Study Notes

2Kings 12:1-21


You remember that back in chapter 11, the seven year old son of King Akh-az-YAW came out of hiding and was given the crown. Now, in chapter 12, we are told of his kingdom as an adult.

12:1-2 The Priest Instructs Jehoash

Yeh-ho-AWSH, whose mother was Tsib-YAW of Be-AYR SHEH-bah, was king for 40 years. He was a good king, at least during the time he was being instructed by Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest. After Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW dies however, we will see how the situation changes for the worse.

This is the case of so many lives - people who walk right with the Lord, but then when they fall out of fellowship, leave church, and get out of the Word. It is no wonder that the Bible exhorts us,

Hebr. 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} ; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Staying in fellowship and under Bible teaching is essential for a right walk with the Lord.

12:3 High Places Not Taken Away

You will recall that the people had made a covenant before the Lord, claiming that they would be the Lord's people (2Kings 11:17). Unfortunately, the reform was not complete - the high places were still in existence and being utilized. Remember that the high places were areas up on to of the hills where altars and idols of false gods were typically located.

12:4-5 Money To Repair Damages

King Yeh-ho-AWSH knew that the temple was in bad shape. Since it had been built in Solomon's day (over a hundred years ago), it had been both attacked and neglected. But even worse, it had been raided by those in power. Since the wicked queen mother Ath-al-YAW had attained to the throne by murder of her grandchildren, certainly the treasures of the house of God were not above attack. We read in 2Chronicles,

2Chr. 24:7 For the sons of the wicked Athaliah had broken into the house of God and even used the holy things of the house of the LORD for the Baals.

Consequently, the temple was in terrible condition and, as we read in the same chapter,

2Chr. 24:4 ...Joash decided to restore the house of the LORD.

Yeh-ho-AWSH informed the priests that all the money that came in was to be taken by priests to be used to repair the temple. This money came from three sources, which I'd like to explain in reverse order.

Giving Prompted By The Heart

The best giving to the work of God is that which is prompted in your heart. As we saw in Exodus 35, when Moses told the people to take an offering for the building of the tabernacle,

Exod. 35:21 ...everyone whose heart stirred him and everyone whose spirit moved him came {and} brought the LORDS contribution for the work of the tent of meeting...

Paul the apostle also made this point, saying

2Cor. 9:7 Let each one {do} just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

These are the offerings that the Lord enjoys the most - that which is prompted from the heart.

The Assessment

But let us not forget that the people were obligated by assessment to give a percentage of their increase to the Lord. This included the tithe, as well as any vows that had been made to the Lord, the dedicating of the first born, and several other mandatory offerings.

God had to rebuke the Israelites many times for their unfaithfulness to give to Him. It was, after all, His to begin with. They had just been made stewards of God's money. Through the prophet Malachi, He said,

Mal. 3:8-10 "Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed Thee?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation {of you} ! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

The requirement was there, the Law had been given. The tithe belonged to the Lord.

Now, many Christians are quick to point out that we are not under the Law, and are no longer bound by this rule. That may be true, but certainly the principle remains the same. We have been given stewardship of God's money. If we refuse to give a portion back to Him, what should we expect His response to be?

Current Money

Thirdly, we see that there was "current" money. This word literally means "cross over." When people would cross over from youth age to adulthood, they began to be counted in the census. At each census, they would have to give a half-shekel to the temple. This is why the NIV has rendered it "the money collected in the census."

Throughout the Pentateuch, adulthood seems to begin in the Old Testament at the age of twenty. At this point, they were responsible for their sins, and obligated to give their offerings.

Received Each From His Acquaintance

If you're reading the NIV translation, you will see that verse five is rendered,

2Kgs. 12:5 Let every priest receive the money from one of the treasurers...

But that is an incorrect translation. They were not to receive it from the treasurers. This word in Hebrew is "mak-KAWR," which means "acquaintance or friend." The priests were to receive from the people that they knew. We find out in 2Chronicles that Yeh-ho-AWSH told the priests to,

2Chr. 24:5 ..."Go out to the cities of Judah, and collect money from all Israel..."

They were to head back to the regions they were from to collect the money - from the people that they ministered to, the people that they were acquainted with.

12:6-12 The Money Chest

The king's orders were not followed, the work was not done. Although money was coming in, the priests had not been faithful to use that money to repair the temple. Yeh-ho-AWSH had told the Levite priests,

2Chr. 24:5 " shall do the matter quickly." But the Levites did not act quickly.

The priests had flaked out on the responsibility assigned to them. They had shown that they were not faithful in the matter. So Yo-AWSH took the responsibility away from them. They would not be the ones collecting the money, and they would not be the ones repairing the temple.

This is a real sore spot with me - delegating responsibilities to others that don't get the job done. Because I am both perfectionist and workaholic, I expect that when I delegate something, that it will be done well and in a timely manner. But it doesn't always happen that way.

Now, like King Yo-AWSH, I don't have a problem taking the responsibility away and either doing it myself or giving it to someone else. That doesn't exactly make me the most popular person in the world, but I can live with that.

So Yo-AWSH's solution was a little of both - he did some himself, and assigned the rest to others. His responsibility was to find a chest and drill a hole in the top of it. He put this next to the altar of sacrifice, where people walked into the courts of the temple. He delegated the counting of the money to his scribe and Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW the high priest. Then the money was given directly to the contractors, not the priests.

12:13-15 No Silver Or Gold Vessels Made

The money that came in was used for the repairs, not to replace all the gold and silver vessels and utensils that had been there previously.

The workmen proved to be more faithful than the priests had been. Not only did they get the work done, but they were wise stewards with the money they were given to buy the materials. It is quite sad when a minister's faithfulness and reliability is overshadowed by an "average Joe's." The New Testament tells us that ministers...

1Tim. 3:2, 3, 7 ...must be above reproach ... prudent, respectable ... free from the love of money... And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church...

The priests had not lived up to this standard, but the contractors did.

12:16 Money For The Priests

Although the priests had not been faithful stewards of the job they'd been given to do, they were not left destitute. They were paid from the offerings of the people.

It is Biblically right for ministers to be paid from the offering. Paul wrote,

1Cor. 9:14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

And Jesus said to the men he sent out,

Luke 10:7 "...stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages..."

So the priests received their paychecks from various offerings given by the people.

The Death Of Jehoiada

What we do not see mentioned is that sometime after this point, but before the events of the next verse, the high priest Yeh-ho-yaw-DAW dies. And, unfortunately, King Yo-AWSH falls away from the Lord. You see, 2Chronicles tells us,

2Chr. 24:17-18 But after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and bowed down to the king, and the king listened to them. And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.

Although Yo-AWSH had a zeal for the Lord and His temple, that faded away when people began to flatter him and draw him away into the sensual pleasures of idolatry. God was faithful to beckon him and the people back, but to no avail.

2Chr. 24:19-22 Yet He sent prophets to them to bring them back to the LORD; though they testified against them, they would not listen. Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, "Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you.'" So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son. And as he died he said, "May the LORD see and avenge!"

The king actually commanded that the son of his spiritual mentor be put to death. He had fallen terribly into apostasy.

12:17-18 Hazael Of Aram

You may remember Khaz-aw-ALE, the king of Aram (today's Syria). He was a real thorn in the side of Israel during this season of their history. But now he has made it all the way south into Jerusalem. This was a judgment of God come upon the king and the people for their sin.

2Chr. 24:23-24 Now it came about at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up against him; and they came to Judah and Jerusalem, destroyed all the officials of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus. Indeed the army of the Arameans came with a small number of men; yet the LORD delivered a very great army into their hands, because they had forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers. Thus they executed judgment on Joash.

Yo-AWSH's response to this defeat was to offer valuables - treasures from the temple of God, no less! Years before, he was dogmatically set on the restoration of the temple, but now he is looting it to save his own hide. It is truly amazing to see the about-face that a man will make when he falls into sin and turns from the Lord.

12:19-21 Joash Is Killed

Yo-AWSH had fallen sick at this point, which made him an easy target for an assassination. The servants who rose up against him did so because of his murder of the priests' son (2Chron. 24:25).

As he was at the house of Mil-LO, going down to Sil-LAW, Yo-zaw-KAWR the son of Shim-AWTH, and Yeh-ho-zaw-BAWD the son of Sho-MARE killed him.

Yo-AWSH's son Am-ats-YAW became king in his place.

Next week, we travel back up north to the kingdom of Israel, and see that things are faring even worse up there.

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