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AMAZIAH BEGINS WELL
The reign of Amaziah was relatively long, ¾ 29 years, because, as his father Joash, he at first did what was outwardly right in the eyes of the Lord, though his heart was not fully for the Lord (v.2). Like Joash also, his testimony for good broke down in his later years, so that it is questionable if he knew the Lord at all.
When his kingdom was established he executed the two servants who had killed his father (v.3), but in accordance with scripture (Deuteronomy 24:16), he did not execute the children of these men, which some men may have done, since they might pose a threat to the ruling king.
WAR WITH EDOM
Amaziah had energy to gather an army from Judah with the object of warring against Edom, but one thing is painfully lacking in this endeavour. While it was right to contend against Edom, yet in all conflict we should first consult the Lord, which Amaziah did not do. He knew enough about scripture to number only those who were 20 years or older, and found he had an army of 300,000 (v.5). However, he made the blunder of hiring 100,000 warriors from Israel to support the men of Judah (v.6). He should certainly have first asked the Lord about such a project, but did not.
Since Amaziah had hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel to support the army of Judah, the Lord sent a man of God to him to tell him God was not with Israel, and if he used Israel's help, Amaziah would be defeated (vv.7-8). Amaziah was therefore concerned about the loss of 100 talents of silver he had already paid to Israel. But what was the loss compared to a humiliating defeat by Edom? The answer of the man of God was simple and to the point, "The Lord is able to give you much more than this" (v.9).
Not only did Amaziah lose 100 talents of silver, but be incurred the proud anger of Israel when he discharged them from going to war. Though they ought to have been thankful to gain the 100 talents without going to battle, yet their pride was wounded and they returned home in great anger.
Without the help of Israel, Amaziah went to battle against the people of Seir (the Edomites) and gained a clear victory, taking 10,000 captives. But he did not remember the words of Elisha to the king of Israel when Elisha brought the army of the Syrians to Samaria (1 Kings 6:19-23). When the king asked Elisha if he should kill them, he responded, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and bow?" Instead, Amaziah's men took. these captives to a high rock in the mountains and threw them down, so that they were all dashed in pieces (v.12). This was gross cruelty, unworthy of a king of Judah.
However, the Israelite soldiers who had been sent back by Amaziah attacked the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon and killed 3,000 men, taking much spoil (v.17). This ought to have spoken deeply to Amaziah in driving him to the Lord. But rather, when be returned from his victory over Edom, he brought with him the idols of Edom and set them up as his own gods, bowing down to them and burning incense to them. Thus he followed the foolish example of his father who had begun well but lapsed into the snare of idolatry.
Certainly the Lord is angry with such evil as this, and He sent a prophet to Amaziah to ask him, "Why have you sought to the gods of the people which could not rescue their own people from your hand?" (v.15). Amaziah's conscience was stung by the plain force of these words, but being determined to stifle his own conscience, he arrogantly answered the prophet, "Have we made you the king's counsellor? Cease! Why should you be killed?" Apparently he thought that, since Joash had killed Zechariah, he himself could as easily kill this prophet. The prophet then said no more except to warn Amaziah, "I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not heeded my advice" (v.16). Solemn words indeed! Would Amaziah forget them?
AMAZIAH DEFEATED BY ISRAEL
However, this deluded king invited his own destruction by asking advice (not God's advice) from his own idolatrous counsellors, to send word to Joash, king of Israel, asking that they engage in battle (v.17). He had previously given 100 talents of silver to Israel to enlist their help. But now he thought he was strong, since he defeated Edom and was confident he could subdue Israel. Such is the pride of fleshly men.
Joash answered him with a withering parable, comparing him to a thistle demanding recognition from a cedar tree (v.18). But a wild beast trampled the thistle. Joash well understood that Amaziah was proud of having defeated Edom and wanted to bolster his pride by conquering Israel. He advised him to stay at home, for if meddling where he ought not, he would involve not only himself in a humiliating fall, but Judah also (v.19).
Amaziah's foolish stubbornness refused to consider such serious warning, yet he did not realise that God was moving him in this bad direction because he had adopted the idols of Edom (v.20). When one gives himself up to idolatry, he can expect to succumb to any evil influence, for he has sought folly rather than wisdom.
The result of the battle had been settled beforehand, and Amaziah simply went to his certain defeat (v.22). Joash took Amaziah captive and brought him to Jerusalem, where he could witness the destruction of a large section of the wall of the city (v.23) besides seeing the house of God stripped of all the gold and silver articles that were in it, to be taken as plunder by Joash and Israel.
What a lesson was this for Amaziah! He had shown no regard for God's glory (of which the gold speaks), nor for the need of redemption (symbolised by the silver), and therefore God allowed the very symbols to be taken from him. What do we today think of those two vital matters ¾ God's glory and the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? The wall broken down is the confirmation that Amaziah had already broken down his proper separation from the ungodly nations by his adoption of Edom's idols. At least Jerusalem ought to have kept out of the gross evil of idolatry. The wall was therefore of no practical value any more. For us today the wall of separation from evil should be, not the mere formal separation from people, but a godly stand for the truth that separates us to the Lord and therefore from whatever dishonours Him.
Though Joash had defeated Amaziah, he did not live long to savour his victory, but died fifteen years before Amaziah (v.16). Still, there is no indication that Amaziah recovered his treasures from Israel. While Judah remained in the place God had given them and maintained their outward allegiance to God's temple, yet they were greatly humiliated by Israel who had left God's place of worship. This is a serious lesson for believers today who may be humbled in the eyes of those who maintain a formal observance of Christianity but with no vital knowledge of Christ. Why are we thus humbled? Because we have not wholeheartedly acted on the truths that we know, and God seeks by such means to drive us back to walk truly in His ways.
But the humbling of Amaziah did not accomplish the result it ought to have. His ungodly character became offensive even to his servants who conspired against him. Through fear he fled to Lachish, but to no avail, for they sent men there to kill him (v.27). Thus he suffered the same sad fate as did his father Joash (ch.24:25). His body was carried back to Jerusalem for burial which is said to be "with his fathers" (v.28), which sounds as though he was buried with the kings, though his father did not have such a burial (ch.24:25).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 25". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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