|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 5. - Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance. The money was to be gathered of "all Israel," out of all "the cities of Judah" (2 Chronicles 24:5). The priests of each locality were to be the collectors, and would therefore gather "of their acquaintance." As we cannot suppose that very much would accrue from either the first or second source, since a census was rarely taken, and personal vows were not very common, we must regard the command of Joash as, in the main, the authorization of a general collection throughout the kingdom of voluntary contributions towards the temple repairs, and so as analogous to the "letters" which our own sovereigns, or archbishops, issue from time to time for collections in churches for special objects. And let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. The "breaches," or dilapidations, may have been caused, partly by the neglect of necessary repairs during the reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah; but they were mainly the result of the willful violence of Athaliah (2 Chronicles 24:7). Apparently, the damage done must have been very great.
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Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance,.... Of those that were most known by them; for the priests had cities assigned them in several parts of the land, and they that dwelt with them in them, or in the parts adjacent to them, were best known by them; and they were sent into all the cities, some to one and some to another, where they were most acquainted, to collect money, both what was due by law, and what the people should freely give, see 2 Chronicles 24:5.
and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found: that is, of the temple, which, according to the Jewish chronology (i), had been built but one hundred and fifty five years; and being built very strong, would have needed no considerable repairs as yet, but that it had been broken up and misused by Athaliah and her sons, 2 Chronicles 24:7.
(i) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 18.
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