THE REIGN OF JEHOASH, OR JOASH.
(1) Forty years.—A common round number. David and Solomon are each said to have reigned forty years.
His mother’s name.—The author of these short abstracts generally gives this particular in regard to the kings of Judah.
Beer-sheba.—A famous Simeonite sanctuary, and resort of pilgrims (Amos 5:5; Amos 8:14).
Sacrificed . . . burnt.—Were wont to sacrifice . . . burn. The worship of the high places continued even under the régime of Jehoiada.
(4) The money’ of the dedicated things.—Comp. 1 Kings 15:15.
Is brought—i.e., from time to time. All the silver given for the purposes of the sanctuary is meant.
Even the money of every one that passeth the account.—Rather, to wit, current money (Genesis 23:16). The currency at this period consisted of pieces of silver of a fixed weight. There was no such thing as a Hebrew coinage before the exile. The reason “current money” was wanted was that it might be paid out immediately to the workpeople employed in the repairs.
The money that every man is set at.—Literally, each the money of the souls of his valuation, i.e., every kind of redemption money, such as was paid in the case of the first-born (Numbers 18:16) and of a vow (Leviticus 27:2, seq.). In the latter case, the priest fixed the amount to be paid.
And all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring—That is, all the free-will offerings in money. In 2 Chronicles 24:6 the revenues here specified are called “the tax of Moses . . . for the tabernacle,” implying that Moses had originally instituted them. The chronicler’s language, indeed, appears to indicate that he understood the money collected to have been chiefly the tax of half a shekel, which the law ordered to be paid by every male on occasion of the census (Exodus 30:12-16), for the good of the sanctuary.
The breaches of the house.—The dilapidations of the Temple were serious, not because of its age—it had only stood about 130 years—but owing to the wanton attacks of Athaliah and her sons (comp. 2 Chronicles 24:7), who had, moreover, diverted the revenues of the sanctuary to the support of the Baalworship.
But deliver it for the breaches of the house.—Rather, For to the dilapidation of the house ye should give it; scil., and not apply it to any other purposes. The king’s words certainly seem to throw suspicion on the priests.
Jehoiada the priest took a chest.—By order of the king (2 Chronicles 24:8).
Beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord.—Chronicles says: “in the gate of the house of the Lord outwards.” This can hardly refer to the same position. It probably describes where the chest, which became a permanent feature of the sanctuary, stood in the time after the return from the Captivity. The chronicler adds that offerings were asked by proclamation throughout the country, and that the princes and people readily contributed.
Put.—Rather, used to put. The chest was kept locked, and the Levitical doorkeepers received the money from those who offered it, and dropped it at once into the chest. This obviated all suspicion of a possible misapplication of the contributions.
Put up in bags, and told.—Literally, they bound up and counted. They put the pieces of silver into bags of a certain size, and then counted the bags, weighed, and sealed them up. These would be paid out as money. (Comp. 2 Kings 5:23.) Instead of “they bound up,” Ewald prefers the word used in Chronicles, “they emptied,” which is very similar in Hebrew writing. The royal secretary came, as the king’s representative, to make a record of the amount.
Being told.—Rather, which was weighed.
Them that did the work.—Not the actual workmen, but, as is immediately explained, “those who had the oversight of the house,” or were charged with the superintendence of the work.
That wrought.—Literally, who were making.
Hewed stone.—Or, quarry stone.
That was laid out.—The Hebrew tense implies that it was done repeatedly.
To repair it.—Rather, for repair. The word (chozqah) does not recur in this sense.
For the house.—Literally, in the house.
Bowls . . . basons.—Comp. 1 Kings 7:50, where the same three terms occur.
Trumpets—i.e., the straight priestly trumpets.
Of the money that was brought.—The plain meaning is that the whole amount offered was expended on the necessary work of restoring the Temple fabric.
To be bestowed on workmen.—Literally, to give to the doers of the work. Here the phrase “doers of the work” obviously means the artisans, not the superintendents, as in 2 Kings 12:11.
They dealt faithfully.—This is not a covert thrust at the priests, as Thenius imagines. The statement of the verse is repeated in 2 Kings 22:7, in connection with the restoration of the Temple under Josiah, where the priests are not concerned in the matter at all. All that is meant is, that the officials entrusted with the oversight of the work were above suspicion, and did not belie their reputation.
Trespass money and sin money.—See Lev. V. 15-18; Numbers 5:8; Leviticus 6:26-29.
Was not brought.—Was not wont to be brought i.e., put into the chest for the restoration fund.
It was the priests’.—Literally to the priests they (these moneys) used to fall, or continued to accrue. The general sense is that the priests were not deprived of their lawful revenues by the new arrangement. They received their ancient dues from the trespass and sin offerings. The change initiated by Jehoash consisted in this, that henceforth gifts intended for the sanctuary itself were kept apart from the gifts intended for the priesthood.
(17) Then.—At that time, viz., after the events just related. Hazaeľs invasion of the south followed upon his successes against Jehoahaz, who became king of the northern kingdom in the very year when Jehoash took in hand the restoration of the Temple. (Comp. 2 Kings 12:6 with 2 Kings 13:1; 2 Kings 13:3.) It appears from 2 Chronicles 24:23 that the high priest Jehoiada was dead, and Jehoash had already swerved from his counsels.
Fought against Gath.—Which, therefore, at the time either belonged to, or was in league with, Judah. Rehoboam had included this town in his system of national defences (2 Chronicles 11:8); and it was perhaps at this time the only important outpost of the capital on the western side. Ewald assumes that the petty Philistine states had invited the intervention of Hazael between themselves and their suzerain, the king of Judah. Gaza, Ashdod, Ascalon, and Ekron, but not Gath, appear as Philistine kingdoms in the annals of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, a century later. This agrees with what is stated in 2 Chronicles 26:6 as to Uzziah having destroyed the walls of Gath. (Comp. Amos 6:2.)
Set his face.—Comp. Luke 9:51.
To go up to.—Or, against.
And he went away from Jerusalem—i.e., withdrew his forces. Thenius asserts that the present expedition of Hazael is distinct from that recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:23, seq., which he admits to be historical. But it is not said here that Hazael went in person against Jerusalem. (Comp, 2 Kings 12:17, “set his face to go up,” i.e., prepared to march thither.) The serious defeat of the army of Jehoash, related in Chronicles, accounts very satisfactorily for the sacrifice of his treasures here specified’; while the withdrawal of the Syrians after their victory, as told in Chronicles, is explained by the bribe which Jehoash is here said to have paid them. The two narratives thus supplement each other.
Arose—i.e., against him.
In the house of Millo.—Or, at Beth-Millo. The precise locality cannot be determined. Thenius supposes that the sorely wounded (?) king had retired for greater safety into “the castle palace.” Ewald says the king was murdered while engaged in the fortress. For “the Millo,” see 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 9:15. The chronicler relates that Jehoash was murdered in his bed.
Which goeth down to Silla.—These words convey no meaning to us, the name Silla being otherwise unknown. The text is probably corrupt, for Silla is almost exactly like Millo in Hebrew writing. (The Vatican LXX. omits “which goeth down.”)
With his fathers—i.e., in the city of David; but “not in the sepulchres of the kings 2)” Chron. 24:25).