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The Overthrow of the Edomites
v. 1. Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem, one of the wives selected for his father by Jehoiada, the priest.
v. 2. And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, in maintaining, the worship of Jehovah, but not with a perfect heart, with undivided loyalty; not only did he tolerate idolatry, but he even encouraged its practise.
v. 3. Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, when he was universally acknowledged and accepted as king, that he slew his servants that had killed the king; his father, 2 Chronicles 24:25.
v. 4. But he slew not their children, literally, "and their sons not put he to death," but did as it is written in the Law, in the book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin, Deuteronomy 24:16.
v. 5. Moreover, Amaziah gathered Judah together, mustering its strength for service in war, and made them captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, by the divisions of the tribe known as father-houses, throughout all Judah and Benjamin; and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, veteran soldiers, a much smaller number than at the time of Jehoshaphat; some eighty years before, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.
v. 6. He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valor out of Israel, the northern kingdom, for an hundred talents of silver (about two hundred thousand dollars). The smallness of Judah's army drove the king to this unusual act of hiring mercenaries to bring up his forces to what he considered fighting strength.
v. 7. But there came a man of God, one of the prophets, to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the Lord is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim, this section of the northern kingdom being the headquarters of the idolatry practised since the days of Jeroboam and Ahab.
v. 8. But if thou wilt go, if he would make up his mind to enter upon the campaign alone, do it, be strong for the battle; God shall make thee fall before the enemy, namely, if he persisted in his determination to keep the mercenaries of Ephraim; for God hath power to help and to cast down. It was both a promise and a warning.
v. 9. And Amaziah said to the man of God. But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? The troop, the body of mercenaries, had been paid, and the prudence of the king would naturally ask such a question. And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this, for in His hand is all the wealth of the world.
v. 10. Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again, discharged without having seen duty in the proposed campaign; wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger, literally, "in the glow or heat of their anger," chiefly, perhaps, because the hope of booty was withdrawn from them and the sum which they received as mercenaries alone was not sufficient in their estimation.
v. 11. And Amaziah strengthened himself, he was filled with courage and energy, and led forth his people, and went to the Valley of Salt, southeast of the Dead Sea, and smote of the children of Seir, of the Edomites, ten thousand.
v. 12. And other ten thousand left alive, after being captured, did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, a well-known hill or rocky point, probably that on which the capital of Idumaea was situated, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces, a common mode of execution among ancient nations.
v. 13. But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, the members of the host from Ephraim, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, all along the northern boundary, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil. In this way they took their revenge for the supposed insult heaped upon them. The victory of Amaziah shows that the fear of the Lord is a power in overcoming all enemies, in granting victory and blessing.
Amaziah's Idolatry and Defeat by Israel
v. 14. Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, which, however, gave him no lasting advantages, 2 Chronicles 21:10, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, the idols of the conquered army, to which he had taken a liking for some reason, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them, for they were, at least in part, images of the sun, and the burning of incense was one of the principal acts of worship in their honor. v 15. Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent unto him a prophet, perhaps the very man whose counsel the king had formerly heeded, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand? The very foolishness of his action should have struck Amaziah.
v. 16. And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? literally, "Have we made thee counselor to the king?" He who would at another time have welcomed the advice of Jehovah's servant was now so puffed up by; his recent success that he resented every form of interference. Forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? He was so far gone in his blindness that he threatened to harm the prophet of Jehovah if he persisted in his advice. Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee because thou hast done this and hast not hearkened unto my counsel. Since Amaziah willfully hardened his heart and blinded his eyes, therefore the Lord would use this state of mind for his own destruction, punishing him with his own sins.
v. 17. Then Amaziah, king of Judah, took advice, he accepted counsel from another quarter, and sent to Joaz, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face, a challenge to measure the strength of their respective armies in battle.
v. 18. And Joash, king of Israel, sent to Amaziah, king of Judah, saying, The thistle, a low, shrubby thornbush, that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife, an unheard-of assumption; and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon and trode down the thistle, trampled it under foot for the worthless and insignificant weed that it was. The meaning of the parable is clear. The thorn-bush represented Amaziah, a petty prince, the cedar, the powerful sovereign of Israel, and the wild beast that trampled under foot the thistle, the overwhelming army with which Israel would subdue and exterminate Judah.
v. 19. Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast. Abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to thine hurt, deliberately inviting disaster by this unprovoked attack upon Israel, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?
v. 20. But Amaziah would not hear, since he was in a state of deliberate blindness; for it came of God, that He might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.
v. 21. So Joash, the king of Israel, went up, he determined upon a surprise attack before Amaziah had completed his military preparations; and they saw one another in the face, they measured their strength in battle, both he and Amaziah, king of Judah, at Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah, on the southern border of Dan, northwest of Jerusalem.
v. 22. And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, utterly routed in battle, and they fled every man to his tent.
v. 23. And Joash, the king of Israel, took Amaziah, king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, a captive in his own capital, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits, to signify that he could at any time march into the city.
v. 24. And he took all the gold and the silver and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obed-edom, who had charge of these treasures, and the treasures of the king's house, the hostages also, which would insure him against a repetition of the attacks on the part of Amaziah, and returned to Samaria.
v. 25. And Amaziah, the son of Joash, king of Judah, lived after the death of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, fifteen years.
v. 26. Now, the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel? Cf 2 Kings 14.
v. 27. Now, after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the Lord, when he abandoned himself to idolatry, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish, on the border; of Philistia; but they sent to Lachish after him and slew him there.
v. 28. And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah, that is, in the City of David, 2 Kings 14:20. Conspiracy and rebellion are scourges with which God has punished many a proud tyrant.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 25". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany