2 Chronicles 25

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 25

Judah’s King Amaziah (25:1-28)

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “This section is drawn mainly from 2 Kings 14:2-20, with a long interpolation (2 Chron 25:5-16) accounting for Amaziah’s defeat by Israel. His reign (796-767 BC) is divided into a period of relative disobedience and blessing, followed by outright apostasy and judgment. Yet throughout his reign, Amaziah is basically half-hearted and divided in his loyalty to God, so his failure is one of steady degeneration rather than radical reversal. Amaziah’s reign included a long co-regency (792-767 BC) with his son Uzziah as a result of his capture by the Israelite (northern) king Joash (v. 23).”

Consolidation of Power

      • Amaziah was 25 years old when he became king and he ruled for 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan and she was from Jerusalem. He did what was right in Yahweh’s eyes, but not wholeheartedly.

        • Guzik notes, “Compared to Joash, Amaziah faithfully continued his policies. Yet some of those policies allowed compromises, such as the allowing of continued sacrifices and incense offerings on the high places (2 Kings 14:1-4)…”

      • As soon as he had secured control of the kingdom, he had the officials who had murdered his father the king executed. However, he didn’t execute their sons because- as it is written in the Law, in the Book of Moses, where Yahweh commanded, “Parents must not be put to death because of their children, nor children put to death because of their parents. Each will die for their own sin.”

        • NET Bible points out, “This law is recorded in Deut 24:16.”

Amaziah’s War Against Edom

      • Amaziah assembled the people of Judah and assigned them according to their ancestral families to commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds for all of Judah and Benjamin. He counted those that were 20 years old and up and found that there were 300,000 choice men who were fit to serve in the army, and equipped with spears and shields. He also hired 100,000 brave warriors from Israel for 7,500 pounds of silver.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible mentions, “The inclusion of Benjamin in this listing of military officers indicates that this tribe was part of the kingdom of Judah at that time. Amaziah’s force of 300,000 was smaller than Asa’s (580,000) or Jehoshaphat’s (1,160,000) had been; this might explain Amaziah’s desire to hire additional troops from Israel (the northern kingdom).”

      • But a man of God came to Amaziah and said to him, “O king, do not let Israel’s army go with you because Yahweh is not with Israel or with any of the people of Ephraim. Even if you go and fight bravely in battle, God will defeat you before the enemy. God has the power to help or to cause one to stumble.” Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what should I do about the 7,500 pounds of silver I paid the Israelite troops?” The man of God answered, “Yahweh can give you much more than that.” So Amaziah dismissed the troops that had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home. They became very angry with Judah and returned home in a fierce rage. Then Amaziah took courage and led his people to the Valley of Salt where he struck down 10,000 men of Seir, and the men of Judah captured 10,000 men alive. They took them to the top of a cliff and threw them down so that they were all smashed to pieces. Now the troops that Amaziah had dismissed, and not allowed to fight in the battle, raided the cities of Judah from Samaria all the way to Beth Horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off a large amount of plunder.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “This provides the background and aftermath to the comment in 2 Kings 14:7 on the war against Edom. Amaziah’s desire to hire mercenaries from the northern kingdom…is denounced by an unnamed prophet because the Lord is not with Israel (on account of continuing idolatry; see 2 Kings 13:11), and because a king should trust in God rather than his army…Encouraged by the thought of material gain, Amaziah heeds the prophet’s call to dismiss the mercenaries and proceeds to a bloodthirsty victory against the men of Seir (an alternative name for Edom, Gen 32:3)…”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “The Valley of Salt was a perennial battlefield south of the Dead Sea; David had also fought with the Edomites there (2 Sam 8:13; see Ps 60). Amaziah did not capture the port at Elath (2 Chr 26:2); his conquest was limited to northern Edom.”

      • When Amaziah returned from defeating the Edomites, he brought back the gods of the people of Seir and set them up as his own gods. He bowed down to them and offered them sacrifices. Yahweh’s anger burned against Amaziah and He sent a prophet to him, who said, “Why are you consulting this people’s gods when they could not save their own people from your hand?” While he was still speaking, Amaziah said to him, “Did we appoint you to be a counselor to the king? Stop prophesying. Why should you lose your life?” So the prophet stopped, but added, “I know that God has decided to destroy you because you have done this and refused to listen to my counsel.”

      • NET Bible points out a word play going on in this passage, “The verb …(yaʿats, ‘has decided’) is from the same root as …(yoʿets, ‘counselor’) in v. 16 and …(ʿetsah, ‘advice’) later in v. 16. The wordplay highlights the appropriate nature of the divine punishment. Amaziah rejected the counsel of God’s prophet; now he would be the victim of God’s ‘counsel.’”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible notes, “The national god of Seir (i.e., Edom) is Qos. Though sometimes the gods of the enemy were smashed or subjugated, it is not unusual to offer worship to the gods of defeated enemies if there is some sense that those gods fought on your side. Their favor could be considered as important as that of native gods.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study adds, “In the excavations at Horvat Qitmit, located in the eastern Negeb about 6 miles south of Arad, archaeologists found a shrine containing several ceramic shards inscribed with dedicatory inscriptions to the principle Edomite deity, Quas. The same shrine contained the remains of multiple anthropomorphic and zoomorphic shaped vessels, including the horned head of a deity.”

Horned head of Edomite deity from Horvat Qitmit” via Bible Odyssey

        • Guzik remarks, “This action of Amaziah shows the deep foolishness of idolatry. These gods of the people of Seir were unable to defend or help the Edomites, yet he worshipped them. God sent a prophet to make this point clear to King Amaziah.”

Amaziah’s War with Israel’s King Jehoash

      • After Judah’s King Amaziah consulted with his advisers, he sent this message to Israel’s King Jehoash, whose father was Jehoahaz, whose father was Jehu: “Come, let’s face each other in battle.” Israel’s King Jehoash sent the following reply to Judah’s King Amaziah: “In Lebanon, a thistle sent a message to a cedar tree saying, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ Then a wild animal in Lebanon came along and crushed the thistle. You have indeed defeated Edom and you’ve become overconfident. Be content with your glory and stay at home. Why stir up trouble and cause your own downfall- you and Judah along with you?”

        • Guzik writes, “Proud from his success against Edom, Amaziah decided to make war against the northern kingdom of Israel, no doubt in retaliation for the plundering attacks by the dismissed mercenaries of Israel (2 Chronicles 25:5-16). He had reason to believe he would be successful. He had recently assembled a 300,000 man army that killed 20,000 Edomites in a victory over Edom (2 Chronicles 25:5, 11-12). King Joash (Jehoahaz) of Israel seemed very weak, having only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers after being defeated by the Syrians (2 Kings 13:7).”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible explains, “Joash’s parable teaches that a puny thistle (Amaziah), easily trampled by any wild beast, should not make the mistake of comparing itself in might to an immovable cedar on Lebanon (Joash).”

      • But Amaziah wouldn’t listen, because this turn of events was from God in order to hand them over to their enemies since they went after the gods of Edom. So Israel’s King Jehoash attacked, and he and Judah’s King Amaziah faced one another in battle at Beth Shemesh in Judah. Israel defeated Judah and every man ran to his home. Israel’s King Jehoash captured Judah’s King Amaziah, whose father was Joash, whose father was Jehoahaz. Then Jehoash went to Jerusalem and broke down a 600 foot section of Jerusalem’s wall, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner gate. He also took away all the gold and silver, and all the items found in Yahweh’s house that had been placed in the care of Obed-Edom, as well as treasures in the king’s house and some hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.

        • Guzik notes, “Amaziah should have listened to this word from Jehoash, but he didn’t. He provoked a fight he should have avoided, and did not consider both the likelihood of success and the effect his defeat would have on the whole kingdom of Judah. Because of Amaziah’s foolish embrace of idolatry, God allowed him to enter into a foolish war with Israel. Foolish idols led him into foolish choices, and the wise God in heaven allowed him to experience the effect of these choices.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Beth-shemesh protected the entrance of the Sorek Valley and Jerusalem’s access to the coast. Jehoash might have been seeking to cut off Jerusalem’s access to trade, or he might have been trying to increase his own access. The Ephraim Gate was on the north side of the city, while the Corner Gate was on the western wall.”

      • Judah’s King Amaziah, whose father was Joash, lived 15 more years after the death of Israel’s King Jehoash, whose father was Jehoahaz. The rest of the events of Amaziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in the “Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.” From the time Amaziah turned from following Yahweh, they conspired against him in Jerusalem and he fled to Lachish. However, they sent men to Lachish after him and they killed him there. They brought his body back on horses and buried him with his ancestors in the City of David.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “The Chronicler adds that the conspiracy against Amaziah…began when he turned away from the Lord, which may be a reference to his apostasy in 2 Chron 25:14 and 20…”

        • Guzik adds, “The embarrassing loss against Israel undermined Amaziah’s support among the leaders of Judah. He lived fifteen years after the death of Jehoash (which probably prompted his release from imprisonment in Israel)… Amaziah tried but was unable to escape the conspirators. He was assassinated, just like his father was (2 Kings 12:20-21).”

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