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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 14

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Verses 1-4

Amaziah Becomes King of Judah

So far, we have seen the events in the ten tribes realm mainly in connection with Elijah and Elisha. What remains is the history of Israel and Judah to their end. Nevertheless, there are occasional revivals. The main idea of the remaining chapters, however, is pride and the subsequent fall (Proverbs 16:18). It is about the lessons we can learn from this.

There are regular alternations between the northern and southern realms. We have now first again a king from the house of David before us, Amaziah. As with other kings, the name of this king’s mother is also mentioned (2 Kings 8:26; 2 Kings 12:1). The mothers of these kings are important and are therefore mentioned. Their influence on the forming of the spiritual character of kings is great. This influence is greatest in the first five years of education.

Jehoaddin, the mother of Amaziah, is one of the two women whom Jehoiada gave to Joash (2 Chronicles 24:3). She must have been a woman who feared God. Her name means ‘LORD, how long yet’. She was probably born under the reign of the wicked Athaliah and her parents gave her that name at a time of great anger.

Immediately after mentioning the name of his mother we read that Amaziah “did right in the sight of the LORD”. We read this because he had such a mother. It is said of several kings. Yet there is a difference. Of Amaziah is also said to have done “not like David his father”. That too is said of some of the kings of Judah. Some other kings did. They stood out above the others. Amaziah acts more like his father Joash has done, who has done well as long as Jehoiada lived. With Amaziah things also go wrong later, just like they went wrong with Joash in his later life.

He also allows the high places to exist. It is the high places where the LORD is served and which remain after the temple is built. That should not have happened, they should have been removed, because they had had their time. This weakness turns to become a trap. The higher the position, the deeper one can fall. This applies not only to young people, but certainly also to the elderly.

Verses 5-7

First Government Actions of Amaziah

The first act of Amaziah’s reign described is that of carrying out a righteous judgment. He kills the servants who killed his father (2 Kings 12:21). When exercising the judgment, Amaziah takes into account an important principle, which is that everyone is punished for his own sin. The king is the highest judge. Amaziah adheres to the Word of God and does not impose any greater punishment. He did not, what would have been conceivable, ‘avenge’ himself on his father’s murderers. He kills, according to what is “written in the book of the Law of Moses”, only the criminals and not their families (Deuteronomy 24:16). Discipline must always take place according to God’s Word and not according to our feelings.

Another act of Amaziah is to defeat Edom. In 2 Chronicles 25 there are more details about this battle against Edom and what the consequences are (2 Chronicles 25:5-Nehemiah :). There we see that he not only has an army from Judah, but also hired many soldiers from the ten tribes realm. If a prophet calls him to account, he sends them all away. Then he achieves that great victory.

Verses 8-14

Amaziah Defeated by Jehoash

In his pride and overconfidence Amaziah challenges Jehoash. Why does he do that? This is also clear from 2 Chronicles 25. When Amaziah returns to Edom after his victory, he also takes with him the idols of Edom and bows down for them. That is no longer the service on the high places to the LORD, but idolatry.

The LORD sends a prophet to him who speaks to him about this. However, he is not listening. Instead, having become arrogant by the great victory over Edom, he fights with Jehoash, king of Israel. His heart is darkened by the idolatry. Because of this he is deaf to God’s prophet. He can no longer think well and comes to the folly described here.

Jehoash is also arrogant, which is expressed in the fable he tells. He compares Amaziah with a thistle and himself with a cedar. The animals of the field are the soldiers of Jehoash. They will defeat the thistle, Amaziah and his army. That is what has happened. At the same time, the fable is also a reprimand for Amaziah. A believer is reprimanded by an unbeliever. However, Amaziah persists in his haughty plan, with a dramatic effect on him and his people.

Here stand two proud kings opposite each other, one is a believer, the other is an unbeliever. From Amaziah we read that he did what was right in the sight of the LORD (2 Kings 14:3); from Joash we read that he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD (2 Kings 13:11). The victory is given by the LORD to the unbelieving Jehoash. If the righteous do wrong, he will find God in his way. We see that in the defeat that Amaziah suffers.

The believer has to do with God’s ways of government. God judges His own on earth; He judges the unbelievers after the end of their lives. If a believer goes a wrong way, he cannot count on the help of the LORD and must experience His discipline. The help experienced by the unbeliever will testify against him when he is judged forever.

Judah is beaten by Israel and Amaziah is captured by Jehoash. Amaziah is the first king of the house Judah who is captured by a king of Israel. Jehoash also makes a breach in the wall of Jerusalem. That’s the first time something like that has happened. Jehoash is the only king of Israel who in all the wars between the two and ten tribes broke through as far as Jerusalem.

Once Jehoash is in Jerusalem, he plunders the city. He takes everything which is of value with him and returns to Samaria laden with booty.

Verses 15-20

Death of Jehoash and Amaziah

The death of Jehoash has already been reported (2 Kings 13:12-1 Chronicles :). This happens again now because of the intertwining of his history with the history of Amaziah in 2 Kings 14:8-2 Chronicles :. After the death of Jehoash, Amaziah lives another fifteen years. In this we see the grace of God that gives Amaziah another fifteen years after his shameful defeat to come to humility and conversion.

Whether he has really repented is not mentioned. His end is as insulting as that of his father Joash. He too becomes the victim of a conspiracy.

Verses 21-22

Azariah Made King

After the death of Amaziah, Azariah, also called Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:1), becomes king. The names Azaria and Uzziah have almost the same meaning. Azaria means ‘in the LORD is help’ and Uzziah means ‘whose strength is the LORD’. Because he is only six-ten years old and there can be no ordinary procedure of succession because of the sudden and minor death of his father, he is made king by “all the people of Judah”.

The only act mentioned here of Azariah is that he expands, or reinforces, Elath and brings it back to Judah. With this, Azariah seems to complete the subjugation of Edom to Israel. Elath is an important port city in the area of Edom (1 Kings 9:26). The mention of this act gives rise to the idea that it also marks the power of his reign.

Verses 23-27

Jeroboam II King Over Israel

Now we go back to the northern ten tribes realm. After Joash’s death, his son Jeroboam became king. We don’t know why Joash named his son and heir to the throne Jeroboam. It is remarkable that he names his son after the man who gave Israel two alternative places of worship with on each of those places a golden calf.

That Jeroboam made Israel sin, a refrain that we hear from every king who ruled over the kingdom of the ten tribes, apparently didn’t concern Joash at all. On the contrary, it seems that he venerated Jeroboam and therefore gave his son the same name. To distinguish him from the first king of the ten tribes realm, this Jeroboam is called Jeroboam II in comments.

The ten tribes realm has blossomed under Jeroboam II. Seen superficially, it seems that he gets the blessing of God. There is an exceptionally great prosperity under his reign. He also reigns for a long time, longer than any other king has reigned over the ten tribes realm. He is the third generation after Jehu. His son reigns only for a few months, and then it is over with the reign of the family of Jehu.

Then we hear of the prophet Jonah. Prophets act when the people have departed from God. That is also the case here. Usually the prophets call for repentance and threaten with God’s judgment if they do not repent. That is not the case here. The message of the prophet Jonah is different. He prophesies that there will be prosperity.

Of this Jonah we also have a book in the Bible. The prophecy he made in that time, however, is not in his Bible book. His prophecy refers to the near future and not, as is customary for God’s prophets whose book is in the Bible, to the distant future. In this time the service of the writing prophets begins. The prophet Isaiah began prophesying in the days of Uzziah. Amos and Hoshea also started prophesying in these days (Amos 7:9-Ezra :).

The reason for sending Jonah is that the LORD sees the misery of Israel and that they have no helper. The misery in which the people find themselves is the consequence of their abandonment of the LORD. Therefore He must let this misery come upon His people. But in spite of His judgment He will not erase the name of the people from under heaven.

Through a man like Jeroboam II the LORD gives his people deliverance. Here again it is the grace of God Who uses a man who does not take Him into account. The prosperity of Jeroboam II is not a sign of God’s approval, but only of His compassion.

Verses 28-29

Death of Jeroboam II

In a few verses the entire government of Jeroboam is described. God is not impressed by everything he has done and is not detailed about it. We do not get a summation of all his deeds. These are in the books that people keep, but not in God’s Word.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Kings 14". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/2-kings-14.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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