Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:2
All his days ... - i. e., so long as Jehoiada was his adviser" (compare Ch2 24:15-22). Jehoida was, practically speaking, regent during the minority of Jehoash, i. e., 10 or 12 years. An increase of power to the priestly order was the natural consequence. Jehoiada bore the title of "high priest" Kg2 12:10, which had been dropped since the time of Eleazar Jos 20:6, and the Levitical order from this time became more mixed up with public affairs and possessed greater influence than previously. Jehoiada's successors traced their office to him rather than to Aaron Jer 29:26.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:3
The worship on the "high places" seems to have continued uninterruptedly to the time of Hezekiah, who abolished it Kg2 18:4. It was, however, again established by Manasseh, his son Kg2 21:3. The priests at this time cannot have regarded it as idolatrous, or Jehoiada would have put it during his regency.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:4
It is remarkable that the first movement toward restoring the fabric of the temple should have come, not from Jehoiada, but from Jehoash (compare Ch2 24:4). Jehoiada had, it seems, allowed the mischief done in Athaliah's time to remain unrepaired during the whole term of his government.
The money of every one ... - Three kinds of sacred money are here distinguished - first, the half shekel required in the Law Exo 30:13 to be paid by every one above twenty years of age when he passed the numbering; secondly, the money to be paid by such as had devoted themselves, or those belonging to them, by vow to Yahweh, which was a variable sum dependent on age, sex, and property Lev 27:2-8; and thirdly, the money offered in the way of free-will offerings.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:5
The collection was not to be made in Jerusalem only, but in all "the cities of Judah" Ch2 24:5; the various priests and Levites being collectors in their own neighborhoods.
Breaches - The word in the original includes every kind and degree of ruin or dilapidation.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:6
No money had for some time been brought in (marginal reference "g"). Perhaps it was difficult for the priests and Levites to know exactly what proportion of the money paid to them was fairly applicable to the temple service and to their own support; and what, consequently, was the balance which they ought to apply to the repairs.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:9
The priests that kept the door - The north door into the priests' court Eze 40:35-43 seems to be intended, not the door of the temple building. The chest must have been placed a little to the right of this north door, between it and the altar of burnt-offering, so that the people could see it from the doorway. The people were not ordinarily allowed to go within the doorway into this court, which belonged to the priests and Levites only.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:10
The king's scribe - Or "secretary" (Kg1 4:3 note). Such persons are often seen in the Assyrian sculptures, with a roll, apparently of parchment, in one hand and a pen in the other, taking account for the king of the spoil brought in from foreign expeditions.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:13
Comparing this verse with the marginal reference, it will be seen that the author of Kings desires to point out, that the repairs were not delayed by any deductions from the money that flowed in. The writer of Chronicles describes what became of the surplus in the chest after the last repairs were completed.
The need of supplying fresh bowls, snuffers, etc., arose from the pollution of those previously used in the temple service by their application to the Baal worship during the reigns of Ahaziah and Athaliah (see Ch2 24:7).
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:16
The trespass money and the sin money - In all cases of injury done to another, a man was bound by the Law to make compensation, to the sufferer, if possible; if not, to his nearest kinsman. If the man was dead and had left no kinsman, then the compensation was to be made to the priest Num 5:8. This would form a part of the trespass and sin money. The remainder would accrue from the voluntary gifts made to the priests by those who came to make atonement for sins or trespasses Num 5:10. On the difference between "sins" and "trespasses," see Lev 5:14 note.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:17
There was probably a considerable interval between the conclusion of the arrangement for the repairs and the Syrian expedition related in these verses. For the events which had happened, see Ch2 24:15-22.
This is the first and last time that we hear of the Damascene Syrians undertaking so distant an expedition. Gath (see Jos 13:3 note) could only be reached from Syria through Israel or Judah. It was not more than 25 or 30 miles from Jerusalem. It is uncertain whether the city belonged at this time to Judah or to the Philistines.
Hazael set his face ... - This is a phrase for determination generally, but especially for determination to proceed somewhere (compare Jer 42:15; Luk 9:51). Jerusalem can scarcely have been the primary object of this expedition, or it would have been attacked by a less circuitous route. Perhaps the Syrians were induced to make a sudden march against the Jewish capital, by learning, while at Gath, that a revolution had occurred there (compare Ch2 24:18-23).
Jehoash did not submit without a struggle. See the details in Chronicles. It was not until his army was defeated that he followed the example of his ancestor, Asa, and bought the friendship of the Syrians with the temple treasures (Kg1 15:18. Compare the conduct of Hezekiah, Kg2 18:15-16).
Jehoram and Ahaziah - Though these two monarchs had been worshippers of Baal, yet they had combined with that idolatrous cult a certain amount of decent respect for the old religion. It is evident from this passage that they had made costly offerings to the temple.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 12:20
A conspiracy - Compare the marginal reference Joash, either from a suspicion of intended treason, or from some other unknown cause, took up his abode in the fortress of Millo Kg1 9:24. This conspiracy was connected with religion. Soon after the death of Jehoiada, Joash had apostatised; had renewed the worship of Baal; and, despite of many prophetic warnings, had persisted in his evil courses, even commanding Zechariah to be slain when he rebuked them Ch2 24:18-27. The conspirators, who wished to avenge Zechariah, no doubt wished also to put down the Baal worship. In this it appears that they succeeded. For, though Amaziah punished the actual murderers after a while Kg2 14:5, yet he appears not to have been a Baal-worshipper. The only idolatries laid to his charge are the maintenance of the high places Kg2 14:4, and a worship of the gods of Edom Ch2 25:14-20.
Silla - This place is quite unknown.