And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
And Joash said unto all that stood against him,.... Against his son; that were his accusers and adversaries, and required him to be given up to them, that they might put him to death:
Will ye plead for Baal? what, Israelites, and plead for Baal! or what need is there for this, cannot he plead for himself?
will ye save him? what, take upon you to save your god! cannot he save himself? he ought to save both himself and you, if he is a god, and not you save him:
he that will plead for him, let him be put to death, while it is yet morning; immediately, before noon, for it was now morning when they came to him; this he said to terrify them, and to express the hatred he now had of idolatry, and the just sense of its being punishable with death by the law of God. This he may be supposed to say, to save his son from their present wrath and fury, hoping by that time to find out some ways and means for his safety:
if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar; if he is a god, he knows who has done it, and is able to avenge himself on him, and put him to death himself that has done it, and therefore leave it with him to plead his own cause, and avenge his own injuries; this he said, deriding the deity; for though Joash had been a worshipper of Baal, yet he might be now convinced by his son of the sinfulness of it, and of the necessity of a reformation, in order to a deliverance from the Midianites, for which he had a commission, and had perhaps informed his father of it; or however he was not so attached to Baal, but that he preferred the life of his son to the worship of him.