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AMAZIAH RULING IN JUDAH
Joash had only reigned briefly in Israel before Amaziah the son of the other Joash (or Jehoash) became king in Judah. He was 25 when crowned king and reigned 29 years. His mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. She must have been a commendable character, for her son was comparatively obedient to the Lord, though not as faithful as David had been (v.2). He was much like his father, Jehoash, with many things to his credit, though the high places of worship were still maintained during his reign, where the people sacrificed and burned incense (v.3).
When he was established in his kingdom Amaziah rightly executed the two men who had murdered his father (ch.12:21). Yet Amaziah was not vindictive, for he respected God's word in Deuteronomy 24:16, "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers, a person shall be put to death for his own sin." Therefore the children of the two men were not put to death (v.6).
Amaziah did good work in judging Edom, killing 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. Edom pictures the flesh, so that spiritually this victory was over the flesh. May we also judge the flesh unsparingly (v.7). He also took Sela by war, changing its name to Joktheel. These names seem not too certain as regards a spiritual interpretation, but Amaziah was rightly defeating the enemy and putting him in subjection.
However, Amaziah's success in defeating the enemies of the Lord seems to have awakened the pride in him of thinking he could subdue the ten tribes of Israel also. When Rehoboam gathered a great army with the same object in view, God sent word to him, "You shall not go up nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel (1 Kings 12:24). Separations between brethren are not going to be healed in this way. But Amaziah sent messengers to Joash, king of Israel, wanting to battle with Israel (v.8). If Israel attacked, the case would be much different, but Amaziah ought to have known better than to initiate a conflict with his brethren the children of Israel.
When Amaziah foolishly determined to attack his brethren, the ten tribes of Israel, Joash sent him a crushing reply, using a parable that belittled Amaziah by calling him a "thistle" challenging a cedar tree, with the result that a wild beast trampled the thistle (v.9). Thus the unbeliever reproved the believer, for Joash discerned that because Amaziah had defeated Edom he was flushed by the pride that thought he could defeat Israel also. He advised Amaziah to stay at home, for in meddling with trouble he would fall, and Judah with him (v.10).
But Amaziah stubbornly refused to listen, and took his army to fight Israel. Amaziah's pride at the time was such that he felt no need of consulting the Lord. Can we wonder that the Lord therefore allowed Judah to be badly defeated by Israel and to flee for their lives?
Amaziah himself was captured, and the king of Israel came to Jerusalem, breaking down the wall from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, a length of 400 cubits (about 600 feet), and took all the articles of gold and silver that were in the house of the Lord (vv.13-14). What a lesson is this for us! By meddling where we have no right we shall find the wall of our separation from the world broken down, and more seriously still, the precious things belonging to the Lord which we hold in trust. will be stolen from us! Let us pay close attention to the words Paul wrote to Timothy, "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust" (1 Timothy 6:20).
Thus Amaziah and all Judah were humiliated before the idol-worshipping Israelites, though Amaziah's life was spared. But 2 Chronicles 25:14 shows us the reason that God allowed the shameful defeat of Amaziah by Israel. When Amaziah had defeated the Edomites, he brought Edom's idols back to his own house and bowed down to them and offered incense to them. God sent a prophet to reprove him for this, but Amaziah insolently refused his message. Thus Amaziah had slipped badly from his first actions of obedience to the Lord.
Joash of Israel died fifteen years before Amaziah did (vv.16-17), but there is no indication of Amaziah's recovery from idol worship. He was no example of godliness to his subjects. and his own people conspired against him in Jerusalem. He fled for his life to Lachish, but was followed there and killed. How sad an end to a reign that had begun well!
The body of Amaziah was brought back again to Jerusalem for burial (v.20), and the people appointed his son Azariah to reign in his stead. Azariah (called Uzziah in 2 Chronicles 25:1) was only sixteen years old in beginning his reign. Here it is only mentioned of him that he built Elath and restored it to Judah after the death of his father (v.21).
A SECOND JEREBOAM REIGNS IN ISRAEL
This Jereboam was the son of Joash king of Israel, and reigned in Samaria for 41 years, but as did all the kings of Israel, he followed the ways of the first Jereboam in disobedience to the Lord (v.24). He did, however, benefit Israel by restoring land that belonged to them. "For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel" (v.26). How good that the Lord gives some measure of gracious encouragement to His people, though they are in a pathetic state. Thus He saved them from enemies by the hand of Jereboam, who did some good things in spite of his general condition of disobedience to God. This included his recapturing land that had belonged to Judah (v.28), for Judah in her weakness had suffered such loss. At the death of Jereboam, his son Zechariah took the throne.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany