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Joash reigneth well all the days of Jehoiada.
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 daughters.
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 it not.
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 proclama
tion 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 strength
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.
The mutual influence of church and state.
When we consider the youth of Joash at the beginning of his reign, and the means by which his life was saved, we cannot be surprised to find, that he was much under the influence of "Jehoiada the priest;" so much so, that he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord," as long as Jehoiada lived, and no longer. This influence was used for a good purpose. It was exerted to keep Joash in the right faith; and through him to keep up throughout the nation devotion towards the true God. This is the due consequence of having the ministers of religion held in honour by the rulers of the state; not that they should seek their own aggrandizement, not that they should use their position of advantage to forward any selfish ends; but simply that through the greater weight given to their admonition and example, both rulers and people may be the more likely to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord. May this ever be the fruit of our having the ministers of Christ's true church upheld in their ministrations by the authority of the state! May they ever use the enlarged influence which they thus possess, for the more effectual maintenance of Christ's true religion in all classes of the community!
We have evidence in this passage, that much as Joash was under the influence of Jehoiada for good, he acted with the authority which belonged to him as king, as the head of all orders in church and state, even calling Jehoiada himself to account, in a matter where the ministers of religion had been slack to fulfil their duty. It was Joash that "was minded to repair the house of the Lord." He it was who gave orders to the priests and Levites, to go to all the cities of Judah, and to gather money for this holy purpose from year to year, and to see that they hastened the matter. And when they hastened it not, "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?" And in consequence of this interference on the king's part, proper measures were straightway taken, and money was gathered in abundance, and the work was perfected. Herein we see on the other hand the advantages arising from having the rulers of the state in a position to controul the ministers of religion in matters of this kind. And it is for such ends as these, and in this sense, that we acknowledge the sovereign of our country to be the head under Christ of our church. We believe it to be according to the will of God, that there should be in each single nation only one independent and supreme power, in causes both ecclesiastical and civil. And we earnestly beseech God so to rule our sovereign's heart, that the power of the crown may ever be exerted in these realms to give weight to the institutions of the church.
The apostacy and end of Joash.
15 But Jehoiada waxed old, and was full of days when he died; an 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 his house.
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them.
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 ear.
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 LORD.
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 Damascus.
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 Moabitess.
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 Ámaziah his son reigned in his stead. LECTURE 701.
22 Thus Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to
God's vengeance on apostacy.
The burial of Jehoiada, "in the city of David among the kings," was a remarkable instance of honour paid to one who was of the family of the priests, "because he had done good in Israel
both toward God, and toward his house." The amount of good which he had done when living must have been the more sensibly felt after his death, by reason of the falling away of Joash into the most grievous offences against God. Thus there is a blessing which can be imparted to good men on earth, even beyond the honour paid to their remains; namely to be much missed, and regretted with sincere sorrow, and remembered with affectionate respect. And as it is recorded, to the dishonour of Jehoram king of Judah, that he "departed without being desired," ch. 21. 20, so we may believe that Jehoiada, long after his honourable burial, lived in the grateful remembrance of the most devout servants of the Lord. Happy are they whose memory is blessed! See Prov. 10. 7. Happy are those ministers of religion, who are not only here thankfully remembered after death, but shall hereafter find, in those who now remember them, a crown of rejoicing, "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming!" 1 Thess. 2. 19.
The princes of Judah were the means of seducing Joash into the practices of idolatry. Leagued with them for this unholy purpose, he turned a deaf ear to the prophetic warnings, which God graciously vouchsafed to send. And when "Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest," moved by "the Spirit of God," remonstrated with the people, and warned them, that like as they had forsaken God, so had God forsaken them; then "Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done unto him, but slew his son." Oh base ingratitude; but all too natural in one, who had forsaken the covenant of his God, that he should slay the son of his earthly benefactor! "And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it." Oh fearful prophecy, soon fulfilled in the disasters of Joash and of Judah; and yet reserved for further fulfilment in that future generation of the Jews, on whom should come "all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias!" Matt. 23. 35. So long afterwards does God remember to visit for such a sin as this! So abominable in his sight is the wickedness of rejecting his message, and slaying his messenger! And if He spared not those who thus evil intreated his prophets, what will He do to those who set at nought his Son? How surely will He look upon it and require it of those, who by renouncing like Joash the faith they once professed, do no less than "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame!" Heb. 6. 6.
PART IV. O. T.
Amaziah defeateth the Edomites.
1 Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart. 3 Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.
4 But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own
5 Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.
6 He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.
7 But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee;
for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.
8 But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.
9 And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.
10 Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.
11 And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.
12 And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.
13 But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.
Of trusting in God's power to help.
How many Christians would think it quite enough to have the praise here given to Amaziah, that "he did that which was right