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Bible Commentaries

Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Kings 14

Verses 5-6

2 Kings 14:5-6. As soon as the kingdom was confirmed—he slew his servants, &c.— It seems, that the two assassins continued to be men of weight and interest at court even after they had murdered the king; for Amaziah retained them in his service for some time, nor durst venture to execute justice upon them till he was well settled in his authority. He acted, however, in the punishment of them like a good man, and contrary to the wicked customs of many kingdoms; where, if any one be guilty of high treason, not only he, but his children likewise, who neither partake nor are conscious of any of his traitorous practices, are equally devoted to destruction, lest they should form any faction against the prince, or seek revenge for their father's death.

Verse 7

2 Kings 14:7. Took Selah—and called the name of it Joktheel As סלע selang in the Hebrew signifies a rock, and exactly answers to the Greek word Petra, the generality of commentators with good reason have agreed, that this Selah is the same with Petra, the metropolis of Arabia Petraea, whence the whole country, which also was very rocky, took its name. He gave it the name of Joktheel, which signifies obedience to God, probably as having obliged the inhabitants to observe the laws and statutes of Moses. See Grotius and Wells's Geography.

Verse 8

2 Kings 14:8. Come, let us look one another in the face Josephus, in his account of this transaction, tells us, that Amaziah wrote an imperious letter to the king of Israel, commanding him and his people to pay the same allegiance to him, which they formerly paid to his ancestors David and Solomon; or, in case of their refusal, to expect a decision of the matter by the sword. Others think that he intended no war by this message, but only a trial of military skill and prowess, or a civil kind of interview between his men and those of Israel; for, had he proposed to act in a hostile manner, he would have assaulted them on a sudden, and not given them this warning to stand upon their defence. The words of the message are much of the same kind with what Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise and play before us, 2 Samuel 2:14. But how polite so-ever the expressions may be, in both cases they had in them the formality of a challenge, as both the king and general, who were not unacquainted with military language, certainly understood them. So that the truth of the matter seems to be this; Amaziah, being encouraged by his late victory, determined to be revenged for the slaughter of his ancestors by Jehu, chap. 9:, and for the late spoil which the Israelites had made in his country; and thereupon, resolving to have satisfaction, he sent them this open declaration of war, only conceived in mild terms.

Verse 9

2 Kings 14:9. The thistle that was in Lebanon This address is a proverb derived from the fable; a kind of speech which corresponds in all respects to writing by hieroglyphics; each being a symbol of something else to be understood: and as it sometimes happened when a hieroglyphic became famous, that it lost its particular signification, and assumed a general one, as the caducaeus, which at first was painted only to denote the pacific office of Hermes, became in time the common symbol of league and amity; so it was with the apologue; of which, when any one became celebrated for the art and beauty of its composition, or for some extraordinary efficacy in its application, it was soon converted and worn into a proverb. We have a fine instance of this in the present message of Jehoash to Amaziah, which alludes to the apologue of Jotham, in Judges 9:7., and shews us plainly, that this satirical apologue of the thistle and cedar was now become a proverb. See Div. Leg. vol. 3: Considering the circumstances of the person addressed, who was, comparatively to many, but a petty prince, flushed with a little good success, and thereupon impatient to enlarge his kingdom, no similitude could be better adapted than that of a thistle, a low contemptible shrub, but, upon its having drawn blood of some traveller, grown proud, and affecting an equality with the cedar, a tall stately tree, the pride and ornament of the wood; till, in the midst of all its arrogance and presumption, it is unhappily trodden down by the beasts of the forest; which Joash intimates would be Amaziah's fate, if he continued to provoke a prince of his superior power and strength. See Calmet and Scheuchzer.

Verse 19

2 Kings 14:19. Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, &c.— What provoked the people of Jerusalem, more than those of any other part of the nation, against their king, was, their seeing their city spoiled of its best ornaments, exposed to reproach on account of the great breach that was made in their wall, and several of their children carried away as hostages for their good behaviour, 2Ki 14:13-14 all which they imputed to their king's mal-administration; whereupon they entered into a conspiracy against him, which makes some commentators say, that he lived in a state of exile at Lachish the space of twelve years, not choosing to continue in Jerusalem after the defeat which Jehoash had given him. But our learned Usher has placed this conspiracy in the last year of Amaziah's reign; and Capellus supposes, that it was set on foot by the great men of Jerusalem upon the specious pretence of being guardians to the young prince, and taking better care of him than his father was likely to do.

Verse 25

2 Kings 14:25. By the hand of his servant Jonah The only mention we have of this prophet is in this passage, and in the account of his famous mission to Nineveh, where we shall say more on the subject. What the prophesies were by which he encouraged Jeroboam to proclaim war against the king of Syria, are nowhere recorded; but as we have not every thing which the prophets did write, so several prophets did not commit their predictions to writing. From this place, however, we may observe that God was very merciful to the Israelites, though a very wicked people, in continuing a race of prophets among them even after Elisha was dead. See Patrick.

Verse 28

2 Kings 14:28. How he recovered Damascus, and Hamath Some are of opinion, that when Jeroboam re-conquered these two chief cities of Syria, he restored them to the kingdom of Judah, because they belonged to it of right, and reserved to himself only a small tribute to be paid him by way of acknowledgment. This is what the original Hebrew as well as the Chaldee and Septuagint versions seem to favour; but the Syriac and Arabic translators have omitted the word Judah, and may therefore be supposed to think, as several others do, that Jeroboam kept to himself all those places which he had recovered at his own hazard and expence.

REFLECTIONS.—Under Jeroboam and his contemporary kings of Judah, Hosea, Jonah, Amos, and Micah prophesied and wrote. When matters were hasting to ruin, then did God multiply the warnings of his word; and, though Israel and Judah despised their prophets, we have reason to bless God for their writings, which are preserved for our admonition.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/2-kings-14.html. 1801-1803.