1 - 3 Reign of Jehoash
1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 2 Jehoash did right in the sight of the LORD all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places.
There are seven or eight kings of whom we read that they did “right in the sight of the LORD”. Without exception, however, we also read of them that things went wrong with them later on. Experiences with the Lord are no guarantee of remaining faithful to the Lord. In youth there is often a freshness for the Lord that can disappear later. It are warnings for older believers.
Of Jehoash we read why it is that it goes wrong. As soon as Jehoiada dies, things go wrong. The big question for anyone who is young is whether faith is based on their own relationship with the Lord or on that of parents or older believers. There can be new life, without practice in personal contact with the Lord and without being taught by Him.
It is not good for (young) believers to remain dependent on older believers. For sisters it is important that in their faith they are not dependent on their husbands. The reverse is also true. For example, for sisters an own life of prayer is of great importance. It should not be the case that believers become helpless when certain believers disappear. This helplessness is the result of the fact that these believers have leaned too much upon other believers, without learning to bear their own responsibility. The same applies to parents and their children. They must teach their children to be independent in the Lord.
The high places mentioned in verse 3 are high places dedicated to the LORD. At such high places Solomon also sacrificed (1Kgs 3:2-3). As long as the temple is not there, God allows sacrifice to be made there. Now that the temple is there, they wouldn’t have to sacrifice there any more. It is like serving God in a place where the Lord Jesus cannot be in the midst. There are Christians who believe that the Lord Jesus is everywhere in the midst, even though things have been introduced that are not in accordance with God’s Word, such as a by man appointed pastor.
4 - 8 Jehoash Commands to Restore the Temple
4 Then Jehoash said to the priests, “All the money of the sacred things which is brought into the house of the LORD, in current money, [both] the money of each man’s assessment [and] all the money which any man’s heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD, 5 let the priests take it for themselves, each from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the damages of the house wherever any damage may be found.” 6 But it came about that in the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had not repaired the damages of the house. 7 Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the [other] priests and said to them, “Why do you not repair the damages of the house? Now therefore take no [more] money from your acquaintances, but pay it for the damages of the house.” 8 So the priests agreed that they would take no [more] money from the people, nor repair the damages of the house.
Jehoash understands that only the temple is the place where God’s people must come to sacrifice. Therefore he wants to restore the temple. Three types of money are used for this restoration: the ransom that every numbered person must pay (Exo 30:11-16), money from someone who has made a promise and converts that promise into a sum of money (Lev 27:1-8) and money that is given voluntarily.
Jehoash does not use the money to build a new temple. With Jehoash it is not about a new temple. He does not act from an attitude that does not like the old because in his opinion ‘it is no longer of this time’. This is the reasoning that is often heard and acted upon in Christianity. The old, what God Himself has given, may be restored to its original state. For us this means that in practicing to be a church, we are going back to the principles of the Word concerning the church.
At one point, “in the twenty-third year” of his reign, Jehoash noted that no work had been done to restore the temple. He calls Jehoiada and the priests to account about this and warns them about it. Jehoash is still so powerful here, that he can even warn Jehoiada. He does not wait for an answer – in any case, we are not informed of any answer – but immediately gives new orders to get the temple restored as soon as possible.
From the run-up to his renewed command to restore the temple, it may be possible to understand why nothing has been done so far to restore it. Jehoash says they shouldn’t accept any more money from their acquaintances. They may be so busy collecting and managing the money that the work for which they receive the money does not get off the ground (cf. Acts 6:1-6).
Another way has to be found. The priests should no longer be involved in collecting money. They also do not have to contribute to the restoration of the temple. That work will be done by others.
9 - 16 Temple Restoration Collection
9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest and bored a hole in its lid and put it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of the LORD; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money which was brought into the house of the LORD. 10 When they saw that there was much money in the chest, the king’s scribe and the high priest came up and tied [it] in bags and counted the money which was found in the house of the LORD. 11 They gave the money which was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, 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; 12 and to the masons and the stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the damages to the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. 13 But there were not made for the house of the LORD silver cups, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver from the money which was brought into the house of the LORD; 14 for they gave that to those who did the work, and with it they repaired the house of the LORD. 15 Moreover, they did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully. 16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it was for the priests.
It is about the construction of the house of God, that is in our time the church. That house is in decay. There are many in that house who have no life out of God. Many believers associate themselves with unbelievers because they do not ask if there is life. We must restore in God’s house what is not good in it. All that is not of the Lord must be removed or restored according to His will.
Many revivals are aimed at personal experience. However, it is important that it is the church of the living God. Whoever repents becomes a member of the body of Christ. This means that such a person is there for the other and for the whole. How a member functions in the church depends on how he or she deals with the Lord. If there is contact with the Lord and His Word is read, He will make known what we can do for others. We live in an ‘I’ era. We also see this in the perception of faith, which is mainly ‘I-focused’.
The collection of the money for the restoration of the temple is now done in a box. Jojada bored a hole in the lid. The funds collected are used only for repair work and not for making utensils in the temple. The money is given to those who do the repair work. They can freely dispose of it and buy what they think they need. They do not have to account for how exactly they spent the money. There is trust because they deal faithfully. Trust is given, not demanded.
There also remains a strict separation between the gifts for the restoration and the money from the offerings. The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings is for the priests and is not used for the repair work. The money from the offerings comes from the twenty percent to be given when bringing a guilt offering (Lev 5:16).
17 - 18 Hazael Threatens Jerusalem
17 Then Hazael king of Aram went up and fought against Gath and captured it, and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the sacred things that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own sacred things and all the gold that was found among the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent [them] to Hazael king of Aram. Then he went away from Jerusalem.
Without giving any reason, the historian suddenly mentions Hazael’s march against Jerusalem after capturing Gath. In 2 Chronicles 24 we read why this discipline comes over Judah (2Chr 24:17-24). There we see that Jehoash is doing well, as long as he is under the good influence of the priest Jehoiada. When Jehoiada falls away, he listens to others. Jehoash is a man who can be influenced quickly. He admits quickly, he has no powerful own opinion. Good friends have a good influence, bad friends have a bad influence.
The result is that he leaves the LORD. Because of this the temple doesn’t mean much to him anymore. When he comes under the pressure of Hazael, he doesn't resort to the LORD. That was the purpose of the LORD, for this enemy comes down upon him as a chastisement from Him. But instead of going to the LORD he devises his own solution. He takes from the temple, which first meant so much to him, to pay the enemy of it, that he may depart from him. He succeeds in his purpose, but at the same time he is further away from the LORD than ever.
19 - 21 Death of Joash
19 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? 20 His servants arose and made a conspiracy and struck down Joash at the house of Millo [as he was] going down to Silla. 21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck [him] and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son became king in his place.
The end of Joash is humiliating. He is murdered by two of his servants. These men are sons of pagan mothers (2Chr 24:26). Joash is buried in the city of David with his fathers. It does not mention that he enters the graves of the kings, which has been interpreted as a sign of disapproval of his later behavior.