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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Amaziah succeeds his father Joash, and begins his reign well, 2 Chronicles 25:1, 2 Chronicles 25:2. He slays his father's murderers but spares their children, 2 Chronicles 25:3, 2 Chronicles 25:4. He reviews and remodels the army, 2 Chronicles 25:5; and hires a hundred thousand soldiers out of Israel, whom, on the expostulation of a prophet, he sends home again, without bringing them into active service; at which they are greatly offended, 2 Chronicles 25:6-10. He attacks the Syrians, kills ten thousand, and takes ten thousand prisoners, whom he precipitates from the top of a rock, so that they are dashed to pieces, 2 Chronicles 25:11, 2 Chronicles 25:12. The Israelitish soldiers, sent back, ravage several of the cities of Judah, 2 Chronicles 25:13. Amaziah becomes an idolater, 2 Chronicles 25:14. Is reproved by a prophet, whom he threatens, and obliges to desist, 2 Chronicles 25:15, 2 Chronicles 25:16. He challenges Joash, king of Israel, 2 Chronicles 25:17; who reproves him by a parable, 2 Chronicles 25:18, 2 Chronicles 25:19. Not desisting, the armies meet, the Jews are overthrown, and Amaziah taken prisoner by Joash, who ravages the temple, and takes away all the treasures of the king, 2 Chronicles 25:20-24. The reign of Amaziah: a conspiracy is formed against him; he flees to Lachish, whither he is pursued and slain; is brought to Jerusalem, and buried with his fathers, 2 Chronicles 25:25-28.
1Amaziah 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.
2And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.
He did that which was right - He began his reign well, but soon became an idolater, 2 Chronicles 25:14, 2 Chronicles 25:15.
3Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father.
4But 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.
5Moreover 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.
Gathered Judah together - He purposed to avenge himself of the Syrians, but wished to know his military strength before he came to a rupture.
6He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.
7But 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.
The Lord is not with Israel - "The Word of the Lord is not the helper of the Israelites, nor of the kingdom of the tribe of Ephraim." - Targum.
8But 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.
9And 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.
The Lord is able to give thee much more than this - Better lose the money than keep the men, for they will be a curse unto thee.
10Then 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.
They returned home in great anger - They thought they were insulted, and began to meditate revenge. See the notes on 2 Kings 14:1-20 (note), where almost every circumstance in this chapter is examined and explained.
11And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.
12And 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.
13But 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.
14Now 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.
The gods of the children of Seir - "The idols of the children of Gebal." - Targum.
15Wherefore 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?
16And 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.
Art thou made of the king's counsel? - How darest thou give advice to, or reprove, a king?
17Then 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.
18And 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.
The thistle that was in Lebanon - See the explanation of this 2 Kings 14:9 (note). After reciting this fable, the Targum adds, "Thus hast thou done in the time thou didst send unto me, and didst lead up from the house of Israel a hundred thousand strong warriors for a hundred talents of silver: and after they were sent, thou didst not permit them to go with thee to war, but didst send them back, greatly enraged, so that they spread themselves over the country; and having cut off three thousand, they brought back much spoil."
19Thou 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?
20But 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.
21So 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.
22And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent.
23And 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.
24And 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.
In the house of God with Obed-edom - From 1 Chronicles 26:15 we learn that to Obed-edom and his descendants was allotted the keeping of the house of Asuppim or collections for the Divine treasury.
And - the hostages - See on 2 Kings 14:14 (note).
25And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.
26Now 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?
The rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last - Says the Targum; "The first, when he walked in the fear of the Lord, the last, when he departed from the right way before the Lord; are they not written," etc.
27Now 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.
Made a conspiracy - He no doubt became very unpopular after having lost the battle with the Israelites; the consequence of which was the dismantling of Jerusalem, and the seizure of the royal treasures, with several other evils. It is likely that the last fifteen years of his reign were greatly embittered: so that, finding the royal city to be no place of safety, he endeavored to secure himself at Lachish; but all in vain, for thither his murderers pursued him; and he who forsook the Lord was forsaken by every friend, perished in his gainsaying, and came to an untimely end.
28And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.