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Deeper Commentary

2Ch 24:1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba-
He had been hidden six years in the temple (2 Chron. 22:12), and so it follows that he was grabbed to safety when he was a one year old baby. That was how frail was the line of descent from David, for the rest of the male line had been slain by Athaliah (2 Chron. 22:10). The royal family had already been depleted because of the murders of 2 Kings 10:14; 2 Chron. 21:4,17. Beersheba was famed for idolatry at this time (Am. 5:5; 8:14), and the mother's name, meaning 'gazelle', has no mention of God's Name in it. 

2Ch 24:2 Joash did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh all the days of Jehoiada the priest-
Joash did right before God whilst the priest Jehoiada was alive, and then apostatized; Uzziah did likewise, with Zechariah the priest (2 Chron. 24:2; 26:5). He didn’t reflect upon the personal implications of Divine history. And we too must appreciate that there are Bible characters whose experiences are framed in terms directly relevant to us- for our learning. Interestingly, straight after Jehoiada died, the princes of the land came to Joash with a request, which he wrongly listened to. This has great similarities with the tragic mistake made by Rehoboam after Solomon died (2 Chron. 10:3,4 cp. 24:17). So Joash was given chance after chance to be directed back to previous examples and be instructed by them- but he went on in his own way.

But when Jehoiada died, Joash listened to, and was influenced by, the wicked princes of Judah (:17). It is clear that for all his apparent strength of character and zeal for God, Joash was simply a product of those he was with. And so it can be that our generation especially, can tend to be people with no real character, their very personalities influenced by others rather than being real, credible people. Insofar as we can break free from all these moulding influences, we will be real, credible persons. And our independence, our realness, is what will attract others to the message of Divine influence which we preach. Those raised in Christian homes need to pay especial attention to the possibility that they are where they are spiritually because of the good influence of others upon them. There is no harm in this; but we need to strive to have a faith that is not merely the faith of our fathers, but a real and personal response to the love of God which we have for ourselves perceived in the man Christ.

2Ch 24:3 Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he fathered sons and daughters-
We wonder why Jehoiada led Joash into polygamy; even though it was not outlawed, it was clearly against God's ideal standards. Perhaps Jehoiada was desperate to see the line of David continue, and given high infant mortality rates and the possibility that the first wife was barren, he took Joash a second wife. Instead of having faith that that the promised seed would come, as Isaac did during the twenty years of Rebekah's barrenness. 2 Kings 12:3 adds that the high places were not taken away, so we get the hint that despite all this initial zeal, things were not spiritually solid with Joash even from the start.

2Ch 24:4 It happened after this that Joash intended to restore the house of Yahweh-
Joash started to take his own initiative in serving God once he was old enough. He had a personal emotional attachment to the temple, seeing that he had grown up hiding in one of its disused side rooms (2 Chron. 22:12). The temple was in a serious state of disrepair at Athaliah's time; she was an idolater, and the daily sacrifices weren't offered (2 Chron. 23:18). The way Joash later desecrates the temple with idolatry is therefore a tragic example of turning away from the faith. No amount of devotion to the things of God's house, or emotional, sentimental feelings towards them, is a guarantee that true faith will be retained in the long term. This restoration of the temple would have been programmatic for the exiles, for whose benefits these historical records were originally written.

2Ch 24:5 He gathered together the priests and the Levites and said to them, Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather money to repair the house of your God from all Israel from year to year. See that you hasten this matter. However the Levites didn’t do it right away-
This presumably meant that the half shekel temple tax had not been paid for some time. So Joash urged that it be paid, although unsurprisingly there was reluctance. Plague was threatened for not paying it, but there is no record that this happened.

2Ch 24:6 The king called for Jehoiada the chief and said to him, Why haven’t you required of the Levites to bring in the tax of Moses the servant of Yahweh, and of the assembly of Israel, out of Judah and out of Jerusalem, for the tent of the testimony?-
God had never wanted a temple to be built, and had stressed instead that He preferred to live in a tent on the move, rather than in a house of bricks. Such was Jehoiada's spirituality that he had perceived this, and taught Joash to refer to the temple as a tent. And likewise the essence of the ark, Jehoiada had taught him, was the "testimony" within it. For at that time "there was nothing in the ark except the two tables" of stone (2 Chron. 5:10). And it was "the testimony" which Joash had been given by Jehoiada at seven years old when crowned king. Joash was given the best spiritual upbringing imaginable by Jehoiada; and yet he turned away from it. It is mythical to imagine that parents can in some ways eternally save their children by diligently raising them. All they can do is give their children the basis upon which they must themselves build. Another possibility is that the ark itself had been removed, and within the "tent" of the most holy place there was simply the stones of the covenant. For in :8 Joash commands an ark to be made.

2Ch 24:7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up God’s house; and they also gave all the dedicated things of the house of Yahweh to the Baals-
And yet it was through the temple being in such a state of disrepair, that Joash could be hidden in it for six years, living as if the child of some homeless woman squatting in one of the disused side rooms (see on 2 Chron. 22:11).

2Ch 24:8 So the king commanded, and they made a chest, and set it outside at the gate of the house of Yahweh-
"Chest" is the Hebrew word usually used for "ark". I suggested on :6 that the ark may have gone missing or even been destroyed by Athaliah, resulting in the rather strange term "tent of the testimony" [the tables of stone] being used for the most holy place. Kings says it was in the court opposite the porch, by the side of the altar of burnt offering. But "outside" may also mean outside of the most holy place. It could be that the chest was stored by the altar, but in the day time was taken to the gate of the temple to receive contributions (see on 2 Chron. 24:11).

2Ch 24:9 They made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in for Yahweh the tax that Moses the servant of God laid on Israel in the wilderness-
GNB "the tax which Moses, God's servant, had first collected in the wilderness". The idea may be that that was the only time they ever really obeyed the law of giving the half shekel. Israel's collective disobedience to the law is quite stunning.

2Ch 24:10 All the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end-
"An end" may mean that whenever the chest was full, it was emptied (see on :11).

2Ch 24:11 It was so, that whenever the chest was brought to the king’s officers by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, the king’s scribe and the chief priests’ officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and carried it to its place again. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance-
"Day by day" can mean 'from time to time', suggesting it was done whenever the chest was full. Thus 2 Kings 12:10 "It was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest...".

2Ch 24:12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of Yahweh. They hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of Yahweh, and also those who worked iron and brass, so as to repair the house of Yahweh-
The language is rather similar to that used of building the tabernacle, as if this rebuilding was really major, seeing Athaliah had consciously "broken up" the temple (:7). 2 Kings 12:15 adds: "Moreover they didn’t demand an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to give to those who did the work; for they dealt faithfully".

2Ch 24:13 So the workmen worked, and the work of repairing advanced in their hands, and they restored God’s house to its proper condition and strengthened it-
Heb. "the work was perfected", a phrase used mainly in the context of the restoration of Zion (Neh. 4:7; Jer. 30:17; 33:6). The Chronicles record was written or rewritten in exile to inspire the exiles with historical precedents for their work. "Proper condition" suggests 'proper size'. The breaking up of the temple by Athaliah had apparently involved the demolition of major parts of the temple, to the point of it needing to be rebuilt to return it to its original size.  

2Ch 24:14 When they had finished, they brought the rest of the money before the king and Jehoiada, from which were made vessels for the house of Yahweh, even vessels with which to minister and to offer, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. They offered burnt offerings in the house of Yahweh continually all the days of Jehoiada-
Athaliah's destruction had involved taking away the vessels, probably giving them to the Baal sanctuaries (:7). We note a theme in Israel's history; that whenever there was an appeal for money for the temple, they were always more generous than was needed. And yet they were far from God in their hearts. Generous donation towards religious buildings are not the same as true spirituality.

2Ch 24:15 But Jehoiada grew old and was full of days, and he died. He was one hundred and thirty years old when he died-
Numbers are often not used literally in the Hebrew Bible. The language here is similar to that used of the death of Jacob, who died at the same age (Gen. 47:9). The idea may be that Jehoiada too had potentially begun a new Israel. Although Joash must go down in history as a man who wasted huge potential and abused such a good spiritual upbringing. Jehoiada was buried as a king (:16). 

2Ch 24:16 They buried him in the city of David among the kings, because he had done good in Israel, and toward God and His house-
Despite the apostacy of the people, they recognized the good he had done. I noted on :15 the similarities between himself and Jacob, as if he had potentially enabled the founding of a new Israel.

2Ch 24:17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king listened to them-
The impression given is that Joash was swayed by their obeisance to him. The requests he granted them were related to forsaking the temple and instead serving idols (:18). Joash was easily flattered, and that reflects deeply upon how his earlier apparent zeal for the temple had been but a living out of the expectations of his spiritual father [and uncle] Jehoiada.

2Ch 24:18 They forsook the house of Yahweh, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols. Wrath came on Judah and Jerusalem for this their guiltiness-
Joash had grown up hidden until age seven in a disused storage room in the temple, at the very time that Athaliah was breaking up the building; as noted on :7,13. Jehoiada and his wife, who were his aunty and uncle, had saved his life and cared for him there. And he had followed Jehoiada's example in rebuilding it after what Athaliah had done there. And now, after the flattery of the princes (:17), he desecrates it.  The very building which we would have thought had at least sentimental value to him. And this is how fickle human beings can be, and how surface level human faith can be. It could be that the dishonesty of the priests regarding Joash's appeal for the temple tax to be paid led him to skepticism about the priesthood and religious system based around the temple. And that was a more powerful influence upon him than the Godly example of his uncle Jehoiada.

2Ch 24:19 Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them again to Yahweh; and they testified against them. But they would not listen-
There were a number of prophets around, Elijah was likely still alive, as Elisha and Micah; there was also Jehu, Jahaziel (2 Chron. 20:14) and Eliezer (2 Chron. 20:37). The apostacy of the people was not a sudden change of heart. The reality was that great reformers and spiritual people like Jehoiada were in reality lonely people, who at times managed to get reforms passed. But the hearts of the people didn't change. That is the point. And that is why as soon as the reformer is off the scene, the people openly "return" to idolatry. But their hearts were always with the idols. The impression we get is that there was only a very small minority amongst the people of God who were truly spiritually minded. This is likely the same today, no matter how we define the "people of God". Whether we take them as all baptized into Jesus, all the Christian movement, our own denomination, our own local church... it is likely the same today. For Paul reasons that we dare not say that we are spiritually better than natural Israel.

2Ch 24:20 The spirit of God came on Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the people and said to them, Thus says God, ‘Why do you disobey the commandments of Yahweh, so that you can’t prosper? Because you have forsaken Yahweh, He has also forsaken you’-
Standing above the people was because he was in the  "higher court" of Jer. 36:10. This was the inner court of the temple, above the outer court where the ordinary people were gathered. Neh. 8:4 has a similar scene. Such major judgment was not because of the failure of a moment. As explained on :19, the people were far from God even whilst Jehoiada was effectively leading them.

2Ch 24:21 They conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of Yahweh-
The conspiracy was likely of the same kind used to give Naboth the death penalty (1 Kings 21:9,10), claiming he had committed blasphemy and apostacy, which merited being stoned to death. They did so "in the court". Possibly the priests and Levites did this, in the same higher court in view of the people from which he had spoken (:20). Or perhaps the ordinary people stoned him in the outer court. See on :25.

2Ch 24:22 Thus Joash the king didn’t remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son-
The Jews murdered Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, according to Jewish tradition; Ahab and Jezebel slew Yahweh's prophets (1 Kings 18:4); Joah murdered Zechariah (2 Chron. 24:22). And the Lord alludes to this in Mt. 23:37 and Lk. 11:47. The idea is that despite being given the blessings of obedience to the covenant when they were disobedient to that covenant, they abused that grace and rebelled against Yahweh just as they had done in the wilderness, when they lived under the same grace. And Nehemiah in Neh. 9:26 is accusing the people of his time of despising and abusing Divine grace in just the same way. Chronicles was written for the exiles, and they failed to learn this lesson.

This is a parade example of the human tendency towards ingratitude, in this case, toward the family who had saved him as a fragile one year old baby from the murderous idol worshipper Athaliah.

When he died, he said, May Yahweh witness it, and require it-
This contrasts with the last words of the Lord Jesus and of Stephen, who wished for forgiveness of their murderers rather than judgment. Zechariah will surely be saved, but he attained a lower level of spirituality and appreciation of grace than that of the Lord and Stephen (Acts 7:60). The parable of the sower shows that the good ground brings forth various degrees of fruitfulness. Some will make more of God's truth than others. The trading of talents leads to more increase in the hands of some believers than others. But they are all saved. This recognition of differing degrees of response is critical to being able to live together in the body of believers. All will not achieve the same levels. And that is implicitly recognized within Bible teaching. 

2Ch 24:23 It happened at the end of the year, that the army of the Syrians came up against him. They came to Judah and Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people, and sent all their spoil to the king of Damascus-
The princes were those who had encouraged Joash to idolatry. We wonder why they spared Joash. Perhaps his extra bit of life was in order to give him the chance of repentance. But he turned it down.

2Ch 24:24 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of men; and Yahweh delivered a very great army into their hand, because they had forsaken Yahweh, the God of their fathers. So they executed judgment on Joash-
This is expressed in the terms of what would happen to Israel if they were disobedient to the covenant. 2 Kings 12:17,18 says that Joash bought off the Syrians with all the hallowed things of the temple. It could be that this effectively means that he saved his life by paying them off, after they had already entered Jerusalem and slain the princes (:23).

2Ch 24:25 When they had departed from him (for they left him very sick), his own servants conspired against him for the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and killed him on his bed, and he died; and they buried him in the city of David, but they didn’t bury him in the tombs of the kings-
We wonder whether his servants were so loyal to Yahweh that they killed him for what he had done to the sons of Jehoiada. "Sons" means that he murdered more than just Zechariah. Although these servants were apparently secular Gentiles (:25), perhaps even they were disgusted at his deep ingratitude. Or it could mean that their conspiracy against Joash was meant by God as punishment for his conspiracy against Zechariah (:21). Joash was killed on his bed, probably his sick bed, "at the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla” (2 Kings 12:20). This may have been the equivalent of a hospital.

2Ch 24:26 These are those who conspired against him: Zabad the son of Shimeath the Ammonitess and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith the Moabitess-
We wonder whether these servants were in fact his sons by Gentile wives. If so, then even before the death of Jehoiada he had shown his unspirituality by marrying Gentiles, for all his avowed devotion to the rebuilding of the temple. This is why there was specific commentary written about "his sons" (:27).

2Ch 24:27 Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid on him, and the rebuilding of God’s house, behold, they are written in the commentary of the book of the kings. Amaziah his son reigned in his place
This "commentary" may not necessarily be the same as the books of Kings which we have in our Bibles. "The burdens" refer to the prophecies made against him in :19. Hence RVmg. "the burdens uttered against him".