Jehu did not walk in the law of the LORD (2 Kings 10:31), therefore, “the LORD began to cut Israel short; and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel” (2 Kings 10:32). Hazael, the king of Syria, was a ruthless dictator appointed by God to afflict Israel because of their idolatry. Hazael had been in power approximately 12 – 15 years when Johoash a.k.a. Joash began to reign at the age of seven.
While Jehu was alive, Hazael focused on the northern kingdom of Israel. For twenty three years, Johoash had a chance to restore the temple of God and to rid Judah of Baal worship. Jehoash’s plan to reignite the people’s passion for their temple centered on the repair of breaches in the house of God (2 Kings 12:5). The breaches may have been gaps in the exterior wall or the interior chamber known as the Holy of Holies. The temple’s existence for more than a hundred years suggests that the building had become old and worn down.
The temple had been Jehoash’s home for seven years while he was being hidden from Athaliah. No doubt, he was very familiar with the structure and the condition of its chambers. As a child, he probably explored places that no one had entered for years. In spite of his order to collect money and make the repairs, the priests refused to follow Jehoash’s command. By the twenty third year of his reign, nothing had been accomplished(2 Kings 12:6).
One of the problems with furnishing the temple was it attracted attention from the surrounding nations. Solomon’s temple was known for its extravagance. Most of the utensils and furnishings were made of precious metals and had been stolen on previous occasions. If the temple became operational, it could be assumed that treasure was available for the taking. Finally, when the repairs began, “there was 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” (2 Kings 12:13).
After the repairs had been made, Hazael, king of Syria, attacked Jerusalem. “And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicate, 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 12:18).