Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 12

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 2

All his days ... - i. e., so long as Jehoiada was his adviser” (compare 2 Chronicles 24:15-22). Jehoida was, practically speaking, regent during the minority of Jehoash, i. e., 10 or 12 years. An increase of power to the priestly order was the natural consequence. Jehoiada bore the title of “high priest” 2 Kings 12:10, which had been dropped since the time of Eleazar Joshua 20:6, and the Levitical order from this time became more mixed up with public affairs and possessed greater influence than previously. Jehoiada’s successors traced their office to him rather than to Aaron Jeremiah 29:26.

Verse 3

The worship on the “high places” seems to have continued uninterruptedly to the time of Hezekiah, who abolished it 2 Kings 18:4. It was, however, again established by Manasseh, his son 2 Kings 21:3. The priests at this time cannot have regarded it as idolatrous, or Jehoiada would have put it during his regency.

Verse 4

It is remarkable that the first movement toward restoring the fabric of the temple should have come, not from Jehoiada, but from Jehoash (compare 2 Chronicles 24:4). Jehoiada had, it seems, allowed the mischief done in Athaliah’s time to remain unrepaired during the whole term of his government.

The money of every one ... - Three kinds of sacred money are here distinguished - first, the half shekel required in the Law Exodus 30:13 to be paid by every one above twenty years of age when he passed the numbering; secondly, the money to be paid by such as had devoted themselves, or those belonging to them, by vow to Yahweh, which was a variable sum dependent on age, sex, and property Leviticus 27:2-8; and thirdly, the money offered in the way of free-will offerings.

Verse 5

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.

Verse 6

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.

Verse 9

The priests that kept the door - The north door into the priests’ court Ezekiel 40:35-43 seems to be intended, not the door of the temple building. The chest must have been placed a little to the right of this north door, between it and the altar of burnt-offering, so that the people could see it from the doorway. The people were not ordinarily allowed to go within the doorway into this court, which belonged to the priests and Levites only.

Verse 10

The king’s scribe - Or “secretary” (1 Kings 4:3 note). Such persons are often seen in the Assyrian sculptures, with a roll, apparently of parchment, in one hand and a pen in the other, taking account for the king of the spoil brought in from foreign expeditions.

Verse 13

Comparing this verse with the marginal reference, it will be seen that the author of Kings desires to point out, that the repairs were not delayed by any deductions from the money that flowed in. The writer of Chronicles describes what became of the surplus in the chest after the last repairs were completed.

The need of supplying fresh bowls, snuffers, etc., arose from the pollution of those previously used in the temple service by their application to the Baal worship during the reigns of Ahaziah and Athaliah (see 2 Chronicles 24:7).

Verse 16

The trespass money and the sin money - In all cases of injury done to another, a man was bound by the Law to make compensation, to the sufferer, if possible; if not, to his nearest kinsman. If the man was dead and had left no kinsman, then the compensation was to be made to the priest Numbers 5:8. This would form a part of the trespass and sin money. The remainder would accrue from the voluntary gifts made to the priests by those who came to make atonement for sins or trespasses Numbers 5:10. On the difference between “sins” and “trespasses,” see Leviticus 5:14 note.

Verses 17-18

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.

Verse 20

A conspiracy - Compare the marginal reference Joash, either from a suspicion of intended treason, or from some other unknown cause, took up his abode in the fortress of Millo 1 Kings 9:24. This conspiracy was connected with religion. Soon after the death of Jehoiada, Joash had apostatised; had renewed the worship of Baal; and, despite of many prophetic warnings, had persisted in his evil courses, even commanding Zechariah to be slain when he rebuked them 2 Chronicles 24:18-27. The conspirators, who wished to avenge Zechariah, no doubt wished also to put down the Baal worship. In this it appears that they succeeded. For, though Amaziah punished the actual murderers after a while 2 Kings 14:5, yet he appears not to have been a Baal-worshipper. The only idolatries laid to his charge are the maintenance of the high places 2 Kings 14:4, and a worship of the gods of Edom 2 Chronicles 25:14-20.

Silla - This place is quite unknown.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.