2 Kings 12:6
But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
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(6) In the three and twentieth year.—Jenoash may have ordered the restoration in his twentieth year, when he came of age. It is noticeable that he and not Jehoiada takes the initiative in the matter. The chronicler states that the king had ordered the priests and the Levites “to hasten the matter,” but that “the Levites hastened it not.”

2 Kings 12:6-8. In the three and twentieth year of Jehoash, the priests had not repaired, &c. — They were both dilatory and careless in collecting the money, 2 Chronicles 24:5; and did not bring in what they had gathered to begin the work, whereupon the king revoked his former order, and intrusted other men, as it here follows, with this work. Thus are things seldom done well that are committed to the care of many. Now therefore receive no more money, &c. — Jehoash ordered two things, 1st, That they should gather no more money of the people. 2d, That they should not have the care of seeing the temple repaired, but pay what had been collected into other hands. The priests consented — They submitted to the king’s new orders, and wholly committed the business to those whom he thought fit to employ. But it does not appear that they restored the money which they had received for twenty-three years past.

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.No money had for some time been brought in (marginal reference "g"). Perhaps it was difficult for the priests and Levites to know exactly what proportion of the money paid to them was fairly applicable to the temple service and to their own support; and what, consequently, was the balance which they ought to apply to the repairs. 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). Either because the people were generally corrupt and backward to the worship of God, especially where it cost them any thing; or because the persons employed in making the collections were negligent, or unfaithful, perverting the money received to their own uses, as may seem probable from the contrary character of other persons, of whom it is noted that they dealt faithfully, below, 2 Kings 12:15; or because the people did not like this way of collection, and had no good opinion of the collectors’ faithfulness.

But it was so, that in the twenty and third year of King Jehoash, the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. Either the people being backward to pay in the money, or the priests converted it to their own use: or, however, were negligent of doing the work enjoined them by the king, either in collecting the money, or in using it as they were directed. But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
6. In the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash] By which time he must have attained the age of thirty and was able to act with decision. According to the Chronicler the first order had been, ‘See that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened it not’. That account also makes Jehoiada more personally responsible than he is here represented to have been. ‘The king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection?’

the priests had not repaired the breaches] We are not told why this was so, though the king asked the question. They had evidently been receiving the money, for the king’s order in the next verse is ‘Take no more money’.

Verse 6. - But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of King Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. No charge is made against the priests of malversation or embezzlement. They had simply been negligent. Probably very little money had come in; and they had not been very active in their endeavors to obtain larger contributions. It must be remembered that what went to the fabric fund would, for the most part, be a deduction from the ordinary revenue of the temple, which was not, perhaps, much in excess of the ordinary demands upon it. We can, therefore, quite understand that the king's policy would not be popular with the priests (see 2 Chronicles 24:5). Still, it is to be observed that they are not said to have executed no repairs, but only not to have "made haste" and completed their task by the time that the king looked for its completion. 2 Kings 12:6But when the twenty-third year of the reign of Joash arrived, and the dilapidations had not been repaired, the king laid the matter before the high priest Jehoiada and the priests, and directed them not to take the money any more from their acquaintance, but to give it for the dilapidations of the temple; "and the priests consented to take no money, and not to repair the dilapidations of the house," i.e., not to take charge of the repairs. We may see from this consent how the command of the king is to be understood. Hitherto the priests had collected the money to pay for the repairing of the temple; but inasmuch as they had not executed the repairs, the king took away from them both the collection of the money and the obligation to repair the temple. The reason for the failure of the first measure is not mentioned in our text, and can only be inferred from the new arrangement made by the king (2 Kings 12:9): "Jehoiada took a chest-of course by the command of the king, as is expressly mentioned in 2 Chronicles 24:8, - bored a hole in the door (the lid) thereof, and placed it by the side of the altar (of burnt-offering) on the right by the entrance of every one into the house of Jehovah, that the priests keeping the threshold might put thither (i.e., into the chest) all the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah."
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