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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Jehoiada the priest, after having taken counsel with the captains, Levites, etc., proclaims Joash, and anoints him king, 2 Chronicles 23:1-11. Athaliah, endeavoring to prevent it, is slain, 2 Chronicles 23:12-15. He makes the people enter into a covenant, that they would serve the Lord, 2 Chronicles 23:16. The people break down the temple of Baal, and slay Mattan his priest, 2 Chronicles 23:17. Jehoiada makes several alterations, and remodels the kingdom, 2 Chronicles 23:18-21.
1And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him.
And in the seventh year - See on 2 Kings 11:4 (note), etc.
2And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.
3And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king's son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David.
4This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you entering on the sabbath, of the priests and of the Levites, shall be porters of the doors;
5And a third part shall be at the king's house; and a third part at the gate of the foundation: and all the people shall be in the courts of the house of the LORD.
6But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the LORD.
7And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.
8So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses.
9Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David's, which were in the house of God.
Spears and bucklers - See on 2 Kings 11:10 (note).
10And he set all the people, every man having his weapon in his hand, from the right side of the temple to the left side of the temple, along by the altar and the temple, by the king round about.
11Then they brought out the king's son, and put upon him the crown, and gave him the testimony, and made him king. And Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, God save the king.
God save the king - May the king live! See on 2 Kings 11:12 (note).
12Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:
13And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.
14Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD.
And whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword - He who takes her part, or endeavors to prevent the present revolution, let him be immediately slain.
15So they laid hands on her; and when she was come to the entering of the horse gate by the king's house, they slew her there.
Of the horse-gate - See on 2 Kings 11:16 (note).
16And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD'S people.
Made a covenant between him - The high priest was, on this occasion, the representative of God; whom both the people and the king must have had in view, through the medium of his priest.
17Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.
Mattan the priest - The Targum will not prostitute the term priest, but calls him כומרא cumera, priestling.
18Also Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the LORD by the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the LORD, to offer the burnt offerings of the LORD, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, as it was ordained by David.
19And he set the porters at the gates of the house of the LORD, that none which was unclean in any thing should enter in.
20And he took the captains of hundreds, and the nobles, and the governors of the people, and all the people of the land, and brought down the king from the house of the LORD: and they came through the high gate into the king's house, and set the king upon the throne of the kingdom.
21And all the people of the land rejoiced: and the city was quiet, after that they had slain Athaliah with the sword.
The city was quiet - There was no attempt at a counter-revolution. Concerning the coronation of Joash, there is a curious circumstance mentioned by the Targumist on 2 Chronicles 23:11, it is as follows: - "And they brought forth the son of the king, and put on him the royal crown which David took from the head of the king of the children of Ammon. In it was inserted the precious attracting stone, in which was engraven and expressed the great and honorable Name [יהוה] which David had placed there by the Holy Spirit: and it was of the weight of a talent of gold; it was therefore a testimony to the house of David that no king who was not of the seed of David should be able to put it on his head, nor be able to bear its weight. When, therefore, the people saw it placed on the head of Joash, and that he was able to bear this crown, they believed him to be of the seed of David, and immediately constituted him king. Therefore Jehoiada and his sons anointed him, and said, May the king be prosperous in his kingdom!"
The Jews say that this was the crown of the king of the Ammonites; and that it was always worn afterwards by the kings of the house of Judah. See Jarchi on this place.