2 Chronicles 24
We have here the history of the reign of Joash, the progress of which,
and especially its termination, were not of a piece with its beginning,
nor shone with so much lustre. How wonderfully he was preserved for the
throne, and placed in it, we read before; now here we are told how he
began in the spirit, but ended in the flesh.
I. In the beginning of his time, while Jehoiada lived, he did well;
particularly, he took care to put the temple in good repair,
2 Chronicles 24:1-14.
II. In the latter end of his time, after Jehoiada's death, he
apostatized from God, and his apostasy was his ruin.
1. He set up the worship of Baal again
(2 Chronicles 24:15-18),
though warned to the contrary,
2 Chronicles 24:19.
2. He put Zechariah the prophet to death because he reproved him for
what he had done,
2 Chronicles 24:20-22.
3. The judgments of God came upon him for it. The Syrians invaded him,
2 Chronicles 24:23,24.
He was struck with sore diseases; his own servants conspired against
him and slew him; and, as a mark of infamy upon him, he was not buried
in the burying-place of the kings,
2 Chronicles 24:25-27.
|The Temple Repaired.
||B. C. 855.|
1 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign, and he
reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was
Zibiah of Beer-sheba.
2 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD
all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
3 And Jehoiada took for him two wives; and he begat sons and
4 And it came to pass after this, that Joash was minded to
repair the house of the LORD.
5 And he gathered together the priests and the Levites, and
said to them, Go out unto the cities of Judah, and gather of all
Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year,
and see that ye hasten the matter. Howbeit the Levites hastened
6 And the king called for Jehoiada the chief, and said unto
him, Why hast thou not required of the Levites to bring in out of
Judah and out of Jerusalem the collection, according to the
commandment of Moses the servant of the LORD, and of the
congregation of Israel, for the tabernacle of witness?
7 For the sons of Athaliah, that wicked woman, had broken up
the house of God; and also all the dedicated things of the house
of the LORD did they bestow upon Baalim.
8 And at the king's commandment they made a chest, and set it
without at the gate of the house of the LORD.
9 And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to
bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of
God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.
10 And all the princes and all the people rejoiced, and brought
in, and cast into the chest, until they had made an end.
11 Now it came to pass, that at what time the chest was brought
unto the king's office by the hand of the Levites, and when they
saw that there was much money, the king's scribe and the high
priest's officer came and emptied the chest, and took it, and
carried it to his place again. Thus they did day by day, and
gathered money in abundance.
12 And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of
the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and
carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as
wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the LORD.
13 So the workmen wrought, and the work was perfected by them,
and they set the house of God in his state, and strengthened it.
14 And when they had finished it, they brought the rest of
the money before the king and Jehoiada, whereof were made vessels
for the house of the LORD, even vessels to minister, and to
offer withal, and spoons, and vessels of gold and silver. And
they offered burnt offerings in the house of the LORD continually
all the days of Jehoiada.
This account of Joash's good beginnings we had as it stands here
2 Kings 12:1-21,
&c., though the latter part of this chapter, concerning his
apostasy, we had little of there. What is good in men we should take
all occasions to speak of and often repeat it; what is evil we should
make mention of but sparingly, and no more than is needful. We shall
here only observe,
1. That it is a happy thing for young people, when they are setting out
in the world, to be under the direction of those that are wise and good
and faithful to them, as Joash was under the influence of Jehoiada,
during whose time he did that which was right. Let those that
are young reckon it a blessing to them, and not a burden and check upon
them, to have those with them that will caution them against that which
is evil and advise and quicken them to that which is good; and let them
reckon it not a mark of weakness and subjection, but of wisdom and
discretion, to hearken to such. He that will not be counselled cannot
be helped. It is especially prudent for young people to take advice in
their marriages, as Joash did, who left it to his guardian to choose
him his wives, because Jezebel and Athaliah had been such plagues,
2 Chronicles 24:3.
This is a turn of life which often proves either the making or marring
of young people, and therefore should be attended to with great care.
2. Men may go far in the external performances of religion, and keep
long to them, merely by the power of their education and the influence
of their friends, who yet have no hearty affection for divine things
nor any inward relish of them. Foreign inducements may push men on to
that which is good who are not actuated by a living principle of grace
in their hearts.
3. In the outward expressions of devotion it is possible that those who
have only the form of godliness may out-strip those who have the power
of it. Joash is more solicitous and more zealous about the repair of
the temple than Jehoiada himself, whom he reproves for his remissness
in that matter,
2 Chronicles 24:6.
It is easier to build temples than to be temples to God.
4. The repairing of churches is a good work, which all in their places
should promote, for the decency and conveniency of religious
assemblies. The learned tell us that in the Christian church,
anciently, part of the tithes were applied that way.
5. Many a good work would be done that now lies undone if there were
but a few active men to stir in it and to put it forward. When Joash
found the money did not come in as he expected in one way he tried
another way, and that answered the intention. Many have honesty enough
to follow that have not zeal enough to lead in that which is good. The
throwing of money into a chest, through a hole in the lid of it, was a
way that had not been used before, and perhaps the very novelty of the
thing made it a successful expedient for the raising of money; a great
deal was thrown in and with a great deal of cheerfulness: they all
2 Chronicles 24:10.
An invention to please people's humour may sometimes bring them to
their duty. Wisdom herein is profitable to direct.
6. Faithfulness is the greatest praise and will be the greatest
comfort of those that are entrusted with public treasure or employed in
public business. The king and Jehoiada faithfully paid the money to the
workmen, who faithfully did the work,
2 Chronicles 24:12,13.
|Joash Slain by His Servants.
||B. C. 845.|
15 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died;
a hundred and thirty years old was he when he died.
16 And they buried him in the city of David among the kings,
because he had done good in Israel, both toward God, and toward
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah,
and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto
18 And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers,
and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and
Jerusalem for this their trespass.
19 Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the
LORD; and they testified against them: but they would not give
20 And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of
Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto
them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the
LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD,
he hath also forsaken you.
21 And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones
at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the
22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which
Jehoiada his father had done to him, but slew his son. And when
he died, he said, The LORD look upon it, and require it.
23 And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host
of Syria came up against him: and they came to Judah and
Jerusalem, and destroyed all the princes of the people from among
the people, and sent all the spoil of them unto the king of
24 For the army of the Syrians came with a small company of
men, and the LORD delivered a very great host into their hand,
because they had forsaken the LORD God of their fathers. So they
executed judgment against Joash.
25 And when they were departed from him, (for they left him in
great diseases,) his own servants conspired against him for the
blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest, and slew him on his
bed, and he died: and they buried him in the city of David, but
they buried him not in the sepulchres of the kings.
26 And these are they that conspired against him; Zabad the son
of Shimeath an Ammonitess, and Jehozabad the son of Shimrith a
27 Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens
laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold,
they are written in the story of the book of the kings. And
Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.
We have here a sad account of the degeneracy and apostasy of Joash. God
had done great things for him; he had done something for God; but now
he proved ungrateful to his God and false to the engagements he had
laid himself under to him. How has the gold become dim, and the most
fine gold changed! Here we find,
I. The occasions of his apostasy. When he did that which was right it
was not with a perfect heart. He never was sincere, never acted
from principle, but in compliance to Jehoiada, who had helped him to
the crown, and because he had been protected in the temple and rose
upon the ruins of idolatry; and therefore, when the wind turned, he
turned with it.
1. His good counsellor left him, and was by death removed from him. It
was a mercy to him and his kingdom that Jehoiada lived so long-130
(2 Chronicles 24:15),
by which it appears that he was born in Solomon's time, and had lived
six entire reigns before this. It was an encouragement to him to go on
in that good way which Jehoiada had trained him up in to see what
honour was done to Jehoiada at his death: They buried him among the
kings, with this honourable encomium (perhaps it was part of the
inscription on his grave-stone), that he had done good in
Israel. Judah is called Israel, because, the other tribes
having revolted from God, they only were Israelites indeed. Note, It is
the greatest honour to do good in our generations, and those who do
that which is good shall have praise of the same. He had done good
towards God; not that any man's goodness can extend unto him, but he
had done good towards his house, in reviving the temple service,
2 Chronicles 23:8.
Note, Those do the greatest good to their country that lay out
themselves in their places to promote religion. Well, Jehoiada
finished his course with honour; but the little religion that Joash had
was all buried in his grave, and, after his death, both king and
kingdom miserably degenerated. See how much one head may sustain, and
what a great judgment to any prince or people the death of godly,
zealous, useful men is. See how necessary it is that, as our Saviour
speaks, we have salt in ourselves, that we act in religion from
an inward principle, which will carry us on through all changes. Then
the loss of a parent, a minister, a friend, will not involve the loss
of our religion.
2. Bad counsellors got about him, insinuated themselves into his
affections, wheedled him, flattered him, made obeisance to him,
and, instead of condoling, congratulated him upon the death of his old
tutor, as his release from the discipline he had been so long under,
unworthy a man, a king. They tell him he must be priest-ridden no
longer, he is now discharged from grave lessons and restraints,
he may do as he pleases: and (would you think it?) the princes of Judah
were the men that were so industrious to debauch him,
2 Chronicles 24:17.
His father and grandfather were corrupted by the house of Ahab, from
whom no better could be expected. But that the princes of Judah should
be seducers to their king was very sad. But those that incline to the
counsels of the ungodly will never want ungodly counsellors.
They made obeisance to the king, flattered him into an opinion
of his absolute power, promised to stand by him in making his royal
will and pleasure pass for a law, any divine precept or institution to
the contrary in any wise notwithstanding. And he hearkened to them:
their discourse pleased him, and was more agreeable than Jehoiada's
dictates used to be. Princes and inferior people have been many a time
thus flattered into their ruin by those who have promised them liberty
and dignity, but who have really brought them into the greatest
servitude and disgrace.
II. The apostasy itself: They left the house of God, and served
groves and idols,
2 Chronicles 24:18.
The princes, it is likely, had a request to the king, which they tell
him they durst not offer while Jehoiada lived; but now they hope it
will give no offence: it is that they may set up the groves and idols
again which were thrown down in the beginning of his reign, for they
hate to be always confined to the dull old-fashioned service of the
temple. And he not only gave them leave to do it themselves, but he
joined with them. The king and princes, who, a little while ago, were
repairing the temple, now forsook the temple; those who had pulled down
groves and idols now themselves served them. So inconstant a thing is
man and so little confidence is to be put in him!
III. The aggravations of this apostasy and the additions of guilt to
it. God sent prophets to them
(2 Chronicles 24:19)
to reprove them for their wickedness, and to tell them what would be in
the end thereof, and so to bring them again unto the Lord. It is
the work of ministers to bring people, not to themselves, but to
God--to bring those again to him who have gone a whoring from him. In
the most degenerate times God left not himself without witness;
though they had dealt very disingenuously with God, yet he sent
prophets to them to convince and instruct them, and to assure them that
they should find favour with him if yet they would return; for he would
rather sinners should turn and live than go on and die,
and those that perish shall be left inexcusable. The prophets did their
part: they testified against them; but, few or none received
1. They slighted all the prophets; they would not give ear, were so
strangely wedded to their idols that no reproofs, warnings,
threatenings, nor any of the various methods which the prophets took to
convince them would reclaim them. Few would hear them, fewer would heed
them, but fewest of all would believe them or be governed by them.
2. They slew one of the most eminent, Zechariah the son of
Jehoiada, and perhaps others. Concerning him observe,
(1.) The message which he delivered to them in the name of God,
2 Chronicles 24:20.
The people were assembled in the court of the temple (for they had not
quite left it), probably on occasion of some solemn feast, when this
Zechariah, being filled with the spirit of prophecy, and known (it is
likely) to be a prophet, stood up in some of the desks that were in the
court of the priests, and very plainly, but without any provoking
language, told the people of their sin and what would be the
consequences of it. He did not impeach any particular persons, nor
predict any particular judgments, as sometimes the prophets did, but as
inoffensively as possible reminded them of what was written in the law.
Let them but look into their Bibles, and there they would find,
[1.] The precept they broke: "You transgress the commandments of the
Lord, you know you do so, in serving groves and idols: and why will
you so offend God and wrong yourselves?"
[2.] The penalty they incurred: "You know, if the word of God be true,
you cannot prosper in this evil way; never expect to do ill and fare
well. Nay, you find already that because you have forsaken the Lord
he hath forsaken you, as he told you he would,"
This is the work of ministers, by the word of God, as a lamp and a
light, to expose the sin of men and expound the providences of God.
(2.) The barbarous treatment they gave him for his kindness and
faithfulness in delivering this message to them,
2 Chronicles 24:21.
By the conspiracy of the princes, or some of their party, and by the
commandment of the king, who thought himself affronted by this fair
warning, they stoned him to death immediately, not under colour of law,
accusing him as a blasphemer, a traitor, or a false prophet, but in a
popular tumult, in the court of the house of the Lord--as horrid
a piece of wickedness as perhaps any we read of in all the history of
the kings. The person was sacred--a priest, the place
sacred--the court of the temple (the inner court, between the porch
and the altar), the message yet more sacred, and we have
reason to think that they knew it came from the spirit of prophecy. The
reproof was just, the warning fair, both backed with scripture, and the
delivery very gentle and tender; and yet so impudently and daringly do
they defy God himself that nothing less than the blood of the prophet
can satisfy their indignation at the prophecy. Be astonished, O
heavens! at this, and tremble, O earth! that ever such
villany should be committed by men, by Israelites, in contempt and
violation of every thing that is just, honourable, and sacred--that a
king, a king in covenant with God, should command the murder of one
whom it was his office to protect and countenance! The Jews say there
were seven transgressions in this; for they killed a priest, a prophet,
a judge, they shed innocent blood, and polluted the court of the
temple, the sabbath, and the day of expiation: for on that day, their
tradition says, this happened.
(3.) The aggravation of this sin, that this Zechariah, who suffered
martyrdom for his faithfulness to God and his country, was the son of
Jehoiada, who had done so much good in Israel, and particularly had
been as a father to Joash,
2 Chronicles 24:22.
The affront done by it to God, and the contempt put on religion, are
not so particularly taken notice of as the ingratitude there was in it
to the memory of Jehoiada. He remembered not the kindness of the
father, but slew the son for doing his duty, and what the father would
have done if he had been there. Call a man ungrateful, and you can
call him no worse.
(4.) The dying martyr's prophetic imprecation of vengeance upon his
murderers: The Lord look upon it, and require it! This came not
from a spirit of revenge, but a spirit of prophecy: He will require
it. This would be the continual cry of the blood they shed, as
Abel's blood cried against Cain: "Let the God to whom vengeance belongs
demand blood for blood. He will do it, for he is righteous." This
precious blood was quickly reckoned for in the judgments that came upon
this apostate prince; it came into the account afterwards in the
destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans--their misusing the prophets
was that which brought upon them ruin without remedy
(2 Chronicles 36:16);
nay, our Saviour makes the persecutors of him and his gospel answerable
for the blood of this Zechariah; so loud, so long, does the blood of
the martyrs cry. See
Such as this is the cry of the souls under the altar
How long ere thou avenge our blood? For it shall not always go
IV. The judgments of God which came upon Joash for this aggravated
wickedness of his.
1. A small army of Syrians made themselves masters of Jerusalem,
destroyed the princes, plundered the city, and sent the spoil of it to
2 Chronicles 24:23,24.
God's people, while they kept in with God, had often been conquerors
when the enemy had the advantage of the greater number; but now, on the
contrary, an inconsiderable handful of Syrians routed a very great
host of Israelites, because they had forsaken the Lord God of their
fathers, and then they were not only put upon the level with their
enemies, but opposed them with the utmost disadvantage; for their God
not only departed from them, but turned to be their enemy and fought
against them. The Syrians were employed as instruments in God's
hand to execute judgments against Joash, though they little
2. God smote him with great diseases, of body, or mind, or both, either
like his grandfather
(2 Chronicles 21:18),
or, like Saul, an evil spirit from God troubling him. While he was
plagued with the Syrians he thought that, if he could but get clear of
them, he should do well enough. But, before they departed from him, God
smote him with diseases. If vengeance pursue men, the end of one
trouble will but be the beginning of another.
3. His own servants conspired against him. Perhaps he began to hope
his disease would be cured--he was but a middle-aged man and might
recover it; but he that cometh up out of the pit shall fall into the
snare. When he thought he should escape death by sickness he met it
by the sword. They slew him in his bed for the blood of the sons of
Jehoiada, by which it should seem that he did not only slay
Zechariah, but others of the sons of Jehoiada for his sake. Perhaps
those that slew him intended to take vengeance for that blood;
but, whether they did or not, this was what God intended in permitting
them to slay him. Those that drink the blood of the saints shall have
their own blood given them to drink, for they are worthy. The regicides
are here named
(2 Chronicles 24:26),
and it is observable that the mothers of them both were foreigners, one
an Ammonitess and the other a Moabitess. The idolatrous kings, it is
likely, countenanced those marriages which the law prohibited for the
prevention of idolatry; and see how they resulted in their own
4. His people would not bury him in the sepulchres of the kings because
he had stained his honour by his mal-administration. Let him not be
written with the righteous,
These judgments are called the burdens laid upon him
(2 Chronicles 24:27),
for the wrath of God is a heavy burden, too heavy for any man to bear.
Or it may be meant of the threatenings denounced against him by the
prophets, for those are called burdens. Usually God sets some
special marks of his displeasure upon apostates in this life, for
warning to all to remember Lot's wife.