2 Chronicles Chapter Twenty-four
2 Chronicles 24
Joash, of Judah, The temple repaired. (1-14) Joash falls into idolatry, He is slain by his servants. (15-27)
Commentary on 2 Chronicles 24:1-14
(Read 2 Chronicles 24:1-14)
Joash is more zealous about the repair of the temple than Jehoiada himself. It is easier to build temples, than to be temples to God. But the repairing of places for public worship is a good work, which all should promote. And many a good work would be done that now lies undone, if active men would put it forward.
Commentary on 2 Chronicles 24:15-27
(Read 2 Chronicles 24:15-27)
See what a great judgment on any prince or people, the death of godly, zealous, useful men is. See how necessary it is that we act in religion from inward principle. Then the loss of a parent, a minister, or a friend, will not be losing our religion. Often both princes and inferior people have been flattered to their ruin. True grace alone will enable a man to bring forth fruit unto the end. Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, being filled with the Spirit of prophecy, stood up, and told the people of their sin. This is the work of ministers, by the word of God, as a lamp and a light, to discover the sin of men, and expound the providences of God. They stoned Zechariah to death in the court of the house of the Lord. Observe the dying martyr's words: The Lord look upon it, and require it! This came not from a spirit of revenge, but a spirit of prophecy. God smote Joash with great diseases, of body, or mind, or both, before the Syrians departed from him. If vengeance pursue men, the end of one trouble will be but the beginning of another. His own servants slew him. These judgments are called the burdens laid upon him, for the wrath of God is a heavy burden, too heavy for any man to bear. May God help us to take warning, to be upright in heart, and to persevere in his ways to the end.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on 2 Chronicles》
2 Chronicles 24
 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?
The chief — It is observable, that he is not called the chief priest, or high-priest, but only the chief, or the head, which he might be in many other respects, either by reason of his near relation to the royal family: or because he was the chief of one of the twenty-four families.
 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 — Ahaziah, and his brethren before they were carried away captive, chap. 21:17, who did this by her instigation, as this phrase implies.
Broke up — Both broke up the treasuries, and defaced the house itself.
 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.
Vessels — Because Athaliah and her sons had taken the old ones away, verse 7.
 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
An hundred and thirty years old — By which it appears, that he was born in Solomon's time, and had lived six entire reigns before this. They buried him among the kings, with this honourable encomium, (perhaps inscribed upon his grave-stone) that he had done good in Israel. But the little religion that Joash had, was all buried in his grave. See how great a judgment to any prince or people, the death of holy, useful men is!
 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.
Israel — In Judah, which was an eminent part of Israel, and the only part of it which owned God, or was owned by God as his Israel, to whom therefore he often appropriates this name.
 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
Made obeisance — In that posture presenting their requests to him, that they might not be confined to troublesome journeys to Jerusalem, but might have the liberty, which their fore-fathers enjoyed, os worshipping God in the high-places. This liberty once obtained, they knew they could worship idols without disturbance: which was the thing at which they aimed. And for the prevention of such abuses, God obliged all to worship him in one place.
 And 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.
Left, … — The king and princes that awhile ago so zealously repaired the temple, now forsook the temple! So inconstant a thing is man! So little confidence is to be put in him!
 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.
Who stood — The people were assembled in the court of the temple, which they had not quite forsook, when Zechariah stood up in some of the desks that were in the court of the priests, and plainly told them their sin, and the consequences of it.
 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 — They stoned him immediately, without even colour of law; as horrid a piece of wickedness, as any we read of in all the history of the kings. That ever such a villainy should be committed, by men, by Israelites, in contempt and violation of everything that is just, honourable, and sacred! The Jews say, there were seven transgressions in one: They killed a priest, a prophet, a judge; they shed innocent blood; polluted the court of the temple, the Sabbath, and the day of expiation: for on that day, their tradition says, this happened.
 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.
Require it — Make inquisition for innocent blood. But the words may be rendered, The Lord will look upon it, and require it, will require satisfaction from you for it.
 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.
The year — So soon did God hear the cry of his holy prophet's blood, and revenge it.
The princes — That it might appear they were sent and directed by God to single out to destruction the first beginners of this general apostacy.
 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 sepulchres of the kings.
Son — By which it seems, he slew not only Zechariah, but his brothers also. Perhaps they that slew him intended to take vengeance for that innocent blood. However that was it, which God intended, in permitting them to do it.
 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.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on 2 Chronicles》
24 Chapter 24
And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord an the days of Jehoiada the priest.
Goodness as a morning cloud
There are certain characters that are great curiosities. There are also other characters that are great monstrosities. The ease of Joash is s very extraordinary one. From his history learn--
I. That it is a great blessing when people yield to godly influences.
1. The first six years of Joash’s life were spent in the temple.
2. He was started in life’s business in a very admirable way.
3. He was outwardly obedient to the law of the Lord in the days of Jehoiada.
4. He was zealous for the externals of religion.
5. He influenced others for good.
II. Good as all this is, it is not all that is needed.
1. This is not yielding the heart to God.
2. All this yielding to godly influences may exist without any personal, vital godliness whatever.
3. An externally pious character may even prevent men from being saved at all. It may lead a man to take for granted that he is saved.
4. To be under godly influences year after year, without any great trial or temptation, may leave the personal character altogether undeveloped.
We must have some kind of test, or else we cannot be sure of the character. You cannot be sure about principle being in any young man if he has been kept under a glass case, and if his principles have never been tried. The real character of Joash had never come out at all, because Jehoiada, as it were, covered him. His own disposition was only waiting the opportunity of developing itself. I have heard of an officer in India who had brought up a young leopard. It was apparently as tame as a cat. One afternoon, while asleep in his chair, the leopard licked his hand in all tenderness as a cat might have done; but after licking awhile it licked too hard and a little blood began to flow. It no sooner tasted blood than the old leopard spirit was up, and his master was his master no more. So does it happen to many that being shut in, and tamed, as it were, but not changed, subdued but not renewed, kept in check but not converted, there has come a time afterwards when the taste of blood has called out the old nature, and away the man has gone.
III. This yielding character may even prove a source of mischief. The princes of Judah came and “made obeisance to the king.” What followed?
1. Joash went off to sin.
2. He refused reproof.
3. He slew his friend’s son.
4. Having no faith in God, he robbed the temple, and gave all the gold and treasures unto Hazael the Syrian. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The goodness of King Joash
1. The history of Joash enforces the duty of training ourselves, and those who are under our guidance, to stand alone, and not to rest upon the support of others.
2. Not that we should make small account of the counsel of wise and religious friends. The perfect use of a wise adviser is not to determine for us what we shall do in every particular case that day by day arises; but to help us to store our minds with sound principles, such as we may call up for our own direction when any emergency requires them.
3. There is a great difference in the natural constitution of men’s minds. Some are like the creeping plant that grows up rapidly, but must always hang for support upon some external prop. Others are like the oak, slowly developing itself from among the meaner underwood, until it rears its head alone above the trees of the forest. When the trellis or pole decays, the creeper must fall to the ground; the oak abides seemingly unmovable in its own strength. All the culture that man could bestow would never give to the creeper the sturdiness of the oak.
4. But though man cannot change nature God can. He can impart strength to the weakest character. Therefore the way to be firm in what is good, is to take God for your guide and support, and not man (Galatians 6:4-5; Philippians 2:12-13).
5. There is no contradiction between the duty of seeking and in due measure following the counsel of our good instructors and the duty of standing fast for ourselves in the counsel of God. Just as the office of the moon is to transmit the reflected light of the sun to the dark side of the earth; but if the moon comes between the earth and the sun, it does but darken the earth, by intercepting from it the rays that beam from that great light which is the source of light and heat to both; so the parent, the teacher, or the priest, is to stand for God towards the child, the pupil, or the private Christian, so far as their imperfect knowledge or their spiritual needs require; but not so as to eclipse God, or to make them forget that to God and not to man they are answerable in the last resort for their deeds. (James Randall, M.A.)
Men may constrain us to a temporary amendment, but God alone can control us to a lasting change of character and heart. Circumstances can make any one of you religious for a time, and give you feelings and habits which will make you appear religious to others, and what is worse still, lead you to suppose that the outward appearance is the effect of inward principle. But nothing but the grace of God, and the love of His name and His truth, can produce that piety of heart which withstands temptation, and lives when all earthly agencies are gone which nursed it, because it lives in Him who was pleased to make those earthly agencies the means of grace to the soul. We have in this verse two characters for contemplation.
I. Jehoiada, as an example of influence exerted for good.
1. He had three elements of success with which to work.
2. Note here the relative influence of personal piety. “Joash did that which is right.” The nation prospered in every sense through the faithfulness of one man. Clear and consistent personal piety is always a persuasive thing. No treatises upon religion can rival for persuasive power the “living epistles known and read of all men.” Our calling as Christians is to win others, as Jehoiada did, to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. We have received light that our faces may shine before men. The design of God in our salvation is not only our happiness but our usefulness.
II. Joash as an example for our warning. The religion which had its life and influence only from a man was soon forgotten when the source of that influence had passed away. There is a vital difference between the godliness which is the result of external circumstances and that which is the product of internal principle. It is the difference between the galvanised corpse and the living man; the star and the meteor; the flash of the lightning and the action of the sunbeam. There is a false godliness current among men.
1. With some piety is dependent upon policy.
2. With others it is a matter of periods.
3. With others it is a religion of place.
4. With others it is dependent upon the personal influence of some minister, or upon the advice and counsel of a friend. (C. J. Phipps Eyre, M.A.)
Life and character of Joash
I. The instability of his religion.
1. He was zealous for God under restraint.
2. He degenerated when that restraint was taken away.
II. The honour and the disgrace of his reign.
1. Honourable reforms.
2. Disgraceful crimes. Like Nero after the death of his teacher Seneca, the philosopher, he was stained with crimes.
III. The disastrous end of his life. Conclusion: Learn--
1. The responsibility of those to whom the care of young persons is entrusted.
2. Caution those yet under guardianship and tutors and friends.
3. The awful end of those who turn aside from hopeful beginnings. (J. Wolfendale.)
The Jehoiadas of society
It would seem to be about the last thing men do, to estimate properly the value of subtle and silent influences, the magic and wisardry of noble character. We may even be ashamed to do certain things in the presence of the Jehoiadas of society. We are not ashamed of the things themselves, nor are we unprepared to make experiments in regard to them; but whenever we would put forth our hand to begin the experiments we see the observing Jehoiada, and withdraw from the pernicious attempt. So it is that there are trustees of commercial and social honour, men who would never do the dishonourable deed, speak the calumnious word, or mislead the sentiment of the market-place in times of strong temptation and peril. We rely upon them as disinfectants, keeping the commercial atmosphere pure, and discouraging in the most positive and decisive manner the spirit and action of men who are low-minded and selfish. These Jehoiadas deliver no lectures upon commercial morality, nor do they in any manner that can be charged with conceit display their own virtues; they simply go on their straightforward course, doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, and the result of their presence and character is that even the worst men are restrained, weak men are confirmed in good resolutions, and men whose character needs inspiration receive it from their example. (J. Parker, D.D.)
That Joash was minded to repair the house of the Lord.
The temple repaired
It is worthy of note that in the mere outline of a reign extending over twenty years, in very exciting times, space should have been taken to record so minutely the repairing of the temple. No less remarkable is it that the initiative in this great work was due to Joash and not to Jehoiada--the king, not the priest. There was need for some one to lift the standard for Jehovah and His worship. For since the accession of Jehoram, the wicked son of the good Jehoshaphat, there had been a steady decline toward idolatry. Spurred on by his wife, Athaliah, the worthy daughter of the monster Jezebel, Jehoram allowed “high places” to be built to the heathen deities. Dying after less than ten years of rule, of an agonising internal disease, the crown descended to his one surviving son, Ahaziah. After a reign of little more than a year, during which he was wholly under the power of his mother, Ahaziah was slain by Jehu while on a visit to Israel. Athaliah seized the throne and ruled for six years, fostering and encouraging heathenism to the utmost. To make her usurpation more secure, she had, at the beginning of her reign, as she supposed, compassed the death of all aspirants to the crown. But, through the cunning and daring of Jehoiada and his wife, one boy, Joash, a son of Ahaziah, was preserved. When the time was ripe the priest led a revolt against the queen, putting the young Joash, only eight years of age, upon the throne, and causing the death of Athaliah. A great opportunity opened up for the young prince. Jehoiada carefully instructed him during his childhood in the religion of Jehovah, that, when he came to the years of responsible reign, he might zealously foster the old faith. But, unfortunately, Joash was not strong enough for the task. As long as he was under the tuition of Jehoiada he did fairly well, though idolatry was suffered to extend itself; but after the death of the old priest the pressure from heathenism was too great for his weak nature to resist, and Joash followed the path of his immediate predecessors. True, the third verse of our lesson may not indicate anything more than a resemblance to heathen customs, inasmuch as they may have worshipped Jehovah in the “high places”; still, having adopted that mode of heathen worship, it became easier to introduce others, and thus the way was opened for that awful apostasy from God when incense was burned to strange gods “in every single city of Judah.” Nevertheless, Joash should have full credit for the one luminous work of his whole reign--the repair of the temple. We shall find his plans of gathering and expending the money worthy of our careful study.
I. The plans of collection.
1. The first one, undoubtedly the king’s, shows him in a favourable light. He assumes no priestly prerogative or authority. He simply enjoins the priests to do their legitimate work--“go out into the cities of Judah and gather of all Israel money to repair the house of the Lord.” The parallel account in 2 Kings 12:4, gives the details of the plan. Three methods of collecting the money are there described. First, “The money of every one that passeth the account.” Bahr considers these words an incorrect translation of the original, preferring “money which passes over”--that is, current money. It he is right, then no separate method is indicated. But the weight of authority is in favour of the old translation, and, following this, the half-shekel which was paid for every one that was numbered, from twenty years old and upward (Exodus 30:13, seq.), seems to be meant. Second, “The money that every man is set at”--that is, the amount prescribed by the priests for those who made a “singular vow” according to the law in Leviticus 27:1-8. The third was the free-will offering, and probably more dependence was placed on this than upon either or both of the other methods. Taken all in all, this plan was compulsive and judicious, and deserved to succeed. But it failed, and why? There appears to have been a combination of reasons. The words, “Howbeit the Levites hastened it not,” furnish a hint that the appointed collectors, on whom the success of the plan largely depended, did not enter heartily into its prosecution. They were expected not only to take what the people brought in voluntarily, but actively to solicit “every man of his acquaintance” (parallel account in 2 Kings 12:5). Whether they did not relish moving, at the orders of the king, or were too lazy to “go out into the cities of Judah,” we can only conjecture. We only know they did not hasten. No doubt, too, there was much inertia on the part of the people themselves. The general indifference to the old system of worship and the inevitable corruption which followed dabbling with heathen practices both contributed to a lethargy which could only be broken up by some extra-ordinary method. But the great reason lies deeper, much deeper. Soften the account as we will, there was wide-spread dissatisfaction with the course pursued by the priests. Whether they had good grounds for suspicion or not, the people believed the collectors had misappropriated the funds. And it is hard to clear them of this charge. Doubtless some money came in from loyal souls who longed to see God’s temple shining with the olden glory. Indeed, we know that some did, because when the king called on the priests for a report he ordered them to “take no more money.” Some, then, had been gathered. But what became of it? The priests never made any return thereof. True, it condones the fault somewhat to plead that the regular sacerdotal revenue had largely fallen off during the prevalence of idolatry, and that the priests found themselves hard pushed for funds for their subsistence and the temple-worship, and thus were forced to use what came into their hands for immediate needs. But to divert money given for a specific purpose to other channels, however proper, is practical embezzlement. And it is easy to see how this course would breed dissatisfaction and revolt among the people. Their joyful acceptance of the second plan, and the hearty liberality exhibited, show conclusively that we have not argued unjustly. And the taking of the whole matter out of the hands of the priests by the king confirms our position. It would appear that Joash gave ample time for the successful working of this first plan. Not until the twenty-third year of his reign did he call the priests to account. This does not mean, of course, that the collectors had been at work twenty three years, for we are not told in what year they received their commission. It certainly could not have been in the first years of Joash’s reign, because he began to rule at the age of eight.
2. But having abandoned the first plan, the king quickly unfolded his second one. This was as simple u it was effective. A box or chest, securely locked, with a hole cut in the lid to admit pieces of money, was first prepared. It was placed at the entrance-gate to the priest’s court on the right. Royal proclamation was then made of the new plan throughout the land, and the people exhorted to bring in their contributions in accordance with the law found in Exodus 30:12-16, and see their money deposited in the chest. The part of the priests was the mere perfunctory duty of receiving the money and putting it into the receptacle in the presence of the donors. And now money fairly flowed in. Nor was it given grudgingly. “All the princes and all the people rejoiced.” When the chest was full the priest sent his scribe and the king his secretary, and the two emptied it, weighed the money, bound it up in bags (2 Kings 5:23), and carried it back to its place. The process was repeated until an abundance was gathered for the purpose. The plan was a great success. And why? Doubtless the novelty of the plan accounts partly for it. The curiosity to look upon the first money-chest of this description would bring in many contributions that otherwise would not have been given. But, chiefly, every person saw his gift deposited in the receptacle which was inaccessible to any but the regularly appointed officers, and thus he could be reasonably sure that his money would be laid out for the purpose he intended. Herein lies the chief cause of the plan’s success--every piece of money was strictly accounted for, and there was no possible chance for a misuse of the funds.
II. The expenditure was as noteworthy as the gathering. The same clear-headed, far-seeing intelligence was behind it. Putting the two accounts together, it is plain that overseers were appointed who had general charge of the repairs. The words, “such as did the work of the service of the house of the Lord,” in the twelfth verse, indicate that the overseers were Levites. They had authority to employ artisans of different kinds--masons and carpenters and workers in brass and iron--and also to purchase the needed materials. Into their hands went the immense sums which had been collected, and to them the workmen looked for their wages. And what seems strange--almost incomprehensible--in view of the careful scrutiny exercised over the collections, their overseers were not required to give account of their stewardship (2 Kings 12:15). That they were honest and “dealt faithfully” is apparent from the fact that, after finishing their task and paying all the bills, they brought back a remainder to the king and Jehoiada. With this unexpended balance they were enabled to furnish the temple anew with the vessels necessary for the ritual service (1 Kings 7:49-50). The old ones had been devoted to Baalim (verse 7). An apparent discrepancy exists at this point between our account and that in 2 Kings 12:13, where the writer declares that vessels were not made of the “money that was brought into the house of the Lord.” Rawlinson seems to explain the matter satisfactorily by showing that “all that the writer of Kings desires to impress on his readers is, that the repairs were not delayed by any deductions from the money that flowed in through the chest on account of vessels or ornaments of the house. What became of the surplus in the chest after the last repairs were completed he does not care to tell us. But it is exactly this, the application of which is mentioned by the writer of Chronicles.” We may venture to add our opinion that the writer of Kings, in enumerating the special points of the overseers’ responsibility, mentions, casually, that they were not responsible for the furnishing of the temple with the appropriate vessels. Their special business was to look after the repairs. So, after many years of dilapidation, the people saw their glorious sanctuary shine in all its former glory. The smoke of sacrifice again rose heavenward, calling the backsliding children of Israel to the faith of their fathers.
III. Practical words.
1. One of the great problems which ever confront the Church is the financial one. Doors open on every hand, and consecrated workers wait to go through them, but the treasuries are empty. Settle this matter of finance, and the spiritual interests will progress correspondingly.
2. The contribution box is not a “Vandal in the house of God.” It is the legitimate successor of Jehoiada’s chest, and its regular use should be considered a part of worship.
3. The people who give the money have a right to know where it goes. And if it be diverted from its proper use, those who administer should not complain if there follow a falling off in contributions. Men will have honest dealing in Church finances. (H. H. French.)
The temple repaired
The work of Joash was to repair the temple and restore the sacrificial worship. The bright side of Joash’s rule divides itself into the man and his mission--his motive and his method.
I. Joash had to conquer, spiritually, his own heart as well as the heart of his people. To know Joash you must understand--
1. His lineage. Heredity did little for, but much against, the formation in him of a pure character. Athaliah and Jezebel were his grandmother and great.grandmother.
2. His environment. This was Jehoiada.
II. The mission of Joash was to effect among his people a genuine reformation. The reconstruction of the temple he viewed as the road to religious revival and reformation. Destruction and reconstruction are alternating or synchronous processes ever manifesting themselves in the efforts of God’s people. Joash is the resultant and embodiment of both these forces. Destruction is easy, and to wicked men only too natural (verse.7). Construction, and still more reconstruction, is as difficult as destruction is easy.
III. Joash was unselfish in his motive.
1. The times called loudly for reform.
2. Joash aimed at a revival of religion.
IV. The method of Joash for increasing men’s interest in religion was the restoration of the Lord’s house. A dilapidated temple of God is painfully significant. The great collection under Joash for the temple is a model for Christian beneficence. Dimly shadowed in the people’s offering under Joash, but distinctly taught in the letters of Paul, are eight rules of Christian giving. We should give--
1. By principle and habit.
2. In the spirit of stewardship.
3. According to ability.
4. Willingly and cheerfully.
5. Secretly as a general thing, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.
6. As an act of worship.
7. In faith, venturing on God, as did the widow with her two mites.
8. Intelligently, as to the object.
Application: Mankind is “the house of the Lord” in ruins. We are under solemn obligation to reconstruct this broken and shattered temple. (W. Landrum, D. D.)
Joash repairing the temple
I. That the providences of God connected with the house of the Lord call for grateful remembrance.
II. The moral value of the house of God to the community and the country in which it stands demands honoured recognition.
III. The spiritual value of sacred places should be fitly acknowledged. I lately heard an eminent business man say, “Forty-six years ago yesterday noon the Holy Spirit came into my soul. Yesterday I walked to the place and adored the ground where He blessed me, and remembered that for forty-six years He had talked with me and kept me.”
IV. The house of God can be properly cared for only by regular, systematic effort.
V. God has, to a great degree, intrusted the beautifying of His house to the young. (Monday Club Sermons.)
Repairing the temple
1. To each one among us there is a temple which should be far holier in his eyes than was even the temple at Jerusalem in the eyes of the children of Israel.
2. This holiest of temples, a man’s own self, is exposed to injury and decay.
3. As year passes after year, let us be reminded to repair each one of us to that house of God which is built within him, and which has been dedicated to the worship of God by the Holy Spirit which dwells in it.
4. In repairing the spiritual temple, one of our main purposes should be to ascertain what in it needs to be stripped away and what demands preservation.
5. The things to be discarded are--
6. The things which must be retained are--
Howbeit the Levites hastened not.--
There is a distinct tinge of suspicion and “whipping up” in his injunction to “hasten the matter.” Half-heartedness always means languid work, and that always means failure. The earnest people are fretted continually by the indifferent. Every good scheme is held back, like a ship with a foul bottom, by the barnacles that stick to its keel and bring down its speed. Eager zeal has in all ages to be yoked to torpid indifference, and to drag its unwilling companion along like two dogs in a leash. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)
And cast into the chest until they had made an end.
Compulsory and free-will offerings
The restoration of Solomon’s temple by Jehoiada under Joash’s authority is a remarkable instance of cheerful giving, of a truly voluntary offering. The money was not raised by a royal edict imposing a subsidy, nor were the workmen impressed for service for so many months in the year. By taxation and by forced labour, or levies, had Solomon’s temple been erected. Such indeed was, and is, the almost invariable custom of Eastern monarchs in the construction of all great works, whether religious or secular. Though the prince might be lauded as a patron of religion or of art, a rankling sense of oppression and injustice remained in the breasts of the toilers. This Rehoboam had found to his cost, when his people demanded relief from the burdens which the glories of Solomon had entailed on them. We may illustrate this by an interesting inscription at Abilene. A splendid aqueduct and military road have been engineered along the face of the lofty cliff which bounds the deep valley. At the commencement of the aqueduct is the long inscription in honour of the Emperor Trajan, for whom the gratitude of posterity is claimed because of this great achievement. But below the inscription is chiseled deep on the face of the rock, in letters of a rather different shape, added, no doubt, after the emperor’s departure, “Impensis Abilenorum”--“At the expense of the people of Abilene.” (Canon Tristram.)
Jehoiada waxed old.
A message for the aged
I. Examine the name of this aged priest. “Jehoiada”--“one who has knowledge of Jehovah.”
1. He had been experimentally acquainted with Jehovah in His fatherly and merciful character.
2. He had as priest special opportunities of gaining acquaintance with God.
II. Consider his beneficent influence in--
1. Instructing the youthful king.
2. Acting as regent of the kingdom.
3. Patriotically serving his country and promoting the well-being of her people.
4. Doing good to, and in connection with, the house of God.
III. Contemplate the honoured close of a long and useful life. (Fairfax Goodall, M.A.)
Religious instructors useful to civil society
Some have conjectured that these words were a part of an epitaph put upon Jehoiada’s tomb. They express the high sense which the nation entertained of his eminent usefulness in his sacred profession.
I. The common opinion of mankind respecting the usefulness of religious instructors in civil society. The opinion of the world upon this subject is evidenced by their uniform and immemorial practice. Jews, Christians, and heathen have universally agreed to support religious teachers.
II. This common opinion of mankind respecting religious instructors is well founded.
1. The common opinion of the world is generally just. Men seldom form a wrong judgment of those things which come under their own observation and experience.
2. Another argument is drawn--
(a) The duties which rulers owe to their subjects.
(b) The duties which subjects owe to their rulers.
(c) Every private as well as public duty.
(a) The being and presence of the all-seeing and heart-searching God.
(b) The infinite authority of all His precepts and prohibitions.
(c) The controlling influence of His universal providence.
(d) Future and eternal rewards and punishments.
1. Since men in all ages have generally and justly agreed in the opinion that religious instructors are useful in civil society, it discovers no less ignorance than presumption in those who adopt and endeavour to propagate the opposite sentiment.
2. None are fit for civil rulers who would exclude religious instructors from civil society.
3. A people ought to consider the gift of wise and faithful ministers as a great public blessing.
4. It is the wisdom and duty of civil rulers to favour the cause of religion and employ every proper method to promote the general diffusion of religious knowledge.
5. It argues a great degree of infatuation in those who govern to oppose or restrain religious instruction.
6. It is extremely difficult for civil rulers to subvert a good government while religious teachers faithfully discharge their duty.
7. Ministers of the gospel ought to exert all the power and influence which their sacred office gives them to prevent the ruin of the nation.
8. We have great reason to fear the displeasure of God for neglecting and abusing the ministrations of His Word. (N. Emmons, D.D.)
Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord.
I. Prophetic denunciation of apostasy resented.
II. Zechariah’s death was parallel with that of St. Stephen.
1. His offence was the denunciation of the sin of the leaders of Judah (Acts 7:51-53).
2. Stoned as a blasphemer.
III. Contrast in the spirit of Judaism and Christianity--
1. Zechariah’s last words: “The Lord look on it and requite it.”
2. Stephen’s: “Lord lay not this sin to their charge.”
1. The value of a wise and true friend. Jehoiada’s influence on Joash.
2. The necessity of a moral reformation as well as a political to secure permanent results in religious changes. The reformation under Joash was merely outward conformity.
V. The certainty that a faithful ministry implies the unpopularity of those who exercise it.
2. Christ, Stephen, the apostles, the early Christians. Reformers all through history.
3. Human nature always the same. It hates those who attack its sins.
VI. The spirit that resents faithful reproof always entails retribution on itself (verse 23). To do wrong and refuse instruction is the greatest misfortune a man can suffer.
VII. The necessity to do right for duty’s sake, without expecting gratitude or acknowledgment. (J. C. Geikie, D.D.)
The goodness of King Joash
1. In ten years from the death of Jehoiada, Joash was so utterly another man that you cannot recognise in him one feature of that godly disposition which distinguished his earlier years. He is a sad illustration of the deceitfulness of the human heart; of the weakness of the natural man; and of the perishing nature of that impulsive goodness which rests solely for its permanence upon the constraining influences of others.
2. Joash still represents a large class--persons of warm and susceptible feelings, acting habitually under impulse, of a temper of mind volatile, or pliable, or keenly sensitive, upon which impressions are easily made and as easily effaced.
3. Speaking as I am in a university city, I am reminded that I can point to no spot more suggestive than this of the evanescent quality of that light of the soul which is simply reflected, of that transient goodness which walks by sight and not by faith. How many young men have gathered here, filled with noble emulation, and strong in their own resolution to fulfil the purpose of their coming! And what has followed? First the whisper of the arch-tempter, “You are free; eat, drink, and be merry.” Then the sceptic, asking contemptuously, “What is truth?” The controversial humourist, commending his ingenious sophistries with insidious drollery. The listless idler, intruding his unwelcome presence upon the conventional hours of study. The voluptuary, putting his bottle to his companions, and filling them with shame for glory. The sinner in the city, whose house is in the way to hell. The tradesman with his offer of unlimited credit. The sordid moneylender, weaving his web of usury. These, and such as these, have “made their obeisance,” like the princes of Judah; and behold, Jehoiada is gone, and Joash has hearkened to them! He has left the God of his fathers. He cannot prosper, because God has forsaken him.
4. Oh, if I am to send my son to fight the good fight of faith, to wrestle against the powers of darkness, let me stablish him with this fact as the counterpoise and antidote to the delusions of the world--that he is now a responsible being. (Henry Drury, M.A.)
But slew his son.
Joash and Jehoiada
The picture here drawn of the failure of the best of tutors and governors is unfortunately only too typical. Julian the Apostate was educated by a distinguished Christian prelate, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and was trained in a strict routine of religious observances; yet he repudiated Christianity at the earliest safe opportunity. His apostasy, like that of Joash, was probably characterised by base ingratitude. At Constantine’s death the troops in Constantinople massacred nearly all the princes of the imperial family, and Julian, then only six years old, is said to have been saved and concealed in a church by Mark, Bishop of Arethusa. When Julian became emperor, he repaid this obligation by subjecting his benefactor to cruel tortures because he had destroyed a heathen temple and refused to make any compensation. (W. H. Bennett, M.A.)
──《The Biblical Illustrator》