2 Kings 12:18
And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.
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(18) The hallowed things that . . . Jehoram, and Ahaziah . . . had dedicated—Although these kings had sought to naturalise the Baal-worship, they had not ventured to abolish that of Jehovah. On the contrary, as appears from this passage, they even tried to conciliate the powerful priesthood and numerous adherents of the national religion, by dedicating gifts to the sanctuary. The fact that there was so much treasure disposable is not to be wondered at, even after the narrative of the way in which funds were raised for repairing the Temple; because the treasure in question, especially that of the Temple, appears to have been regarded as a reserve, only to be touched in case of grave national emergency like the present.

And he went away from Jerusalemi.e., withdrew his forces. Thenius asserts that the present expedition of Hazael is distinct from that recorded in 2Chronicles 24:23, seq., which he admits to be historical. But it is not said here that Hazael went in person against Jerusalem. (Comp, 2Kings 12:17, “set his face to go up,” i.e., prepared to march thither.) The serious defeat of the army of Jehoash, related in Chronicles, accounts very satisfactorily for the sacrifice of his treasures here specified’; while the withdrawal of the Syrians after their victory, as told in Chronicles, is explained by the bribe which Jehoash is here said to have paid them. The two narratives thus supplement each other.

12:17-21 Let us review the character of Jehoash, and consider what we may learn from it. When we see what a sad conclusion there was to so promising a beginning, it ought to make us seek into our spiritual declinings. If we know any thing of Christ as the foundation of our faith and hope, let us desire to know nothing but Christ. May the work of the blessed Spirit on our souls be manifest; may we see, feel, and be earnest, in seeking after Jesus in all his fulness, suitableness, and grace, that our souls may be brought over from dead works to serve the living and true God.Jehoash did not submit without a struggle. See the details in Chronicles. It was not until his army was defeated that he followed the example of his ancestor, Asa, and bought the friendship of the Syrians with the temple treasures (1 Kings 15:18. Compare the conduct of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 18:15-16).

Jehoram and Ahaziah - Though these two monarchs had been worshippers of Baal, yet they had combined with that idolatrous cult a certain amount of decent respect for the old religion. It is evident from this passage that they had made costly offerings to the temple.

17, 18. Then Hazael … fought against Gath—(See on [338]2Ch 24:23). Took all the hallowed things: that necessity of saving his kingdom and people by this means, which otherwise might seem to excuse the fact, was brought upon himself by his apostacy from God. See Poole "1 Kings 15:18". And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated,.... To sacred uses, and had laid up in the temple:

and his own hallowed things: which he had devoted to the same uses:

and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord: which were gifts and presents from divers persons for sacred services:

and sent it to Hazael king of Syria, and he went away from Jerusalem; to bribe him, that he might desist from his purpose; which showed a meanness of spirit, and was the effect of his idolatry and apostasy, having forsaken the Lord, and being forsaken by him; in whom should have been his trust and confidence, and then he need not have been afraid to meet the king of Syria.

And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king's house, and {i} sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.

(i) After the death of Jehoiada, Joash fell to idolatry: therefore God rejected him, and stirred up his enemy against him, whom he pacified with the treasures of the temple: for God would not be served with those gifts, seeing the king's heart was wicked.

18. hallowed things] See above on verse 4.

kings of Judah had dedicate] No doubt there were occasions in almost every reign when the king was able to give from his conquests some gift as a thankoffering to God for success. Hence the sacred treasures would come to be of great value.

and he went away from Jerusalem] Since Hazael is not mentioned by the Chronicler as present in this expedition, and the spoils are described as being sent away to him, we may conclude that what he is here said to have done was done by the hosts of Syria which he sent forth. In Chronicles, though nothing is said there about the way in which Jehoash bribed the Syrians to depart, we learn that for some reason or other they did depart without prosecuting the siege of Jerusalem.Verse 18. - And Jehoash King of Judah took all the hallowed things. The writer of Chronicles tells us that, first of all, there was a battle. "The army of the Syrians came with a small company of men, and the Lord delivered a very great host into their hand" (2 Chronicles 24:24). The loss was especially heavy among the nobles, who officered the Jewish army. Much plunder was taken by the visitors (2 Chronicles 24:23). Then, probably, the siege of the city was commenced, and Joash, like Rehoboam and Asa before him (1 Kings 14:26; 1 Kings 15:18), and Hezekiah subsequently (2 Kings 18:15, 16), had recourse to the temple treasures, and with them bought off the invader. It is noticeable that Athaliah had not deprived the temple of them previously. That Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated. Though Jehoram and Ahaziah apostatized so far as to maintain the Baal-worship in Jerusalem, and even to force attendance on it (2 Chronicles 21:11), yet they did not relinquish altogether the worship of Jehovah. That Jehoram called his son, Ahaziah, "possession of Jehovah," and Ahaziah one of his sons, Joash, "whom Jehovah supports," is indicative of this syncretism, which was common in ancient times, but against which pure Judaism made the strongest possible protest. And his own hallowed things - i.e., the gifts which he had himself made to the temple - and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord. This was probably not much; but some "vessels of gold" had been made (2 Chronicles 24:14) out of the residue of the money subscribed for the repairs. And in the king's house. The royal palace had been plundered by the Arabs and Philistines combined in the reign of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:16, 17); but in the thirty years that had since elapsed there had been time for fresh accumulations. And sent it to Hazael King of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. The personal presence of Hazael at the siege seems to be here implied, while 2 Chronicles 24:23 rather implies his absence. Perhaps he was absent at first, but joined the besiegers after a while. "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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