2 Kings 12:5
Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wherever any breach shall be found.
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(5) Every man of his acquaintance.—See 2Chronicles 24:5. From that passage it is evident that the chronicler understood that the priests were required to collect such moneys, each in his own city and district, year by year. Our text, taken alone, would seem to imply that persons going to the Temple to have the value of vows estimated, or to make free-will offerings, resorted to the priests whom they knew. (The word rendered “acquaintance” only occurs in this account.)

The breaches of the house.—The dilapidations of the Temple were serious, not because of its age—it had only stood about 130 years—but owing to the wanton attacks of Athaliah and her sons (comp. 2Chronicles 24:7), who had, moreover, diverted the revenues of the sanctuary to the support of the Baalworship.

2 Kings 12:5. Let the priests take it to them, &c. — Let them go abroad through all the parts of the land, as they have acquaintance and interest, and gather up the money, and bring it to Jerusalem. Let them repair, &c., wheresoever any breach shall be found — Either through decay, or by ill accidents; or by the malice of Athaliath, or her relations; of which see 2 Chronicles 24:7.12:1-16 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 collection was not to be made in Jerusalem only, but in all "the cities of Judah" 2 Chronicles 24:5; the various priests and Levites being collectors in their own neighborhoods.

Breaches - The word in the original includes every kind and degree of ruin or dilapidation.

4. Jehoash said to the priests, &c.—There is here given an account of the measures which the young king took for repairing the temple by the levying of taxes: 1. "The money of every one that passeth the account," namely, half a shekel, as "an offering to the Lord" (Ex 30:13). 2. "The money that every man is set at," that is, the redemption price of every one who had devoted himself or any thing belonging to him to the Lord, and the amount of which was estimated according to certain rules (Le 27:1-8). 3. Free will or voluntary offerings made to the sanctuary. The first two were paid annually (see 2Ch 24:5). Let the priests take it to them; let them go abroad through all the parts of the land, as they have acquaintance and interest, and gather up the money, and bring it to Jerusalem.

Wheresoever any breach shall be found; either through decay, or by ill accidents, or by the malice of Athaliah or her relations; of which see 2 Chronicles 24:7. 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.

Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the {d} breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.

(d) For the temple which was built a hundred and fifty-five years before, had many things decayed in it, both by the negligence of the king's predecessors, and also by the wickedness of the idolaters.

5. let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance] This passage is not easy to understand until we have along with it the parallel account of the Chronicler. From 2 Kings it might be thought that the words of Jehoash applied to such offerings as were made at the temple, and then it would be hard to see what a man’s acquaintance had to do with such a matter. But in 2 Chron. we are told that the priests and Levites were bidden ‘to go out unto the cities of Judah and gather money of all Israel’. Hence nothing was more natural than that each should go among the people to whom he was best known, and from whom he would have the best chance of bringing in contributions, Josephus (Ant. IX. 8. 2) says that ‘the priests and Levites were sent through the whole land to ask half a shekel from each person for the furniture and restoration of the temple, which had been broken up by Joram and Athaliah and her sons’.

and let them repair] R.V. they shall repair. This is literal, and besides allows more emphasis to be given to the pronoun ‘they’ which is placed in a marked position in the original. The wish of the king at first was to put the whole matter in the charge of the priest.

the breaches] The Hebrew word, which the LXX. merely transliterates (βεδέκ), is found only in this chapter and 2 Kings 22:5, and in Ezekiel 27:9; Ezekiel 27:27. But in the last-mentioned passages it is used of the filling up, by calking, of the chinks in ships. Hence we can understand the sort of decay which had taken place in the temple-building. Years of neglect had allowed the walls to crumble and crack and similar damages to arise in every part.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. And he took the captains, and they brought the king down out of the house of Jehovah, etc. The word יקּח is not to be pressed, but simply affirms that Jehoiada entrusted the persons named with the duty of conducting the king into his palace. Beside the captains over a hundred (see at 2 Kings 11:4) there are mentioned והרצים הכּרי, i.e., the royal halberdiers (the body-guard), who had passed over to the new king immediately after the fall of Athaliah and now followed their captains, and הארץ כּל־עם, all the rest of the people assembled. Instead of the halberdiers there are mentioned in the Chronicles בּעם המּושׁלים האדּירים, the nobles and lords in the nation-a completion implied in the facts themselves, since Jehoiada had drawn the heads of the nation into his plan, and on the other hand the express allusion to the body-guard might be omitted as of inferior importance. We cannot infer from ירידוּ that the bridge between Moriah and Zion was not yet in existence, as Thenius supposes, but simply that the bridge was lower than the temple-courts. Instead of הרצים שׁער, the gate of the runners (i.e., of the halberdiers), we find in the Chronicles העליון שׁער, the upper gate, which appears to have been a gate of the temple, according to 2 Kings 15:35 and 2 Chronicles 27:3. The statement that they came by the way of the runners' gate into the house of the king is not at variance with this, for it may be understood as meaning that it was by the halberdiers' gate of the temple that the entry into the palace was carried out. - In 2 Kings 11:20 this account is concluded with the general remark that all the people rejoiced, sc. at the coronation of Joash, and the city was quiet, when they slew Athaliah with the sword. This is the way, so far as the sense is concerned, in which the last two clauses are to be connected.
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