a man do? What

witness can he bear, what work achieve, what contribution bring to the

great end we should have in view — the elevation of our kind? That will be

represented by a cypher — or something worse.


  • UNNECESSARY. It may indeed be said that this is a question of

natural endowment, and rests with our Creator and not with ourselves; that

men receive from him either strength and force of will or else pliancy of

spirit, sensitiveness of soul and readiness to be affected by influences from

outside. This is true, in part; but it is not the whole truth. We must not

make our heavenly Father responsible for our short-comings. Moral

weakness is a defect of character. It is the result of A WRONG CHOICE!


Ø      Let a man give himself, as he should, in FULL SURRENDER TO GOD,

whoso he is and whom he is most sacredly bound to serve, to that DIVINE

SAVIOUR who has bought him with the price of his own redeeming blood,

and he will then be in the way of gaining single-heartedness and strength.


Ø      Let him be regularly and repeatedly renewing his act of self-dedication.

Joash did, when he was a child, pledge himself to the service of Jehovah

(ch. 23:16). But he was then too young to understand all that

such a covenant meant. He should have continually renewed that solemn

pledge. We have the amplest opportunities and invitations to reconsecrate

ourselves to the service of Christ, and if we accept these, we shall retain

our thorough loyalty to Him, and then we shall not be moved and swayed,

but be “steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the

Lord” – (I Corinthians 15:58)


Ø      Let him gain strength from above. There is an unfailing Divine resource

on which all the good may draw. “When I am weak, then am I strong,”

said Paul (II Corinthians 12:10). For when he was most conscious of his

own insufficiency, then he looked up for help to the “Lord of all power

 and might,” to Him who can and will “strengthen us with strength in

our soul,” who will “strengthen us with all might by His Spirit in the

 inner man” (Ephesians 3:16), who will make us strong:


o        to endure;

o        to overcome;

o        to bear witness; and

o       to labour in the holy fields of Christian work.


3 "And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and

daughters."  That special note is made of Jehoiada’s selecting of the wives

may at any rate point to the suggestion that he was all a father to Joash,

and both for his own sake and the kingdom’s sake anxious as to the

character of the women by whom a new kingly seed should take rise in

place of that destroyed by Athaliah (ch. 22:10).  Ch. 25:1 leaves it probable

that “Jehoadan of Jerusalem was one of these, though it is likely enough

that Joash married, whether her or some one else, before he had reached the

age of twenty-one. It is also quite likely that we may read between the lines,

that in selecting two wives for his young and loved ward, Jehoiada hoped

and prayed that Joash might not fall by sin like Solomon’s (I Kings 11:3)

and that of others of the kings of both Judah and Israel.



The Early Years of Joash (vs. 1-3)




Ø      His father. Jehoahaz, Ahaziah, or Azariah (ch. 21:17; ch. 22:1, 6),

Jehoram’s youngest son, who ascended the throne on

his father’s death, reigned one year, was slain by Jehu (ch. 22:9), and

buried in Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David, because, though

himself bad, he was a good man’s son (ch. 22:9).


Ø      His mother. Zibiah of Beersheba, concerning whom nothing is known.

Perhaps beautiful, as her name “Gazelle” may suggest; considering who

her husband was, it will not be safe to say she was good, though the

place she came from once had an aroma of piety about it (Genesis 21:33).




Ø      Early begun. When seven years old. Such early promotion would not

have been safe for the kingdom (Ecclesiastes 10:16) or good for

himself had Jehoiada not been beside him as counselor of his

inexperience, and, in fact, as virtual ruler.


Ø      Long continued.  Forty years. Shorter by fifteen than that of Manasseh

(ch. 33:1), his occupation of the throne was only one year shorter than that

of Asa (ch. 16:13), and as long as that of Solomon (ch. 9:30).




Ø      Promising. “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” But:


Ø      Imperfect. “The high places were not taken away; the people still

sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places” (II Kings 12:3). And:


Ø      Unstable. He behaved well only so long as Jehoiada lived to counsel,

and perhaps restrain him.


  • HIS MARRIAGES. “Jehoiada took for him two wives,” one of whom

was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem (ch. 25:1). Perhaps:


Ø      Good policy, to ensure a succession to the throne. But:


Ø      Bad morality, and against the Law of God, though recommended by a

pious priest, and sanctioned by the example of godly kings. Joash’s

subsequent declension may have been in part due to this.


  • LEARN:


Ø      That early greatness is not always accompanied by early goodness.

Ø      That many begin to run well in youth who nevertheless decline in after years.

Ø      That religious education is not sufficient in itself to overcome the force

of inbred corruption.

Ø      That permanence is an indispensable quality in all moral and spiritual


Ø      That all the opinions of a good man are not necessarily good.

Ø      That good men sometimes occasion sin in others.


4 "And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house

of the LORD."  To repair. The idea of this verb (חָדַשׁ) is that of making new.


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."

To repair. The idea of this verb (חָזַק) is that of making strong.

From year to year. The compound adverbial expression חָדֵּי, here used

for “from,” embraces the idea of” unfailingly from year to year.” The

command given here to the priests and Levites is expressed very

differently, though in no degree contradictorily, in the parallel (see its vs. 4-5).

The addition is there found, “every man of his acquaintance;” this

expression may glance at the very supposable circumstance that the priest

and Levite collecting deputations would naturally go respectively to the

towns and cities where they had been located beforetime. A slight

ambiguity is perhaps occasioned by the impression that the fourth verse (in

the parallel) produces — that the priests and Levites should wait to

receive, e.g., in Jerusalem. This, however, is , not what is said, and need

not, therefore, be made into a difficulty. Howbeit the Levites hastened

not. We are not told why this delay was, nor does the subsequent narrative

seem to elucidate it, further than this — that the delay somehow seemed to

rest with Jehoiada, as the king appealed to him for explanation.


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, according to the commandment of

Moses the servant of the LORD, and of the congregation of Israel,

for the tabernacle of witness?"  Jehoiada the chief; sc. priest, for compare

our v. 11; ch. 19:11; 26:20. In each of those instances the Hebrew text shows

הָראשׁ and the Authorized Version “chief” except inconsistently in our

v. 11. Revised Version “chief” in all the instances. The name “priest”

occurs just about six hundred and sixty-six times in the Old Testament, the

title “high” or “chief priest” only about twenty-six times, the first

occurrence being in Leviticus 21:10, the last Zechariah 6:11; and

both set forth by the Hebrew adjective גָּדול, as also in fifteen other of the

occurrences. Seven times the word רלֺאשׁ is the word employed, and

שָׂרֵי the other two times. In these last two cases, however (Ezra 8:24, 29; 10:5),

it is not “high priests” nor “chief priests” that are perhaps even

really intended, but the “princes” of the priests, or those who, for whatever

reasons of personal characteristics, were chief. Out of Judah and out of

Jerusalem. The statement here is precise, that the call of money was to be

made both in the cities of Judah and in the metropolis Jerusalem. The

collection; Hebrew, מַשְׁאַת; Revised Version, better, the tax of, etc. Of this

we read in Exodus 30:13-15; 38:25-26; Numbers 1:30. It was of

the uniform amount of half a sanctuary shekel, for rich or poor, and was

ordered to be set apart “for the service of the tabernacle of the

conregation,here called in the Authorized Version the tabernacle of

witness; Revised Version, the tent of the testimony. Exodus has מועֵד

for our חָעֵדוּת. This source of money for the holy design of Joash is again

most specifically stated in our v. 9. The version of this whole transaction

seems rather confusing as given in the parallel, where v. 4 mentions three

sources of money, without any quotation as such of the ordained tax of

Moses, which was apparently the first of those three, and where v. 8, at

first blush at any rate, might seem to imply recusant priests. The meaning,

however, is probably the contrary, the verse purporting that the priests

consented to forego what they had been accustomed on receiving to apply

to some personal or current-funds purpose, and who consented to forego

the superintending of the outlay of the money on the repairing, that it

might be done with more expedition by “scribe” and high priest” (v. 10;

compare  v. 16; both of the parallel). All these details the writer of

Chronicles passes over, only pursuing the essential business, Joash’s pious

resolve, the delay in its execution, and how he finally overcame the

obstructive delay.


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 sons of Athaliah. This verse’s

testimony against Athaliah’s sons explains ch. 21:17, and is explained and

corroborated by it. That wicked woman; Hebrew, הַמִּרְשַׁעַת - feminine noun,

derivative of רַשַׁע; meaning strictly in the abstract, “the wickedness,” equal

to that incarnation of wickedness. All the dedicated things; i.e. the holy vessels,

treasure, and holy furniture of the house of the Lord, had they desecrated,

and robbed them thence to squander them on their various Baals (ch. 17:3).


8 "And at the king’s commandment they made a chest, and set it without

at the gate of the house of the LORD."  A chest; Hebrew, אֲרון אֶחָד

“one chest.” This is more accurately described in v. 9 of the parallel.

Without at the gate of the house of the Lord; i.e. in the court opposite the porch,

and, as we learn from the parallel, by the side of the altar of burnt offering. Now,

not the priests generally, but simply those who kept the door, receiving the

contributions of the people at their hands,  into their own hands deposited

them in the one chest.


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." (See notes on v. 6.)


10 "And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and

cast into the chest, until they had made an end." Until they had made an end;

Hebrew, לְכִּלֵּה, piel infinitive. The meaning can scarcely be till enough was

obtained, because day after day, as the next verse tells us, the chest was brought;

but either till those who had come that day to give had all given in their

contributions, or, as some think with much less probability, till the chest was full

for the day. At the same time, the clause, occupying only one word in the original,

may quite possibly purport to state summarily by anticipation that the same system

was observed to the end, and the method of the chest not departed from.


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 and the high priest’s

officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to his

place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in

abundance."  Unto the king’s office. Not “office” in the modern technical

business sense; the meaning is the care, charge, or custody of the king, the

Hebrew word being פְקֻדַּת; nor does this necessitate the supposition of the

personal care of the king. The body of this verse leaves it quite open to

possibility, in harmony with the usage of the Hebrew language and its

idiom, that the process described took place, if necessary, more than once

in a day, and, on the other hand, not necessarily every evening. The change

of the number of the verb in “they emptied,” etc., and the apparent

statement that those who emptied also carried back the chest, betoken that

while the king’s scribe (I Kings 4:3) and the high priest’s officer

stood by, the usual Levite functionaries did the work. The phrase, day by

day, is not necessarily equivalent to every evening, but to time after time.



A Good Intention Well Carried Out (vs. 4-11)




Ø      The reparation of the house of the Lord.


o        What this signified. The reconstruction, not of the whole but of such

parts of the temple walls and edifices as had been overturned and

destroyed. A project both becoming and right — becoming that

Jehovah’s house should be restored to its pristine completeness

and beauty (I Chronicles 22:3); right, inasmuch as on Judah had

been devolved the duty of protecting and preserving it (ch. 7:16-22).

In the same way is it proper for, and incumbent on, believers to have

regard to the strength and beauty, symmetry and adornment, not

merely of the material edifices, but also and chiefly of the spiritual

temples of the Christian Church.


o        Why this was needed. On account, not of the ravages of time upon its

massive masonry, but of the demolition it had suffered at the hands of

Athaliah (and Jehoram) in order to construct the temple of Baal, whose

walls and pillars, altars and images, had just been broken in pieces by

the revolutionaries of Judah (ch. 23:17). So by false systems of

religion, as well as by systems of no religion, have breaches sometimes

been made in the Christian Church — adherents seduced from the faith,

doctrines obscured, perverted, or rendered inoperative — which demand

the utmost efforts of Christians to repair, even after the false systems,

like Baal’s temple, have been shattered to pieces.


o        By whom this was projected. By Joash, who, even if not impelled by

higher motives, certainly had reason to remember the house in which his

infant years had been sheltered, and himself when a boy had received

his crown. If Joash moved in this matter of his own accord, the fact

spoke well for his goodness; if even he required to be urged to it by

Jehoiada — which is not stated — the fact that he listened to the

priest attested the reverence he possessed for Jehovah’s servant.

The pity was that neither his goodness nor his reverence were deeply

rooted or permanent.


o        When this was moved. “After this,” an indefinite note of time which

might mean either after the revolution or after Joash’s marriages. If the

former, which is doubtful, the king evinced praiseworthy alacrity —

if his business demanded haste (v. 5), much more did God’s

(ch. 15:15; 31:21; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Romans 12:11); if the latter, his

dilatoriness was not without blame (Matthew 6:33).


Ø      The replacement of the dedicated things which had been bestowed upon

the Baalim (v. 7). Not the dedicated things Solomon had brought into the

temple (ch. 5:1); the spoil, in articles of gold and silver, David had taken

from his enemies (I Kings 7:51), since these had been pillaged and carried

off by Shishak (ch. 12:9); probably the silver, gold, and vessels dedicated

by Abijah, Asa (ch. 15:18), and Jehoshaphat (II Kings 12:18); the spoil

taken by the first from Jeroboam (ch.13:16), by the second from the Cushites

(ch. 14:12), and by the third from the Ammonites (ch. 20:25).


  • WAYS AND MEANS. Two plans for obtaining the money requisite

for the undertaking.


Ø      The plan that failed.


o        What it was. That the priests and Levites should in all the cities of

Judah raise a contribution to repair the house of God (v. 5); that the

amount levied from each man should be “the tax of Moses the servant

of the Lord, and of the congregation of Israel, for the tent of the

testimony” (v. 6); and that this should be done annually (v. 5). In

II Kings 12:4,  the money is defined as of three sorts (Keil):


§         The “money of the numbered,” or, “of every one that passeth

the numbering,” i.e. the poll tax of half a shekel required of

every Israelite as a ransom for his soul (Exodus 30:12-16);


§         the “money of the persons for whom each man is rated,” i.e.

the sums arising from the redemption of devoted persons

(Leviticus 27:1-8); and


§         “the money that it cometh into any man’s heart to bring into

the house of the Lord,” i.e. the free-will offerings of the people.

According to another interpretation (Bahr), only the two last

sorts were intended, and the phrase, “money of the numbered,”

should be rendered “in current money” (Revised Version) —

the reason for this instruction that the contributions should be

in current money being, it is said, that the money “was to be

paid out at once to mechanics for their labour” (Thenius).


o        Why it failed. Not because the priests embezzled the money (J. D.

Michaelis, De Wette), which is not stated, and should not be

suggested, but probably because of:


§         their dilatoriness in setting about the work entrusted to them

— that the work should have been entrusted to them was the

first mistake in the proposed plan;


§         the difficulty they had in gathering in the money, which from

the manner of its levying had the appearance of a compulsory

payment — this the second mistake in the proposed plan; and:


§         the too lavish expenditure demanded by their own personal

necessities (a legitimate charge upon the collected funds),

leaving too small a balance for the work of temple-repairing —

that the priests should have been left to distribute the taxes

and offerings of the people between their own needs and the

public requirements was the third mistake in the proposed plan.


“If self the wavering balance shake,

It’s rarely right adjusted.”



The result was that in the three and twentieth year of Joash —

the year of a new reign in Israel (II Kings 13:1) — the priests

had done little or nothing in the way of repairing the breaches

of the temple (II Kings 12:6).


Ø      The plan that succeeded.


o        The details of the new plan. According to II Kings, the work of

collecting money for themselves, the temple worship, and the repair

of the building was no more to be entrusted to their hands, neither

were these three items of expense to be in future defrayed out of a

common fund; but the trespass-money and sin-money should be

assigned to the priests for the first two of these purposes, as the

Law of Moses prescribed (Leviticus 5:16; Numbers 5:8), while the

taxes and the free-will offerings should be devoted to the third

(II Kings 12:7-16). According to the Chronicler, whose statements

are supported by those of the Book of Kings, by Joash’s

command a chest or collection-box of wood was made with a hole

bored in its lid, and placed “without at the gate of the house of the

Lord,” i.e. in the outer court “beside the altar as one cometh into

 the house of the Lord” (II Kings 12:9). Next a proclamation was

made throughout Judah and Jerusalem that the people should

themselves, of their own free will and pleasure, bring in the temple

rates prescribed by the Law, and the free-will offerings to which they

were impelled by their own hearts, and deposit these, unseen by any

eye BUT JEHOVAH’S, into the box. Again, it was arranged that,

as often as the chest or box was full, it should be conveyed by the

hands of the Levites into the king’s office, where the money should

be emptied out by or before the king’s secretary and the high priest’s

assistant, who should put it into bags, weigh it and hand it over to

them “that did the service of the house of the Lord,” after which

the chest should be carried back again to its place at the temple gate.


o        The recommendations of the new plan. It avoided the mistakes of the

first scheme. It put the work into the hands of a board of oversight

better fitted to command the confidence of the community. It avoided

the irritating weapon of compulsion, and relied upon the free will of the

people, even with regard to the levying of taxes. It simplified the

financial arrangements by keeping the money given for the temple

separate from that paid to the priests.


o        The success of the new plan. The people entered into it as their

forefathers had done when invited to contribute towards the building

of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:21, etc.), universally — “all the princes

and all the people cast into the chest;”


§         cheerfully, with no sense of  constraint or compulsion upon

them — “they rejoiced;”

§         liberally   money was “gathered in abundance;”

§         unweariedly — not once or twice merely, but

§         regularly and constantly they went on with their collecting

“until they had made an end,”


i.e. of the enterprise they had in hand, the repairing of the temple.


The above principles should regulate Christian giving, which

should be:


§         universal “every one of you” (I Corinthians 16:2);

§         cheerful “God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7);

§         liberal“see that ye abound in this grace [of liberality] also”

(ibid. ch. 8:7); and

§         constant “to do good and to communicate forget not”

(Hebrews 13:16).


  • THE WORK EXECUTED. From the money thus collected:


Ø      The cost of materials was defrayed. “Timber and hewn stone,” at least,

had to be bought (II Kings 12:12).


Ø      The wages of workmen were paid. Masons, carpenters, and workers in

iron and brass were hired.


Ø      The necessary vessels were constructed. The surplus money, after

meeting the above charges, was devoted to the manufacture of gold and

silver utensils for the temple service. “So the workmen wrought,” etc.

(v. 13).


  • LEARN:


Ø      The duty of Christian giving, which may be inferred, a fortiori, from this

example of the Hebrew Church.


Ø      The superiority of the voluntary over the compulsory system of raising

money for religious purposes, even should the latter be. deemed



Ø      The propriety of financial boards, especially those connected with the

Church, being above suspicion.


Ø      The wisdom of aiming at simplicity in schemes for receiving the

contributions of the faithful.


Ø      The advantage of adopting such measures as shall place Church

treasurers beyond the reach of temptation.


12 "And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of the

service of the house of the LORD, 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." Gave it to such as did the work of the service;

i.e. the persons responsible for the work, or “that had the oversight of it”

(II Kings 12:11). Carpenters. It is preferable to render here literally workmen

or workers. Probably this clause purports that those responsible, as above,

hired masons and workmen. And also such as wrought. Supply the

preposition found in the Hebrew text, “to” before “such,” and render again

the same word (חָרָשֵׁי) literally, workers of iron and brass.



13 "So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them,

and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it."

The work was perfected by their hands. The margin gives

the literal rendering, “healing” or health, or, i.e., recovery, “went up upon

the work.” The lively figure of the Hebrew word used (אֲרוּכָה) is very

intelligible. The term is employed in only five other places, viz.

Nehemiah 4:7 (Authorized Version, “The walls were made up;

Revised Version better, The repairing of the walls went forward);

Isaiah 58:8; Jeremiah 8:22; 30:17; 33:6; in each of which four

instances, in both Authorized Version and Revised Version, the literal

rendering “health” or “healing” is found. In his state; equivalent to in its

stateliness, perhaps the idea of the Hebrew word מַתְכֻּנְהּו [only used four

other times, and then rendered once “tale” (Exodus 5:8), twice “composition”

(ibid. ch. 30:32, 37), once “measure” (Ezekiel 45:11)], being measure, or

proportion, or rate. 


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. And they offered burnt offerings in the

house of the LORD continually all the days of Jehoiada."

And to offer withal. The insertion of the italic type in the

Authorized Version “withal” unnecessarily helps suggest uncertainty in this

rendering, while the Revised Version gives that word in the ordinary type;

margin, both Authorized Version and Revised Version, gives “pestles.”

The Hebrew word is (הַעֲלות) the hiph. turin, of the familiar verb עָלָה or

plural of עֲלי with article prefixed; this word, however, seems to occur

only once (Proverbs 27:22), and then in the singular number. The rest

of the money… made vessels for the house of the Lord. This passage

may harmonize not unsatisfactorily with the parallel (II Kings 12:13),

and on the very suggestion of the circumstantial evidence that arises from

the place in which the information of our own text is found, by laying

emphasis on the expression, "the rest of the money.” The writer of Kings

meant that nothing interfered with, nothing whatsoever ran even with the

execution of the substantial work of reparation of the building, and he

neglects to record that finally a remanet of money being available, vessels

were made of it for the inner furnishing of the house.



Church Renovation (vs. 4-14)


We have an interesting description of a very old instance of:


  • CHURCH RENOVATION. Here were all the elements that ordinarily occur.


Ø      Dilapidation, or the condition of being out of repair. In this case there

had been profanation, deliberate injury, spoliation (v. 7); but always there

will be waste and decay even in “the house of the Lord.” The elements of

nature do not spare the most sacred sanctuary.


Ø      An energetic leader. Joash signalized his otherwise ordinary career by

taking this matter much to heart and taking it thoroughly in hand. He

prompted Jehoiada himself; he incited the hesitating priests (vs. 5-9); he

called forth the energy of the people themselves.


Ø      Cooperation. All the princes and all the people rejoiced when they

were zealously engaged in the work, and the masons and the carpenters did

their part regularly and faithfully (II Kings 12:15).


Ø      Liberality. When the chest was made the people responded freely; they

all “cast into it until they made an end,” until there was “much money,”

“money in abundance.” When an appeal is made to the spontaneous

liberality of Christian men, in a cause that is recognized to be good, there is

usually a response. If under the Law there was this readiness to give, how

much more should there be such forwardness and consecration of

substance under the more constraining influences and for the far higher

privileges of the gospel of Jesus Christ!


Ø      Perseverance under discouragement. The king charged the priests and

Levites to “hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not” (v. 5).

But the enthusiastic king was not to be daunted; he would not let this

slackness on the part of those who should have been eager and diligent

constitute any serious stumbling-block. He used his ingenuity to devise

other and more effective measures, and his determination prevailed, as it

will prevail. If we allow a good work to be dropped because some of our

coadjutors are found wanting, we shall do but little. A holy perseverance

under discouragement is the condition of success. As with the leaders, so

with those that follow; the workmen must patiently continue until the work

is perfected. Then comes the crowning circumstance, viz.:


Ø      The use of the building for the worship of God (v. 14). We pass on to

that which is far more important:




Ø      It may be that the cause of Christ is quite “out of repair.” Some “sons of

Athaliah” have come in and done devastating work. Where there was all

that satisfied the observant eye of the Divine Lord:


o        there is now a sad decline and decay;

o        there is feebleness where there should be strength,

o        barrenness where there used to be fruitfulness,

o        poverty and paucity where there once was fullness,

o        there are unsightly and blameworthy breaches in the walls.


Then there arises in some heart:


Ø      A strong, compelling eagerness to repair. First it fills one heart, then it is

communicated to another and another; finally it moves “all the people,”

and they resolve that the flagging cause of Christ shall be revived.


Ø      Then they give themselves to:


o        penitence for past neglect;

o        prayer for Divine inspiration and guidance;

o        solemn renewal of first vows of dedication;

o        active and energetic work.


Ø      Their reconsecration is crowned with sacred joy, and with a happy

restoration to the end for which they were called into existence (v. 14).

All this is based upon:



of Christ has declined, it is because the spiritual life of the individual men

has been languishing. There has been:


Ø      a cooling of love,

Ø      a lessening of faith,

Ø      an abatement of zeal,

Ø      a lack of devotion.


What is needed is:


Ø      A sense of departure and loss.

Ø      A humbling of the heart before God.

Ø      A reconsecration of heart and life to the Redeemer.

Ø      A patient continuance in well-doing.


15 "But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an

hundred and thirty years old was he when he died."

But Jehoiada… died; an hundred and thirty years old.

This good man, husband of Jehoram’s daughter (ch. 22:11),

only comes to view in virtue of what his wife did, and what he did,; on

behalf of Joash the infant and Joash the king for the good of the nation or

kingdom of Judah. We seem to know too little of him, and the parallel

supplies considerably less than our text in Chronicles. His age, as stated in

this verse when he died, seems very improbable, and for a very clear and

admirable putting of the case, see Lord Arthur C. Hervey’s article in Dr.

Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 1:944. There is, however, no manifest or even

suspicious symptom of corruptness in the text just here, supported as it is

by the Septuagint and Josephus, by the stress laid on his old age, whether it

showed a hundred and thirty years, or thirty years or fifty years (as have

been variously suggested) fewer; the little fact, otherwise looking very

significant, that the expression, full of days, is used beside only of

Abraham, Isaac, Job, and David, loses its pertinence in that very

circumstance that it is used of David, whose age was in no way extreme.

The age of the other three, however, exceeded this reputed age given to



16 "And they buried him in the city of David among the kings, because

he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward his house."

The honor done Jehoiada well belonged to him, not only for

his goodness, his greatness, his practical services to the kingdom, but for

the fact that those practical services had entailed the necessity of his

standing in loco regis for some time. His royal alliance with Jeheram’s

daughter, and, if it were so, his extreme patriarchal age, may all have

contributed to the honor now put upon him. Little stress can be laid,

however, upon this last consideration, failing any other allusion to it, or any

emphasized statement of what we have in our v. 15.



A Noble Character and a Useful Life (vs. 15-16)


These are two things which are not always closely associated, though they

are very frequently found together; they certainly were thus united in the

person and experience of Jehoiada. In him we have:


  • A NOBLE CHARACTER. And this:


Ø      Was based upon true piety. Jehoiada was the man he was because he

was a faithful servant of Jehovah. He was rich “toward God.” His mind

and heart were turned toward Him, to worship in His house, to study

and to do His will, to promote His glory. Everything else that was good

in him rested on his religious conviction and practice as on a sure

foundation; every other virtue took its root and found its source and

spring in that.


Ø      Acquired great strength. By the exercise and cultivation of his piety and

moral worth, by his confidence in God, and by all that he daily gained

from God in response to his devotion, he acquired great force of

goodness. He was a man that “seemed to be a pillar,” and who was

such; a strong stay, which no antagonism could remove, no treachery

undermine. He “stood foursquare to all the winds that blew.” Men felt

that in him they would find a determined and powerful enemy to

whatever evil thing they might propose.


Ø      Shone forth in unselfish service. He fearlessly and nobly risked

everything in order to rid his country of a vile usurper, and place upon

the throne one that would rule in righteousness. And though he

certainly lent all the weight of his influence to the support of the

sovereign, he does not appear to have arrogated any undue authority

(see v. 6). He was actuated by a pure, magnanimous devotion to the

highest interests of his country. So he lived:





Ø      He effected a most desirable and salutary revolution; overturning a

dynasty that had no right to the throne, and restoring the family of

David; exchanging an idolatrous ruler for one that reigned in the

fear of God.


Ø      He solemnly pledged the people to the service of Jehovah, and arranged

for systematic services in His temple (ch. 23:16-18).


Ø      He sustained the hand of Joash in his work of repairing the temple. This

we might assume, but this the words of the text, “toward his house,”

clearly indicate.


Ø      He did much (as the following verses show) to maintain the worship of

God in the land, against all reactionary influences, whether at court or

among the princes or the people. He “did good to Israelindeed. If we

except the judges and kings as those whose official positions gave them

quite exceptional opportunities, we may safely say that there are not

more than three or four men who rendered such distinguished service

to their country as Jehoiada the priest. He was well worthy, when he

died in an honored old age, to be “buried among the kings.” Probably

few kinglier men than he have been “gathered to their fathers.”




Ø      That honor rests upon faithful service, on true usefulness — such

honor as is worth possessing.


Ø      That usefulness is the product of excellency of character. Men may be

eloquent, ambitious, capable, endowed with large administrative

abilities, but if they are not unselfish, if they do not know how to

subordinate their own aims and interests to the public weal, they are

as likely to be harmful as helpful in their course. Only solid worth of

character, rectitude allied with patriotism and philanthropy, is any

security for substantial usefulness.


Ø      That character is only sound when it is sacred; that it is only the man

who reveres God, and who places himself and his life under Divine

guidance, on whom we can thoroughly rely. All other defenses and

inspirations fail. “The fear of God” of which the devout Israelite

spoke, the love and service of Jesus Christ of which we speak, —

this is the rock on which to build a noble character and a useful life.



The Life, Death, Burial, and Epitaph of a Great Man (vs. 15-16)




Ø      Pious; i.e.


o        Good. No man really pious who is not inwardly good.

o        Sincere. As a priest of Jehovah, he was under solemn covenant to lead

a holy life.

o        Courageous. It required no small heroism to stand forth as a servant of

Jehovah in the days of Ahaziah and Athaliah.


Ø      Useful. “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths,” etc.

(Bailey). Jehoiada’s life was spent, not in indolence, but activity; this

activity was directed, not by personal ambitions, but by considerations of

public advantage, and ceased not until the close of his life. Besides

discharging the multifarious duties devolving upon him as high priest of the

nation, he practically became the nation’s leader during the times of

Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah; the nation’s savior, effecting the

overthrow of Athaliah, the preservation of Joash, and in him the

continuance of David’s throne; and the nation’s ruler, acting as regent

during Joash’s minority, and as prime minister of Joash until the end came.

In particular, to him the nation owed the preservation of its king, its

throne, its religion, its temple.


Ø      Long. Nevertheless, the end came, though long delayed. He died “full of

days,” satisfied with living, like:


o        Abraham (Genesis 25:8),

o        Isaac (ibid. ch. 35:29),

o        David (I Chronicles 23:1), and

o        Job* (Job 42:17), an old man of a hundred and thirty years, the longest

recorded life of any Hebrew, the patriarchs excepted. “What man is

he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?”

etc. (Psalm 34:12-14).


* The following is taken from Job 42:16-17:


16 “After this lived Job an hundred and forty years,” -  It has been

concluded from this statement, combined with that at the close of v. 10,

that Job was exactly seventy years of age when his calamities fell upon him

(‘Dict. of the Bible,’ vol. 1. p. 1087, note); but this is really only a

conjecture, since the statement that “God added to all that had been Job’s

to the double,” does not naturally apply to anything but his property. We

may, however, fairly allow that he could scarcely have been less than seventy

when his afflictions came, having then a family of ten children, who were all

grown up (ch.1:4). In this case, the whole duration of his life would have been

210 years, or a little more, which cannot be regarded as incredible by those

who accept the ages of the patriarchs, from Peleg to Jacob, as respectively

239, 230, 148, 205, 175, 180, and 147 years – “and saw his sons, and

his sons’ sons” - i.e. his descendants — grandchildren, and great-grandchildren -

 “even four generations.” According to the Hebrew inclusive practice of

reckoning, we may regard his own generation as included.


17 “So Job died, being old and full of days.”  The lowest estimate places the

occurrence of the afflictions of Job at the time when he was a little more than fifty.

Thus his age at his death would be at least a hundred and ninety.




Ø      To himself a gain. (Philippians 1:21.)


o        A blessed repose after life’s labors:   (Isaiah 57:2; Daniel 12:13;

II Thessalonians 1:7; Revelation 14:13). “After life’s fitful labor he

sleeps well” (‘Macbeth,’ act 3. sc. 2).


o        A splendid exchange for time’s vanities: “length of days for ever and

ever” (Psalm 21:4; 37:18; John 10:28; Hebrews 11:10, 16; I Peter 1:4;

Revelation 2:10).


o        A magnificent reward for earth’s services (Psalm 16:11; 17:15;

Proverbs 3:35; John 12:26; Romans 2:7; Revelation 2:7, 17, 26).


Ø      To Joash a loss. (II Kings 2:3.) Jehoiada’s death the removal of:


o        the saviour of his infancy;

o        the teacher of his boyhood;

o        the counselor of his manhood.


Whether Joash recognized the greatness of his loss may be doubtful. The notion

that he felt the decease of the grey-haired priest as something of a relief is not

without countenance.


Ø      To the nation a calamity. (II Samuel 3:38.) Born to be a king, Joash

lacked the capacity to rule. The fittest man to have sat upon the throne

was Jehoiada. Only Divine providence does not always assign men the

posts for which they are best qualified. The incompetency of Joash would

have earlier proved a curse to Judah had the statesman-priest not been at

his elbow. So long as Jehoiada kept his hand upon the helm, the ship of

state sailed over stormiest seas with safety; when death compelled his grasp

to relax, the vessel’s rocking amid the tumbling waves showed how

capable a pilot he bad been.




Ø      National. The people paid him public funeral rites. Not the king alone, but

the entire realm lamented him, and joined in the sad ceremonial of

consigning his lifeless body to the tomb. Public funerals are often gigantic

hypocrisies. Not of such sort was this of the great priest of Jerusalem.


Ø      Royal. The grandeur of his obsequies equalled that lavished on the

funerals of kings. Of some kings, among whom Joash must be numbered

(v. 25), it is recorded that the people declined to honor them with royal

burial (ch.  21:19-20; 26:23; 28:27); of Jehoiada, though not a

king, except in nobility of soul, it is written, his people “buried him in the

city of David among the kings” — as it were recognizing in him a

sovereign greater than many, and equal to the best.




Ø      Short. One sentence of three clauses: “He did good in Israel, both

toward God, and towards his house.” Nothing more offensive to good

taste and refined feeling, not to say more untrue to fact, than the fulsome

and extravagant paragraphs which often appear on tombstones.


Ø      Simple. All who read might understand, and, understanding, might verify

from their own experience, assisted (if need were) by the recollections of

others. The last place at which to make a display of eloquence and rhetoric

is the grave’s month. What is here recorded of this uncrowned King of

Judah stands in startling contrast with the magniloquence of Egyptian and

Assyrian kings.


Ø      Sufficient. What more or better could be testified of any man than that in

his lifetime he:


o        had done good,

o        lived a life of piety towards God, and philanthropy towards man,

o        promoted God’s glory and advanced man’s good,

o        furthered God’s kingdom and increased man’s happiness?


  • LEARN:


Ø      The possibility of combining statesmanship and piety.

Ø      The commanding influence of religion when associated with talent and rank.

Ø      The advisability of looking beyond man in both Church and state, since

statesmen and priests are not suffered to continue by reason of death.

Ø      The certainty that a life of philanthropy and piety will sooner or later

find recognition.

Ø      The fitness of rewarding with becoming honor in death those who

sincerely and successfully serve their generation when in life.

(Acts 13:36)


17 "Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made

obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them." The princes.

These turned aside from the better part they had performed (ch. 23:13, 20).

Made obeisance; Hebrew, יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ. This is the word that is used of the sheaves of

the brethren of Joseph bowing down, according to his dream, to his sheaf; it is

also the repeatedly used word of the worship paid to Jehovah the true God, and

to idols and false gods. The word occurs nearly two hundred times. The

obeisance of these princes, therefore, on this occasion lacked nothing of

the most pronounced character, and the worst species of flattery gained its

disastrous ends. Joash must have been now about thirty-six years of age; he

was seven years old when he began to reign, he had reigned twenty-three

years before the restoring of the temple (II Kings 12:6), and a few years

had elapsed since. The words of the princes, to which Joash hearkened,

are not supplied by the parallel, which indeed at once proceeds to speak of

the threatening attitude of the Syrian king Hazael, and of how Joash bought

him off. Our next verse, however, shows to what end those words tended.


18 "And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, an served groves

and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass."

Served groves; Revised Version, the Asherim, correctly (see note, ch. 14:3).

For this their trespass. Comparing the emphatic language of v. 23,  "destroyed

all the princes of the people from among the people,” we may conclude that

 stress is to be laid on the pronoun “their” in the present verse. The worship of

the true God was not left by the whole people, and we are not told it was by the

king; but (very probably through want of moral courage) he incurred the severest

sort of blame, and was without even the excuse of strong personal temptation.


19 "Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD;

and they testified against them: but they would not give ear."

Prophets. The name of only one, Zechariah, as in next verse, is given (see by

the side of this verse the emphatic and touching language of ch. 36:14-16).


20 "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."  Came upon; margin, clothed; Revised Version

margin, clothed itself with (I Chronicles 12:18). Compare the beautiful

expression of Revelation 1:10, "I was in the Spirit;” it was not merely

that the Spirit deigned to visit John in Patmos, but so possessed him

that he was in the Spirit. The son of Jehoiada; i.e. very possibly grandson

of Jehoiada (Jehoiada’s great age the rather countenancing this

interpretation) and son of Barachias” (Matthew 23:35). That ye

cannot prosper. The Hebrew text says, “and ye will not prosper.” This

clause may read all the more forcibly if kept under the dominance of the

why of the former, reminding us of such appeals as “Why will ye die?” etc.

(ch. 15:2; Deuteronomy 18, throughout). Reading these two

clauses in the preterite or present tense will make them neither less forcible

nor less correct, so indicating that they, the princes and the nation, were

already beginning to eat the fruit of their ways, and “rumors of war,” if

not war itself, were on them.


21 "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."

Stoned him. Yet this was their Law’s punishment for

themselves, for idolaters (Leviticus 20:2). At the commandment of the

king. The king, who had yielded to the flattering obeisance and worship of

the princes, is now driven on a grievous length further. In the court of the

house of the Lord. So Matthew 23:35, “between the temple [Revised

Version, ‘sanctuary’] and the altar.”


22 "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.  Remembered not the kindness

(Genesis 40:23). The Lord look upon it, and require it. So, too, the Revised

Version, which also, according to its custom, removes the italic type from the

two neuter pronouns “it.” But probabaly a better and correcter rendering is,

“The Lord will see and will require” (for it is not necessary to regard this as a

prayer of Zechariah); and thus bring it into comparison with those divinest

prayers of the Saviour and of Stephen. (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60)The words on

dying Zechariah’s lips were perhaps rather the vivid reminiscence of His

own well-versed knowledge of the Law, or “the Scriptures” (Genesis 9:5;

42:22). The sentence of the dying priest and prophet in one, is, by the writer of

Chronicles at any rate, directed in its fall with fearful straightness to the

door of Joash the king himself. Remarkable as is the absence of the matter

of this and the five preceding verses from the parallel, it will not escape

notice how it is implied in vs. 17-18 there, while the inclusion of it here is

again in patent harmony with the great object of the writer.



The Downward Career of a King (vs. 17-22)


  • JOASH’S TEMPTATION. (v. 17.)


Ø      When it came. “After Jehoiada’s death,”, when the weakling king,

having lost his counselor, was left to the guidance of his own vain heart

and foolish understanding. Temptations mostly assail men in their moments

of weakness. Eve was probably assaulted in the absence of Adam

(Genesis 3:1); David, certainly, in the absence of Nathan (II Samuel 11:2);

Job, when enfeebled through affliction (Job 2:9); Peter, when deprived

of strength through over-confidence (John 13:27). The devil is too wary a

warrior to besiege a heart when at its strongest.


Ø      How it looked.


o        Extremely pleasing; flattering to his vanity and satisfying to his pride.

“The princes of Judah came, and made obeisance to him.”


o        Perfectly harmless. What they asked may be assumed to have been

liberty to worship the Asherim and the idols (v. 18); not that the king

should do so, though secretly they may have hoped he would, but

merely that toleration should be granted to them. Tempters seldom

show all their hands at once; if they did, their temptations would fail

(Proverbs 1:17).  To the tempted also evil courses commonly appear

safe when first embarked upon; though afterwards their true characters

are discovered, when too late.


Ø      How it fared. It prospered. Joash, poor fool! swallowed the bait. “He

hearkened unto them,” because either he lacked courage to refuse, or

desired, in return for their flattery, to please them (Daniel 11:32).


  • JUDAH’S DECLENSION. (v. 18.)


Ø      The princes. These “left the house of the Lord God of their fathers,” i.e.

abandoned the worship of Jehovah, of which the temple was the center,

and embraced the abominable superstitions of the northern kingdom and of

the preceding reigns in Judah. On the worship of the Asherim and idols, see

ch.14:3 (homily).


Ø      The people. The language of the Chronicler (v. 18), as well as of

Zechariah (v. 20), implies that Judah and Jerusalem, in their people as

well as princes, had transgressed; and, indeed, it is hardly likely that the

princes would have ventured upon this step had they not been able to count

upon the sympathy, if not the direct support, of the community.


Ø      The king. Though “not stated that Joash himself worshipped idols”

(Bertheau), and though, perhaps, at first he did not, it is too apparent,

from the moral deterioration he suffered, as well as from the judgment

he endured, that his offense was more than “not strictly maintaining the

worship of Jehovah” (Bertheau).




Ø      Its instruments. The prophets; in particular, Zechariah the son —

perhaps grandson (Eadie, Ebrard, Lange, Morison) — of Jehoiada (v. 20),

called also Barachias (Matthew 23:35). The prophets, of whom

many have appeared in this book:


o        Nathan (ch. 9:29),

o        Ahijah (ch. 10:15),

o        Azariah (ch.15:1),

o        Hanani (ch. 16:7),

o        Micaiah (ch. 18:8),

o        Jehu (ch. 19:2),

o        Jahaziel (ch. 20:14),

o        Elijah (ch. 21:12) —


were the recognized medium of communication between God and the people.

The prophets at this time sent to testify for Jehovah against the people are

not named, with one exception; which may suggest that one may be an

honored, true, and faithful servant of God in Church or state, and may

render important services to both without having his name chronicled on

the registers of time.


Ø      Its tenor. A testimony against the nation, in terms similar to those of

Zechariah. Their idol-worship was:


Ø      A direct transgression of Jehovah’s commandments (Exodus 20:3-5, 23;

23:13; Leviticus 26:1, 30; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; 27:15).


Ø      An express violation of the covenant into which they had entered with

Jehovah (ch. 23:16).


Ø      A fatal obstacle to their prosperity, whether national or individual

(Numbers 14:41; Deuteronomy 28:29; Psalm 1:3-4 , 16:4; 97:7; Jonah 2:8).


Ø      A sure sign of their abandonment by God (ch. 12:5; 15:2;

Deuteronomy 31:16-17; Joshua 24:20; I Chronicles 28:9).


Ø      Its reception. “They would not give ear.” Unwilling to obey, they would

not listen. The truth was unpalatable, and hence they rejected it. They

loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil

(John 3:19); they hated the truth, because it condemned them

(Psalm 50:17; Amos 5:10).


  • ZECHARIAH’S ASSASSINATION. (v. 20.) A deed of:


Ø      Atrocious inhumanity. Murdered by his countrymen, the princes of

Judah, in some sort his near kinsmen, considering that he himself was a

collateral descendant of the royal line, his mother having been Ahaziah’s

sister (ch. 22:11).


Ø      Revolting cruelty. Stoned with stones. Lapidation, a peculiarly Jewish

form of punishment, is described in the Mishna. “The condemned, if a man,

was led naked to the place of torture, but a woman was allowed to retain

her clothes. The offender was always taken out of the city … All that was

necessary was that the place should be in a valley, or foss, with steep

banks, from the top of which one of the witnesses threw the accused down.

If he fails on his back and is killed, well and good; if not, another witness

throws a stone on his chest. The first stones were cast at the head, so as to

hasten death and shorten the sufferings of the victim. There were no

regular executioners. In the time of the kings, the sovereigns appointed

men to carry out the sentence” (Stapfer, ‘Palestine in the Time of Christ,’

pp. 112, 113; cf. Keil’s ‘Archaologie,’ § 153). This terrible mode of

executing capital punishment the Law reserved for aggravated offences

(Leviticus 20:2, 27; 24:14; Numbers 15:35), in particular for

practicing and enticing to idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:10). Victims

of stoning were, in Old Testament times:


o        Achan (Joshua 7:25),

o        Naboth (I Kings 21:13),

o        Hadoram (ch. 10:18),

o        Zechariah;


in New Testament times:


o        Stephen (Acts 7:58),

o        Paul (Acts 14:19), and

o        (perhaps) Antipas (Revelation 2:13).


Ø      Gross profanity. Murdered in the court of Jehovah’s house, “between

the sanctuary and the altar” (Matthew 23:35), always regarded as an

aggravation of the original crime (Lamentations 2:10), and a special

form of defilement (Ezekiel 9:7). Jehoiada would not shed there the

blood of Joash’s grandmother (ch. 23:14); Joash did not

hesitate to spill there the blood of Jehoiada’s son.


Ø      Horrible impiety. Murdered, although a prophet of Jehovah (I Kings

19:10); murdered, because he told them the truth (compare John 8:40);

murdered by men themselves guilty of death and deserving to be stoned

(see above); murdered in Jehovah’s house and before His altar, in defiance

of His Law and contempt for His religion.


Ø      Monstrous ingratitude. Murdered “at the king’s commandment;” done

to death by a man to whom his father (or grandfather) had given life,

education, a crown, a kingdom, a reformed religion, a settled country

(ch. 22:11-23:21). The vocabulary of vituperation has been

exhausted to set forth the wickedness, odiousness, and loathsomeness of

this vice. It has been likened to “a sharp-toothed vulture,” “a marble-

hearted fiend, more hideous than the sea-monster;” it has been spoken of

as “the most detestable act” a person can commit, a vice more abominable

“than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness;” a monster whose tooth is

keener than the winter wind. Nor is it too much to say that, amongst this

hideous crew of God-forsaken wretches, Joash stands pre-eminent. A

creature as mean and despicable the earth surely is seldom called on to

support and nourish.


Ø      Unavoidable avengement. Zechariah himself, feeling this, ere his eyes

closed and his lips became silent in death, uttered a prayer or invocation,

“The Lord look upon it, and require it,” in reality a prediction which soon

became a history. Contrast the prayer of Stephen for his murderers

(Acts 7:60). Zechariah the murdered prophet, and Stephen the

martyred deacon, each embodied and illustrated the spirit of the

dispensation under which he lived; that under which Zechariah lived, a



o        of law and penalty,

o        of wrath and condemnation;


that under which Stephen flourished, a dispensation:


o        of grace and mercy, and

o        of forgiveness and justification (II Corinthians 3:7-11).


·         LESSONS.


Ø      The danger of listening to flattery; it makes men, even kings, foolish.

Ø      The duty of resisting the first approaches of temptation. Obsta


Ø      The downward course of sin — Facilis descensus Averno (Virgil,

      AEneid,’ 6:126).

Ø      The folly of forsaking God; it can only end in being forsaken by God.

Ø      The courage needed to be a true servant of God in any age. He who

      would speak for God will often require to speak against man.

Ø      The surest evidence of original and innate depravity is the fact that men

      do not naturally care for, but rather dislike, and are averse to, God’s Word.

Ø      The certainty that they who will live godly must suffer persecution.

      God’s witnesses are often slain (Revelation 11:7).

Ø      The baseness of ingratitude towards God; inferred from that of

      ingratitude towards man.

Ø      The contrast between the Law and the gospel; illustrated by Zechariah’s

      imprecation and Stephen’s invocation.

Ø      The certainty of Divine retribution: God will avenge His saints (Luke 18:7-8)


23 "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."

At the end of the year; Hebrew, תְּקוּפַת; margin, both of the

Authorized Version and the Revised Version, revolution. The word is

found three other times, Exodus 34:22; I Samuel 1:20; Psalm 19:7.

The versions, of course, express correctly what is meant, but

probably the season of spring is also conveyed (II Samuel 11:1;

I Chronicles 20:1). The host of Syria. Their king was Hazael (II Kings

12:17), whether actually with them is perhaps not certain, but the last

clause in the verse just quoted would seem to convey that impression. He

was King of Damascus (Aram, or Syria), and having already temporarily

mastered Israel (ibid. ch.13:3-4, 22), the way was paved to Gath

(ch.  11:8; 17:11), whence wistful eyes were bent on Jerusalem, nearly thirty

miles distant thence. Destroyed all the princes of the people; i.e. as in the

next verse. And sent all the spoil. Whether intended so here or not, probably

the strict subject of the verb in this clause is Joash and his counselors (v. 18 in

parallel), in their fright — and just fright — helpless after the slaughter chronicled

in our following verse, bribing off Hazael and his host, as in parallel. The

suggestion is most plausible that tidings of Zechariah’s martyrdom and of the

occasion of it were the very incentive to Hazael’s incursion, and an illustration

of the “means” by which God works, and by which He wrought His purpose in

this instance. The spoil of them. If this means only the spoil of the defeated

army strictly, then our text gives no trace of the contents of v. 18 in

parallel just alluded to; but the frequent dislocation incident to copied

extracts and matter borrowed from original sources, and so often

evidenced in the present history, when we have been comparing the two

derived accounts to which we are indebted for it, incline us to the above

view, as one quite open at any rate to possibility.


24 "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."  Came with a small company… the Lord delivered

a very great host (so Leviticus 26:8; Deuteronomy 28:25, etc.). So they

executed judgment against Joash. The Hebrew says literally, “and on

Joash they executed judgments.” What the judgments were we do not read,

but surely it is probable that they are glanced at in the next verse, “For they

left him in great [or, ‘many’] diseases,” or perhaps “in great illness” (ch. 21:15).


25 "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 sepulchers of the kings."  They left him in great diseases. See note

above, and observe further that this parenthetic clause, as treated in both

Authorized Version and Revised Version, prepares the way for what follows,

and especially for the fact that it was on his bed that they slew him. Render thus,

And after they had betaken themselves away, whereas they left him sorely ill, his

own servants conspiredand slew him in his bed. His own servants.

These had the opportunity the rather at hand, in that he was so ill and in

bed. That he died by the conspiring together of a couple of servants, whose

foreign and heathen maternity is particularly recorded, was the more

ignominious end for him, who had commanded Zechariah to be openly

stoned — a death highly honorable in comparison. The parallel

(II Kings 12:20) adds that it was in “the house of Mille, which goeth down to

Silla” (for the explanation of which passage, see note ad loc.), that the

servants’ conspiracy to kill Joash took effect. The sons of Jehoiada. We

know of only one son, Zechariah; there may have been other sons, or other

lineal relations of Jehoiada may be covered by the word “sons.” We are not

obliged to interpret the avenging act of the servants as one to which their

own pious and patriotic zeal led them, which, considering their maternal

pedigree, is perhaps something unlikely, though of course not impossible,

but one to which they were incited by the retributive providence of Him

who held their hearts also in His hand. In a word, it was a deed done for the

blood — required (see note and references under v. 22). Not in the

sepulchers of the kings. See note on v. 16, and references there quoted;

as also the ambiguous expression of the parallel (v. 21), “They buried

him with his fathers in the city of David.”


26 "And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of

Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess."

Zabad. The name Jozachar of the parallel is probably the correct word, and a

copyist’s corruption may with some plausibility be argued as the cause of the

form Zabad in our text. The parallel omits the names of the mothers’ nationality.

Shimrith. The parallel has Shomer, probably an Hebraized form of the Moabitish

name of our text.


27 "Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid

upon him, 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."  His sons. We only know of one, Amaziah, his successor.

The burdens laid upon him. Some explain this expression of the tribute and

bribe Joash had to pay Hazael; others of prophetic “burdens” uttered

against him; and others (much favored by the position of the clause just

before the repairing of the house, etc.) of the task which he had so

voluntarily undertaken, the money-raising and all (Ezekiel 24:25; compare

our vs. 6, 9, 11). The repairing; Hebrew, וִיסור. Render, with the

Revised Version, the rebuilding. The story of the book of the kings. The

Revised Version renders the Hebrew text (מִדְּרַשׁ סֵפֶר) “the commentary

of the book of the kings,” probably to be followed by the words, “of

Judah;” the parallel has “the book of the Chronicles [סִפֶד דִּבְרֵי הַיָמִים]

of the kings of Judah”.  The word rendered “story” or “commentary” in our

text is employed only once beside (ch. 13:22). Its verbal root, however, is found

about a hundred and sixty-two times, invariably in the sense of inquiring,

and almost invariably rendered in the Authorized Version by the word

“inquire,” or “seek;” so that perhaps the word “study” or “pursuit” might,

idioms being allowed for, be the nearer rendering. It is rabbinic literature

mostly that has determined the preference for the word “commentary.”



The Sad and Strange Unreliableness of Human Disposition

and Life Here  (vs. 1-27)


One of the strangest of all the sadnesses of human life is the uncertainty

and unreliableness of human disposition, which it is so constantly exposing

to view. Not only has the fairest promise vanished (like the sun of many a

morning) long before the character could be supposed to be firm or even

fairly formed, but after the period justly esteemed critical has passed, after

fruit has set, and even after some fruit has been gathered ripe, alas for the

failures and falls, the disappointments and distressing desolation, which

have laid waste the scene! The turn in the life of Joash, with his miserable

end, of which this chapter bears record, is a very distinct and typical

instance of what has been and is still often. And in reading the present

chapter, we are forcibly reminded of the apostle’s language “All these

things were written for our admonition.” (I Corinthians 10:11)  We cannot

afford to regard the contents of this chapter as of merely historic interest; they

are of terrible though kindly import for modern life and ALL LIFE!   In

connection with this thought, the following points may be picked out in the

matter of the present history. The life which thus in its afternoon, let us say,

turned aside to evil, was:






really every whit as strong and impressive may be found and instanced by

the practical preacher here; also cases which may be well within the

knowledge of the parish or the country.







BEST AND MOST FAITHFUL OF FRIENDS. These friends had been of

the kind that well remind us of the psalm of Joash’s ancestor; for his

“father and mother had indeed forsaken him,” when “the Lord took him

up”  (Psalm 27:10), in the persons of the priest and his wife. All. the

incalculable advantages of the best of early associations and religious

prepossessions had been the happy portion of Joash, now — when every

recollection and reminiscence should have been gilding itself with

fresh sacredness — to be flung away to the winds, as though they were

presences to the mind as much to be dreaded as in fact they were worthy

to be cherished.





reversal of what had hitherto seemed character and goodness was above all

witnessed to by one central blackest blot in the conduct of Joash. Guiltily

did he forget the debt his own very pulse and beating heart owed to the

preservers of his life, when he commanded that Zechariah, the son of their

love, be stoned to death for his righteous remonstrance and warning. His

dying words, “The Lord look upon it, and require it,” no doubt did not

mark the spirit of unforgivingness; they did mark, and justly, the turpitude

of the sin which was bound to “find out’ the perpetrator of it! And then the

motif of the conduct of Joash! It is written in v. 17. The brief suppressed

language, which does there write it, tells the more significantly of its

dishonourableness and despicableness, only fit to shun the eye of day! And

the warnings of the Lord God of the fathers of Joash and his people, are so

touchingly expressed, especially in v. 19! These preclude the possibility

of our deducting anything of blame from Joash, on the ground of his being

taken unawares, or surprised by some sudden gust of temptation. This type

of thing has indeed numbered its antitypes, times without number; but was

it not thus forcibly delineated, deeply graven or etched, that whoso should

have eyes to see might see, and ears to hear might hear?  (Christ remembered

it!  - Matthew 23:35 – CY – 2016)




RETRIBUTION OF GOD. With what smitten wonder our awed thought

follows unwittingly, but trembles to essay to track the ways of God’s

hidden judgment, when the account of this present life is once summed up,

— hidden because that account is summed up! What solemn need for

every man:


Ø      to watch and pray;

Ø      to walk humbly;

Ø      to take heed how he stands; and

Ø      to remember the warnings of those of whom this is the record, that

they “did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey

the truth?”  (Galatians 5:7)



Sad Successive Stages (vs. 17-25)


With the seventeenth verse of this chapter there commences a very painful

record. From one who had been so mercifully spared, so admirably trained,

so bountifully blessed, as was King Joash, much better things might have

been expected. It is the melancholy story of rapid degeneracy, and a

miserable and dishonorable end.


  • DEPARTURE FROM THE LIVING GOD. Not being “rooted and

grounded” in reverence and in attachment to Jehovah, as soon as the

directing and sustaining hand of Jehoiada was missed, Joash gave heed to

the evil counsel of the reactionary “princes of Judah” and “left the house of

the Lord.” The young may be habituated to sacred services, and they may

be brought up in the practice of good behavior, but if they have not fully

and firmly attached themselves to the Divine Lord whose praises they have

been singing and whose will they have been respecting, their piety will not

endure. “Being let go,” being released, as they must be in time, from the

human restraints that hold them to the right course, they follow the bent of

worldly inclination; it may be that they yield to the solicitation of unholy

passion; but they decline from the path of Christian worship and godly

service. It is a melancholy sight for the angels of God, and for all earnest

human souls, to witness — that of a man who knows what is best, who has

stood face to face with Christ, who has often worshipped in His house, and

perhaps sat at His table, declining to lower paths, “going after Baal,” letting

another power than that of his gracious Lord rule his heart and occupy his



  • RESENTMENT AT THE DIVINE REBUKE. The true and honored

servant of the Lord, Jehoiada, was well succeeded by a faithful son,

Zechariah. He did his work right nobly, and testified against the apostasy

of the king and court. But the monarch, in the haughtiness of his heart,

resented the rebuke of the Lord’s prophet, and only aggravated his offence

by persecution and even murder (vs. 20-21). Thus sin slopes down, and

at some points with sad and startling rapidity. When God’s rebuke is heard,

coming through the voice of one of His ministers, or coming in His Divine

providence; and when that rebuke, instead of being heeded and obeyed, is

resented by the rebellious spirit, then there ensues a very rapid spiritual

decline. Men go:


Ø      “from bad to worse,

Ø      from indifference or forgetfulness to hostility,

Ø      from doubt to disbelief,

Ø      from laxity to licentiousness,

Ø      from wrongness of attitude to iniquity in action.


To resent the rebuke of the Lord is to inflict upon ourselves the most serious,

and too often a mortal, injury.


  • THE PENALTY OF DISOBEDIENCE. In the case of Joash, it was:


Ø      Humiliating defeat in battle (vs. 23-24).

Ø      Bodily sufferings (v. 25).

Ø      A violent and miserable death (v. 25).

Ø      Dishonor after death (v. 25).


In the case of the spiritual transgressor now, the penalty that has to be

feared is:


Ø      Grave and grievous spiritual decline.

Ø      The serious displeasure of the Divine Master.

Ø      The loss of the esteem of the truest and best human friends.

Ø      Condemnation in the day of judgment.



Divine Retributions; or, the Predictions and Prayers

        of a Dying Man, Coming True (vs. 23-27)


  • JUDAH INVADED BY THE SYRIANS. (v. 23.) Zechariah had

predicted that prosperity should no longer attend Judah in consequence of

her apostasy from Jehovah (v. 20); and, before breathing his last, had

prayed, and so practically predicted (James 5:16), that Jehovah would

avenge his murder upon the king, his princes, and people (v. 22). That

this incursion of Hazael (I Kings 19:15), who had first assassinated

Benhadad II. and seized upon the throne (II Kings 8:7-15), and whose

historicity is guaranteed by an inscription on Shalmaneser’s black obelisk,

which says, “In my eighteenth year, for the sixteenth time the Euphrates I

crossed. Hazael of Damascus to battle came … . In my twenty-first

campaign, to the cities of Hazael of Damascus I went. Four of his

fortresses I took” (‘Records,’ etc., 5:34, 35; Schrader, ‘Keilinschriften,’ p.

206) — that this incursion of the Syrian monarch into Judaean territory, as

far even as to Jerusalem, was an installment of the wrath which the nation’s

apostasy had stirred up against itself, several things convinced the



Ø      The time when it happened. “At the end,” or revolution, “of the year.”

No doubt Divine judgment often tarries, and when it does men are apt to

question its existence (Psalm 50:20-21). But sometimes it hastens on the

heels of crime, as it did in the cases of:


o        Cain (Genesis 4:8-13),

o        Pharaoh (Exodus 14:27),

o        Israel in Shittim (Numbers 25:4),

o        the murderers of Ishbosheth (II Samuel 4:12),

o        Ahab (I Kings 22:34-37),

o        Haman (Esther 7:10),

o        Judas (Acts 1:18; Matthew 27:5),


and others; and their observers instinctively exclaim, “Verily there is a

God that judgeth in the earth” (Psalm 58:11).


Ø      The success it attained.


o        The Syrian army, having probably conquered Israel, succeeded in

capturing Gath, one of the five cities of the Philistines (Joshua 13:3),

which David annexed to Judah (I Chronicles 18:1), and which may

still have belonged to the kingdom of Jonah.


o        Next it moved upon Jerusalem, which was not far distant, and defeated

the Judaean troops in a pitched battle, in which all the princes of Judah

were cut off, and Joash himself seriously wounded.


o        As an inducement to make peace and withdraw his forces from the

capital, Hazael obtained from Joash “all the hallowed things that

Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah his fathers, kings of Judah,

had dedicated,” which had been recovered from the temple of Baal

(v. 7), “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”

(II Kings 12:18).


o        That which specially revealed the hand of God in this disaster was not

so much the extent as the incidence of it. The blow descended, indeed,

upon the common people, who are chief sufferers in most wars; but in

this instance a striking fitness was visible in the cutting off of the

princes who had instigated the sovereign and his subjects to idolatry,

and in the despoliation of the temple, which they had desecrated

by their idolatries.


o        The weapon it employed. A small army, which had routed Judah’s

large host. This was reversing the experience of Judah, as, e.g.,

when Asa with five hundred and eighty thousand soldiers defeated

Zerah with a million of infantry and three hundred charioteers

(ch. 14:10). As Asa’s victory was due to Jehovah’s help, so Joash’s

surrender was explicable only on the supposition that Jehovah had

forsaken him and Hazael been commissioned to execute

wrath upon him.




Ø      When? “After the Syrians had departed from him.” Though he had

escaped the doom which sought him on the battlefield, it seemed as if

justice would not suffer him to live (compare Acts 28:4). Scarcely had the

Syrians departed than the sleuth-hound of retribution was again upon his

trail. Only wounded by soldiers’ spears, he was slaughtered by assassins’



Ø      Where? In his castle-palace at Mille (II Kings 12:20), and on his bed,

i.e. while invalided by his wounds. Death found him in a fortress, behind

which he doubtless expected to be secure, and at a moment when, perhaps,

that expectation was high through the healing of his wounds.


Ø      By whom? His own servants, whose names are given: “Zabad [or

Jozakat, Kings] the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the

son of Shimrith a Moabitess.” Led astray by those who should have been

his servants, the princes, he was put to death by his actual servants. He had

betrayed his country to foreign gods, by men of foreign extraction he was

destroyed. Divine retributions frequently correspond to the character of the

offence they punish.


Ø      Why? Because of the “blood of the son of Jehoiada the priest.” They

meant to reward him for his defiant deed against Zechariah. How they

came to champion the cause of Jehoiada’s murdered son is not said.

Perhaps they shared the popular feeling, which had never wholly approved

of the murder; and when they witnessed the disaster which had come upon

their arms, with the judgment that had fallen on the princes, they concluded

that Zechariah’s blood must be avenged if prosperity was again to return to

Judah; and believing they would find, in the public mind, approval for their

action, they dispatched the wounded man upon his bed at Mille. Their

calculations concerning the verdict of the people were not astray. Nobody

regretted Joash’s untimely end. His subjects “buried him in the city of

David,” where his fathers lay entombed, but they suffered not his carcass

to desecrate the mausoleum of the kings.


  • LEARN:


Ø      The overruling providence of God. Things come to pass at His ordering.

Ø      The certainty that sin will be punished. Though judgment be delayed, it

is not averted.



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