2 Kings 12:10
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) And it was so.—Rather, And it came to pass. Whenever the chest was full the royal secretary and the high priest went up into the Temple, and emptied it.

Put up in bags, and told.—Literally, they bound up and counted. They put the pieces of silver into bags of a certain size, and then counted the bags, weighed, and sealed them up. These would be paid out as money. (Comp. 2Kings 5:23.) Instead of “they bound up,” Ewald prefers the word used in Chronicles, “they emptied,” which is very similar in Hebrew writing. The royal secretary came, as the king’s representative, to make a record of the amount.

2 Kings 12:10-11. The king’s scribe and the high-priest came up, &c. — The king’s secretary and the high-priest emptied the chest, and took an account of the money, and then put it up in bags, which, it is likely, they sealed; and then they set the chest in its place again. This they did every day, as we read 2 Chronicles 24:11. They gave the money to them that had the oversight, &c. — These bags of money were delivered by the king and Jehoiada, (2 Chronicles 24:12,) not to the priests, whom the king had found tardy, and, perhaps, faulty, (converting the money to their own use,) but to some select persons, who had this peculiar business committed to them, to employ good workmen, pay them their wages, and see the temple properly repaired.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.The king's scribe - Or "secretary" (1 Kings 4:3 note). Such persons are often seen in the Assyrian sculptures, with a roll, apparently of parchment, in one hand and a pen in the other, taking account for the king of the spoil brought in from foreign expeditions. 7-10. Why repair ye not the breaches of the house?—This mode of collection not proving so productive as was expected (the dilatoriness of the priests was the chief cause of the failure), a new arrangement was proposed. A chest was placed by the high priest at the entrance into the temple, into which the money given by the people for the repairs of the temple was to be put by the Levites who kept the door. The object of this chest was to make a separation between the money to be raised for the building from the other moneys destined for the general use of the priests, in the hope that the people would be more liberal in their contributions when it was known that their offerings would be devoted to the special purpose of making the necessary repairs. The duty of attending to this work was no longer to devolve on the priests, but to be undertaken by the king. The king’s scribe, who kept an exact account hereof in writing. See 2 Kings 19:2 22:3. And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest,.... Which might easily be guessed at by the number of the people which contributed:

that the king's and the high priest came up; to the temple; the high priest did not choose to come alone, lest he should be suspected, but to have the king's secretary with him, that the money might be taken out of the chest, and told in the presence of them both: in 2 Chronicles 24:11 instead of the "high priest", it is the "high priest's officer", which the Targum there calls the Sagan of the high priest, or his deputy, who, perhaps, attended when the high priest could not:

and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord; that is, they poured the money out of the chest, or emptied it, as in 2 Chronicles 24:11 and counted it, and very likely set down the sum in writing, and put it up in bags, very probably sealed.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. when they saw that there was much money in the chest] They could tell this by lifting, and beside this the priests were eye-witnesses of the liberal contribution.

the king’s scribe] This was the royal secretary, through whom the king would be kept acquainted with the progress of the fund. It appears from 2 Chronicles 24:11 that the chest was carried unopened unto the king’s office by the Levites, and that the examination and disposal of the contents took place there.

the high priest] The Chronicler says ‘the high priest’s officer’. Josephus says the king was present at the opening. What is meant by these varying statements is that these two were always represented and that now and then no doubt both king and high priest were there in person.

came up] To the place whither the chest had been brought for examination and to be emptied.

put up in bags] The literal meaning ‘bound up’ is given on the margins of A.V. and R.V. The verb is used of putting money together in a packet (Deuteronomy 14:25). We must understand the proceeding to be in connexion with uncoined gold and silver. First it was tied up in some way into parcels, and then by weighing its value was found.

and told the money] i.e. As we should now say ‘counted’ it. But the total value was found by weighing. The old use of ‘tell’ for ‘count’ occurs several times in the O.T. ‘Cf. Psalm 147:4 ‘He telleth the number of the stars’. So Jeremiah 33:13, ‘The flocks pass under the hands of him that telleth them’. Compare Milton, L’Allegro 67,

‘And every shepherd tells his tale

Under the hawthorn in the dale’.

i.e. he counts the number of his sheep to see that none have been lost during the night.Verse 10. - And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest. "When they saw" means "when they perceived." They would not see that the chest was becoming full, but would know by the weight, and perhaps by the sound which the money made when it was dropped in. That the king's scribe. "Royal secretaries" were common in ancient Persia, and often acted as the king's commissioners (Herod., 3:128; Xen., 'Cyrop.,' 8:6. § 16; 'AEcouom.,' 4:8). Such persons are seen on the Assyrian sculptured slabs, with a roll of paper or parchment in one hand, and a pen in the other, taking account for the king of the spoil brought in from foreign countries (see 'Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 86). And the high priest. Since the time of Joshua, the high priest had been called simply "the priest." The restoration of the full title (hae-cohen hag-gadol) marks the increasing power of the priests and the diminishing power of the kings under the later monarchy. Came up, and they put up in bags, and told, the money that was found in the house of the Lord. Money was ordinarily put up in bags, containing a certain definite amount, the mouth of the bag being then tied round with a string (see 2 Kings 5:23; and comp. Proverbs 7:20; Isaiah 46:6; Haggai 1:6). Hence putting money up in bags was sometimes called, as in this place, "binding it." No doubt they "told," or counted, the money first, and put it in the bags afterwards; but υ}στερον πρότερον ισ α very common figure of speech. (5-17). Repairing of the temple (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:5-14). - 2 Kings 12:4, 2 Kings 12:5. That the temple, which had fallen into ruins, might be restored, Joash ordered the priests to collect all the money of the consecrated gifts, that was generally brought into the house of the Lord, and to effect therewith all the repairs that were needed in the temple. The general expression הקּדשׁים כּסף, money of the holy gifts, i.e., money derived from holy gifts, is more specifically defined by וגו עובר כּסף, according to which it consisted of three kinds of payments to the temple: viz., (1) עובר כּסף, i.e., money of persons mustered (or numbered in the census); עובר is an abbreviated expression for הפּקדים העובר, "he who passes over to those who are numbered" (Exodus 30:13), as it has been correctly interpreted by the Chald., Rashi, Abarb., and others; whereas the explanation "money that passes" (Luther), or current coin, which Thenius still defends, yields not suitable sense, since it is impossible to see why only current coin should be accepted, and not silver in bars of vessels, inasmuch as Moses had accepted gold, silver, copper, and other objects of value in natura, for the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 24:2-3; Exodus 35:5; Exodus 36:5-6). The brevity of the expression may be explained from the fact, that עובר כּסף had become a technical term on the ground of the passage in the law already cited. The objection raised by Thenius, that the explanation adopted would be without any parallel, would, if it could be sustained, also apply to his own explanation "current money," in which עובר is also taken as an abbreviation of לסּהר עבר לסּ in Genesis 23:16. There is still less ground for the other objection, that if עובר כּסף denoted one kind of temple-revenue, כּל or אישׁ would necessarily have been used. (2) ערכּו...אישׁ, "every kind of souls' valuation money;" אישׁ is more precisely defined by ערכּו, and the position in which it stands before כּסף resembles the בּתרו in Genesis 15:10 -literally, soul money of each one's valuation. Thenius is wrong in his interpretation, "every kind of money of the souls according to their valuation," to which he appends the erroneous remark, that אישׁ is also used in Zechariah 10:1 and Joel 2:7 in connection with inanimate objects as equivalent to כּל. ערכּו...אישׁ, every kind of valuation, because both in the redemption of the male first-born (Numbers 18:15-16) and also in the case of persons under a vow a payment had to be made according to the valuation of the priest. (3) "All the money that cometh into any one's mind to bring into the house of the Lord," i.e., all the money which was offered as a free-will offering to the sanctuary. This money the priests were to take to themselves, every one from his acquaintance, and therewith repair all the dilapidations that were to be found in the temple. In the Chronicles the different kinds of money to be collected for this purpose are not specified; but the whole is embraced under the general expression "the taxes of Moses the servant of God, and of the congregation of Israel, to the tent of the testimony," which included not only the contribution of half a shekel for the building of the temple, which is prescribed in Exodus 30:12., but also the other two taxes mentioned in this account.

(Note: There is no ground either in the words or in the facts for restricting the perfectly general expression "taxes of Moses and of the congregation of Israel" to the payment mentioned in Exodus 30:12, as Thenius and Bertheau have done, except perhaps the wish to find a discrepancy between the two accounts, for the purpose of being able to accuse the chronicler, if not of intentional falsification, as De Wette does, at any rate of perverting the true state of the case. The assertion of Thenius, that the yearly payment of half a shekel, which was appointed in the law and regarded as atonement-money, appears to be directly excluded in our text, is simply founded upon the interpretation given to עובר כּסף as current money, which we have already proved to be false.)

Again, according to 2 Kings 12:7 of the Chronicles, Joash gave the following reason for his command: "For Athaliah, the wicked woman, and her sons have demolished the house of God, and all the dedicated gifts of the house of Jehovah have they used for the Baals." We are not told in what the violent treatment of demolition (פּרץ) of the temple by Athaliah had her sons consisted. The circumstance that considerable repairs even of the stonework of the temple were required in the time of Joash, about 130 or 140 years after it was built, is quite conceivable without any intentional demolition. And in no case can we infer from these words, as Thenius has done, that Athaliah or her sons had erected a temple of Baal within the limits of the sanctuary. The application of all the dedicatory offerings of the house of Jehovah to the Baals, involves nothing more than that the gifts which were absolutely necessary for the preservation of the temple and temple-service were withdrawn from the sanctuary of Jehovah and applied to the worship of Baal, and therefore that the decay of the sanctuary would necessarily follow upon the neglect of the worship.

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