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2Ki 12:1 In the seventh year of Jehu began Jehoash to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba-
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. 

2Ki 12:2 Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him-
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 (2 Chron. 23:17). 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.

2Ki 12:3 However the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places-
From this we get the hint that despite all this initial zeal, things were not spiritually solid with Joash even from the start. Likewise from 2 Chron. 24:3 we learn that Joash was a polygamist from the start, for "Jehoiada took for him two wives".

2Ki 12:4 Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the holy things that is brought into the house of Yahweh, in current money, the money of the persons at which each man is rated, and all the money that it comes into any man’s heart to bring into the house of Yahweh-
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.

2Ki 12:5 let the priests take it to them, every man from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the breaches of the house, wherever any breach shall be found-
These breaches in the temple had presumably been caused not only by assault, but more likely by the various apostate kings taking the valuable building materials (timber, cut stone etc.) in order to build pagan temples. 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.

2Ki 12:6 But, in the twenty third year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house-
We have the abiding impression that the priesthood was never completely dedicated solely to Yahweh. Although 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).

2Ki 12:7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the other priests, and said to them, Why don’t you repair the breaches of the house? Now therefore take no more money from your treasurers, but deliver it for the breaches of the house-
The collection ordered in:5 was abandonned. Instead of going around Judah trying to get donations, those who came to offer were to be encouraged to donate. Trying to force money out of God's people is never a good idea; it must be offered freely by those who already understand the concept of sacrifice.

2Ki 12:8 The priests agreed that they should take no more money from the people, neither repair the breaches of the house themselves-
The priests had not done these repairs, and so the responsibility for them was removed from the priests. And they accepted that (:11).

2Ki 12:9 Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one comes into the house of Yahweh. The priests who kept the threshold put therein all the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh-
"Chest" is the Hebrew word usually used for "ark". I suggested on 2 Chron. 24:6 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" in 2 Chron. 24:6 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). 2 Chron. 24:9 GNB says this was for "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.

2Ki 12:10 It was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags and counted the money that was found in the house of Yahweh-
This was done "day by day" (2 Chron. 24:11), which can mean 'from time to time', suggesting it was done whenever the chest was full. We note that the counting and management of the money was done not by the priests and Levites, another hint (as in :15) that they had embezzled it before.

2Ki 12:11 They gave the money that was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of Yahweh. They paid it out to the carpenters and the builders, who worked on the house of Yahweh-
Those who had the oversight of the repair work were not the priests, who had failed to do this previously (:8). We sense the priesthood were very weak at this time, and Jehoiada was almost alone in his dedication to the work. So when he died, things immediately reverted to the previous apostacy.

2Ki 12:12 and to the masons and the stone cutters, and for buying timber and cut stone to repair the breaches of the house of Yahweh, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it-
The language is rather similar to that used of building the temple, as if this rebuilding was really major, seeing Athaliah had consciously "broken up" the temple (2 Chron. 24:7). We have the repeated impression that the overseers were the ones who "laid out" the money for workers and materials, suggesting again that the Levites and priests had not been honest with this (see on :10). 

2Ki 12:13 But there were not made for the house of Yahweh cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of Yahweh-
The idea seems to be, comparing with 2 Chron. 24:14, that these vessels were made only after the house was completed. The focus was to be upon repairing the house first, and the vessels were seen as of secondary importance. We wonder whether this is also a hint at spiritual weakness and wrong priorities; for surely the house was not of the essence. God had said He didn't in fact want a physical house built. Surely the vessels which enabled the rituals to be performed ought to have been made first, so that Divine worship could continue, even within a ruined building.

2Ki 12:14 for they gave that to those who did the work, and repaired therewith the house of Yahweh-
As discussed on :13, it seems that all the funds were given solely to the builders, because of a wrong perception that the building of a physical temple was more important than what went on within it.

2Ki 12:15 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-
This may be in implied contrast to the priests and Levites who had not done the work, perhaps because of embezzlement of the funds. See on :10. The money was delivered to these overseers directly from the king (:11), and not via the priesthood.

2Ki 12:16 The money for the trespass offerings, and the money for the sin offerings, were not brought into the house of Yahweh: it was the priests’-
It seems there had begun the practice of buying sacrificial animals in Jerusalem, at the temple, and this in turn degraded to giving money to the priests in lieu of sin offerings. The Mosaic commands said nothing about this; the sinner was to bring an animal and make personal identification with it (Lev. 5:1-12; 14:13). And we see here the easy slide away from personal repentance and dedication to Yahweh, to merely giving some money.

2Ki 12:17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem-
2 Chron. 24 adds the account of Joash's apostacy and murder of Jehoiada's son after Jehoiada dies. 2 Chron. 24:23 adds: "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 after Jehoiada died (2 Chron. 24:17). 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.

2Ki 12:18 Jehoash king of Judah took all the holy things that Jehoshaphat, Jehoram and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own holy things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of Yahweh, and of the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria; and he went away from Jerusalem-
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 (2 Chron. 24:23).

2Ki 12:19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?-
This is not necessarily the same books of Chronicles which we have in our Bibles.

2Ki 12:20 His servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and struck Joash at the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla-
We wonder whether his servants were so loyal to Yahweh that they killed him for what he had done to the sons of Jehoiada.  Although these servants were apparently secular Gentiles (2 Chron. 24:25), 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 (2 Chron. 24:21). Joash was killed on his bed, probably his sick bed (2 Chron. 24:25), "at the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla”. This may have been the equivalent of a hospital.

2Ki 12:21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, struck him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David. Amaziah his son reigned in his place
2 Chron. 24:26 "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" (2 Chron. 24:27).