Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.2 Chronicles 25:2. But not with a perfect heart — He was not an enemy to religion, but a cool and indifferent friend. He was not a man of serious piety, for his heart was not whole with God. But of this, and the two following verses, see notes on 2 Kings 14:1-7.
Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.
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.
Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them 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.
He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.2 Chronicles 25:6. He hired a hundred thousand men out of Israel — Out of the kingdom of the ten tribes. If he had advised with any of his prophets before he did this, or had but considered how little any of his ancestors had got by their alliances with Israel, he would not have thus done what he had soon to undo again. But rashness makes work for repentance.
But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.2 Chronicles 25:7-8. Let not the army of Israel go with thee — It is comfortable to employ those who, we have reason to hope, have an interest in heaven; but dangerous associating with those from whom the Lord is departed. For the Lord is not with Israel — He hath forsaken them; and prosperity shall not attend thy counsels and undertakings, if thou joinest thyself with them. But if thou wilt go, do it — It is an ironical concession, like that of Micaiah to Ahab, Go and prosper.
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.
And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.2 Chronicles 25:9. And Amaziah said, But what shall we do for the hundred talents — The money remitted for the hire of the one hundred thousand Israelitish soldiers. He considered, if he sent the men back he should lose that. Such is the objection which men often make against complying with their duty: they are afraid of losing by it. And the man of God answered, The Lord is able to give thee much more — He hath many ways to make up that loss to thee, and certainly will not suffer thee to be a loser by obeying his command. Observe, reader, a firm belief of God’s all-sufficiency to bear us out in our duty, and to make up abundantly all the loss and damage we sustain in his service, will render his yoke very easy, and his burden very light. What is it to trust in God, but to be willing to venture the loss of any thing for him, in confidence that it shall be amply made up to us in the way that he sees will be best for us. This king lost one hundred talents of silver by his obedience; and we find just that sum given to his grandson Jotham, as a present, 2 Chronicles 27:5. Then the principal was repaid, and for interest, ten thousand measures of wheat, and as many of barley, were given him.
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 Judah, and they returned home in great anger.2 Chronicles 25:10. Their anger was greatly kindled against Judah — Because they were both disgraced by this rejection, and disappointed of that spoil which they hoped to gain, whereas now they are sent away empty; for the hundred talents, probably, were given to their officers only to raise men for this service.
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.2 Chronicles 25:11-12. Amaziah strengthened himself — With his own men only. And smote of the children of Seir ten thousand — Who, it appears, were left dead upon the field. How many were only wounded: and not killed, we are not told; but undoubtedly not a few. Other ten thousand did the children of Judah cast down from the rock — A most cruel execution, which can no way be justified, unless the children of Seir had been used to serve in that manner all they took captive of Judah.
And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry 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.
But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil.2 Chronicles 25:13. The army which Amaziah sent back, fell upon the cities of Judah — Thus God chastised those cities of Judah for their idolatries, which were found most in the parts next to Israel. The men of Israel had corrupted them, and now are a plague to them. And thus Amaziah also was punished for having entered into an alliance with idolaters, though at the prophet’s reproof he broke it off: and perhaps, likewise, this calamity befell his subjects, because he had used his victory over the Edomites with so much cruelty.
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.2 Chronicles 25:14. He brought the gods of Seir, and set them up for his gods — Egregious folly! When Ahaz worshipped the gods of those that had conquered him, (2 Chronicles 28:23,) he had some little colour for it, as he hoped, probably, thus to prevail upon them to assist him too. But for Amaziah to worship the gods of those he had conquered, was surely most unreasonable. What did he see in the gods of the children of Seir, that could tempt him to set them up for his gods, and bow down himself before them? If he had cast the idols down from the rock, and broken them to pieces, instead of the prisoners, he would have discovered more of the piety, as well as more of the pity, of an Israelite. But, perhaps, as a punishment for that barbarous inhumanity, he was given up to this ridiculous idolatry.
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?2 Chronicles 25:15. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah — And well it might; yet, before he sent to destroy him, he sent to convince and reclaim him, and thus prevent his destruction. He sent to him a prophet, who reasoned with him very fairly and mildly, saying, Why hast thou sought after the gods which could not deliver their own people? — Is this reasonable? Is it acting like a wise man? If men would but duly consider the inability of all those things to help them, which they have recourse to when they forsake God, they would not be such enemies to themselves.
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.2 Chronicles 25:16. The king said, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? — Who art thou, that presumest to direct my affairs without my commission? Forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? — Provoke me no further, lest I cause thee to be killed for thy impudence. The prophet’s reproof was too just to be answered, and the king could say nothing in excuse for his own folly; but he fell into a passion with the reprover. To the prophet who directed him to send back the army of Israel, he hearkened, though that prophet both contradicted his politics, and lost him a hundred talents of silver: but with this prophet, who only dissuaded him from worshipping the gods of the Edomites, he had no patience, but instantly fell upon him with an unaccountable rage; which must be attributed to the witchcraft of idolatry. Then the prophet forbare — He ceased to advise or reprove him any further, but only denounced the divine sentence passed upon him, for this contempt of God’s message to him, and his other sins, which came to pass, 2 Chronicles 25:20-27. The secure sinner, perhaps, values himself on his having silenced his reprovers and monitors. But what comes of it? I know that God has determined to destroy thee — It is a plain indication that thou art marked for ruin; because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened to the divine counsel — They that are deaf to reproof, are ripening apace for destruction.
Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face.2 Chronicles 25:17. Then Amaziah took advice — About the injury which the Israelites had done to his people, and how he should repair it. He took advice — But with whom? Not with the prophet, but with his flattering statesmen. It is good to take advice: but it should be of them who are fit to advise us. But of this and the following verses, see notes on 2 Kings 14:8-20.
And Joash 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.
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?
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 Edom.2 Chronicles 25:20. For it came of God — Who gave him up to his own error and passion, in order to his ruin.
So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, both he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah.
And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent.
And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
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 returned to Samaria.2 Chronicles 25:24. That were found in the house of God with Obed-edom — That is, with Obed-edom’s posterity, to whom the custody of the sacred treasures was committed.
And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.
Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, are they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel?
Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there.
And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.