On four Shabbatot beginning immediately before Adar, additional Torah readings (the “Four Parashiyot”) are read after the weekly Parashah, reflecting seasonal themes relating to Purim and Passover. Their associated Haftarot also relate to these themes. The first of the Four Parashiyot, Shekalim (Ex. 30:11-16), details a required annual payment to support the Temple. Mishnah Shekalim 1:1 rules that the duty to make this payment is announced ahead of Rosh Chodesh Adar. Similarly, the Haftarah deals with the Temple’s monetary needs.
The power and meaning of the Haftarah’s simple storyline stem from the dramatic, revolutionary events which precede it. God sent the prophet Elisha to anoint a man, Yehu, to overthrow and replace the idolatrous, murderous royal house of Ahab in the Northern Kingdom. During the resulting bloody upheaval, Yehu also put to death evil King Ahaziah of Judah, an ally of Ahab’s house, and many of Ahaziah’s male relatives. In response to Ahaziah’s murder, his evil mother and idolatrous daughter of Ahab, Athaliah, slew all remaining heirs to her son’s Davidic throne and assumed Judah’s royal powers for herself and Ahab’s house.
Ahaziah’s sister, Jehoshebah, plucked her newborn brother, Jehoash, from among the dead of Athaliah’s slaughter, thereby saving the Davidic dynasty and its covenant with God. For six years, she and her husband, High Priest Jehoiadah, hid and raised Jehoash in the Temple. When Jehoash was seven years old, Jehoiadah led a coup against Athaliah in the Temple, and crowned the young prince as king amidst rejoicing. Here the Haftarah begins:
Verses 11:17-18: Jehoiadah leads the people and Jehoash to reaffirm the Sinaitic and Davidic covenants with God and one another. Accordingly, they then destroy a Baal temple, kill its priest, and appoint officers for the Temple.
II Kings 11:17
Jehoiada made the covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people; and also between the king and the people.
וַיִּכְרֹ֨ת יְהוֹיָדָ֜ע אֶֽת־הַבְּרִ֗ית בֵּ֤ין ה' וּבֵ֤ין הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ וּבֵ֣ין הָעָ֔ם לִהְי֥וֹת לְעָ֖ם לַֽה' וּבֵ֥ין הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וּבֵ֥ין הָעָֽם׃
Verses 11:19-20: Amidst great celebration, Jehoash assumes the throne in the royal palace. Athaliah is executed.
II Kings 11:19
[Jehoiadah] took the rulers over hundreds, and the Kari , and the runners, and all the people of the land. They brought down the king from the Lord’s House and came by the way of the Runners’ Gate to the king’s house. [Jehoash] sat on the kings’ throne. וַיִּקַּ֣ח אֶת־שָׂרֵ֣י הַ֠מֵּאוֹת וְאֶת־הַכָּרִ֨י וְאֶת־הָרָצִ֜ים וְאֵ֣ת ׀ כָּל־עַ֣ם הָאָ֗רֶץ וַיֹּרִ֤ידוּ אֶת־הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ מִבֵּ֣ית ה' וַיָּב֛וֹאוּ דֶּֽרֶך־שַׁ֥עַר הָרָצִ֖ים בֵּ֣ית הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּ֖שֶׁב עַל־כִּסֵּ֥א הַמְּלָכִֽים׃
Verses 12:1-4: An overview of Jehoash’s reign of forty years.
II Kings 12:3
Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days that Jehoiadah the priest instructed him.
וַיַּ֨עַשׂ יְהוֹאָ֧שׁ הַיָּשָׁ֛ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י ה' כָּל־יָמָ֑יו אֲשֶׁ֣ר הוֹרָ֔הוּ יְהוֹיָדָ֖ע הַכֹּהֵֽן׃
Verses 12:5-6: The Temple lay in disrepair after standing for 150 years, in part due to abuse under idolaters such as Athaliah and Ahaziah. Jehoash commands the priests to use required (half-shekel) and voluntary contributions, as well as their own and their patrons’ money, to repair the Temple.
II Kings 12:6
Let the priests - every man from his acquaintance - take [money]. They will repair the breaches of the house, wherever any breach shall be found.\יִקְח֤וּ לָהֶם֙ הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים אִ֖ישׁ מֵאֵ֣ת מַכָּר֑וֹ וְהֵ֗ם יְחַזְּקוּ֙ אֶת־בֶּ֣דֶק הַבַּ֔יִת לְכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־יִמָּצֵ֥א שָׁ֖ם בָּֽדֶק׃ (פ)
Verses 12:7-9: After 23 years, Jehoash terminates this system with the priests’ consent since it no longer provides enough money to repair the Temple.
II Kings 12:8
King Jehoash called for Jehoiadah the priest, and the priests. He said to them, “Why do you not repair the breaches of the house? Now take no more money from your acquaintances, but give [what you nonetheless receive] to [repair] breaches of the house.”
וַיִּקְרָא֩ הַמֶּ֨לֶךְ יְהוֹאָ֜שׁ לִיהוֹיָדָ֤ע הַכֹּהֵן֙ וְלַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם מַדּ֛וּעַ אֵינְכֶ֥ם מְחַזְּקִ֖ים אֶת־בֶּ֣דֶק הַבָּ֑יִת וְעַתָּ֗ה אַל־תִּקְחוּ־כֶ֙סֶף֙ מֵאֵ֣ת מַכָּֽרֵיכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־לְבֶ֥דֶק הַבַּ֖יִת תִּתְּנֻֽהוּ׃
Verses 12:10-11: Instead, Jehoiadah collects money directly from those coming to the Temple.
II Kings 12:10
Jehoiadah the priest took a chest, bored a hole in its lid, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one enters the Lord’s house. The priests who guarded the door put there all the money that was brought to the Lord’s house.
וַיִּקַּ֞ח יְהוֹיָדָ֤ע הַכֹּהֵן֙ אֲר֣וֹן אֶחָ֔ד וַיִּקֹּ֥ב חֹ֖ר בְּדַלְתּ֑וֹ וַיִּתֵּ֣ן אֹתוֹ֩ אֵ֨צֶל הַמִּזְבֵּ֜חַ בימין [מִיָּמִ֗ין] בְּבֽוֹא־אִישׁ֙ בֵּ֣ית ה' וְנָֽתְנוּ־שָׁ֤מָּה הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֙ שֹׁמְרֵ֣י הַסַּ֔ף אֶת־כָּל־הַכֶּ֖סֶף הַמּוּבָ֥א בֵית־ה'׃
Verses 12:12-17: The priests and Jehoash’s “accountant” track this money and use it to pay for supplies and workers needed for Temple repairs, although it does not suffice for the Temple’s vessels.
II Kings 12:12
They gave the money that was counted into the hands to those who did the work that had the oversight of the Lord’s house. They disbursed it to the carpenters and builders who worked upon the Lord’s house.
וְנָתְנוּ֙ אֶת־הַכֶּ֣סֶף הַֽמְתֻכָּ֔ן עַל־יד [יְדֵי֙] עֹשֵׂ֣י הַמְּלָאכָ֔ה הפקדים [הַמֻּפְקָדִ֖ים] בֵּ֣ית ה' וַיּוֹצִיאֻ֜הוּ לְחָרָשֵׁ֤י הָעֵץ֙ וְלַבֹּנִ֔ים הָעֹשִׂ֖ים בֵּ֥ית ה'׃
The Talmud derives financial advice from the Haftarah.
Bava Batra 9a
Rabbi Elazar said: “Even though a person has a trusted treasurer in his house, he should [nonetheless] tie up [his money] and count [it], as Scripture states, “The king’s scribe and the High Priest came up, and they tied it in bags and counted the money…” (II Kings 12:11–12)
אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ לָאָדָם גִּזְבָּר נֶאֱמָן בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ יָצוּר וְיִמְנֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיָּצֻרוּ וַיִּמְנוּ
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