12 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash began to reign, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all his days, because Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Nevertheless, the high places were not taken away; the people continued to sacrifice and make offerings on the high places.
Jehoash Repairs the Temple
Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of the LORD, the money for which each man is assessed—the money from the assessment of persons—and the money that a man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD, let the priests take, each from his donor, and let them repair the house wherever any need of repairs is discovered.” But by the twenty-third year of King Jehoash, the priests had made no repairs on the house. Therefore King Jehoash summoned Jehoiada the priest and the other priests and said to them, “Why are you not repairing the house? Now therefore take no more money from your donors, but hand it over for the repair of the house.” So the priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, and that they should not repair the house.
Then Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in the lid of it and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the LORD. And the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD. And whenever they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s secretary and the high priest came up and they bagged and counted the money that was found in the house of the LORD. Then they would give the money that was weighed out into the hands of the workmen who had the oversight of the house of the LORD. And they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders who worked on the house of the LORD, and to the masons and the stonecutters, as well as to buy timber and quarried stone for making repairs on the house of the LORD, and for any outlay for the repairs of the house. But there were not made for the house of the LORD basins of silver, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, or any vessels of gold, or of silver, from the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, for that was given to the workmen who were repairing the house of the LORD with it. And they did not ask for an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly. The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it belonged to the priests.
At that time Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath and took it. But when Hazael set his face to go up against Jerusalem, Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred gifts that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred gifts, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent these to Hazael king of Syria. Then Hazael went away from Jerusalem.
The Death of Joash
Now the rest of the acts of Joash and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? His servants arose and made a conspiracy and struck down Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. It was Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son reigned in his place.
2 Kings 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Throughout the reigns of the kings we read of something called the high places. In fact, these are mentioned 117 times. These were places up and down the country where altars had been built for worship, sacrifice, and incense burning. That said, these were in direct competition of the altar in Jerusalem and were a breeding ground for false worship. They became the center for Canaanite idol worship that the Jews had been instructed to tear down. This came actually from Moses’ command in Numbers 33 that when taking the land they were to demolish them all.
Six of the gods worshiped there were El who was the supreme head of all the Canaanite gods and supposedly the father of creation. There was Baal who was lord of the earth and rain. Ashtoreth was the goddess of fertility where sex was used with prostitutes and orgies to guarantee crop fertility. Dagon was another who was associated with the harvest of wheat. Molech was an Ammonite god who required child sacrifice. Molech another Ammonite god required the same thing. Chemosh a Moabite god had cruel and barbaric rites where children were burned alive.
And these are just 6 of the numerous gods that remained during most of the king’s leadership. They were not harmless places but where the people of Israel were seduced again and again toward sin.
Although today we don’t have such places of idolatry that is visible but our own temptations are just as seductive and probably more subtle. Obviously, there are things we keep clear of but as Jerry Bridges calls it we tend to give into ‘respectable sins’ such as in his words: envy, worry, spiritual pride, sexual window shopping, gossip, and strife.
What’s interesting to consider is young Joash did right before God as long as the priest instructed him. But when this man died, so did Joash’s wise decisions. Yes, he took on the physical reform of the temple but the high places remained and eventually would become a snare to his relationship with God.
Truly the question to ponder is are there ‘respectable sins’ that are part of our own life? Are there things where even we justify our own behavior and don’t think anything past how it’s affecting our lives?
The Life Application Bible has a few questions for all of us to consider: Does the Bible expressly prohibit an action we are participating in? Does this action take me away from loving, worshiping and serving God? Does it make me a slave? Is it bringing out the best in me consistent with God’s purpose? Do I benefit other Believers?
Questions to ponder.
2 Kings 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
He is another leader in Scripture who started off so well but failed to finish. Joash had simply stopped trusting God. He did well when he was being mentored, but he never came to a moment of grasping his own faith during the journey. Somewhat like Jehu, he checked off the list early on and when the time came for him to prove his faith, he floundered.
The final act in this scene is when he decides to use all that was sacred to protect his kingdom. Hazael attacked Judah with a weaker army but Joash was wounded, so instead of trusting, he compromised.
“The reign that commenced in sunshine was sadly overcast, and the king perished by the hands of conspirators and never came to the sepulcher of the kings. Then disaster after disaster befell the nation. They had to learn that they had been chosen for a special service in the world and could not be as others.”F.B. Meyer
When we stop trusting God with the small things, we should not be surprised when our faith falters during a major crisis. I know this is true. When I stray from gazing at the Lord and all His love I lose spiritual sight. When I stop meeting with Him through Scripture, prayer, and just everyday life, my reactions to conflict are of the flesh.
It’s a sad ending to a promising king. We, like Joash, cannot live off the faith of others. At some point, we must take what we know and begin to mature in our own personal walk. I have a friend who has termed this predicament “secondhand faith.” Just like inhaling secondhand smoke around a group of smokers, some people’s faith only goes as far as the people around them. God has promised the individual love of a Father for each of His children.