|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-16 It is a great mercy to young people, especially to all young men of rank, like Jehoash, to have those about them who will instruct them to do what is right in the sight of the Lord; and they do wisely and well for themselves, when willing to be counselled and ruled. The temple was out of repair; Jehoash orders the repair of the temple. The king was zealous. God requires those who have power, to use it for the support of religion, the redress of grievances, and repairing of decays. The king employed the priests to manage, as most likely to be hearty in the work. But nothing was done effectually till the twenty-third year of his reign. Another method was therefore taken. When public distributions are made faithfully, public contributions will be made cheerfully. While they were getting all they could for the repair of the temple, they did not break in upon the stated maintenance of the priests. Let not the servants of the temple be starved, under colour of repairing the breaches of it. Those that were intrusted did the business carefully and faithfully. They did not lay it out in ornaments for the temple, till the other work was completed; hence we may learn, in all our expenses, to prefer that which is most needful, and, in dealing for the public, to deal as we would for ourselves.
Verse 3. - But the high places were not taken away. So it had been with the best of the previous kings of Judah, as Asa (1 Kings 15:14) and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:43); and so it was with the other "good" kings (2 Kings 14:4; 2 Kings 15:4, 35) until the reign of Hezekiah, by whom the high places were removed (see below, 2 Kings 18:4). We must remember that it was Jehovah who was worshipped in the "high places," not Baal, or Moloch, or Ashtoreth (see the comment on 1 Kings 15:14). The people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. The people, not the king, in the earlier portion of his reign; but in the later portion, probably the king also (see 2 Chronicles 24:17, 18).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But the high places were not taken away,.... Used before the temple was built, or set up in Rehoboam's time, 1 Kings 14:23 contrary to the law of God, which required that sacrifices should only be offered in the place the Lord chose to dwell in, Deuteronomy 12:4 the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places; as they had done in the times of Athaliah, and though the pure worship of God was restored at Jerusalem; and indeed this they did in all preceding reigns; nor was it in the power of the best of kings, at least they did not think it safe to attempt to remove them till Hezekiah's time; so fond were the people of them because of their antiquity and supposed sanctity, and for the sake of ease.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. But the high places were not taken away—The popular fondness for the private and disorderly rites performed in the groves and recesses of hills was so inveterate that even the most powerful monarchs had been unable to accomplish their suppression; no wonder that in the early reign of a young king, and after the gross irregularities that had been allowed during the maladministration of Athaliah, the difficulty of putting an end to the superstitions associated with "the high places" was greatly increased.
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