Melachim 2/Kings 2-Chapter 12: The reign of Yoash king of Yehuda

Chapter 12: The reign of Yoash king of Yehuda

  1. The reign of King Yehoash:
  • The age that he became king: Yehoash was seven years old when he became king.
  • His year of reign: Yehoash became king in Yeihu’s the seventh year of reign [which was the sixth year of the reign of Ataliah[1]].
  • The number of years of his reign: Yehoash reigned in Jerusalem for forty years.
  • His mother: Yehoash’s mother’s name was Tiviah from Beersheva.
  • His deeds and righteousness: Yehoash was righteous throughout his life and found favor in God’s eyes, as he followed all that Yehoyada the priest had instructed him. [However, this righteousness was only until Yehoyada passed away, as after he passed away, Yehoash was turned into a deity by the people of Yehudah, who said that he must be a deity as otherwise he would not survive six years in the holy of holies.[2]]
  • The Bamos: The Bamos were not destroyed from the land and thus the people were still accustomed to slaughtering sacrifices and burning incense on the Bamos [even though they were prohibited from doing so and were required to bring all the sacrifices Temple].
  1. Yehoash diverts the temple funds to his priestly brothers in exchange for their maintenance of the temple:
  • Yehoash requested from all of the priests to collect the sanctification funds [i.e. Machtzis Hashekel, Hekdish, etc[3]] from all of their friends and acquaintances and to keep the money for themselves, in exchange for them promising to fix and repair the temple from their own monies.
  • The failure to maintain and repair the temple and the abolishment of the deal: In the twenty-third year of King Yehoash, the priests abstained from maintaining and fixing the damages in the temple, after which King Yehoash summoned Yehoyada the priest and all of the other priests and told them that the deal they made is no longer active. They were given the rights to keep the money of sanctification from their acquaintances in exchange for their maintenance of the temple, and since they have failed to do so they must therefore cease from taking the money for themselves and rather must give it to the special fund set up for temple repairs. The priests agreed not to take money from the people and in exchange to no longer be responsible for the temple repairs.
  • A charity box is set up for the sanctification monies to be kept inside: Yehoyada the priest took a chest and made a hole in it for the sake of the money donations of the temple to be placed inside. The chest was positioned [in the Azara[4]] near the altar by the right side [of the people who would walk into the temple[5]]. Whenever a person would enter the temple [with a donation], the priests and the guards [entrusted with the keys of the temple[6]], would put the money into there.
  • The money is counted and used the pay for temple repairs: When those appointed over the chest saw that the chest was full, the king’s scribe and the high priest removed the money and counted it to see its total sum. The counted money was then given over to the managers who were appointed over the temple repairs. The money was spent on carpenters and builders who worked in the temple, and also for the wall builders and stonecutters. The money was also used to buy wood and quarried stones to repair the damage of the temple. In short, the money was used for all the temple repairs. However, the funds were not used to make the vessels of the temple, such as silver pitchers, musical instruments, basins, trumpets, or any golden or silver utensils, as all the money was already used for the temple repairs. [However, once the temple repairs were completed, then the leftover donation monies were used to make these vessels.[7]]
  • The managers are entrusted with the money: Those who receive the monies and oversaw the repair work were trusted to use the money properly and pay all the workers, and therefore they were not required to explain what the money was used for to the treasurers.
  • What was done with the leftover sacrifice monies: The leftover moneys from monies that were donated for buying offerings, were not entered into the charity chest and used for temple repairs but rather these leftover moneys were given to the priests [who would use it to buy extra offerings for the altar[8]].

  1. Chazael attempts to destroy Jerusalem and is paid a tribute to not do so:
  • Chazael wages war against Gath and sets his eyes on Jerusalem: At that time [when Yehoyada the priest passed away and Yehoash proclaimed himself a deity[9]] Chazael the king of Aram went up and fought with Gath and captured it, and Chazael then set his eyes to ascend against Jerusalem [and capture it in battle].
  • Yehoash gives Chazael all the temple treasury to ward him off: Yehoash, the king of Yehuda, took all the sanctified objects that Yehoshafat, Yehoram, and Achaziah, his ancestors, the kings of Yehuda, had sanctified and his own sanctified things, and all the gold that was found in the treasuries of the temple and the royal palace, and sent it to Chazael the king of Aram as a tribute for him to abstain from going up against Jerusalem. Indeed, Chazael turned back from marching on to Jerusalem after he received these monies.

  1. The legacy of Yoash:
  • The acts and deeds of Yoash and all that he did and accomplished are written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Yehuda. [Although he started off righteous, he ended his life a very evil person, as aside for turning himself into a deity, he also had Zechariah the son of Yehoyada the priest killed.[10]]
  • The revolt against him and his assassination: The servants of Yoash rose up and revolted against him. They struck and killed Yoash at Beismillo, which is an area that leads down to Silla. Yozachar the son of Shimas [an Amonite] and Yehozavad the son of Shomer [a Moavite], his servants, are the ones who struck him and killed him. [This was done by God as retribution for Yoash killing Zecharia the priest.[11]]
  • His place of burial: They buried Yoash with his forefathers in the city of David. [However, he was not buried together with all the other kings, as he was very evil having made himself a deity and having murdered Zechariah, and hence the Jewish people wanted to shame him and not bury him together with the other kings of Judah.[12]]
  • His successor: Amatziah, the son of Yoash, reigned in his stead.

[1] Metzudos Dovid 12:2

[2] Rashi 12:3

[3] Rashi 12:5

[4] Rashi 12:10

[5] Rashi 12:10

[6] Rashi 12:10

[7] Metzudos Dovid 12:14

[8] Rashi 12:17

[9] Rashi 12:18

[10] See Radak 12:19 and Rashi 12:22

[11] Rashi 12:22

[12] Rashi 12:22

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