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Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for August 7

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By Jay T. Robertson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Mobile


2 Kings 12:4–16

Joash ruled as king in Jerusalem from 835 to 796 B.C., one of the longest reigns in the southern kingdom. He received an evaluation of restrained approval from the writers of Scripture. Joash failed to remove the local high places that dotted the landscape. While he was instructed by Jehoiada the priest, he did what was right in the Lord’s sight. Although he started well, his final days were described as a failure (2 Chron. 24:17–22).

Joash’s major accomplishment was the repair of the temple and the reorganization of the temple finances that made it possible. By this time, the temple was about 150 years old. The temple not only suffered from aging but also from the abuse of the Ahab-influenced rulers who had preceded Joash.

Problem (4–8)

The king ordered the priests to take the money given to the temple from the census, personal vows and the funds brought voluntarily and devote it to repairing whatever damage was found in the temple. These funds had been used by the priests for food and other personal needs, but at Joash’s command, the funds would now be redirected to repair the temple.

We are not told when Joash gave the order, but by the 23rd year of King Joash, when he would have been 30 years old, no progress had been made on repairs. Joash summoned Jehoiada the priest and other priestly leaders and rebuked them for not initiating the repairs. It is shocking to find Jehoiada guilty of such neglect. He would have been a very old man by this time, perhaps unable to exercise the leadership needed to fulfill the king’s order.

Perhaps at the command of the king, the priests agreed not to receive money from the people. They would no longer be responsible for repairing the temple. The temptation for them to use the funds for their needs was too great. They needed a system to divide responsibility, provide accountability and eliminate the temptation to divert funds for their personal use.

Solution (9–12)

Joash, working with Jehoiada, developed a solution. Money given to the priests would be collected in a chest placed beside the altar near the entrance to the temple. Whenever they saw there was a large amount of money in the chest, the king’s secretary and Jehoiada the high priest together would go bag up and weigh the money. Then they delivered the money directly to the workmen responsible for the repairs.

The project overseers then paid the men doing the manual labor and purchased the materials for the temple’s repairs. This new strategy ensured the work was getting done and everybody involved was being paid for their work. Financial accountability led to financial integrity in this important project.

The people responded to the reforms. Second Chronicles 24 describes how the people brought their contributions to the chest until it was filled. People responded by giving both joyfully and generously for the repair of the temple. The chest had to be emptied daily (2 Chron. 24:11). God desires His people today to give both joyfully and generously to fulfill the Great Commission.

Action (13–16)

The money contributed in the chest was used for the repair and restoration of the temple. None was designated for making the instruments the priests used in fulfilling their priestly duties or for their personal needs. The description in these verses highlights the integrity of the men working on the temple repairs.

After all the repairs were completed and all the workers had been paid, the funds left over were used to provide the instruments the priests needed to fulfill their duties (24:14). And what about the priests themselves? Did they suffer financially? No. They continued to have sufficient income from the sacrificial offerings the people brought. The money from the guilt offerings and sin offerings belonged to the priests. God in His providence cared for His priests and restored the temple so His people could worship Him.