Haftarah-Shekalim-Reading the Text II-The Form of the Covenant
Yehoiada then made a covenant between God and the king and people that they would be God’s people. He also made a covenant between the king and the people. All the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed the altars and idols to pieces and killed Mattan the priest of Baal in front of the altars.
Then Yehoiada the kohen posted guards at the temple of God. He took with him the commanders of hundreds, the Carites, the guards and all the people of the land, and together they brought the king down from the temple of God and went into the palace, entering by way of the gate of the guards. The king then took his place on the royal throne. All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.
Yoash was seven years old when he began to reign. (II Kings 11:17-21)
Although the translation reads, “To be a people of God,” a more accurate reading based on the musical notes would be, “To be a nation, to God.” Yehoiada did not just want the people to make a covenant with God that they would be a nation to God, he wanted them to first make a covenant to God that they would function as a nation. It was only after they made a commitment to God to live as a nation that they could then dedicate themselves to be a nation to God.
It is also important to note that their commitment to be a nation was not a commitment between themselves, it was not a commitment to each other, but a commitment to God to interact with each other as a nation.
As we review the Historical Background to this story, we notice that efforts to live as a nation that were not a commitment to God, resulted in failure. Yehoram, “followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of God.” The King of Judah married the daughter of the King of the Ten Tribes to unify the nation but it resulted in disaster and a rejection of God. It is not enough to make a covenant to live as a nation; that covenant must be a commitment to God.
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