II Chronicles 25
This chapter is filled up with a very graphic account of the entire career of
Amaziah, and its twenty-eight verses are paralleled by the twenty verses of
II Kings 14:1-20, where the narrative reads in several places much more
curtly. Our chapter opens with the familiar anticipatory summary of the
man, his age, pedigree, and character, whose course is to be detailed more
precisely in following verses, again and yet again sounding the clear keynote
of an unclean character and reign (vs. 1-2); it proceeds to record
the king’s avenging of his father’s murder (vs. 3-4); his successful sally
against “the children of Seir,” with the incident of the affronted division of
army, formed of them that “came to him out of Ephraim” (vs. 5-13); his
defection to idolatry, and insult put upon the faithful “prophet” (vs. 14-16);
his jaunty and provocative challenge to Joash of Israel, to his own
overthrow (vs. 17-24); his end (vs. 25-28).
1 “Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he
reigned twenty and nine years in
nine years. Glance at notes on vs. 1, 15, 17 of foregoing chapter, from which it
appears that, as Joash died aetat. forty-seven, and Amaziah was now
twenty-five, he must have been born when his father was twenty-two years
old, and Jehoaddan correspondingly likely to have been one of the two
wives Jehoiada selected for Joash, at the age, on other data, of twenty-one
credit to the memory of Jehoiada, for having been careful to select a woman
of the honored city rather than of any provincial or even less worthy city.
2 “And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not
with a perfect heart.” Not with a perfect heart. This is illustrated by his
coming “to set up
the gods of
supplies, that he resembled Joash rather than David, and did not suppress
“the high places, sacrifices, and incense-burning’’ (II Kings 14:3-4). In
almost all cases, the not perfect heart speaks of that which began well, but
did not “endure unto the end.” (Matthew 24:13)
“Doing Right, But” (v. 2)
It is well, indeed, when iniquity is qualified with some redeeming features,
as we are thankful to think it often is. A man is ungodly, or cruel, or self-
indulgent, or mercenary, but he has something in him which makes him
much less condemnable than he would otherwise be. Unfortunately,
goodness also is often qualified; of the man concerning whom we have
much to say in praise there is something serious to say by way of
detraction. Of every good man there may be something to record which is
not favorable; but the qualification may be so slight that it is the mere
“dust in the balance.” Too often it has to be “written in heaven,” and
perhaps upon earth also, that he “did what was right, but not with a perfect
heart.” There are some:
Ø One Christian man is blameless in behavior so far as the main
features of morality are concerned, but he is so reserved and reticent, so
unapproachable, that he exerts but very little influence.
Ø Another is very ardent and enthusiastic in the cause of Christ, very
open-hearted and open-handed, but he is very irritable and ill-tempered,
so that he is avoided or even disliked.
Ø A third is very tender and sympathetic in spirit, with a ready
ear and an unselfish consideration for every tale of difficulty or distress,
but he is very weak, pliant, credulous; no one can attach any weight to his
Ø A fourth is possessed of many of the virtues and graces of
Christian character, but he is very weak in some one direction, much too
open to temptation of one particular kind, and his friends are always
apprehensive lest he should succumb, and fall quite seriously. These are
o to be pointed out by friends, and to be recognized frankly by those
who are the subjects of them;
o to be carefully, conscientiously, devoutly corrected and removed,
lest the “gospel of Christ be hindered” (I Corinthians 9:12),
lest the Master Himself be displeased and dishonored.
But there are:
Ø In Christian life. It may be that one who has considered himself, and
who has been considered, a true disciple of Jesus Christ, falls back, falls
o into condemnable self-indulgence; or
o into an arrogance of spirit and haughtiness of bearing which are as
hateful to men as (we know) they are offensive to God; or
o into a lightness and irreverence of tone which cannot fail to be as
displeasing to Christ as it is painful to the devout and earnest-minded
among men; or
o into a serious selfishness of soul which has no eye for anything but
its own personal and passing interests.
Ø In Christian work. It may be that one who has shown much earnestness
in the field of sacred usefulness, either
o loses all interest in that for which he once thought much and labored
o becomes so opinionated and so peremptory that no one can co-operate
with him, and he has to be left alone. He is practically disabled by his
Now, there is too often found to be:
committed by Amaziah, viz. that of never yielding ourselves thoroughly to
the service of God. It is likely that the King of Judah only gave half an
heart to the worship of Jehovah; that his piety was superficial, formal,
constrained, essentially and radically imperfect; that he was like the young
man of the Gospel narrative, who had “kept the commandments from his
youth up,” but who was never so thoroughly in earnest as to be ready to
give up everything to attain eternal life (Mark 10:17-22). If we do not
yield ourselves wholly to our Divine Saviour, we shall find, as we pursue
our way, that at some important crisis:
Ø our obedience will be at fault; or
Ø our devotion will fail; or
Ø our character will be blemished, and
Ø our reputation will break down; or
Ø we shall leave the field and lose our reward (II John 1:8).
Ø Let us realize how great, how supreme, how prevailing, are
the claims of our Divine Redeemer.
Ø Let us offer our hearts and lives to Him in full and glad
Then shall it not be written of us, that “we did right, but not with a perfect
3 “Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him,
that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.”
Was established to him; Hebrew, חָזְקָה. This is kal
conjugation of the verb, which we found in piel in v. 5 of foregoing
chapter, and there rendered “repair.” The kal force of the word is simply to
“be strong” (Genesis 41:57; Joshua 17:13; II Kings 14:5). The
hiph., to “make strong,” or “confirm,” as it is rendered here, is found in
II Kings 15:19. Again and again the disorders of the kingdom and the
violent deaths of prophets and kings must have greatly contributed to
nervous apprehensions, in fact only too just, when a new king ascended the
throne. In the parallel and in passage last quoted the words, “in his hand,”
follow the verb. Amaziah both needed to get his own hand in, according to
modern phrase, and to get things well into his hand. His servants. It may
be held surprising that they should have been found “in the place,” or
should now be his servants at all. The explanation may be either that their
guilt had not yet been known, or, if known, had not been fixed upon them.
4 “But he slew not their children, 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.”
Slew not their children. Emphasis (the emphasis of mention, at
any rate) is laid upon this, perhaps partly to show that Amaziah did in some
measure walk by “the Law of the Lord,” and partly because of numerous
cases that had grown up to the opposite (II Kings 9:8, 26; Joshua 7:24-25,
where, however, very possibly all were more or less aiders and
abettors of the wickedness). For Moses’ clearly written rehearsal of “the
commandment of the Lord,” on this subject, see the marginal references,
Deuteronomy 24:16; Jeremiah 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:4, 19-20.
The Accession of Amaziah (vs. 1-4)
likely the eldest. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. Whether
she, like her husband, had declined into idolatry cannot be told.
— eleven years less than his father reigned. Eighteen years older than Joash
when he obtained the crown, he was only seven years older when he put it
off. Clearly IDOLATRY in those days was not conducive to longevity.
Ø Good. “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,” as his
father did while Jehoiada lived (ch. 24:2); i.e. he abandoned
idolatry and became a worshipper of Jehovah.
Ø Not perfect. “Not with a perfect heart,” as it should have been (I Kings 8:61),
after the examples of Asa (ch. 15:17; I Kings 15:14) and David (II Kings 14:3;
Psalm 101:2). His return to the worship of Jehovah was probably:
o dictated by fear, occasioned by the recollection of his father’s
untimely and violent death; hence
o deficient in extent, the high places not being removed (II Kings
o destitute of permanence — in fact, dropped when he felt himself
secure upon his throne (v. 14).
Ø A deed of vengeance. “He slew his servants that had killed the king his
o Justice demanded this. If his father deserved to die, which seems
indisputable, it is not clear that Zabad and Jehozabad had a right
to be his executioners.
o Filial piety approved this. Under the Law it was the next kinsman’s
duty to avenge the blood of a slain relative (Deuteronomy 19:12).
Amaziah would have proved himself an unnatural son had he spared
any longer than he could help the assassins of his father.
o Prudence recommended this. Doubtless Amaziah feared that some
day the fate of Joash would be his, if these men lived.
Ø An exercise of clemency. “He slew not their children.”
o Considering what the Law of Moses said (Deuteronomy 24:16),
this was right;
o remembering the universal practice of the Orient, it was merciful;
o if they were young children when the wicked deed was done, it was
humane as well as right.
Ø The vanity of earthly glory — even kings must die.
Ø The imperfection of human goodness — the best of men but men at
Ø The impossibility of escaping for ever the due reward of one’s evil
deeds, except by repentance and faith IN JESUS CHRIST!
Ø The beauty of clemency in all, but especially in kings. “Earthly power
doth then show likest God’s when mercy seasons justice” (‘Merchant
captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to
the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and
he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found
them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war,
that could handle spear and shield.” This and the following five verses are
entirely omitted in the parallel, which contents itself with giving in its v. 7, in
fewer words, but with the supplement of other matter, what is contained in our
v. 11. Found them three hundred thousand. Compare Asa’s “five hundred and
eighty thousand” (ch.14:8), and Jehoshaphat’s “eleven hundred and sixty thousand”
(ch. 17:14-19; see note, however, on these verses, and the improbability of numbers
so high). The Hebrew text of the second clause of this verse simply says,
“he set them” (יַעֲמִידֵם), or placed them according to… fathers’ houses,
under captains, etc., glancing most naturally at Numbers 1:2-2:34. Twenty
years old and above (compare I Chronicles 27:23).
6 “He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valor out of
that “all the children of Ephraim” (which was strictly the northern
chief tribe) are hereby designated. It is not quite clear that
conterminous with the
strict tribe of Ephraim, whose ancestor was Joseph’s younger son, are
described in Joshua 16:5. The tribe were located as nearly as possible in
the center of the land. Ephraim, however, is here, as in many other places,
as the name of the royal tribe, so named upon the whole of the northern
kingdom (Isaiah 9:8; 17:3; 28:3; several times in almost every chapter
of Hosea, and for a typical instance, compare Hosea 14:8).
7 “But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the
with all the children of Ephraim.” (See foregoing chapter, v. 19.) The
name of this man of God does not transpire. To wit, with. These three words,
all in italic type, if entirely omitted, and not even the preposition adopted, as
in the Revised Version, into the ordinary type, will leave the intention of the
writer clearer rather than less clear.
8 “But if thou wilt go, do it; be strong for the battle: God shall make
thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.”
It is hard to feel satisfied as to the correct rendering of this
verse. The drift of the next verse, which shows Amaziah a convert to the
strong exhortation of the man of God, makes either alternative allowable
under the present text very untimely. and not very much in accord with
what we should look for at the lips of the man of God. The very
conceivable way out of the difficulty is to read לא, hyphened to אם (all the
rather that no vau is present in בּלֺא, as the present text is), and proceed to
supply בּא or בּוא again before אַתָּה, crediting some copyist with
confusion of eye through these having come close together in his
manuscript. The rendering will then be straightforward, and prepare the
way for Amaziah’s yielding conformably with the tenor of the next verse.
“But if not” (i.e. if thou wilt not be guided by my remonstrance as to
Ephraim), “go thou, be on the alert, exert all the strength possible for the
battle, and yet nevertheless God will cause thee to stumble.” And the
remaining sentence may bear this significance, “For God hath power to
help thee though alone, or to cast thee down though supported by an extra
hundred thousand.” If such alteration or conjectural restoration of the text
be not accepted, we may harmonize the facts of the case with the most
utter faithfulness of lip on the part of the prophet, by translating, “For in
very truth, if thou go at all, and though thou make the best preparations,
God shall make it go ill with thee.” And Amaziah is persuaded to this
point, that he will neither risk the lives of them of Ephraim vainly, nor risk
the likelier displeasure of God on himself. He yields only partly, and
therefore is nothing benefited. The difficulty is left untouched, that the
prophet did not simply in toto forbid Amaziah to go, and that, saving them
of Ephraim, he saves them to be a second scourge for the back of Amaziah,
though he took his prophet’s advice so far, and lost his own money. A
careful and devout observer of human life and perverseness, when once
these commit themselves to the vain struggle with God, and equally vain
attempt to haggle with His providence as to how much to yield and how
much to resist and withhold, cannot but be struck with the photograph
here thrown off, and that it is a faithful one, of hard facts that have met
together disastrously times without number in men’s lives. The sum, then,
of the matter of our vs. 7-8 may amount to this: “Under no circumstances
God shall destroy thee.”
9 “And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the
hundred talents which I have given to the
God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.”
This verse is consummate in the two touches by which it sets forth the phase
of earth’s calculatingness respecting the perishable, and Heaven’s swift disposal
of any such trifling difficulty.
Gold, and the Favor of God (vs. 5-9)
There is something which approaches, if it does not amount to, the
ludicrous in the question so solemnly proposed by Amaziah, “But what
shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of
money? Were a hundred talents to be thrown away? Supposing he defeated
the enemy without the help of these mercenaries, would it not be a
mortifying thing that he had spent such a sum to no purpose? But Amaziah
was so situated that he had to make the choice which has so often to be
made; he had to choose between:
Ø sacrificing his money or
Ø forfeiting the favor of his God.
He had the wisdom to accept the former alternative, and to believe the prophet,
that the Lord was “able to give him more than this.” On the choice which we
make, when this question comes up for settlement by ourselves, there hang
great issues. Wherefore let us well consider:
useful purposes; through it we can secure the necessaries and the comforts
of life, the conditions of education, the advantages of good society; but its
power is very limited, after all.
Ø Its possession, so far from ensuring happiness, often entails much
burdensomeness, and always imposes a heavy responsibility.
Ø Its tenure is slight and short; an accident or a revolution, impossible to
foresee, may take it suddenly away, and at death it must be relinquished.
Ø It is wholly powerless in the presence of some of the sadder and graver
evils of our life.
Ø It tempts to indolence and indulgence, and it may be doubted whether it
does not spoil more lives than it brightens and blesses.
The Lord was not only able to give Amaziah “much more than this,” much
more than “a hundred talents of silver,” but He was able to bless him in
ways which were incomparably superior to such material enrichment. And
so is HE IS ABLE AND MOST WILLING TO BLESS US! Willingly should
we part with gold and silver at His bidding, to be true and loyal disciples to
our Master, to preserve our spiritual integrity; for if we do this “for Christ’s
sake and the gospel’s” (Mark 8:35) there will be for us ample and most
abundant compensation for what we lose.
Ø The peace of God, which passes understanding, and which surpasses all
Ø The positive and active friendship of our Lord, and of the good and true.
Ø A life of noble and fruitful service.
Ø A death of hope.
Ø A future of immortal glory. In view of these things, we need not be
greatly concerned about the less of a hundred or a thousand talents.
10 “Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to
him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was
greatly kindled against
It appears that, though this contingent from
hired force, yet for some reason their heart was in their calling, perhaps in
anticipation of plunder. It may well be that they asked why they were
discharged; and whether the right answer were given them, that the Lord
dwelt not among them, or some wrong answer, it evidently did not
improve matters, but rankled in their hearts till it found relief (vs. 13, 22),
as they concluded that either their ability or fidelity, or both, were called in
question. The ‘Speaker’s Commentary’ very aptly cites the keen
resentment and mortification that the Athenians are recorded to have felt in
similar circumstances as told in Plutarch’s ‘Lives:’ “Cimon,” §17.
Separated them. This is the verb occurring several times in the first verses
of Genesis 1. (יַבְדִּילֵם); there it is always followed by the preposition בֵּי,
when speaking of the separating of two things from one another. Though
this be meant here, it is not what is exactly said, and the prefix preposition
לְ before the substantive (לְהַגְּדוּד) may, as Keil says, be regarded as
designating the appositional accusative to that affixed in the shape of the
pronoun “them” to the verb.
11 “And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and
went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.”
Strengthened himself. The hithp, conjugation of our already
familiar verb חָזַק; it was not a healthy strengthening, and this may be
considered denoted in the fact that the work was all his own, and that he
wrought himself up. The valley of salt. Commonly supposed to be the
plain south of the
Appendix. § 2. 5, pp. 482, 483), more probably a “ravine
(I Chronicles 18:12; II Samuel 8:13). (For the association of Seir with
other ten thousand left alive did the children of
away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast
them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.”
The top of the rock. The parallel uses the Hebrew word
without translation, Selah (הַסֶּלַע). There is little doubt that this is
(Conder’s ‘Handbook to the
87-92). The parallel tells us the interesting fact that Amaziah, perhaps
under the influence of a spasmodic touch of devoutness or gratitude,
changed the name of Selah, or rather endeavored to change it, to
Joktheel, which Gesenius translates “subjugated of God.” This name had
already occurred in Joshua 15:38. The new name, however, did not
last, as the Edomites recovered soon the country of (ch. 28:17; Amos 1:11;
Isaiah 16:1-2) Arabia Petraea, of
which Selah or
Left alive. The Revised Version correctly renders, carry away alive.
The cruelty of the Edomites receives many illustrations
(see last references, and Ezekiel 25:12-14; Obadiah 1:1-15).
13 “But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they
should not go with him to battle, fell upon
the cities of
Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them,
and took much spoil.” There is probably something to read
between the lines here, to wit, that the soldiers returned to their master and
king (Joash of Israel), and were by him remitted to this work. The mention
back” may be held to imply, at least, that they first went back — that the
disappointment of spoil was the chief part of their aggravations, so that
now the rather they got their much spoil, and note made thereof, and that
— since not so much the instructive and so far forth more excusable
revenge on the part of the disappointed soldiers, but the deliberate plan and
order of their king had brought about this devastation of Amaziah’s
domains, in this fact we have the key of what we read in our vs. 17-18,
etc., and of the very cool manner in which Amaziah challenged Joash. The
Ephraim. Smote three thousand of them; i.e. of the people of them.
A Campaign against the Edomites (vs. 5-13)
army mustered. “Amaziah
review, probably in
capable of bearing arms.
Ø The army organized. “He made them captains over thousands, and
captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers,
throughout all Judah and Benjamin.” Compare Samuel’s prediction
(I Samuel 8:12), and Moses’ practice (Numbers 31:14; Deuteronomy
1:15). Order and subordination are indispensable to the efficiency of a host.
Since the days of Jehoiada (ch. 23:1; II Kings 11:15) the army had probably
Ø The army numbered. “And he numbered them from twenty years old and
above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men — a
considerably smaller force than Asa led out against Zerah (ch. 14:8), or than
Jehoshaphat possessed (ch. 17:14-18). The explanation is, either that only
the flower of Amaziah’s troops, the picked men of the army, were numbered,
or the force had been diminished by the disastrous wars of the preceding
reigns. What is next stated renders this probable.
Ø The army increased. “He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of
valor out of
given, but his admonition is:
Ø A dissuasive. Against
battle. If the king’s recollection of former alliances with the northern
kingdom did not remind him of the unadvisedness of the course he was
contemplating (ch. 18:28; 20:35; 22:5; I Kings 22:29; II Kings 3:7),
the earnestness of Jehovah’s messenger might have startled him.
Ø A reason. Jehovah was not with Israel, not with any of the sons of
Ephraim, because of their defection into idolatry. What had been true of
Rehoboam (ch. 12:5), what had been threatened to Asa (ch. 15:2),
been the case with
was the habitual and seemingly permanent condition of the northern people.
They had forsaken God, and He had in turn forsaken them. To seek the
rather whence hurt alone could proceed. It is hardly doubtful that the people
of God err in asking the assistance of God’s enemies for their schemes
ch. 19:2), whether those schemes be material such as church-building,
or spiritual such as propagating the gospel, and whether that aid be in the
money, influence, or men. The Jews who returned from
would not accept assistance from the Samaritans in building their temple
(Ezra 4:3). Should the Church of Jesus Christ accept the aid of the
Ø An alternative, or an exhortation. “If thou wilt go [i.e. with these
northern allies], then go, do valiantly, be strong for the battle,” i.e. do your
best — the language of irony; or, according to another rendering (Ewald,
Bertheau, Keil), “If thou wilt go, go alone, do valiantly, be strong for the
battle” But in this case the force of the first clause is lost, as there was no
question as to “going” or “not going” put before Amaziah, but merely as to
“going with” or “without
Ø A threatening or a promise. “God shall cast thee down before the
enemy,” or “God shall (not) cast thee down before the enemy,” the word
“not” being supplied. If Amaziah went depending on the assistance of his
mercenaries, he would lose the battle; if he left them behind and went forth
with only his own forces, he would prove victorious. The great lesson
Jehovah was constantly, by means of his prophets (Isaiah 26:3-4; 57:13;
Jeremiah 39:18; 42:11; Nahum 1:7) and the events of His providence,
to impress upon
reliance upon Himself, as the only means of ensuring their safety and
continued prosperity (ch. 20:20); the same lesson is urgently
required by Christians (Romans 15:13; Ephesians 2:8).
Ø An argument. “God hath power to help or to cast down” — to help His
people without allies, as He helped;
o Jehoshaphat (ch. 20:22),
o Asa (ch. 14:12), and
o Abijah (ch. 13:15);
or to cast down His people, even in spite of allies, as He did formerly with:
o Joash (ch. 24:24),
o Jehoshaphat (I Kings 22:36),
o Rehoboam (ch.13:9),
o and afterwards with Ahaz (ch. 28:16-19).
Ø Proposed. Amaziah felt a difficulty about complying with the prophet’s
He might send back his allies to Joash in Jezreel or
what about his talents? These his royal brother would not be likely to
return. He might go to battle without his hired troops, but who would give
him his silver moneys? One hundred talents was a large sum to lose even
for a king. Amaziah was of Shylock’s mind, “You take my house when you
do take the prop that doth sustain my house” (‘Merchant of Venice,’ act 4.
sc. 1). Like the Jew who lamented more over the loss of his ducats — his
“Christian ducats,” “a sealed bag, two sealed bags of ducats, of double
ducats… and jewels” — than the flight of his daughter, Amaziah mourned
less the idea of parting with his mercenaries than the fact that they would
carry with them his precious talents.
Ø Answered. The man of God might have replied
o that even if he kept his allies his hundred talents were lost, while he
would certainly lose the battle in addition; or
o that if he parted with his hirelings he would prove victorious, which
would more than compensate for the loss of his talents; but the man
of God responded
o that Jehovah, if he pleased, could give him much more than a hundred
talents. He said not, indeed, that Jehovah would give him more than he
would lose, because considerations of money do not enter into questions
of right and wrong. The moral quality of an action is not determined by
its financial results. Simply the prophet stated that Jehovah could give the
king much more than a hundred talents, which was true, since the silver
and the gold were his (I Chronicles 29:11-12; Haggai 2:8), and he gave
them to whomsoever he would (Proverbs 30:8; Ecclesiastes 5:19;
Ø The dismissal of the mercenaries. The army out of Ephraim was
separated from his own troops and sent home to
in discharging them, was actuated by cupidity, the desire of getting back
his talents with interest, or by fear, the dread of losing the battle, — the
step he took was right, being such as the man of God demanded, prudent
as the issue of the campaign showed, and bold as the situation required. It
was certain to excite the ire of the northern warriors, and according to the
Chronicler it did: “they returned home in fierce anger.” Well-doing on the
part of good men may stir the wrath of others, to whom it may at times
appear insulting; nevertheless, the path of duty must be adhered to, though
it should lead to the estrangement of friends no less than to the loss of
The advance of the army of
faith fortitude, as Christians are exhorted to do in the campaign of life
(II Peter 1:5), and led his forces out with no ally but Jehovah, as far as
about two miles broad, south of the
vegetation, now called El-Ghor (Robinson). There he encountered the
Edomites, or children of
days of Jehoram (ch. 21:8; II Kings 8:20), and whose subjugation was
the object of the present campaign.
Ø The defeat of the Edomites.
o The destruction of their army. Ten thousand soldiers were killed, ten
thousand prisoners taken.
o The capture of their capital. Selah, “Rock” (Isaiah 16:1), the well
or “conquered by God” (II Kings 14:7). This remarkable city was
situated in a valley (Es Sik, “the cleft;” called by the Arabs Wady Musa)
running from north to south, about three quarters of a mile long, and
enclosed on all sides by precipitous sandstone rocks of variegated hues,
rising in some parts to a height of eight hundred or a thousand feet.
o The slaughter of their people. If Amaziah’s prisoners were hurled from
Ø By whom.? The soldiers of the Israelitish army sent back by Amaziah.
The Samaritans, whose aid Zerubbabel declined, “weakened the hands of
the people of
unbelieving world would oppose, harass, and hinder the
even more than it does, were it separated as it should be from the Church’s
midst (John 15:19). But better the world’s opposition, hatred, and
revenge, with God’s help, favor, and blessing, than the world’s
cooperation, friendship, and approbation, with God’s displeasure,
withdrawal, and antagonism.
For what? For not being allowed to go to battle with
they saved their lives. Their honor, it may be supposed, was wounded;
and the world holds a wound to one’s honor to be a greater stroke than
a buffet to one’s person or a loss to one’s purse. But Christ’s followers
ought not to take their code of morals from the world!
On whom? The cities of Judah and their inhabitants, from
Beth-horon, now Beit-Ur (ch. 8:5). Though these had no part in the
offence, they must nevertheless share in the penalty. If Amaziah had
done the soldiers wrong, Amaziah should have given them redress in his
own person. But nations have hardly yet learned to discriminate between
offending sovereigns and offenseless subjects, When those quarrel they
can only heal their friends by setting these to cut each other’s throats
or blow each other into eternity by means of guns and cannons!
Ø How far? To the taking of three thousand men and much spoil. Whether
this devastation of the northern cities of
Israelitish soldiers were returning home to
likely, when Amaziah was in
subsequently led to a war between the two kingdoms is undoubted.
Ø The folly of entering on any enterprise in which God cannot aid.
Ø The sin of resorting to means of which Heaven cannot approve.
Ø The sufficiency of God’s help without creature-aids.
Ø The duty of withdrawing from wicked schemes, even though doing so
should entail financial loss.
Ø The impossibility of settling questions of right and wrong by calculations
of profit and loss.
Ø The insignificance of money loss as compared with loss of Divine help
Ø The immense indebtedness of the world to Christianity, even while
14 “Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the
slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children
of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself
before them, and burned incense unto them.”
Brought the gods of the children of Seir… to be his gods.
Amaziah’s devout gratitude to God, and acknowledgment of Him in the
name Joktheel, was soon gone, and at the very last, grown confident, he
loses all, and realizes the fulfillment of the “man of God’s” prophetic
15 “Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah,
and He sent unto him a prophet, 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?” He sent unto him a prophet.
We are again not told whom. The tone of the prophet, and the words given
us as his in the latter half of v. 16, would lead us to think it was the same
“man of God;” but we cannot assert it, and had it been the same, it would more
probably have transpired. The history now often reminds us of ch. 24:16.
The Folly of Irreligion (v. 15)
The remonstrance addressed by the prophet of the Lord to Amaziah was
well grounded; his argument was conclusive. We arc simply astonished at:
King of Judah to turn from the service of Jehovah, who had just granted
him a signal proof of His power and His goodness, to the service and the
worship of the gods of the very people he had defeated (v. 14)! Well
might he be reproached for conduct so culpable and so irrational. Any one
who was cognizant with the history of the Hebrew people, even up to this
time, might have known that faithfulness to Jehovah was accompanied by
victory and prosperity, and that, contrariwise, idolatry was attended with
misery and disaster. And yet, such was “the deceitfulness of sin,” we find
king and courtier, priest and people, lapsing into disobedience and iniquity.
We are not now under the temptation which proved too strong for Amaziah,
but we may make a mistake as serious and as senseless as he made.
SPIRITUAL UNFAITHFULNESS. For what is it that we see?
Ø A large number of men and women honoring various false gods; it is
some form of temporal success; it may be:
o physical enjoyment,
o the possession of wealth,
o social position,
o political power, or
o it may be professional distinction.
Ø These votaries are not blessed by the deities they are serving; for these
“powers” are weakness itself; they “cannot. deliver their own people,” their
own adherents. They do not deliver them from failure, from
disappointment, from heartache, from misery. They do not gladden the
heart and brighten and beautify the life of those who are seeking and
serving them. Even those who have reached the heights they set themselves
to climb, who have grasped the goal towards which they ran, have
confessed, again and again, that they have not found rest unto their soul,
but rather disquietude, craving, envy — a sense of dreariness and defeat.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 explains this. God has set “eternity” in man’s heart,
his heart is too big for the world to fill! Only God can fill it. It is a
a design of His creation of man! CY – 2016) Why, then, should we add
our souls to the number of the unblessed, of the deceived and the betrayed?
Why, indeed, should we who have tasted of better things be so indescribably
foolish as to abandon “our Rock” for “their rock” (Deuteronomy 32:31)?
I recommend: Acts 17 Dwight Moody Sermon – The Great Redemption – this
website – CY – 2016) Why should we seek after the “gods that cannot
deliver their own people”? And this folly is the greater when we take into
confirmed that “godliness has the promise of the life that now is, as well as
of that which is to come”? (I Timothy 4:8) Do not we who have followed
Christ know, and can we not testify, that to be His true disciple, His faithful
servant — this is to be:
o Gladdened with all joy.
o Comforted in all sorrow.
o Enlarged in all obscurity and lowliness of sphere.
o Engaged in the best and noblest of all works — the work of human
o Sustained by the most exalted hope — the hope of everlasting life in
His own royal presence.
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? forbear; why shouldest
thou be smitten? 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.” The chapter well keeps up in this
verse its graphic character, though the culminating instances of it are yet to
come. Forbear. The faithful prophet is “wise as the serpent, harmless as
the dove.” (Matthew 10:16) He does forbear, but not till the application of
his speech, and all that was needful is most outspokenly (more so than before
he had heard the usual coward fashion of the tyrant’s threat) pronounced.
His forbearing, therefore, is open to no charge of moral cowardice and
The Declension of Amaziah (vs. 14-16)
the slaughter of the Edomites he brought with him the gods of the children
of Seir, and, setting them up to be his gods, bowed down himself before
them and burned incense unto them (v. 14). That the Seirites were
idolaters is confirmed by:
o Moses, who gives Baal-hanan, “Baal is gracious,” as one of
their kings (Genesis 36:38);
o by Josephus, who mentions that the Idumaeans had a god named
o the Assyrian inscriptions, which show that one of their sovereigns
bore the designation Kaus-malaka, i.e. “Kaus or Kotze is king”
(Schrader, ‘Keilinschriften,’ p. 150).
the subjugation of the Seirites, which, as he imagined, could be best done
by winning over their gods to his side (Keil). Compare the conduct of Ahaz
in sacrificing to the gods of
(ch. 28:23), and of Cyrus in asking the Babylonian divinities
to intercede with Bel and Nebo on his behalf (Sayce, ‘Fresh Light,’ etc.,
p.175). At the same time, Amaziah’s idolatry just as likely had its roots in
inherent depravity. If Joash fell away to Baal (ch. 24:18), it is
hardly surprising that Amaziah his son should have followed his example.
The fallen heart gravitates towards polytheism, as the history of mankind
— of Jews, Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians - shows. Almost all nations
in their infancy were monotheists.
declension took place. To have lapsed into idolatry at any time would have
been wicked — contrary to the express commandment of Jehovah
(Exodus 20:3-4); to do so immediately after having enjoyed such a
signal display of Jehovah’s kindness in granting him a splendid victory over
his enemies — to select that moment for his apostasy was surely adding
insult to injury; to say the least, was to be guilty of monstrous ingratitude
as well as open sin.
bowed. The Edomite gods had not been able to save their devotees, the
Seirites: where was the guarantee they could assist Amaziah? One wonders
that idolaters do not see the absurdity of praying to divinities that cannot
save (Isaiah 45:20). The utter helplessness of idols and the senselessness
of such as trust in them are themes of frequent illustration in Scripture
(Psalm 115:4-8; Isaiah 46:1-7; Jeremiah 2:28; 10:5; I Corinthians 8:4).
Ø It aroused against the king Jehovah’s anger. The one living and true
God can tolerate no rival claimant of man’s homage. The worship of two
gods, besides being impossible (Matthew 6:24; I Corinthians 6:16),
is provocative of wrath (Leviticus 26:30; Deuteronomy 27:15;
Psalm 16:4; 79:6; Isaiah 42:17).
Ø It drew down upon him a prophet’s rebuke. The man of God said unto
him, “Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people,” etc.? The
censures of the good may be profitable, but are rarely pleasant. Their
judgments, besides, when calmly given, are an index to God’s mind
concerning man’s conduct.
Ø It excited the king’s own evil disposition. Had Amaziah not been a
backslider, he would not have answered the prophet so churlishly as he did,
practically telling him that nobody asked his opinion, and that if he valued
his own skin he had better hold his peace. It was easy, but neither valiant
nor right, for a king thus to insult or silence Jehovah’s messenger; he
would, by-and-by, find it harder to deal in such fashion with
JEHOVAH HIMSELF! “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:
reprove a wise man, and he will love thee” (Proverbs 9:8).
Amaziah’s conduct showed he was a fool (Proverbs 13:1) — one of those
that “hate him who reproveth in the gate” (Amos 5:10).
Ø It foreshadowed his ultimate fall. It revealed to the prophet that God
had determined to destroy him — more especially when it was followed by
obstinate refusal of the Divine warning. It is a bad sign when faithful
admonition is followed by the hardening rather than the softening of the
admonished — when it confirms in sin rather than leads to repentance.
Quem deus vult perdere prius dementat. “He, that being often reproved
hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy”
Ø The danger of prosperity in turning away the heart from God.
Ø The need of constantly guarding against temptation.
Ø The complete absurdity of idolatry.
Ø The certainty that idol-worshippers and idol-worship shall perish.
17 “Then Amaziah king of
son of Jehoahaz,
the son of Jehu, king of
us see one another in the face.” Took advice; i.e. took counsel; as in
foregoing verse, “Art thou made king’s counselor?” and as in same verse,
“counseled” should read instead of “determined,” The verb (יָעצ), in kal, niph.,
and once only in hithp., occurs just eighty times, always in this sense, and
almost always so rendered in the Authorized Version, Let us see one another
in the face. A refined analogy to this expression, with all its speaking
significance, occurs in II Samuel 2:13; and, perhaps yet more
remarkably, a strange semblance between vs. 14-15, 17 of that
chapter and our vs. 21-22 may be noticed.
18 “And Joash king of
The thistle that was in
saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a
wild beast that was in
The thistle… sent to the cedar. While other history shows
frequently the abounding Eastern delight in this exact kind of composition,
it will be remembered that it is not absent from Scripture, and that this is
not the first recorded instance of it by three hundred and fifty years, for see
Judges 9:7-15. The thistle; Hebrew, הַחוַח. The word occurs, beside
the four times here and in the parallel, eight other times: ch. 33:11;
I Samuel 13:6; Job 31:40; 41:2; Proverbs 26:9; Song of Solomon 2:2;
Isaiah 34:13; Hosea 9:6. Although, then, the word we have here is not the
“bramble” (אָטָד) of Judges 9:15, which also is brought before us in its
its characteristic thorn, best answers to the average suggestions of all the
twelve instances of the use of our word.
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, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?”
If the contents of this verse do not fail to impress with a
persuasion of the keen mental gift of Joash, they do not fall far short of
warranting some persuasion of a certain moral sense and goodness about
him also. He knows human nature well, and Amaziah’s particular variety
therein perfectly well. And many would have snapped at the opportunity of
humbling such a man. But not so Joash; he enjoys, indeed, the opportunity
of satisfying his own sarcasm and patronizing, but would still spare
Amaziah’s people and save him from himself. This does not resemble, at
any rate, the commonest, poorest, hungriest style of soul. To boast. Our
text gives us here hiph. infinitive construct, where the parallel has niph.
imperative. This lends the more effective shaft to the invective of Joash,
though without material difference to the sense.
20 “But Amaziah would not hear; for it came of God, that He might
deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought
after the gods of
post- Captivity significance of this verse, is wanting in the parallel, and finds no
suggestion either thence or from common authorities. The parallel shows
the statement, But Amaziah would not hear, followed up immediately by
“Therefore Jehoash… went up.” Our own verse, in the use of the plural
pronoun them, and again they, takes some slight amount of the weight of
guilt in the matter of the idolatry from the shoulders of the king, that it may be
shared by the people, and no doubt chiefly again by the “princes” (ch. 24:17).
21 “So Joash the king of
the face, both he and Amaziah
which belongeth to
is to be distinguished from that on the boundary of Issachar (Joshua 19:22),
“the fenced city of
23 “And Joash the king of
of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to
Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.” Joash… took;
Hebrew, תָּפַּשׂ, “seized” (as Genesis 39:12), or “caught up” (as
Deuteronomy 9:17), or “capture” (as Joshua 8:8). The gate of Ephraim
(see Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ p. 343). It led out on the north or
north-west side of the city. There is very little to identify it with the high
gate of Benjamin (see ditto, p. 346). The corner gate. This is not the
translation of our Hebrew text (שַׁעַר הַפּונֶה, which, see margin,
means “that looketh”), but of the Hebrew text of the parallel (חַפִנָּה),
see pp. 343-346 of Conder’s ‘Handbook to the Bible,’ and map facing
p. 334, 2nd edit. Four hundred cubits. Probably about a hundred and
24 “And he took all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that
were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures
of the king’s house, the hostages also, and
No mention is made in the parallel of that custodian of
treasures in the house of God, here called Obed-Edom, and who possibly
was a descendant of the Obed-Edom of David’s time (II Samuel 6:10;
I Chronicles 13:13); or an Obed-Edom “a porter” (I Chronicles
15:18; 16:38; 26:4, 8). The present verse is an interesting one for pointing
out the exact differences, even to the minutest of them, in what the two
writers (of Kings and Chronicles) respectively took from a common
original; e.g. the writer of Kings has “he took;” leaves out “Obed-Edom;”
has not the preposition “in” before “the house;” has “Jehovah” instead of
“God;” has the preposition “in” before “treasures;” and has “Samariaward”
differing in each of these respects. All the gold… in the house of God.
See II Kings 12:17-18, from which we must conclude that Hazael had
already had the pick both for quantity and for quality. The hostages also;
the phrase runs in the Hebrew text, “and sons [or, ‘the sons’] of the
hostages” (הַתַּעֲרֻבות יְאֵת בְּנַי); the literal rendering of which is
“children or sons of pledges,” i.e. hostages. The word (and indeed the
practice so prevalent elsewhere) is found only here and in the parallel.
Human Presumption (vs. 17-24)
In the correspondence between these two kings and the action which ensued
we have a very striking illustration of the evil of human presumption.
smitten the Edomites and thy heart lifteth thee up to boast” (v. 19). Some
men are soon inflated; even a little “knowledge puffeth up.” (I Corinthians
8:1) And a very slight achievement, in art, or in song, or in speech, or in
manufacture, is enough to fill them with vanity, to cause them to
“think more highly of themselves than they ought to think” (Romans 12:3),
to make them presume upon an ability which they are far from possessing.
Complacency is an element which soon rises to the surface in human nature;
it takes a very slight touch to stir it.
presumption of Amaziah provoked the contemptuous answer of Joash (v.18).
There is something very unbeautiful and unbecoming in human scorn.
Derision is a rather frequent action, and those who employ it take great
pride in it. But we may be sure that it is offensive in the sight of the Lord
of love. We may pity, we may condemn, we may reproach one another,
rightly and faithfully. But to pour out on one another the spittle of our
scorn, — this is an unworthy, an ungodly, a blameful thing. Joash no doubt
felt a keen satisfaction in his reference to the cedar and the thistle, and sent
his message with enjoyment; but the Father of spirits would be grieved to
see one of his children thus treating another with withering contempt.
Scorn may be a pleasant thing, but it is a sinful thing.
and humiliation are the inevitable end of human presumption. It is
certain in time to undertake some task too great for its strength, to go up
to a battle against a foe which it cannot fight and we know what will be
the issue. Whatever the field may be — whether political, commercial,
literary, ecclesiastical, social — the man of presumptuous spirit is on
his way to an ignominious defeat. He will attempt the leap which he
cannot make, and he will come down heavily to the ground.
it meant, beside defeat, captivity, the violation of the capital, and the
spoliation of the temple, the miseries of remorse as he pondered in his
palace. How senselessly he had brought this calamity on himself (see
v.15)! Presumption is sure to result in adversity of more kinds than one. It
ends in the bitter mortification of defeat, of conscious overthrow and
dishonor; it usually ends (as here) in loss, either of property, or of
reputation, or of friendship — perhaps of all of these at the same time. It
frequently brings down upon a man the severe reproaches of those who
have been injured along with the principal offender. For guilt of this kind
commonly involves misery to many beside the criminal. It is
and even Judah, as well as Amaziah, on whom the blow comes down.
Ø Let us know ourselves well, lest we make an egregious and fatal
Ø Let us ask God to reveal our feebleness to our own eyes.
Ø The object of its promoter, Amaziah.
o Perhaps revenge; to punish the Israelitish sovereign for the sins of
his subjects (v. 13) — a principle of action on which man cannot always
with safety proceed, though God may. Revenge, sweet to the natural
heart (Jeremiah 20:10), was forbidden under the Law (Leviticus 19:17-
18), and is absolutely inconsistent with the gospel (Romans 12:19).
“Men revenge themselves out of weakness because they are offended,
because they are too much influenced by self-love.” This was seemingly
the case with Amaziah. “A great soul overlooks and despises injuries;
a soul enlightened by grace and faith leaves the judgment and
revenge of them to God” (Cruden).
o Possibly ambition; in the hope of reducing the northern kingdom to
In this hope (Josephus, ‘
confirmed by his previous success over the Edomites (v. 14). Ambition,
easily excited in the breasts of the weak, is always difficult to allay even
by the wills of the strong. Wherever it exists, it is like the horse-leech’s
two daughters, which cry, “Give, give!” like the grave and the barren
womb, the dry earth and the fire, which never say, “It is enough”
(Proverbs 30:15-16). It commonly proves too imperious even for men
of iron will, while weaklings like Amaziah it blows to destruction
with a slight puff.
Ø The object of its Director, God. If Amaziah had an aim in seeking a
battle with Joash King of
him and Joash to try conclusions on the field of war. If Amaziah meant to
punish Joash, Jehovah meant to punish Amaziah: which of the two, the
King of Judah or the King of kings, was the more likely to succeed in
accomplishing his object, it required no prophet to foretell. So in mundane
affairs, generally, “man proposes,” but “God disposes.” (Thomas a Kempis)
Men, as free agents, are allowed to scheme and plan as they please, while
God worketh all things according to the counsel of His will. (Ephesians 1:11)
Man often fails in his purposes, Jehovah never (Job 23:13; Psalm 115:3;
Isaiah 46:10-11; Daniel 4:35).
Ø Amaziah’s challenge to Joash.
o Deliberately offered. He acted neither in a hurry nor on his own
responsibility, but at leisure and after consultation with his privy
councilors and field-marshals. This only made the matter worse.
It shows what wretched advisers the king had, and how set the
king’s heart was upon the war. Jehoshaphat had been too late
calling in Jehovah to the council of war at
Amaziah neglected calling Him in at all. The last persons a king or
parliament should apply to for advice when deliberating on the
question of peace or war, are the idlers about court and the officers
in a barracks.
o Arrogantly expressed. Euphemistically phrased, “Come, let us look
one another in the face,” meaning “Come, let us measure strength,”
or “cross swords with one another;” this is one of those hypocritical
formulas with which the world tries to hide from itself the wickedness
of its evil deeds. Amaziah’s politely worded message was an insolent
challenge to the King of Israel to meet him on the field of war.
o Fittingly answered. Amaziah’s insolence had silenced the prophet
(v. 16); he was now to find that Jonah would not so meekly submit to
his impertinence. It may be proper for good men not to render railing
for railing (I Peter 3:9), but it is not to be lamented when vainglorious
boasters are set down and fools answered according to their folly
Ø Joash’s response to Amaziah. This, which Josephus says was delivered
in writing, contained two things.
o A parable or fable (v. 18), not unlike that of Jotham to the
Shechemites (Judges 9:8, etc.). It is not necessary to understand the
thistle or thorn as pointing to Amaziah, in comparison with whom Joash
claimed to be a tall cedar, though possibly this may have exactly expressed
Joash’s estimate of the relative greatness of their royal persons; or to
suppose that Amaziah had solicited a daughter of Joash in marriage for his
son and been refused, and that out of this sprang his present warlike
down the thistle an allusion to the northern warriors who, should hostilities
out, would overrun and trample down the
sufficient to learn what the fable was designed to teach.
o The interpretation. This consisted of three parts:
§ A contemptuous rebuke. Amaziah, lifted up with pride and
ambition, was stepping beyond his natural and legitimate sphere.
He had conquered the Edomites, and now aspired to measure
swords with the Israelites. It was pure self-conceit that lay at the
bottom of his arrogance — a hometruth Amaziah might have
digested with profit.
§ A condescending admonition. Amaziah had better stay at home.
To be addressed by Joash as a willful child might be by a wise
and prudent father, must have been galling to the untamed spirit
§ A threatening prediction. Amaziah was meddling to his hurt,
“provoking calamity” that he should fall, even he and Judah
with him. Joash probably knew that Amaziah had rashly
entered upon a campaign he had neither resources nor courage
to sustain. Fas est ab hoste doceri (It is right to learn, even
from an enemy), but Amaziah would not hear.
Ø The meaning of the term. “The house of the sun.” Probably the site of an
temple to the sun-god. The Egyptian On, or
city of the sun,” is probably for the same reason styled Beth-shemesh
Ø The situation of the place. On the southern border of Dan, and within
the modern Arabian village ‘Ain Seines, or “sun-well,” near the Wady-es-
Surar, north of which stretches a level plain suitable for a battle (Robinson,
‘Bib. Res.,’ vol. 3. p. 17; Thomson, ‘The Land and the Book,’ p. 535).
Many fragments of old wall-foundations still are visible about the locality,
and the modern village appears to have been built out of old materials.
Ø The historical associations of the spot. It was one of the cities given to
Levites by the tribe of
covenant long stood there (I Samuel 6:12). One of the officers who
purveyed for Solomon’s court resided there (I Kings 4:9). It
afterwards was taken by the Philistines (ch. 28:18).
Ø The defeat of
face.” Their armies collided at the spot above described. The issue was a
Ø The capture of Amaziah. Joash took him prisoner of war at Bethshemesh.
Amaziah’s thoughts at this moment would be pleasant company
for him! Whether Joash exulted over him, taunting him with his bravery,
and reminding him of the fate of the poor briar who aspired to mate with
the cedar, is not recorded; to Joash’s credit it should be stated that
Amaziah was not put to death, or even consigned to a prison, as he
deserved and might have expected, but was allowed to live and even
continue on his throne (v. 25).
destruction of a part of the wall of
with a view to obtain a triumphal gateway (Thenius), or restrain its
inhabitants from reprisals in the shape of warlike operations (Bertheau), as
simply to mark the capital as a conquered city (Bahr), caused about four
hundred cubits of the wall to be broken down, from the gate of Ephraim to
the corner gate, i.e. about half of the north wall. The gate of Ephraim,
called also the gate of Benjamin (Jeremiah 37:13; 38:7; Zechariah 14:10),
because the way to Ephraim lay through Benjamin, was most likely
at or near the present-day gate of
Amud, or, Gate of the Column, m the second wall, while the corner gate,
called also the first gate (ibid.), was apparently at the other
the wall from that at which the
(Jeremiah 31:38), i.e. at the north-west angle where the wall turned
Ø The despoliation of the temple and the palace. The pillaging of the
former was not complete, but extended solely to the carrying off of the
gold, silver, and vessels found in that part of the sacred building which was
under the care of Obed-Edom and his sons (I Chronicles 26:15), viz. in
the house of Asuppim, or, “house of collections or provisions”
(Nehemiah 12:25) — “a building used for the storing of the temple
goods, situated in the neighborhood of the southern door of the temple in
the external court” (Keil). The plundering of the latter does not appear to
have been restrained. All the treasures of the king’s house fell a prey to the
Ø The taking of hostages. These were required in consequence of
Amaziah’s liberation, as a security for his good behavior, and were most
likely drawn from the principal families.
Ø The return to
he might have killed, he spared Amaziah, and even restored him to his
throne. Whereas he might have broken down the entire city wall, he
overthrew only a part of it. Instead of plundering the whole temple, he
merely one of its external buildings.
have annexed to his empire, but he forbore. Having properly chastised his
brother, he returned to
Ø A man may wear a crown and yet be a fool — witness Amaziah.
Ø “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Ø “He that girdeth on his armour should not boast as he that putteth it
off.” (I Kings 20:11)
Ø The hand that lets slip the clogs of war deserves to be devoured by
Ø Clemency becomes a conqueror, and is an ornament of kings.
25 “And Amaziah the son of Joash king of
of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of
Amaziah… lived after the death of Joash. The composition of the previous
two verses dismisses delicately the fact that Joash, ignominiously bringing
present of his life, though less his honor and much wealth.
26 “Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they
not written in the book of the kings of
The book of the kings of Judah and Israel. The parallel has
“the book of the chronicles of the kings of
and the character of the resemblance that we have noticed between the
narratives in Kings and in our own text, and assuming that the work to
which each compiler calls attention for the fuller clarification of his subject
of biography is the work which he has himself most largely laid under
‘contribution, then we should justly feel in this instance that we had no
feeble argument for the identity of the two works, called by rather different
titles — by the writer of the pre-Captivity, “the book of the chronicles of
the kings of
27 “Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the
LORD they made a conspiracy against him in
Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the Lord.
Let it be particularly noted that the entire of this sentence (which is
a strong anachronism sui generis – a class by itself) is wanting in the
parallel. It is, of course, in its matter intrinsically true, but none the less
misleading in its form. The object of the writer cannot be doubted, as so
many a cross-light is thrown upon it, in other places, viz. to connect the
rise and the operativeness of the conspiracy with the fact that (though not
the exact date at which) the king had turned aside from Jehovah to idols.
They made a conspiracy. When every deduction is made, it may be that
the conspiracy was one that was long hatching, and one which began in
embryo from the date of Amaziah’s
ignominious return to
certain it is that this would be historic certainty with the
century. The French would have required a deadly explanation of
such an affront, if brought upon them by any ruler of theirs. He fled to
Joshua 10:3, 32; 15:39; II Kings 14:19; 18:14; 19:8; Isaiah 36:2;
Jeremiah 34:7; Micah 1:13). Eusebius places it seven Roman miles south
28 “And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers
in the city of
horses,” i.e. those same royal horses presumably with which he had fled to
memorandum made here, and may indicate that they visited him with no
additional gratuitous disrespect. In
the city of
text for that of II Kings 14:20, “the
some of the manuscripts.
Another Type of Uncertain Character (vs. 1-28)
We are at once advised, in reference to Amaziah, that he “did right in the
sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.” The expression might be
supposed to cover the description of a man whose life was in the main
right, but who was betrayed by temptation into some serious sins, of
which, like David, he bitterly repented, but genuinely repented, and was
restored to peace and favor. No such interpretation, however, is here
possible. And as there are some very marked features in the character of
the folly and sin of Amaziah, they must not be overlooked or missed,
having due regard to the brevity and exactitude of Scripture biography. We
have here, then:
EQUAL TO SEEING AND TAKING WARNING AND GODLY
ADVICE. It is in the heart of Amaziah to fight with the Edomites. It is a
temptation with him again, as with predecessors of his on the throne, to
borrow and pay for the help of the separated
kinds of friendship are certain to turn out certain snares. Our safety is often
simply a complete separation from persons or things that have been found
to partake of the nature of a snare. These two things look strange only too
natural, if we know enough of our own weak, self-deceiving hearts — in
the attitude of Amaziah at this moment. (“The heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” - Jeremiah 17:9) He
listens to the teaching of the prophet, is no doubt startled and vexed thus to
be called on to forfeit his methods and arrangements for the warfare that he
would war, but seems to take his stand rather on the money that he perceives
he will forfeit for nothing, as it seems to him! This is one side of the matter.
But the other shows him, happily, both amenable to the prophet’s reminder
that God was “able to give him much more” than that hundred talents; and
also equal to the effort of dismissing his hired mercenaries of
encountering thereby their fierce indignation. Amaziah had heeded the
warning of the prophet (v. 8), and he now heeds the assurance with trustful
faith of the same prophet; he goes up to war, and has a splendid success.
INFLUENCE, SEEMED ALMOST SUDDENLY TO BECOME SO
BLUNTED THAT HE CANNOT BROOK A GODLY PROPHET’S
REMONSTRANCE, BUT DEFIANTLY AND WITH MENACE
REJECTS IT. There is scarcely room to doubt what had wrought in the
interim the disastrous change:
Ø boastfulness and self-confidence
had been the untimely growth of the very ground where:
Ø self-distrust, and
Ø the profoundest disposition of reliance on God and his prophet
should have been found.
Success had more than turned the brain of Amaziah. He worships the gods
who had not delivered him. He worships the gods who had not delivered
“their own people,” whom he had destroyed. He worships not, and
glorifies not, his own God and the God of his fathers, but is a marvel
of an apostate, and a monster of blinded ingratitude, and a monument
of blunted discernment, of perverted fatuity!
AND SELF-GLORIFICATION EXCITE THE PITY, BEG THE
WARNING, AND RECEIVE THE BEST AND THE HONEST ADVICE
OF THE VERY FOE WHOM HE INSULTINGLY CHALLENGES TO
FIGHT. It is evident that the King of Israel was able to read the human
nature that was in Amaziah of Judah (vs. 18-20). And it is evident that
the King of Israel did not desire to be answerable for the blood of the same
Amaziah. He “puts him to the worse,” takes much spoil of him, breaks
down the walls of his city — the holy city; and, bathos of humiliation for
Amaziah, “took him,” “brought him to” that, his own city, and left him
there, in all his fallen glory and mulcted wealth, to meditate on “the wages
of sin,” even when they fall short of death. Men’s enemies sometimes love
their lives and souls better, alas! than they do themselves.
The Last of Amaziah (vs. 25-28)
death, he was restored to his crown and capital, where he actually survived
Joash for fifteen years. This treatment he hardly deserved, considering he
had aimed at Joash’s life and crown. Yet was the mercy of it nothing to
that of GOD’S TREATMENT of sinful men, whom, though they have raised
against Him the standard of revolt, He nevertheless spares, forgives, and will
eventually exalt to a place upon the throne with Christ His Son.
committed in the earlier part of his reign (v. 14), and soon began to bear
bitter fruit, first in the defeat he sustained at the hand of Joash, probably
next in the disaffection of his people, and finally in the formation of a
conspiracy for his overthrow, which came to a head in the fifteenth year
after Joash’s death. One never knows when the evil fruits and penal
consequences of sin are exhausted. The safe plan is to “have no fellowship
with the unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11).
began after the defeat by Joash and
the dismantling of
no reason to suppose that Amaziah was obliged to flee until towards the
end of the fifteen years referred to in the text. The immediate occasion of
this flight was the discovery of a plot against his life. So. David had been
obliged to flee from
against him (II Samuel 15:16).
refuge, was an old Canaanitish royal city (Joshua 10:3-31; 12:11),
According to Micah (Micah 1:13), it was the first Jewish town to be
affected by Israelitish idolatry, which spread from it towards the capital. It
would seem also to have been one of Solomon’s chariot cities (I Kings
9:19; 10:26-29). It had been fortified by Rehoboam (ch. 11:9), and was
subsequently captured by Sennacherib (ch. 32:9) after a long siege
(Jeremiah 34:7). It should probably be identified with the modern Um-Lakis,
a few miles west-southwest of the Eleutheropolis. Arrested here, the fallen
monarch was dispatched by the daggers of assassins, as his father before him
had been (ch. 24:25). As conspiracy had set the crown on Amaziah’s head,
so conspiracy now took it off.
his own royal chariot, he was entombed beside his ancestors in the city of
father. He got a better funeral than he deserved, though it is well to forget
men’s faults at the grave’s mouth. Nihil nisi bonum de mortuis (Say
nothing but good about the dead).
seize the crown for either themselves or any of their faction. They adhered to
the legitimate succession of the house of David. As it were, this was a
posthumous mercy conferred on Amaziah.
Ø Beware of incurring the Divine anger.
Ø Envy not kings or great men.
Ø Prepare for the day of death.
Ø Think with kindness on the dead.
Ø Practice mercy towards the living.
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