Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.Ch. 2 Chronicles 25:1-4 (= 2 Kings 14:1-6). Amaziah Succeeds
2. not with a perfect heart] In Kings, “yet not like David his father” (because “the high places were not taken away”). The Chronicler has something more serious in his mind; cp. 2 Chronicles 25:14-16.
And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.3. to him] R.V. unto him; LXX., ἐν χειρὶ αὐτοῦ; in Kings, “in his hand.”
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.4. he slew not their children] R.V. he put not their children to death.
as it is written] R.V. according to that which is written; i.e. in Deuteronomy 24:16 (cp. Ezekiel 18:20).
where the Lord] R.V. as the LORD.
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.5–10 (not in Kings). Amaziah prepares for War
5. and made them … and Benjamin] R.V. and ordered them according to their fathers’ houses, under captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, even all Judah and Benjamin.
three hundred thousand] These were spearmen and correspond in number with Asa’s spearmen (2 Chronicles 14:8).
choice men] R.V. chosen men.
He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.
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.7. the Lord is not with Israel] Cp. 2 Chronicles 13:8-12.
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.8. do it] R.V. do valiantly (spoken ironically).
shall make thee fall] R.V. shall cast thee 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.9. the army] R.V. mg., the troop (so 2 Chronicles 25:10; 2 Chronicles 25:13). The men in question were freebooters to judge from their conduct (2 Chronicles 25:13).
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.10. in great anger] R.V. in fierce anger.
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.11, 12 (cp. 2 Kings 14:7). Victory over Edom
11. strengthened himself] R.V. took courage; cp. 2 Chronicles 1:1 (note).
the valley of salt] The scene of one of David’s victories (1 Chronicles 18:12; see note there).
children of Seir] The Edomites were so called because “Mount Seir” was part of their territory; Deuteronomy 2:5.
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.12. left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive] R.V. did the children of Judah carry away alive. The “left alive” of the A.V. is misleading, for it suggests that they were prisoners captured in the same battle in which the first ten thousand were slain; a comparison of Kings however suggests that they were the whole (or part) of the garrison of Sela, which fortress was captured by Amaziah after his victory in the valley of salt.
the rock] R.V. mg. Sela; cp. 2 Kings 14:7 and Jeremiah 49:16. Sela is usually identified with Petra (Bädeker, p. 146 ff.), but the identification is by no means certain.
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.13 (no parallel in Kings). Outrages of the Ephraimite Mercenaries
13. the soldiers of the army] Heb., the sons of the troop.
the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Beth-horon] This phrase is strange, for we expect the two names given to be names of cities belonging to the Southern Kingdom. Perhaps we should read for Samaria either Zemaraim (2 Chronicles 13:4; Joshua 18:22) or Ephrain (Ephron; 2 Chronicles 13:19; cp. Joshua 15:9). Both Zemaraim and Ephrain were border cities.
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.14–16 (not in Kings). Amaziah’s Idolatry and the Prophet’s Rebuke
14. bowed down … and burned] The tenses in the Heb. are imperfect and imply that this became Amaziah’s practice. The act was according to a policy frequently pursued in ancient times. Solomon affords an instance of it (1 Kings 11:7).
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?15. which could not deliver] R.V. which have not delivered.
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.16. Art thou made] R.V. Have we made thee.
of the king’s counsel] Lit., “counsellor to the king.”
hath determined] Lit., “hath counselled” (with a play on the king’s word).
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.17–24 (= 2 Kings 14:8-14). Amaziah Conquered by Joash
17. took advice] Took counsel with a view to demanding satisfaction from Joash for the ravages of the Israelite mercenaries (2 Chronicles 25:13). The sequel suggests that Joash refused to give satisfaction.
let us see one another in the face] R.V. let us look one another in the face. The proposal may be either to fight or (better) to discuss Amaziah’s claims, the two kings meeting as equals. The latter is probably the right alternative, for the answer of Joash draws a scoffing parallel between Amaziah’s proposition and a thorn’s proposal of alliance with a cedar. Had Amaziah’s words been a challenge to fight, Joash’s answer would rather have taken the form in Jdg 9:15, “The thorn said, Fire shall come out of the thorn and devour the cedars of Lebanon,” etc.
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.18. the thistle] R.V. mg., thorn; cp. Proverbs 26:9 (same Heb. word).
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?19. Thou sayest] i.e. to thyself.
meddle to thine hurt] R.V. mg., provoke calamity, i.e. by making claims which he could not enforce.
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.20. for it was of God] Not in Kings. This turn is characteristic of the Chronicler; cp. 2 Chronicles 10:15; 2 Chronicles 22:7.
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.21. they saw one another in the face, both he and Amaziah …] R.V. he and Amaziah … looked one another in the face. The historian by a kind of irony takes up Amaziah’s phrase (2 Chronicles 25:17) and gives it a fresh application. Cp. the double application (by a similar irony) of the phrase, ‘lift up the head” in Genesis 40:13; Genesis 40:19.
at Beth-shemesh] Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:59 [44 Heb.] (note).
And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent.22. to his tent] Cp. 2 Chronicles 7:10 (note).
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.23. the son of Jehoahaz] i.e. the son of Ahaziah, Jehoahaz and Ahaziah being varying forms of the same name; cp. 2 Chronicles 21:17 (note).
brake down the wall] Rather, made a breach (or breaches) in the wall. The same verb is used in Nehemiah 1:3 (“broken down”) and ibid. Nehemiah 4:7 (“the breaches”).
the gate of Ephraim] This gate cannot be identified, but its name suggests that it was on the north.
the corner gate] Heb. text doubtful, but LXX. ἕως πύλης γωνίας. Cp. 2 Chronicles 26:9; Jeremiah 31:38; Zechariah 14:10. Most probably this gate also was on the north, but nothing certain is known of its position.
four hundred cubits] About 600 feet according to the ancient cubit, and 700 according to the later standard; cp. 2 Chronicles 3:3 (note).
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.24. And he took] The verb is missing in Chron., and is supplied from Kings.
with Obed-edom] i.e. with the family of Obed-edom which (1 Chronicles 26:4-8; 1 Chronicles 26:15) served as doorkeepers in the House of God. This detail is absent from Kings.
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.25–28 (= 2 Kings 14:17-20). The End of Amaziah
27. after the time] R.V. from the time. The Chronicler characteristically connects the conspiracy with Amaziah’s apostasy; in Kings the fact only of the conspiracy is stated.
a conspiracy] Athaliah, Joash, Amaziah each fell one after the other before a conspiracy. Jehoiada’s example had far-reaching results.
to Lachish] Perhaps he was trying to reach Egypt.
And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.28. upon horses] Render, upon the horses; i.e. upon the horses of some of his pursuers. The conspirators thereby announced the complete success of their conspiracy.