And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will you plead for Baal? will you save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death while it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one has cast down his altar.
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George Leo Haydock
His, Baal's, or rather my son's adversary; (Calmet) let him die before this morning be spent, as the Hebrew insinuates. Joas represents to the men of the city, who looked upon him with a degree of respect, (Haydock) as the first in power and riches among them, (Calmet) how ill it became the Israelites to vindicate an idol. If Baal were truly so powerful, as they seemed to imagine, (Haydock) and so eager to revenge himself, he could never be restrained from bringing his adversary to condign punishment. "Let the gods punish those who injure them "said Tacitus, Ann. i. "They would take care that their sacred things were not abused. "(Livy x.) This argumentation would suit the idolaters, who supposed that their gods were animated with the same sentiments and eagerness for revenge as themselves. But the true God, who can feel no such impressions, bears for a long time with the impiety of men, though he requires that those who are in power should punish notorious offenders. The magistrate is the instrument of God's justice, and must stop, as much as possible, the growth of vice and irreligion. (Calmet)
It seems the citizens of Ephra acquiesced to the reason or authority of Joas, and even enlisted under the banners of Gedeon. (Haydock)