2 Kings Chapter 12

While Jehu ruled in Israel, Joash began his reign in Judah. Joash, according to the header in this chapter, was also known as Jehoash. He was annointed to be the king, by the high priest Jehoiada. Jehoash made covenants with the Lord to be the ruler of the people of the Lord, and he began his rule in righteousness, at the age of seven. This chapter begins as follows:

1 In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba.
2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.
3 But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.

Jehoash was king for forty years. He was a righteous leader, and did all the things that Jehoiada instructed him to do. Even so, the places where the people could worship other false gods, were not taken from the people. So, the people continued to use those places to worship with sacrifices and burnt incense.

4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord,
5 Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.
6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
8 And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.
9 But 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 cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.
10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord.
11 And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord,
12 And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
13 Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord bowls of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord:
14 But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord.
15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.
16 The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the Lord: it was the priests’.

Jehoash commanded the priests of the temple, to use the offerings brought to them, to repair the breaches of the temple, instead of taking the offerings for themselves. This money was like the tithing of their day. In doing so, the temple walls would be strong again. The priests would not take money from the people to repair the walls, but Jehoiada took a chest and drilled a hole in the top of it. He put it to the side of the altar at the entrance of the temple. Those priests who welcomed people into the temple, were to put all the money from those who came into the temple, into the chest. The volunteer donations of the people of God, would go towards the repair of the temple. When the chest was full, they gathered the money and gave it to those who would do work on the temple, and it was given out to carpenters, builders, masons, stone workers, and others who would do this work. The priests were faithful with the donations, and anything brought as offereings specifically for trespass money or sin money, was given to the priests for their own.

17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.
18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.

Gath, which was a city that had been taken by the Israelites in the time of David, was taken by Hazael of Syria. Hazael prepared to go against Jerusalem. Jehoash gathered all the items that had been hallowed and set aside by the kings of Judah, his own consecrated items, as well as all the gold remaining in the treasuries, and he sent it to Hazael. Hazael went away from Jerusalem, and their safety was maintained. Jehoash had done what he could to protect the people and land from their enemies.

19 And 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 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.
21 For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.

The servants of Joash conspired against him, and killed him in the house of Millo. His son Amaziah became king of Judah.

One of the things that this chapter leads me to think about, is the need to follow the Lord with exactness. It is not the main idea of this chapter, and I may be off in my interpretation of these verses, when reading the first few verses, I think about this. The king of Judah was a righteous leader himself, but he left the high places in the land. This is based on the use of the word “but” in verse 3. These places that were left would possibly be an opportunity for wickedness to continue in the land. I can think of a few reasons for doing this. First, is that he may have felt that the people were subject to the Lord and would not turn to other gods, or simply was not mindful of these places. Second, is that he may have wanted to give the people the ability to choose for themselves, if they would follow after the Lord. In ancient times, God commanded that all these other temples with their idols and groves and such, be destroyed out of the land and so leaving the temples was not the king’s best choice for his people. On the other hand, I do wonder if the places of worship that he left, were those that were still used to worship the Lord, just not with the level of commitment as was done at the temple. This is not entirely clear to me. In either case, it is important for us to be strict with our obedience to God. This is how we can stay safe from the traps that Satan will most certainly leave for us. In the case of ancient Israel, they needed to remove any temptation to worship in any other way than what the Lord had instructed them. That is the only way they could have remained the people of the Lord. The Lord had told the people to go to His temple, and to worship by making sacrifices and offerings there. There are many who choose for themselves their own way to worship God, rather than doing it in the manner that God has instructed us to do so. This does not mean that they will definitely be led astray, but it does give greater opportunity for the adversary to sneak in and lead good people away from God. Obedience with exactness provides the best ways for safety and success in this life.

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