The Close of a Revolution
2 Chronicles 23:16-21
And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD's people.

I. COVENANT-MAKING. (Ver. 16.) Read in connection with 2 Kings 11:17, this verse points to two covenant transactions.

1. Between Jehovah and the king and people.

(1) In this the priest Jehoiada acted as Jehovah's representative - symbolizing the greater High Priest over the house of God, who in the new and better covenant of grace is to sinful men the Image of the invisible God (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 5:5).

(2) Of this the object was that they, Joash and his subjects, should be Jehovah's people, observing his worship and keeping his commandments, and that he should be their God, defending them against their adversaries, and bestowing on them temporal and spiritual, individual and national prosperity. This was the substance of the covenant Jehovah had made with the nation at Sinai (Exodus 19:3-6; Deuteronomy 5:2; Deuteronomy 26:17, 18), and is the tenor of God's covenant with his people in the gospel (Hebrews 8:8-13).

2. Between the king and the people.

(1) On his side that he would govern in accordance with the testimony put into his hand that day; and

(2) on their side that they would be loyal to the throne on which he sat. This covenant is implicitly involved in all relationships of king and subjects. An unjust and tyrannical ruler ipso facto violates the contract between himself and his people, and to that extent absolves them from allegiance to his authority. Piety in the sovereign and loyalty in the people are the two best supports of an earthly throne.

II. IDOL-PURGING. In a fit of reforming zeal the excited people entered without delay on a crusade against the false worship which had been introduced and patronized by Athaliah.

1. The temple of Baal wrecked. This idolatrous shrine had probably been erected by Jehoram to please Athaliah (2 Chronicles 21:11; Josephus, 'Ant.,' 9:7. 4), as a similar edifice had been constructed in Samaria by Ahab, under the influence of Jezebel (1 Kings 16:32). Most likely it stood on Mount Moriah, alongside of the temple, if not within its outer court (Thenius, Bertheau), rather than on a different elevation (Bahr). Its proximity to the temple would account for its having become so soon a prey to popular fury, as when building its vicinity to the temple suggested the idea of tearing down the temple walls for stones to construct it (2 Chronicles 24:7). Now a day of Nemesis had dawned for it, as similar days had already overtaken its builders. Its walls and pillars, altars and imagos, were shattered in pieces. Compare the destruction of the Roman Catholic edifices in Perth on May 11,1559, after a sermon by Knox. "The congregation [in the church of St. John's] was still undispersed, when a priest came in, went up to the altar, opened the tabernacle, and prepared to say Mass. A boy who was present said something insolent. The priest struck him; and the boy, snatching up a stone, flung it at the crucifix, which fell broken to the ground. The common instinct shot through the gathered crowd; altar, ornaments, images, in a few moments lay in ruins on the chancel floor. The saints were flung from their niches, the storied windows dashed in atoms. Then the cry rose,' To the Greyfriars!' and in an hour or two the poor monks, started from their noonday dinner, were adrift upon the world, and their homes going up in smoke and flame into the sky" (Froude's 'History of England,' vol. 6. pp. 228, 229). "For a day or two after Knox preached his famous sermon, the besom of destruction was exceedingly busy in and about the fair city. Somebody - perhaps Knox himself - had remarked that 'if the nests were pulled down the rooks would fly away;' and so all hands were laid to the nests. Popular fury raged uncontrollably. The monasteries and chapels which had given stately adornment to the city and its environs were reduced to ruins, only the bare and broken walls remaining, and most of these gaunt wrecks speedily disappeared" (Fittis's ' Ecclesiastical Annals of Perth,' 1885, p. 81).

2. The priest of Baal slain. Marian the "priestling" (the Targum), having attempted to lead the people astray, had incurred the penalty of death (Deuteronomy 13:9), which was summarily inflicted, perhaps as Moses had directed, by stoning him beside the altars at which he had served. Compare the murder of Zechariah by Joash's minions in the later years of his reign (2 Chronicles 24:20).


1. Irregularities corrected. The offices of the house of the Lord with reference to burnt offerings were arranged in accordance with the prescriptions of the Law of Moses. No worship was acceptable under the Hebrew economy that did not adhere to the regulations of that divinely inspired ritual; no worship is acceptable under the gospel dispensation that departs from the rubric laid clown by Jesus in his sermon at the well (John 4:24).

2. Impurities prevented. Watchers were established at the temple gates, that none should enter in who were in any respect unclean, i.e. ceremonially defiled. Under the Law such persons were separated from the congregation (Numbers 19:20; Leviticus 11:24; Leviticus 22:5), and, until they were purified, could take no part in the solemnities of Divine worship. The truth therein symbolized was that worship derives its quality from the character of the worshipper. An unclean Israelite could not render acceptable worship to a God holy as Jehovah was. ]got until an atonement had been offered for his trespass by the officiating priest, and his body had been washed in pure water, could he take his place in the congregation of them who had a right to draw near to Jehovah. And neither can any render acceptable worship under the gospel who do not do so on the basis of an atonement offered for them by the great High Priest over the house of God, and with the Heaven-inspired emotions of a renewed life, "with hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:19-22).

3. Hilarities superadded. That the service of Jehovah was designed to be a perennial fount of joy for Jehovah's people was understood and proclaimed by Moses (Deuteronomy 33:29). Until David's time this was not so widely apprehended as might have been expected. The second king of Israel, however, discerned with penetrating vision that the worship of Jehovah should ever be accompanied with gladness (Psalm 5:11; Psalm 32:11; Psalm 68:3; Psalm 89:15, 16; Psalm 100:1, 2); and in order to express this idea, with the concurrence and approval of the captains of the host, he "separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, those who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals" (1 Chronicles 25:1). During the reigns of Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Athaliah this part of the Divine service had been discontinued. When Joash acceded to the throne it was restored. So should Christians always serve God "with singing and rejoicing;" and this they will do in proportion as they are filled with that Spirit of which the fruit is joy (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:18, 19; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; 1 John 1:4).


1. Led by the priest. Having completed his arrangements for the restoration of the temple service, Jehoiada proceeded with what was still needful to perfect the revolution. Lifting the boy-king from the platform, he led him forth from the temple down the causeway which conducted towards the palace.

2. Escorted by the people. As the crowd a little before had opened its ranks to let Athaliah pass to her destruction, so now it opens them again to let the young sovereign march to his regal residence. Probably preceded by the centurions, the princes, and the heads of fathers' houses, as in the temple he had been encompassed by the Levites, he is followed by the people of the land.

3. Conducted through the upper gate. This, called, "the gate of the guard" (2 Kings 11:19), was not a temple door (Keil), but an entrance into the palace (Bertheau), perhaps the principal one, through which the royal guards were accustomed to pass. It was fitting that David's heir should publicly take possession of David's house.

4. Set upon the throne. This the natural termination of the ceremony. Joash was established upon the throne of the kingdom, the throne of his fathers, the throne which derived its authority from Jehovah alone.


1. The country was glad - that the queen was slain. Her government had been a usurpation and a curse. Nobody lamented her. If she had a funeral, those who bore her to her last resting-place gave vent to their emotions, not in sobs, but in songs. If they shed tears above her sepulchre, these were tears of joy, not of grief. A terrible commentary on any one's life, that one's contemporaries, whether equals or dependents, are glad to be rid of one - to see one's career ended, one's breath stopped, and one's carcase huddled out of sight!

2. The city was quiet - though the queen was slain. No one dreamt of drawing a sword to avenge her assassination. Those who knew her best, who had most frequent opportunities of studying her character and observing her behaviour, had nothing to say in extenuation of her faults or in commiseration of her fate. The consciences of her people were satisfied that she had deserved her doom. Perhaps the pious among them added, "So let all thine enemies perish, O Jehovah" (Judges 5:31). Learn:

1. That the secret of all true prosperity, for Church or state, for society or for the individual, is piety towards God and rectitude towards man.

2. That true religion can admit of no compromise with false religion, but must aim at its extermination.

3. That in all matters of faith and practice, doctrine and duty, ritual and worship, the will of God, not the opinion of man, is the supreme rule.

4. That the enemy most requiring to be guarded against by God's worshippers is sin.

5. That the King's house for Christians is not the material temples in which they worship, but their own hearts, in which Christ desires to be enthroned.

6. That it is legitimate to rejoice over the destruction of the enemies of God and his people (Proverbs 11:10). - W.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD'S people.

WEB: Jehoiada made a covenant between himself, and all the people, and the king, that they should be Yahweh's people.

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