Jehoash is young but well trained in the service of the Lord.  He is optimistic and hopeful in a world that has been embittered by violence and backsliding.  He looks for old things to be made new again.

In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.  And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him.  But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.  And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the LORD, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the LORD,  Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found.  2 Kings 12:1-5

Again this translation slides between spelling Joash and Jehoash without explanation.  And I see now that Athaliah was not his mother, but rather Zibiah was.  Poligamy can cause confusion, which may explain how Athaliah missed this child in her slaughter.   This new king remembers the teaching of the priests and considers the repair of the Lord’s house. 

But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.  Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.  And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house.  But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the LORD: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.  2 Kings 12:6-9

After twenty three years Joash finally asks where the building fund is going.  He makes a chest that will allow deposits but not withdrawals by the priests.  He sends his scribe to monitor the opening of the chest too.

And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the LORD.  And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the LORD,  And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.  Howbeit there were not made for the house of the LORD bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the LORD:  But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the LORD.  2 Kings 12:10-14

The temple lost some glory earlier to the Egyptians, and it is not fully restored.  The furnishings lack the glory of precious metals that once graced the temple.  The work was done faithfully and the workers were paid though. 

Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.  The trespass money and sin money was not brought into the house of the LORD: it was the priests’.  Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.  And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem.  2 Kings 12:15-18

This king dealt fairly with workers, and was not in bondage to gold.  He was willing to sacrifice the material things for peace.  The furnishings were already diminished by the Egyptians, so the remains were less of a loss.  Was it a wise move?  His servants decided to vote against him.

And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?  And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla.  For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.  2 Kings 12:19-21

The Law has shown us that we cannot enforce the law because we cannot obey the law.  All the leaders of Israel have either had cracks or total breakdowns.  After Christ the world still continues to try to live by the law.  The Jews can’t use the temple in our time so they come short for a season.  Moslems try to force compliance and harvest bitterness.  What could we expect from a young king of Judah? 

He did mostly well with a few flaws like all of us.  Perhaps he was too willing to buy peace, but he was not putting his kingdom at risk.  Is that a lack of faith?  It was still enough to keep Judah at peace while the rebellious Israel was sinking in the Syrian tsunami.