Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 14:9

Jehoash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, "The thorn bush which was in Lebanon sent to the cedar which was in Lebanon, saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.' But there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trampled the thorn bush.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambition;   Israel, Prophecies Concerning;   Jehoash;   Parables;   Pride;   Sarcasm;   Thistle;   Thompson Chain Reference - Cedars;   Lebanon;   Parables;   Sarcasm;   Thistles;   Trees;   Truth;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Amaziah;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Jehoash;   Lebanon;   Parables;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Parable;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Amaziah;   Fable;   Jehoash;   Lebanon;   Thistle;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Fable;   Lebanon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Fable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Cedar;   Fable;   Thorns, Thistles, Etc;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Amaziah ;   Joash ;   Lebanon ;   Thorns, Thistles;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Cedar tree;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Amaziah;   Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Fable;   Jeho'ash;   Leb'anon,;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Thistle;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Amaziah;   Lebanon;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Amaziah;   Cedar;   Fable;   Jehoash;   Lebanon;   Parable;   Syria;   Thorns;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Allegory in the Old Testament;   Amaziah, King of Judah;   Pharaoh;   Plants;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Jehoash - sent to Amaziah - saying - The meaning of this parable is plain. The thistle that was in Lebanon - Amaziah, king of Judah, sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon - Jehoash, king of Israel, saying, Give thy daughter - a part of thy kingdom, to my son to wife - to be united to, and possessed by the kings of Judah. And there passed by a wild beast - Jehoash and his enraged army, and trode down the thistle - utterly discomfited Amaziah and his troops, pillaged the temple, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem: see 2 Kings 14:12-14. Probably Amaziah had required certain cities of Israel to be given up to Judah; if so, this accounts for that part of the parable, Give thy daughter to my son to wife.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-14.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Oriental use of apologues on the most solemn and serious occasions is well known to all, and scarcely needs illustration (compare marginal reference). It is a common feature of such apologues that they are not exact parallels to the case whereto they are applied, but only general or partial resemblances. Hence, there is need of caution in applying the several points of the illustration.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-14.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah the king of Judah,.... By the return of his messengers:

saying, the thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon; intending by this proverbial way of speaking to humble the pride of Amaziah; comparing him to a thistle or thorn, a low, mean, abject, weak, prickly, and troublesome shrub, and himself to a cedar, a tree high and lofty, strong, large, and spreading:

saying, give thy daughter to my son to wife; signifying, that if in a peaceable manner he had desired to contract affinity with him, and so establish mutual friendship, he should have despised him as being as much below him as the thistle is below a cedar; and therefore should still more despise and defy him, who addressed him in an hostile manner, and in such haughty language:

and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trod down the thistle; and so there was an end put at once to its pride and ambition, and to its treaty with the cedar; intimating hereby, that his soldiers would as easily vanquish and destroy the army of Amaziah as a wild beast can destroy a thistle.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-14.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that [was] in Lebanon sent to the e cedar that [was] in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that [was] in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.

(e) By this parable Jehoash compares himself to a cedar tree, because of his great kingdom over ten tribes and Amaziah to the thistle because he ruled over but two tribes and the wild beasts are Jehoash's soldiers, that spoiled the cities of Judah.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-14.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah — People in the East very often express their sentiments in a parabolic form, especially when they intend to convey unwelcome truths or a contemptuous sneer. This was the design of the admonitory fable related by Joash in his reply. The thistle, a low shrub, might be chosen to represent Amaziah, a petty prince; the cedar, the powerful sovereign of Israel, and the wild beast that trampled down the thistle the overwhelming army with which Israel could desolate Judah. But, perhaps, without making so minute an application, the parable may be explained generally, as describing in a striking manner the effects of pride and ambition, towering far beyond their natural sphere, and sure to fall with a sudden and ruinous crash. The moral of the fable is contained in 2 Kings 14:10.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-kings-14.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.

Saying, … — By the thistle, a low and contemptible, yet troublesome shrub, he understands Amaziah; and by the cedar, himself, whom he intimates to be far stronger than he, and out of his reach.

Trod down — And with no less ease shall my soldiers tread down thee and thy forces.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 14:9 And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that [was] in Lebanon sent to the cedar that [was] in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that [was] in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.

Ver. 9. The thistle that was in Lebanon.] Not the shrub, but the thistle, which is prickly indeed, and can say Nemo me impune lacessit, but a low, vile, weak weed, and not to be named in the same day with the cedar, that tallest and firmest of trees. Thus Joash setteth Amaziah at nought, and looketh upon him as a petty king in comparison of himself.

Give thy daughter to my son,] q.d., I would scorn to have any affinity with thee, though we were never so good friends.

And there passed by a wild beast.] Whereby he meaneth his own forces. Bellum quasi belluinum: soldiers are brutish and barbarous, skilful to destroy; and the time of war is fitly called "a time of trouble, and of treading down." [Isaiah 22:5]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-14.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-kings-14.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By the

thistle, a low and contemptible, yet troublesome shrub, he understands Amaziah; and by the cedar, himself, whom he intimates to be far stronger than he, and out of his reach,

Give thy daughter to my son to wife; let us make a match, i.e. let us fight; only he expresseth this bloody work in a civil manner, as Amaziah had done, 2 Kings 14:8, and as Abner did, 2 Samuel 2:14. Or, let thy kingdom and mine be united under one king, as formerly they were; and let us decide it by a pitched battle, whether thou or I shall be that king. Or, as some expound it, by affirming that it was great arrogancy and presumption for him to desire a friendly league or affinity with him, he leaves him to guess how intolerable it was that he should undertake to wage war against him.

Trod down the thistle; and with no less ease shall my soldiers tread down thee and thy forces.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9.The thistle’ the cedar — This answer of Jehoash reminds us of the fable of Jotham. Judges 9:8. The thistle here, like the bramble there, represents a low, worthless, and offensive thing, and is a stinging reflection on Amaziah and his kingdom. By the cedar the king of Israel pompously suggests to his foe his own magnificence and power, and afterwards plainly says that a war between them must needs result in Judah’s downfall. Both the thistle and the cedar are represented as in Lebanon, which may have been designed to suggest that a worthless king may sometimes be found in a lofty position, and thence through pride aspire to things beyond his sphere.

Give thy daughter to my son — We need not suppose that Amaziah had asked Jehoash to give a daughter in marriage to his son, but it is possible that he had demanded satisfaction for the cities and spoil which the Israelitish soldiers had taken from Judah, or that he had pompously threatened to subdue the kingdom of Israel and unite it again with Judah.

There passed by a wild beast — Image of an unexpected dispensation of judgment moving forth to the sudden destruction of the haughty schemer. The destroyer is represented as passing by, not as sent out by the cedar. So Jehoash might wish to suggest to Amaziah that in case he meddled with things beyond his province he would be suddenly smitten by some judgment of the Almighty. He does not proudly boast and presume to tread down Amaziah and Judah by his own warriors and martial prowess.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-14.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 14:9. Jehoash sent to Amaziah, saying, The thistle, &c. — By the thistle, a mean, despicable, and yet troublesome weed, he understands Amaziah, and by the cedar, himself, whom he intimates to be far stronger than he, and out of his reach. Considering the circumstances of the person addressed, who was 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 Jehoash intimates would be Amaziah’s fate, if he continued to provoke a prince of his superior power and strength. See Calmet and Scheuchzer. Saying, Give me thy daughter to wife — Let us make a match, that is, let us fight; only he expresses his bloody and destructive work in a civil manner, as Amaziah had done, (2 Kings 14:8,) and as Abner did, 2 Samuel 2:14 : or, Let thy kingdom and mine be united under one king, as formerly they were; and let us decide, by a pitched battle, whether thou or I shall be that king. A wild beast trode down the thistle — And so put an end to his treaty with the cedar: and with no less ease shall my soldiers tread down thee and thy forces.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Thistle. Hebrew choach, something prickly; (Haydock) "a thorn." Syriac and Arabic, "a plum-tree." Nothing could be more cutting (Calmet) than this answer of Joas, to shew the king of Juda how much he despised his power. (Haydock) --- The ancients were much pleased with such ingenious similes. See Judges ix. 7.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The thistle, or briar or thorn. Hebrew. choch, rendered thistle here, and in 2 Chronicles 25:18. Job 31:40; thorn in 2 Chronicles 33:11. Job 41:2. Proverbs 26:9. Song of Solomon 2:2. Hosea 9:6; and bramble in Isaiah 34:13.

sent. For a similar fable, see Judges 9:8. Figure of speech Prosopopoeia.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.

Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah. People in the East very often express their sentiments in a parabolic form, especially when they intend to convey unwelcome truths, or a contemptuous sneer. This was the design of the admonitory fable related by Joash in his reply. The thistle, a low shrub, might be chosen to represent Amaziah, a petty prince; the cedar, the powerful sovereign of Israel; and the wild beast that trode down the thistle, the overwhelming army with which Israel could desolate Judah. But, perhaps, without making so minute as application, the parable may be explained generally, as describing, in a striking manner the effects of pride and ambition, towering far beyond their natural sphere, and sure to fall with a sudden and ruinous crash. The moral of the fable is contained in 2 Kings 14:10.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) The thistle.—Or bramble or briar. (Comp. Job 31:40; Song of Solomon 2:2.) The LXX. and Vulg. render “thistle;” the Syriac, “blackthorn” (Prunus silvestris).

Give thy daughter to my son to wife.—Perhaps hinting at Amaziah’s demand for the surrender of Israel (the “daughter” of Jehoash) to Judah (the “son” of Amaziah).

And there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon.—Rather, and the wild beasts that were in Lebanon passed over it. So LXX. and Vulg. It is obvious to compare with this brief but most pithy parable that of Jotham (Judges 9:8-15). The contrast between the northern and southern kingdoms in point of military strength and resources, and the disdainful tolerance with which the former regarded the latter, could hardly have found more forcible expression.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.
The thistle
Judges 9:8-15; 2 Samuel 12:1-4; 1 Kings 4:33; Ezekiel 20:49; The word {choach,} which is rendered here, and in 2; 25:18; Job 31:18,; 13:6,; 33:11; Proverbs 26:9; Song of Solomon 2:2; Hosea 9:6; thorn, is probably the black thorn, or sloe tree, the {prunus spinosa} of Linnæus, as the same word signifies in Arabic. There is a vast deal of insolent dignity in this remonstrance of Jehoash; but it has nothing conciliatory; no proposal of making amends for the injury his army had done to the unoffending inhabitants of Judah. (2; 25:10-13.)
Reciprocal: Judges 8:6 - GeneralJudges 9:14 - bramble;  Judges 9:15 - the cedars;  Judges 14:2 - get her;  Job 31:40 - thistles;  Proverbs 20:3 - but;  1 Corinthians 12:15 - GeneralGalatians 6:14 - that I

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 14:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-14.html.