2 Kings 12:7
Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
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(7) Now therefore receive no more money.—The account of the whole transaction is not very clear, and commentators disagree upon the question of the degree of blame attaching to the priests for their neglect. It is evident, however, that the king now took the control of the funds and the work out of their hands. Probably the revenues of the sanctuary had been in a very languishing condition during the late reigns; and the priesthood had used whatever offerings they received for their own support. They would now very naturally be unwilling to appropriate any part of the revenues which they had come to regard as their own. to the work of repair. From the account in Chronicles it would not appear that any money was collected for the purpose of restoration before the king took the matter into his own hands. The idea of Thenins, that Joash wished to humble the pride of the priests by diminishing their revenues, is not contained in either narrative. But it is in itself likely that the moral tone of the whole order had degenerated in the late period of apostasy.

But deliver it for the breaches of the house.—Rather, For to the dilapidation of the house ye should give it; scil., and not apply it to any other purposes. The king’s words certainly seem to throw suspicion on the priests.

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. 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. i.e. The money which you have already received.

Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests,.... The common priests, Jehoiada being high priest:

and said unto them, why repair ye not the breaches of the house? in which they appeared to him very dilatory; the reason might be, the people were not forward to pay in their money, and they might not choose to begin the repairs until they had got it all in, or at least what was sufficient to carry them through them:

now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance; suspecting that what they had received they kept for their own use:

but deliver it for the breaches of the house; into other hands for that use, and so dismissed them at once from collecting the money, and being concerned in the repairs of the temple.

Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore {e} receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.

(e) He takes from them the ordering of the money, because of their negligence.

7. Why repair ye not the breaches?] No answer is given to this question either here or in 2 Chronicles. There can be no doubt that with the decay of the house of the Lord, the decrease of the offerings had also taken place. The priests and Levites had perhaps found much difficulty in increasing the sums collected, and in apportioning what they received between their own maintenance and the restoration-fund. There seems to have been no blame attached to them by the king, and the explanation they offered, whatever it may have been, was so far satisfactory that the priests which kept the door of the house were placed in charge of the box that was provided for the offerings.

now therefore receive [R.V. take] no more money] The collection which had at first been ordered (2 Chronicles 24:5) was now to cease. There was to be no going round to gather, but public offerings were to be made beside the altar when the worshippers came to Jerusalem. This seems to be the true principle, and calculated in all cases to stimulate bounty towards good works.

Verse 7. - Then King Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest. So, too, the writer of Chronicles (2 Chronicles 24:6). The king did not take the matter into his own hands, but consulted with the head of the priestly order on the best steps to take in order to expedite the repairs. He made no" charge," delivered no "rebuke." He did not "remove the administration of the funds from the hands of the delinquent order" (Stanley). On the contrary, he left it in their hands (vers. 9-11). Two changes only were made:

1. A public chest was set up conspicuously in the temple court, near the great altar, and the people were invited to bring their contributions to the temple, and hand them to the priests, who should straightway deposit them in the chest in the sight of the congregation.

2. The chest was opened from time to time, and the money counted, in the presence of the high priest and of a royal secretary. It was then delivered over to "the overseers of the house" - persons, probably, of the priestly order - appointed by Jehoiada (2 Kings 11:18), who disbursed it to the carpenters and masons (2 Kings 12:11, 12). The chest was a sort of tangible evidence to the people of the purpose to which their contributions would be applied, and naturally stimulated their giving. The presence of the king's officer at the counting of the money, was equivalent, not really to an "audit" (Stanley), but to a publication of the accounts, and would prevent any suspension of the work, so long as it was clear that the money found in the chest had not been expended. Thus a new impetus was given to the movement. The measures taken completely answered. Contributions flowed in rapidly, and in a few years the whole work was accomplished (see 2 Chronicles 24:13, 14). And the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? This shows that no repairs were going on 'in the twenty-third year of Joash, but not that none had been done previously. Now therefore receive no more money of your acceptance. This was a revocation of the order given in ver. 5, and necessarily put an end to the local collections, which that order required. But deliver it for the breaches of the house. If the priests were not to "receive the money," they could not "deliver" it. Obscurity is introduced by the desire for extreme brevity. In point of fact, they were to "receive" (ver. 9), but in a new way. 2 Kings 12:7But 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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