2 Kings 12:11
And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,
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(11) They gave.—Rather, And they used to give, i.e., every time they had emptied the chest.

Being told.—Rather, which was weighed.

Them that did the work.—Not the actual workmen, but, as is immediately explained, “those who had the oversight of the house,” or were charged with the superintendence of the work.

That wrought.—Literally, who were making.

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. 11, 12. they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work—The king sent his secretary along with an agent of the high priest to count the money in the chest from time to time (2Ch 24:11), and deliver the amount to the overseers of the building, who paid the workmen and purchased all necessary materials. The custom of putting sums of certain amount in bags, which are labelled and sealed by a proper officer, is a common way of using the currency in Turkey and other Eastern countries. Them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord; who were chosen out of the people, not without a reflection upon the priests for their neglect or unfaithfulness.

And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord,.... Who were appointed overseers of the workmen employed in the repairs of the temple; which overseers were laymen, and not priests, they being discharged from any concern in the repairs: this money "told", Kimchi interprets of its being coined; he supposes money coined and uncoined to be brought, which was put in separate bags; and that, which was not coined, they coined it before they delivered it to the overseers to pay the workmen with:

and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders that wrought upon the house of the Lord; paid them with it, some that wrought in cutting the timber, and others in building with it.

And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them {g} that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,

(g) For the king had appointed others who were fit for that purpose, 2Ki 22:5.

11. they gave the money, being told] R.V. that was weighed out. Here by employing a different word the writer makes plain what was meant by the previous ‘telling’ or ‘counting’. The Chronicler adds that when this was done, the chest was carried back to its place, and that they did this from day to day, i.e. from time to time, and gathered money in abundance.

into the hands of them that did the work] Explained by the following clause as ‘the overseers’, the chief men who had charge of the restoration. The priests and the king’s officer did not pay the workmen, but gave sums in gross over to the contractors.

and they laid [R.V. paid] it out to the carpenters and [R.V. and the] builders] Both nouns are defined, as are also ‘the masons and the hewers of stone’ in the next verse. R.V. inserts the article there also.

Verse 11. - And they gave the money, being told - rather, after weighing it - into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord. It must be remembered that no coins existed as yet; and the lumps of silver which passed as shekels and half shekels, were of very uncertain weight. To know the value of the money in each bag, it was necessary, not only to count the pieces, but to weigh each bag separately. The bags, when weighed, were handed over by the high priest and the royal secretary to the officers whom Jehoiada had appointed (2 Kings 11:18) to have the general superintendence of the "house." And they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord. The "paid it out" of our Revisers is better than "laid it out." The overseers of the temple paid over to the carpenters and the builders, from time to time, such money as was needed for the work done or doing. 2 Kings 12:11"They gave the money weighed into the hands of those who did the work, who were placed over the house of Jehovah," i.e., the appointed overlookers of the work; "and they paid it (as it was required) to the carpenters and builders, who worked at the house, and to the masons and hewers of stone, and for the purchase of wood and hewn stones, to repair the dilapidations of the house, and for all that might be spent (יצא, i.e., be given out) for the house for repairing it." It is quite clear from this, that the assertion of J. D. Michaelis, De Wette, and others, that the priests had embezzled the money collected, is perfectly imaginary. For if the king had cherished any such suspicion against the priests, he would not have asked for their consent to an alteration of the first arrangement or to the new measure; and still less would he have commanded that the priests who kept the door should put the money into the chest, for this would have been no safeguard against embezzlement. For if the door-keepers wished to embezzle, all that they would need to do would be to put only a part of the money into the chest. The simple reason and occasion for giving up the first arrangement and introducing the new arrangement with the chest, was that the first measure had proved to be insufficient fore the accomplishment of the purpose expected by the king. For inasmuch as the king had not assigned any definite amount for the repairing of the temple, but had left it to the priests to pay for the cost of the repairs out of the money that was to be collected, one portion of which at least came to themselves, according to the law, for their own maintenance and to provide for the expenses of worship, it might easily happen, without the least embezzlement on the part of the priests, that the money collected was paid out again for the immediate necessities of worship and their own maintenance, and that nothing remained to pay for the building expenses. For this reason the king himself now undertook the execution of the requisite repairs. The reason why the chest was provided for the money to be collected was, first of all, that the money to be collected for the building might be separated from the rest of the money that came in and was intended for the priests; and secondly, that the contributions to be gathered for the building might be increased, since it might be expected that the people would give more if the collections were made for the express purpose of restoring the temple, than if only the legal and free-will offerings were simply given to the priests, without any one knowing how much would be applied to the building. - And because the king had taken the building into his own hand, as often as the chest was full he sent his secretary to reckon the money along with the high priest, and hand it over to the superintendents of the building.

If we compare with this the account in the Chronicles, it helps to confirm the view which we have obtained from an unprejudiced examination of the text as to the affair in question. According to 2 Kings 12:5 of the Chronicles, Joash had commanded the priests and Levites to accelerate the repairs; "but the Levites did not hurry." This may be understood as signifying that they were dilatory both in the collection of the money and in the devotion of a portion of their revenues to the repairing of the temple. But that the king took the matter in hand himself, not so much because of the dilatoriness or negligence of the priests as because his first measure, regarded as an expedient, did not answer the purpose, is evident from the fact that, according to the Chronicles, he did not content himself with placing the chest at the entrance, but had a proclamation made at the same time in Judah and Jerusalem, to offer the tax of Moses for the repair of the temple (2 Kings 12:9) - evidently with no other intention than to procure more liberal contributions. For, according to 2 Kings 12:10, all the chief men and all the people rejoiced thereat, and cast their gifts into the chest, i.e., they offered their gifts with joy for the purpose that had been proclaimed. - The other points of difference between the Chronicles and our text are unimportant. For instance, that they placed the chest "at the gate of the house of Jehovah on the outside." The הוּצה merely defines the expression in our text, יי בּית בּבוא־אישׁ בּימין, "to the right at the entrance into the temple," more minutely, by showing that the ark was not placed on the inner side of the entrance into the court of the priests, but against the outer wall of it. This is not at variance with המּזבּח אצל in 2 Kings 12:10; for even apart from the account in the Chronicles, and according to our own text, this cannot be understood as signifying that the ark had been placed in the middle of the court, as Thenius explains in opposition to וגו בּבוא־אישׁ, but can only mean at the entrance which was on the right side of the altar, i.e., at the southern entrance into the inner court. Again, the further variation, that according to the Chronicles (2 Kings 12:11), when the chest was full, an officer of the high priest came with the scribe (not the high priest himself), furnishes simply a more exact definition of our account, in which the high priest is named; just as, according to 2 Kings 12:10, the high priest took the chest and bored a hole in the lid, which no intelligent commentator would understand as signifying that the high priest did it with his own hand. But there is a real difference between 2 Kings 12:14 and 2 Kings 12:15 of our text and 2 Kings 12:14 of the Chronicles, though the solution of this suggests itself at once on a closer inspection of the words. According to our account, there were no golden or silver vessels, basons, knives, bowls, etc., made with the money that was brought in, but it was given for the repairing of the house. In the Chronicles, on the contrary, it is stated that "when they had finished the repairs, they brought the remnant of the money to the king and Jehoiada, and he (the king) used it for vessels for the house of the Lord, for vessels of the service," etc. But if we take proper notice of כּכלּותם here, there is no ground for saying that there is any contradiction, since the words of our text affirm nothing more than that none of the money that came in was applied to the making of vessels of worship so long as the repairing of the building went on. What took place afterwards is not stated in our account, which is limited to the main fact; this we learn from the Chronicles.

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