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2 Chronicles 25:4 . He slew not their children, as noted in 2 Kings 14:0. Whether the king was justly put to death for the blood of Zechariah and his brothers, is a question too delicate for human tribunals: yet we know that heaven ever maintains a just revenge for innocent blood. As the captains had no divine, no lawful authority to assassinate the king, it was just to put them and their assistants to death.
2 Chronicles 25:5 . He found them three hundred thousand. One third of these were sufficient for any wars with the southern rebels. The princes of those times understood the art of carnage and slaughter, better than the art of war.
2 Chronicles 25:6 . For a hundred talents of silver; a vile price for wicked men to do wicked work. Those mercenaries hoped for better wages in plunder.
2 Chronicles 25:7 . A man of God. In Seder-Olam he is called Amos, father of Isaiah the prophet, and brother-in-law of king Amaziah.
2 Chronicles 25:12 . Other ten thousand left alive. Hebrews חיום chajaim, lives, souls. Such is the Greek, which better designates the cruelty of forcing them down the precipice, after being spared. Surely to devote the ringleaders, had been punishment sufficient.
2 Chronicles 25:14 . Amaziah brought the gods of Seir and set them up to be his gods. We must seek for the true sense of this preposterous worship in the customs of ancient superstition. The Romans adopted the gods of all the countries they conquered. When Scipio stood before Carthage, he is said to have made this invocation: “And you, oh gods, whosoever you are that defend this city, come over to us, and I will worship you with more costly sacrifices, and will build for you more splendid temples.”
2 Chronicles 25:24 . With Obed-edom; that is, the descendants of Obed-edom, who was a levite, and blessed because the ark remained awhile in his house.
Amaziah came to the throne in the vortex of the factions, in which his father fell, and in a time of great religious corruption. However, on feeling the reins of government in his hands, he gained the affections of his people, by executing the regicides, and by sparing their children, according to the law. Deuteronomy 24:16. And if a nation count itself happy in reposing confidence in a prince of impartial justice, how blessed is the man who reposes his confidence in God alone.
The cause of the war with Edom, and with the whole of the southern nations, if we may judge from the forces required, was a general revolt, on hearing of the murder of the king; and it discovers to us that the new king trusted more in an arm of flesh than in the Lord. By deeming his own people inadequate to the enterprise, though they mustered three hundred thousand strong, it is evident he had no faith in God the giver of victory. Therefore he hired one hundred thousand of Jehu’s people. However, though wanting in faith, yet when reproved by a prophet, he obeyed the Lord, and yielded to his loss. But how much better is it to ask advice and prevent a false step, than repent of it afterwards. His allies, disappointed of the expected booty, fell upon the cities of Judah on their return, and made reprisals.
The rigours of war exercised on the ten thousand Edomites, can be defended only by the more barbarous examples of the age. In cases of an obstinate siege, and when a city was taken by assault, the law of Moses and of nations allowed of carnage; but now to spare their lives and to throw them from the rock, was an act of unjustifiable cruelty. Conquerors in the moment of indignation and triumph had better beware of injustice and slaughter, because there is an everliving God who requires blood for blood.
Prosperity is apt to destroy the man who is not properly acquainted with God, and with himself. Amaziah, having triumphed over Edom; having extended his limits to the utmost of Solomon’s border in the south, and having rebuilt Elath to restore the Indian trade, was lifted up above his God; and so much so as to worship the gods he had captured, though they were not able to defend their own votaries. These he ought to have destroyed, and returned thanks to the God of Israel. It is a most unwise experiment for a man to dally with idols; he may next adore them, and so provoke the Lord to his utter destruction.
In the character of Amaziah we find this realized. Flushed with victory, and enriched with spoil, he not only set himself above the law of God, but even menaced the prophet with death who came to reprove him. Therefore the Lord left him to take his own way, and to follow the pride of his heart. The challenge he sent to Joash son of Jehu, though with the counsel of men like himself, betrayed the arrogance of his heart, and the little regard he had for the lives of his people: defeat and shame were therefore his portion. Men who despise divine instruction, and mock at menaces, shall in the issue feel a rod which shall make them tremble. “He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” This prince, having long bid defiance to God and his prophets, and long acknowledged no power above his own pleasure, became insupportable to his subjects. The whole of Judah seems to have revolted against him, and in favour of Azariah his son, though an infant; and they were so exasperated against him, as to pursue him with the sword even into Philistia. So this man, who was not careful of human blood, ultimately received his own reward. On hearing the particulars of his death, what would Edom say, whose ten thousand captives he had thrown from the rock? And what would the Israelites say, whose relatives had fallen in the war which he had wantonly excited among brethren? Happy is that well instructed prince, whose sole aim in swaying the sceptre is to please God, and make his people happy.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 25". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13