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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

2 Kings 14

Verses 1-4

Amaziah Becomes King of Judah

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

The recorded events alternate regularly between the northern and southern realms. We go back again to a king from the house of David, Amaziah, the son of Joash. As with other kings, the name of this king’s mother is also mentioned (2Kgs 8:26; 2Kgs 12:1). The mothers of these kings were important and are therefore mentioned. Their influence on the forming of the spiritual character of kings was great. This influence is greatest in the first five years of education.

Jehoaddin, the mother of Amaziah, was one of the two women whom Jehoiada gave to Joash (2Chr 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 very distressful time.

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. Amaziah was 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 acted more like his father Joash, who had done well while Jehoiada was still living. With Amaziah things also went wrong later, just like they went wrong with Joash in his later life.

He also allowed the high places to exist. It was the high places where the LORD was worshiped and which remained after the temple was built. That should not have happened, they should have been removed, because they had had their time. This weakness turned 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 killed the servants who had killed his father (2Kgs 12:21). When exercising the judgment, Amaziah took into account an important principle, which is that everyone is punished for his own sin. The king was the highest judge. Amaziah adhered to the Word of God and did not impose any greater punishment. He did not, what would have been conceivable, ‘avenge’ himself on his father’s murderers. He killed only the criminals but not their families, according to what was “written in the book of the Law of Moses” (Deu 24:16). Discipline must always take place according to God’s Word and not according to our feelings.

Another act of Amaziah was to defeat Edom. In 2 Chronicles 25 there are more details about this battle against Edom and what the consequences were (2Chr 25:5-16). There we see that he not only had an army from Judah, but also hired many soldiers from the northern kingdom. If a prophet called him to account, he sent him away. He also achieved that great victory.

Verses 8-14

Amaziah Defeated by Jehoash

In his pride and overconfidence Amaziah then challenged Jehoash. Why did he do that? The reason becomes clear when we read 2 Chronicles 25. When Amaziah returned to Edom after his victory, he also took the idols of Edom with him and bows down to them. That is no longer the worship to the LORD on the high places, but outright idolatry.

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

Jehoash was also arrogant, which is expressed in the fable he tells. He compared 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 did happen. At the same time, the fable was also a reprimand for Amaziah. A believer was reprimanded by an unbeliever. However, Amaziah persisted in his haughty plan, with a dramatic effect on him and his people.

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

The believer has to live according to 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 was beaten by Israel and Amaziah was captured by Jehoash. Amaziah was the first king of the house Judah to be captured by a king of Israel. Jehoash also made a breach in the wall of Jerusalem. That was the first time something like that had happened. Jehoash was the only king of Israel, who in all the wars between the two and ten tribes broke through as far as Jerusalem.

Once Jehoash was in Jerusalem, he plundered the city. He took everything of value with him and returned to Samaria laden with the booty.

Verses 15-20

Death of Jehoash and Amaziah

The death of Jehoash has already been reported (2Kgs 13:12-13). This happens again now because of the intertwining of his history with the history of Amaziah in 2Kgs 14:8-14. After the death of Jehoash, Amaziah lived 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 became the victim of a conspiracy.

Verses 21-22

Azariah Made King

After the death of Amaziah, Azariah, also called Uzziah (2Chr 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 was only sixteen years old and there could not be an 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 was that he expanded, or reinforced, Elath and brought it back to Judah. With this, Azariah seems to complete the subjugation of Edom to Israel. Elath was an important port city in the area of Edom (1Kgs 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 kingdom. 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 named his son after the man who gave Israel two alternative places of worship, both having 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 these comments.

The northern kingdom blossomed under Jeroboam II. Seen superficially, it seems that he received the blessing of God. There was exceptionally great prosperity under his reign. He also ruled for a long time, longer than any other king had ruled over the kingdom. He was the third generation after Jehu. His son ruled for only a few months, and then the reign of the family of Jehu came to a close.

Then we hear of the prophet Jonah. Prophets act when the people have departed from God, as in this instance. Usually the prophets call for repentance and threaten with God’s judgment if people don’t repent. That was not the case here. The message of the prophet Jonah was different. He prophesied that there would be prosperity.

We also have a book in the Bible about this same Jonah. His prophecy in this passage, however, is not in his book of the Bible. His prophecy refers to the near future, not to the distant future, as was customary for God’s prophets with their own Bible book. From this time the service of the writing prophets begins. The prophet Isaiah began prophesying in the days of Uzziah. Amos and Hosea also started prophesying in these days (Amos 7:9-15).

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

Through a man like Jeroboam II the LORD gave his people deliverance. Here again it was the grace of God Who used a man who did not take Him into account. The prosperity of Jeroboam II was 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 was not impressed by everything Jeroboam had done and so gave few details about his achievements. We do not get a summary of all his deeds. These were in the books that people keep, but not in God’s Word.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 2 Kings 14". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.