|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 17. - The princes. These turned aside from the better part they had performed (2 Chronicles 23:13, 20). Made obeisance; Hebrew, יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ. This is the word that is used of the sheaves of the brethren of Joseph bowing down, according to his dream, to his sheaf; it is also the repeatedly used word of the worship paid to Jehovah the true God, and to idols and false gods. The word occurs nearly two hundred times. The obeisance of these princes, therefore, on this occasion lacked nothing of the most pronounced character, and the worst species of flattery gained its disastrous ends. Joash must have been now about thirty-six years of age; he was seven years old when he began to reign, he had reigned twenty-three years before the restoring of the temple (2 Kings 12:6), and a few years had elapsed since. The words of the princes, to which Joash hearkened, are not supplied by the parallel, which indeed at once proceeds to speak of the threatening attitude of the Syrian king Hazael, and of how Joash bought him off. Our next verse, however, shows to what end those words tended.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah,.... Who had been secretly inclined to idolatry, but durst not discover it during the life of Jehoiada; whose influence at court was too great for them to counterwork, but when dead they came to court:
and made obeisance to the king; bowed in a very lowly manner, fawned upon him, and flattered him. Some Jewish writers, as Kimchi observes, understand this of religious adoration, that they made a god of him, and worshipped him, pretending, as a foundation for it, his being hid six months in the temple, and preserved; but it designs no more than civil worship and homage:
then the king hearkened unto them; coursing with him about divine worship, which the business they came about; desiring that they might, not be obliged to come to Jerusalem to worship, but might make use of the high places, and by that means worship what idol they pleased, which he granted to them; the Targum is,"he received their idols from them.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Ch 24:17-22. Joash Falls into Idolatry.
17-22. Now came the princes of Judah, and make obeisance to the king—Hitherto, while Joash occupied the throne, his uncle had held the reins of sovereign power, and by his excellent counsels had directed the young king to such measures as were calculated to promote both the civil and religious interests of the country. The fervent piety, practical wisdom, and inflexible firmness of that sage counsellor exerted immense influence over all classes. But now that the helm of the state-ship was no longer steered by the sound head and firm hand of the venerable high priest, the real merits of Joash's administration appear; and for want of good and enlightened principle, as well as, perhaps, of natural energy of character, he allowed himself to be borne onward in a course which soon wrecked the vessel upon hidden rocks.
the king hearkened unto them, &c.—They were secretly attached to idolatry, and their elevated rank affords sad proof how extensively and deeply the nation had become corrupted during the reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah. With strong professions of allegiance they humbly requested that they might not be subjected to the continued necessity of frequent and expensive journeys to Jerusalem, but allowed the privilege their fathers had enjoyed of worshipping God in high places at home. They framed their petition in this plausible and least offensive manner, well knowing that, if excused attendance at the temple, they might—without risk of discovery or disturbance—indulge their tastes in the observance of any private rites they pleased. The weak-minded king granted their petition; and the consequence was, that when they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, they soon "served groves and idols."
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