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Verse 1

THE REIGN OF JOASH: SOLOMON'S TEMPLE REPAIRED

A full century had passed since the death of Solomon. Rehoboam reigned for 17 years (1 Kings 14:21); Abijah reigned for 3 years (1 Kings 15:2); Asa reigned for 41 years (1 Kings 15:10); Jehoshaphat reigned for 25 years (1 Kings 22:42); Jehoram reigned for 8 years (2 Kings 8:17); Ahaziah reigned for 1 year (2 Kings 8:25-26);p and the usurper, Athaliah, reigned for 6 years (2 Kings 11:1-3) - a total of 101 years. Furthermore, the repair of the breaches in the temple did not take place until the 23year of the reign of Joash (2 Kings 12:6). Thus, a total of 124 years had elapsed following the death of Solomon, which was plenty of time for extensive deterioration of the temple and related structures. Also, Athaliah had been using the materials from it to construct and embellish her temple of Baal. Solomon's temple must therefore have been in serious need of reconstruction.

The length of the reign of Joash is given as 40 years (2 Kings 12:1), but nothing of any great significance occurred in his reign other than the efforts to repair Solomon's temple. As long as Jehoiada lived to advise and instruct Joash, he did what was right in God's sight, but following the death of Jehoiada, he lapsed into paganism and even approved the murder of the prophet Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20-22).

It is amazing that James Montgomery in the International Critical Commentary wrote that, "A reminiscence of this crime is preserved in Matthew 23:35."[1] However, that passage in Matthew has no connection whatever with the murder of this particular Zechariah. Christ, in that passage, was rebuking the Pharisees and exposing them as the secret murderers of another Zechariah, the son of Barachiah, not the son of Jehoiada. (See our comment on this in Vol. 1 (Matthew), of my N.T. Commentaries, pp. 378-379.)

A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE REIGN OF JEHOASH (JOASH)

"Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign. In the seventh year of Jehu began Jehoash to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Howbeit the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places."

"Jehoash did ... right ... all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (2 Kings 12:2). The author of this passage was evidently one who loved Jehoash, because he refrained from recording the shameful lapses of this king after the death of Jehoiada. 2 Chronicles 24 gives us the "rest of the tragic story." The words "wherein Jehoiada ... instructed him" are ample witness and confirmation of the fuller account in Chronicles.

"Howbeit the high places were not taken away" (2 Kings 12:3). "These vestiges of the ancient paganism remained a constant snare. It was all too easy to slip into the nature and fertility rituals which the Canaanites had preserved for centuries at such shrines."[2] It finally came to pass that racial Israel turned away from God and embraced the gross sensuality of pagan worship almost (but not quite) totally. When it became evident that this was the determined will of practically the whole nation, God sent them into captivity in Babylon, where they were finally cured of their idolatry.

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