2 Kings 11:4
And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king's son.
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(4) And the seventh year.—When perhaps discontent at Athalialı’s tyranny had reached a climax.

Jehoiada.—The high priest (2Kings 11:9). The curious fact that his rank is not specified hero upon the first mention of his name, suggests the inference that in the original authority of this narrative he had been mentioned as high priest, and husband of Jehosheba, at the outset of the story, as in 2Chronicles 22:11.

The rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard.—Rather, the centurions of the Carians and the Couriers—i.e., the officers commanding the royal guard. The terms rendered “Carians” and “Couriers” are obscure. Thenius prefers to translate the first “executioners.” (Comp. Notes on 1Kings 1:38; 2Samuel 8:18; 2Samuel 15:18; 2Samuel 16:6; 1Chronicles 18:17.) Thenius argues against the idea that so patriotic and pious a king as David could have employed foreign and heathen soldiers as his body-guard. But did not David himself serve as a mercenary with Achish, king of Gath, and commit his parents to the care of the king of Moab? And would not the mercenaries who enlisted in the guard of the Israelite sovereigns adopt the religion of their new country? (Comp. the case of Uriah the Hittite.) The apparently gentilic ending of the words rendered “Cherethites and Pelethites” in Samuel, and that rendered “captains” in this place, Thenius explains as marking an adjective denoting position or class. It may be so, but sub judice lis est.

Made a covenant with them.—The chronicler gives the names of the centurions. His account of the whole transaction, while generally coinciding with that given here, presents certain striking differences, of which the most salient is the prominence assigned to the priests and Levites in the matter. These deviations are explicable on the assumption that the chronicler drew his information from a large historical compilation somewhat later than the Books of Kings, and containing much more than they contain, though mainly based upon the same annalistic sources. The compilors of the two canonical histories were determined in their choice of materials and manner of treatment by their individual aims and points of view, which differed considerably. (See the Introductions to Kings and Chronicles.) At the same time, it must not be forgotten that the account before us is the older and more original, and, therefore, the more valuable regarded as mere history.

2 Kings 11:4. With the captains and the guard — The chief commanders of the soldiery, and those that had been the former king’s guard; for it is not likely that he would dare to call the guard of the present queen: and it is probable that the former could not well brook the dominion of a woman, and that woman a foreigner. And brought them into the house of the Lord — Into the courts of that house; for into the house itself, strictly speaking, none but the priests or Levites might enter. And showed them the king’s son — He discovered to them the true heir of the crown, and they entered into a covenant to restore him, which they confirmed with an oath.

11:1-12 Athaliah destroyed all she knew to be akin to the crown. Jehoash, one of the king's sons, was hid. Now was the promise made to David bound up in one life only, and yet it did not fail. Thus to the Son of David, the Lord, according to his promise, will secure a spiritual seed, hidden sometimes, and unseen, but hidden in God's pavilion, and unhurt. Six years Athaliah tyrannized. Then the king was brought forward. A child indeed, but he had a good guardian, and, what was better, a good God to go to With such joy and satisfaction must the kingdom of Christ be welcomed into our hearts, when his throne is set up there, and Satan the usurper is cast out. Say, Let the King, even Jesus, live, for ever live and reign in my soul, and in all the world.See the marginal reference.

The captains - The word used here and in 2 Kings 11:19, הא־כרי ha-kârı̂y, designates a certain part of the royal guard, probably that which in the earlier times was known under the name of Cherethites 1 Kings 1:38. Others see in the term an ethnic name - "Carians," who seem certainly to have been much inclined to take service as mercenaries from an early date. Render the whole passage thus - "And in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the centurions of the Carians and the guardsmen (literally, 'runners, ' 2 Kings 10:25), etc."

2Ki 11:4-12. He Is Made King.

4. the seventh year—namely, of the reign of Athaliah, and the rescue of Jehoash.

Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers, &c.—He could scarcely have obtained such a general convocation except at the time, or on pretext, of a public and solemn festival. Having revealed to them the secret of the young king's preservation and entered into a covenant with them for the overthrow of the tyrant, he then arranged with them the plan and time of carrying their plot into execution (see on [336]2Ch 22:10-23:21). The conduct of Jehoiada, who acted the leading and chief part in this conspiracy, admits of an easy and full justification; for, while Athaliah was a usurper, and belonged to a race destined by divine denunciation to destruction, even his own wife had a better and stronger claim to the throne; the sovereignty of Judah had been divinely appropriated to the family of David, and therefore the young prince on whom it was proposed to confer the crown, possessed an inherent right to it, of which a usurper could not deprive him. Moreover, Jehoiada was most probably the high priest, whose official duty it was to watch over the due execution of God's laws, and who in his present movement, was encouraged and aided by the countenance and support of the chief authorities, both civil and ecclesiastical, in the country. In addition to all these considerations, he seems to have been directed by an impulse of the Divine Spirit, through the counsels and exhortations of the prophets of the time.

If this action of Jehoiada’s seem strange and irregular, this was no ordinary case, but there were divers peculiar things in it, as, that Athaliah was a mere usurper, having no pretence of right to the crown, and one of that wicked house which God had particularly, and by name, devoted to destruction: that Jehoiada’s wife was nearer allied, and had more right to the crown, than Athaliah: that thee crown of Judah was by Divine appointment appropriated to the sons of David; and therefore the right of the crown was inherently in him whom Jehoiada set up, which right her usurpation could not exclude: that Jehoiada was not a mere private person, but the husband of the king’s aunt; and probably the high priest, to whom it belonged in great part to see the laws of God executed: that Jehoiada did not act alone in the business, but had the consent and concurrence of the chief rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical: and besides all this, that it is conceived that he had a special motion of God’s Spirit, or the direction and encouragement of the prophets of that time. So that this action cannot be drawn into a precedent for succeeding times, and for other kingdoms.

The rulers over hundreds; of whom see Exodus 18:25. Of these there were five which are named, 2 Chronicles 23:1. And these were either,

1. Civil or military officers. But then such small officers could not have stood him in much stead. And why did he not rather engage captains of thousands, or greater persons, whom doubtless he might easily have brought into this confederacy? Or rather,

2. Priests or Levites of eminency, as their work showeth, 2 Kings 11:5-7 2 Chronicles 23:1,2, and their distinction from the

captains and guard. The captains, or princes, or nobles, or commanders; such as he knew were weary of her idolatrous and tyrannical government, and faithful to their king.

The guard; possibly those who had been the former king’s guard, who had been displaced by Athaliah, as persons whose fidelity she suspected.

Into the house of the Lord, i.e. into the courts of that house, which oft come under the name of the house, or temple of the Lord; for into the house none but the priests or Levites might enter.

Made a covenant with them, to restore the king to his kingdom, and religion to its purity.

Took an oath of them, for their secrecy and fidelity in the present design.

And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard,.... This was the husband of Jehosheba, who was high priest, 2 Chronicles 22:11 these

rulers over hundreds were not those appointed over the people for civil affairs, as by the advice of Jethro, but over the priests and Levites in their courses; five of whom are mentioned by name, and were employed in gathering together the Levites, and the chief of the fathers, throughout all the cities of Judah, 2 Chronicles 23:1, and the "captains" here are the heads of the fathers there, who were the heads of the courses they were sent to gather; and the "guard", those of the late king, whom Athaliah had turned out of their post, and took in others in their room, unless rather the temple guard is meant:

and brought them to him into the house of the Lord; the temple, that part of it where was the court of the priests and Levites:

and made a covenant with them; to join with him, assist him, and stand by him in the restoration of the king, and the reformation of the kingdom:

and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord; to keep secrecy, and be faithful to him:

and showed them the king's son; for the truth of which he could produce his wife, the sister of the late king, and also the nurse of this child with him.

And the seventh year {d} Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king's son.

(d) The chief priest, Jehosheba's husband.

4–16. Jehoiada the priest makes Joash king, and Athaliah is put to death (2 Chronicles 23:1-15)

4. And the [R.V. in the] seventh year] So Chronicles. Jehoiada’s name is introduced very abruptly and without any specification of his office till we come to verse 9. This points to an early date for the document from which the compiler of Kings made his extracts. It is only when the events are somewhat recent that the names of important actors in them can be introduced without some description.

fet the rulers [R.V. captains] over hundreds] The change in R.V. makes the passage conform to Deuteronomy 1:15 where the various subdivisions of the officers are mentioned. For other allusions thereto cf. Exodus 18:21; Exodus 18:25, and when the more military character had been introduced 1 Samuel 8:12; 1 Samuel 22:7; 2 Samuel 18:1. In the parallel passage A.V. has ‘captains’ 2 Chronicles 23:1. Fet is the constant preterite of ‘fetch’ in the English of A.V. For similar instances of dropping the ‘ch’ of the present, compare the preterites of catch and search, which, as far as sound is concerned, might be written caut and saut.

with the captains and the guard] R.V. of the Carites and of the guard. Here both nouns are in a construction which shews that the captains over hundreds belonged to both the classes of men here mentioned. Hence, as the word rendered ‘guard’ is literally ‘runners’ and applies to the royal body-guard, so the ‘Carites’ are thought to be a similar class. The word only occurs in this chapter verses 4 and 19 and in 2 Samuel 20:23, where the Keri (marginal reading) substitutes ‘Cherethites’. As in that passage the Carites, or Cherethites, and Pelethites formed David’s guard, so at this time there appear to have been similar body-guards attached to the palace in Jerusalem. The word may be derived from a verb which marks them as ‘executioners’, which office was performed, as we see from many instances, by those in immediate attendance on the king.

These officers were strictly military, and it is worth notice that the compiler in Chronicles, who is usually thought to lay most stress on, and give most importance to, what was done by the priests and Levites, yet at this point is very careful to notice the names of these five soldiers ‘Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri’, while he gives no such prominence to the names of any of the priests or Levites, except the chief actor Jehoiada.

into the house of the Lord] We can see from such passages as Jeremiah 35:2, where the prophet is bidden to bring the Rechabites ‘into the house of the Lord, into one of the chambers’ that the rooms by which the temple was surrounded were used for meetings such as the one here described.

and made a covenant with them] In 2 Chronicles we are told how these officers were first employed: ‘They went about in Judah and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah and the chief of the fathers of Israel (R.V. heads of fathershouses in Israel), and they came to Jerusalem. Jehoiada sent them to the persons with whom, by reason of his office, he would have the greatest influence, but the operations were ultimately to be under the command of the captains of the guard.

Verses 4-16. - Conspiracy of Jehoiada. After waiting, impatiently we may be sure, for six long years, and seeing the young prince grow from an infant to a boy of seven years of age, Jehoiada deemed that the time was come to venture on an effort. It was necessary for him to make his arrangements beforehand with great care. His first step was to sound the captains of the royal guard. To these men, five in number (2 Chronicles 23:1), he sent secretly, and in-wired them to confer with him in the temple on important business. Finding them well disposed to adopt his views, he revealed to them the fact that Joash had escaped the massacre of Ahaziah's sons, and was still living, even allowing them to see him. The result of the interview was that they put themselves at Jehoiada's disposal, and agreed to take their orders from him (ver. 4). Jehoiada then proceeded to his second step. Either distrusting the body-guard which the captains commanded, or regarding it as insufficient in numbers, he gave them orders to visit the various cities of Judea, and collect from them a strong force of Levites and other trusty persons, and bring them to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 23:2), where he would give them their orders. This was done successfully, and, as it would seem, without in any way rousing the suspicions of Athaliah. A day was fixed for proclaiming Joash king; the guard and the Levites were skillfully disposed about the temple and the palace; the king was brought up, crowned, anointed, and saluted as monarch, with noisy acclamations (ver. 12). The noise was heard in the palace, and Athaliah went forth, with a few attendants, to inquire the reason of it. Following the sound, she came to the temple, and entered it, when she saw what was going on, and cried out, "Treason! Treason!" By Jehoiada's order the guards seized her, conducted her out of the temple, and slew her (vers. 13-16). Verse 4. - And the seventh year - literally, and in the seventh year; i.e. in the course of it - Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard; rather, the captains over hundreds (or, centurions) of the Carites and the guard (see the Revised Version). The "Carites," here first named, are generally regarded as identical with the Cherethites of earlier times (2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Kings 1:38; 1 Chronicles 18:17). They were undoubtedly a particular portion of the royal guard, and may, perhaps, as many suppose, have been "Caftan" mercenaries, though we have no other evidence that the Carians had adopted the mercenary life so early as the time of Athaliah. Still, as their devotion to it had passed into a proverb when Archilochus wrote (B.C. 700-660), it is quite possible that they had begun the practice a century or two earlier. When Jehoiada is said to have "sent and fetched" the centurions, we must understand that he secretly invited them, and that they consented to come. He could not possibly have any authority over them, so as to require their attendance. The names of the five centurions, together with their fathers' names, were put on record by the writer of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 23:1), whose account of the revolution is in many respects fuller than that in Kings. And brought them to him into the house of the Lord - as the safest place for an interview which had to be kept secret from the queen - and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord. We can easily understand that the soldiers, who had been willing to serve Athaliah under the notion that the house of David was extinct, might waver in their allegiance so soon as they heard that a scion of the old royal stock survived, and could be produced at a moment's notice. Their traditions would attach them to David and his seed, not to the house of Ahab. And showed them the king's son. Having bound the centurions by a solemn covenant to the cause of the young king, Jehoiada introduced them into his presence. He had, no doubt, previously sworn them to secrecy. 2 Kings 11:4Dethronement of Athaliah and Coronation of Joash (compare the account in 2 Chronicles 23, which is more elaborate in several points).

(Note: In both accounts we have only short extracts preserved from a common and more complete original, the extracts having been made quite independently of one another and upon different plans. Hence the apparent discrepancies, which have arisen partly from the incompleteness of the two abridged accounts, and partly from the different points of view from which the extracts were made, but which contain no irreconcilable contradictions. The assertion of De Wette, which has been repeated by Thenius and Bertheau, that the chronicler distorted the true state of the case to favour the Levites, rests upon a misinterpretation of our account, based upon arbitrary assumptions, as I have already shown in my apologetischer Versuch ber die Chronik (p. 361ff.).)

2 Kings 11:4

In the seventh year of Athaliah's reign, Jehoiada sent for the captains of the king's body-guard to come to him into the temple, and concluded a covenant with them, making them swear and showing them the king's son, namely, to dethrone the tyrant Athaliah and set the king's son upon the throne. המּאיות שׂרי, centuriones, military commanders of the executioners and runners, i.e., of the royal body-guard. The Chethb מאיות may be explained from the fact that מאה is abridged from מאיה (vid., Ewald, 267, d.). On ורצים כּרי equals והפּלתי הכּרתי (1 Kings 1:38) see the Comm. on 2 Samuel 8:18; and on ל as a periphrasis of the genitive, see Ewald, 292, a. In 2 Chronicles 23:1-3 the chronicler not only gives the names of these captains, but relates still more minutely that they went about in the land and summoned the Levites and heads of families in Israel to Jerusalem, probably under the pretext of a festal celebration; whereupon Jehoiada concluded a covenant with the persons assembled, to ensure their assistance in the execution of his plan.

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