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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

2 Kings 12

Verses 1-3

Reign of Jehoash

There were seven or eight kings of whom we read that they did “right in the sight of the LORD”. Without exception, however, we also read that things went wrong with them later on. Experiences with the Lord are no guarantee of remaining faithful to the Lord. In youth there is often a freshness for the Lord that can disappear later. It is a warning for older believers.

Of Jehoash we read why it was that he went wrong. As soon as Jehoiada died, things took a turn for the worse. The big question for anyone who is young is whether faith is based on their own relationship with the Lord or on that of parents or older believers. There can be new life, without practice in personal contact with the Lord and without being taught by Him.

It is not good for (young) believers to remain dependent on older believers. For sisters it is important that in their faith they are not dependent on their husbands. The reverse is also true. For example, for sisters their own life of prayer is of great importance. It should not happen that believers become helpless when certain believers disappear. This helplessness is the result of the fact that these believers have leaned too much upon other believers, without learning to bear their own responsibility. The same applies to parents and their children. They must teach their children to be independent in the Lord.

The high places mentioned in 2Kgs 12:3 were high places dedicated to the LORD. At such high places Solomon also sacrificed (1Kgs 3:2-3). As long as the temple was not yet built, God allowed sacrifice to be offered there. Now that there was a temple, they shouldn’t sacrifice there anymore. It is like serving God in a place where the Lord Jesus cannot be in the midst. There are Christians who believe that the Lord Jesus is everywhere in the midst, even though things have been introduced that are not in accordance with God’s Word, such as a pastor appointed by man.

Verses 4-8

Jehoash Commands to Restore the Temple

Jehoash understood that the temple only was the place where God’s people must come to sacrifice. Therefore he wanted to restore the temple. Three types of money were used for this restoration: the ransom that every numbered person had to pay (Exo 30:11-16), money from someone who had made a promise and converted that promise into a sum of money (Lev 27:1-8) and money that was given voluntarily.

Jehoash didn’t use the money to build a new temple. There was no thought of a new temple by Jehoash. He did not act from a scornful attitude, disdaining the old because ‘it is no longer of this time’. This is the reasoning that is often heard and acted upon in Christianity. The old, what God Himself has given, may be restored to its original state. For us, this means that in practicing to be a church, we return to the principles of the Word concerning the church.

At one point, “in the twenty-third year” of his reign, Jehoash noted that no work had been done to restore the temple. He called Jehoiada and the priests to give an account about this and warned them about it. Jehoash was still so powerful here, that he could even warn Jehoiada. He did not wait for an answer – in any case, we are not informed of any answer – but immediately gave new orders to get the temple restored as soon as possible.

From the run-up to his renewed command to restore the temple, it may be possible to understand why nothing had been done so far to restore it. Jehoash said they were not to accept any more money from their acquaintances. They may have been so busy collecting and managing the money, that the work for which they received the funds did not get off the ground (cf. Acts 6:1-6).

Another way had to be found. The priests should no longer be involved in collecting money. They also did not have to contribute to the restoration of the temple. That work would be done by others.

Verses 9-16

Temple Restoration Collection

This part is a picture of the construction of the house of God, the church, that is in our time. That house is in decay. There are many in that house who have no life from God. Many believers associate themselves with unbelievers because they do not ask if there is life. We must change in God’s house what is not good in it. All that is not of the Lord must be removed or restored according to His will.

Many revivals are aimed at personal experience. However, what is important is the church of the living God. Whoever repents, becomes a member of the body of Christ. This means that such a person is there for the others and for the whole. How a member functions in the church depends on how he or she deals with the Lord. If there is contact with the Lord and His Word is read, He will make known what we can do for others. We live in an ‘I’ era. We also see this in the perception of faith, which is mainly ‘I-focused’.

The collection of the money for the restoration of the temple was now put in a box. Jehoiada bored a hole in the lid. The funds collected were used only for repair work and not for making utensils in the temple. The money was given to those who did the repair work. They were to freely dispose of it and buy what they thought they needed. They did not have to account for how exactly they spent the money. There was trust because they dealt faithfully. Trust was given, not demanded.

There also remained a strict separation between the gifts for the restoration and money from the offerings. The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was for the priests and was not used for the repair work. The money from the offerings came from the twenty percent to be given when bringing a guilt offering (Lev 5:16).

Verses 17-18

Hazael Threatens Jerusalem

Without giving any reason, the historian suddenly mentioned Hazael’s march against Jerusalem after capturing Gath. In 2 Chronicles 24 we read why this discipline came upon Judah (2Chr 24:17-24). There we see that Jehoash was doing well, as long as he was under the good influence of Jehoiada, the priest. When Jehoiada passed away, he listened to others. Jehoash was a man who can be influenced quickly. He admitted quickly, he had no strong opinion of his own. Good friends have a good influence, bad friends have a bad influence.

The result was that he left the LORD. Because of this the temple didn’t mean much to him anymore. When he came under pressure from Hazael, he no longer resorted to the LORD. The enemy came down upon him as a chastisement from the LORD. That was His purpose. Instead of going to the LORD though, he devised his own solution. He took treasures from the temple, which first meant so much to him, to pay the enemy to depart from him. He succeeded in his purpose, but at the same time he was further away from the LORD than ever.

Verses 19-21

Death of Joash

The end of Joash is humiliating. He was murdered by two of his servants. These men were sons of pagan mothers (2Chr 24:26). Joash was buried in the city of David with his fathers. It does not mention that he was interred in the graves of the kings, which has been interpreted as a sign of disapproval of his later behavior.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Kings 12". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.