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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Joash begins to reign when seven years old, and reigns well all the days of Jehoiada the priest, 2 Chronicles 24:1-3. He purposes to repair the temple of God; and makes a proclamation that the people should bring in the money prescribed by Moses, 2 Chronicles 24:4-9. They all contribute liberally; and the different artificers soon perfect the work, 2 Chronicles 24:10-13. The rest of the money is employed to form utensils for the temple, 2 Chronicles 24:14. Jehoiada dies, 2 Chronicles 24:15, 2 Chronicles 24:16. And the people after his death become idolaters, 2 Chronicles 24:17, 2 Chronicles 24:18. Prophets are sent unto them, 2 Chronicles 24:19. And among the rest Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, who testifies against them; and they stone him to death, 2 Chronicles 24:20-22. The Syrians come against Jerusalem, and spoil it, 2 Chronicles 24:23, 2 Chronicles 24:24. Joash is murdered by his own servants, 2 Chronicles 24:25, 2 Chronicles 24:26. His acts, 2 Chronicles 24:27.
1Joash 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.
Joash was seven years old - As he was hidden six years in the temple, and was but seven when he came to the throne, he could have been but one year old when he was secreted by his aunt; see on 2 Chronicles 22:10 (note).
2And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
3And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and daughters.
4And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to repair the house of the LORD.
To repair the house of the Lord - During the reigns of Joram and Athaliah, the temple of God had been pillaged to enrich that of Baal, and the whole structure permitted to fall into decay; see 2 Chronicles 24:7.
5And 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.
Gather of all Israel money - As the temple was the property of the whole nation, and the services performed in it were for the salvation of the people at large, it was right that each should come forward on an occasion of this kind, and lend a helping hand. This is the first instance of such a general collection for building or repairing a house of God.
From year to year - It must have been in a state of great dilapidation, when it required such annual exertions to bring it into a thorough state of repair.
6And 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?
The collection - of Moses - This was the poll-tax, fixed by Moses, of half a shekel, which was levied on every man from twenty years old and upward; and which was considered as a ransom for their souls, that there might be no plague among them. See Exodus 30:12-14.
7For 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.
8And at the king's commandment they made a chest, and set it without at the gate of the house of the LORD.
They made a chest - See the notes on the parallel places, 2 Kings 12:4 (note), etc.
9And 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.
10And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
11Now 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.
12And 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.
13So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them, and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it.
14And 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.
15But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
16And 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.
They buried him - among the kings - He had, in fact, been king in Judah; for Joash, who appears to have been a weak man, was always under his tutelage. Jehoiada governed the state in the name of the king; and his being buried among the kings is a proof of the high estimation in which he was held among the people.
17Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
The princes of Judah - made obeisance to the king - I believe the Targum has given the true sense of this verse: "After the death of Jehoiada, the great men of Judah came and adored King Joash, and seduced him; and then the king received from them their idols."
18And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.
19Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear.
20And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you.
And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah - "When he saw the transgression of the king and of the people, burning incense to an idol in the house of the sanctuary of the Lord, on the day of expiation; and preventing the priests of the Lord from offering the burnt-offerings, sacrifices, daily oblations, and services, as written in the book of the law of Moses; he stood above the people, and said." - Targum.
21And 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 - at the commandment of the king - What a most wretched and contemptible man was this, who could imbrue his hands in the blood of a prophet of God, and the son of the man who had saved him from being murdered, and raised him to the throne! Alas, alas! Can even kings forget benefits? But when a man falls from God, the devil enters into him; and then he is capable of every species of cruelty.
22Thus 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.
The Lord look upon it, and require it - And so he did; for, at the end of that year, the Syrians came against Judah, destroyed all the princes of the people, sent their spoils to Damascus; and Joash, the murderer of the prophet, the son of his benefactor, was himself murdered by his own servants. Here was a most signal display of the Divine retribution.
On the subject of the death of this prophet the reader is requested to refer to the note on Matthew 23:34, Matthew 23:35.
23And 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.
24For 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.
25And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.
26And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a Moabitess.
These are they that conspired against him - The two persons here mentioned were certainly not Jews; the mother of one was an Ammonitess, and the mother of the other was a Moabitess. Who their fathers were we know not; they were probably foreigners and aliens. Some suppose that these persons were of the king's chamber, and therefore could have the easiest access to him. It has been, and is still, the folly of kings to have foreigners for their valets and most confidential servants, and they have often been the causes of murders and treacheries of different kinds. Foreigners should be banished from the person of the sovereign by strong and efficient laws: even in this country they have often been the cause of much political wo.
27Now 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.
The greatness of the burdens laid upon him - Meaning, probably, the heavy tribute laid upon him by the Syrians; though some think the vast sums amassed for the repairs of the temple are here intended.
Written in the story - מדרש midrash, the commentary, of the book of Kings. We have met with this before; but these works are all lost, except the extracts found in Kings, Chronicles, and Ezra. These abridgments were the cause of the neglect, and finally of the destruction, of the originals. This has been often the case in works of great consequence. Trogus Pompeius wrote a general history of the world, which he brought down to the reign of Augustus, in forty-four volumes. Justin abridged them into one volume, and the original is lost.