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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Amaziah begins to reign well; his victory over the Edomites, 2 Kings 14:1-7. He challenges Jehoash, king of Israel, 2 Kings 14:8. Jehoash's parable of the thistle and the cedar, 2 Kings 14:9, 2 Kings 14:10. The two armies meet at Beth-shemesh; and the men of Judah are defeated, 2 Kings 14:11, 2 Kings 14:12. Jehoash takes Jerusalem, breaks down four hundred cubits of the wall; takes the treasures of the king's house, and of the temple; and takes hostages, and returns to Samaria, 2 Kings 14:13, 2 Kings 14:14. The death and burial of both these kings, 2 Kings 14:15-20. Azariah, the son of Amaziah, made king; he builds Elath, vv. 21, 22. Jeroboam the second is made king over Israel: his wicked reign and death, vv. 23-29.
1In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah.
In the second year of Joash - This second year should be understood as referring to the time when his father Jehoahaz associated him with himself in the kingdom: for he reigned two years with his father; so this second year of Joash is the first of his absolute and independent government. - See Calmet.
2He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.
3And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.
4Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.
5And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father.
As soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand - No doubt those wicked men, Jozachar and Jehozabad, who murdered his father, had considerable power and influence; and therefore he found it dangerous to bring them to justice, till he was assured of the loyalty of his other officers: when this was clear, he called them to account, and put them to death.
6But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
But the children of the murderers he slew not - Here he showed his conscientious regard for the law of Moses; for God had positively said, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin, Deuteronomy 24:16.
7He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.
He slew of Edom to the valley of salt - This war is more circumstantially related in 2 Chronicles 25:5, etc. The Idumeans had arisen in the reign of Joram king of Judah, and shaken off the yoke of the house of David. Amaziah determined to reduce them to obedience; he therefore levied an army of three hundred thousand men in his own kingdom, and hired a hundred thousand Israelites, at the price of one hundred talents. When he was about to depart at the head of this numerous army, a prophet came to him and ordered him to dismiss the Israelitish army, for God was not with them: and on the king of Judah expressing regret for the loss of his hundred talents, he was answered, that the Lord could give him much more than that. He obeyed, sent back the Israelites, and at the head of his own men attacked the Edomites in the valley of salt, slew ten thousand on the spot, and took ten thousand prisoners, all of whom he precipitated from the rock, or Selah, which was afterwards called Joktheel, a place or city supposed to be the same with Petra, which gave name to Arabia Petraea, where there must have been a great precipice, from which the place took its name of Selah or Petra.
8Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face.
Come, let us look one another in the face - This was a real declaration of war; and the ground of it is most evident from this circumstance: that the one hundred thousand men of Israel that had been dismissed, though they had the stipulated money, taking the advantage of Amaziah's absence, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria to Beth-horon, and smote three thousand men, and took much spoil, 2 Chronicles 25:10-13. Amaziah no doubt remonstrated with Jehoash, but to no purpose; and therefore he declared war against him.
9And Jehoash the 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.
Jehoash - sent to Amaziah - saying - The meaning of this parable is plain. The thistle that was in Lebanon - Amaziah, king of Judah, sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon - Jehoash, king of Israel, saying, Give thy daughter - a part of thy kingdom, to my son to wife - to be united to, and possessed by the kings of Judah. And there passed by a wild beast - Jehoash and his enraged army, and trode down the thistle - utterly discomfited Amaziah and his troops, pillaged the temple, and broke down the walls of Jerusalem: see 2 Kings 14:12-14. Probably Amaziah had required certain cities of Israel to be given up to Judah; if so, this accounts for that part of the parable, Give thy daughter to my son to wife.
10Thou hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this, and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?
Glory of this, and tarry at home - There is a vast deal of insolent dignity in this remonstrance of Jehoash: but it has nothing conciliatory; no proposal of making amends for the injury his army had done to the unoffending inhabitants of Judah. The ravages committed by the army of Jehoash were totally unprovoked, and they were base and cowardly; they fell upon women, old men, and children, and butchered them in cold blood, for all the effective men were gone off with their king against the Edomites. The quarrel of Amaziah was certainly just, yet he was put to the rout; he did meddle to his hurt; he fell, and Judah fell with him, as Jehoash had said: but why was this? Why it came of God; for he had brought the gods of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burnt incense to them; therefore God delivered them into the hands of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom, 2 Chronicles 25:14, 2 Chronicles 25:20. This was the reason why the Israelites triumphed.
11But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah.
12And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents.
13And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
Took Amaziah king of Judah - It is plain that Amaziah afterwards had his liberty; but how or on what terms he got it, is not known. See on 2 Kings 14:14 (note).
14And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.
And he took - hostages - התערבות hattaaruboth, pledges; from ערב arab, to pledge, give security, etc., for the performance of some promise. See the meaning of this word interpreted in the note on Genesis 38:17 (note). It is likely that Amaziah gave some of the nobles or some of his own family as hostages, that he might regain his liberty; and they were to get their liberty when he had fulfilled his engagements; but of what kind these were we cannot tell, nor, indeed, how he got his liberty.
15Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
How he fought with Amaziah - The only fighting between them was the battle already mentioned; and this is minutely related in 2 Chronicles 25:21-24.
16And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.
17And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.
18And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
19Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there.
They made a conspiracy against him - His defeat by Jehoash, and the consequent pillaging of the temple, and emptying the royal exchequer, and the dismantling of Jerusalem, had made him exceedingly unpopular; so that probably the whole of the last fifteen years of his life were a series of troubles and distresses.
20And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.
21And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
Took Azariah - He is also called Uzziah, 2 Chronicles 26:1. The former signifies, The help of the Lord; the latter, The strength of the Lord.
22He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
He built Elath - This city belonged to the Edomites; and was situated on the eastern branch of the Red Sea, thence called the Elanitic Gulf. It had probably suffered much in the late war; and was now rebuilt by Uzziah, and brought entirely under the dominion of Judah.
23In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.
24And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.
25He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.
He restored the coast of Israel - From the description that is here given, it appears that Jeroboam reconquered all the territory that had been taken from the kings of Israel; so that Jeroboam the second left the kingdom as ample as it was when the ten tribes separated under Jeroboam the first.
26For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel.
The Lord saw the affliction of Israel - It appears that about this time Israel had been greatly reduced; and great calamities had fallen upon all indiscriminately; even the diseased and captives in the dungeon had the hand of God heavy upon them, and there was no helper; and then God sent Jonah to encourage them, and to assure them of better days. He was the first of the prophets, after Samuel, whose writings are preserved; yet the prophecy delivered on this occasion is not extant; for what is now in the prophecies of Jonah, relates wholly to Nineveh.
27And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.
28Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
How he warred, and - recovered Damascus - We learn from 1 Chronicles 18:3-11, that David had conquered all Syria, and put garrisons in Damascus and other places, and laid all the Syrians under tribute; but this yoke they had not only shaken off, but they had conquered a considerable portion of the Israelitish territory, and added it to Syria. These latter Jeroboam now recovered; and thus the places which anciently belonged to Judah by David's conquests, and were repossessed by Syria, he now conquered, and added to Israel.
29And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.
Jeroboam slept with his fathers - He died a natural death; and was regularly succeeded by his son Zachariah, who, reigning badly, was, after six months, slain by Shallum, who succeeded him, and reigned but one month, being slain by Menahem, who succeeded him, and reigned ten years over Israel. Amos the prophet lived in the reign of Jeroboam; and was accused by Amaziah, one of the idolatrous priests of Beth-el, of having predicted the death of Jeroboam by the sword, but this was a slander: what he did predict, and which came afterwards to pass, may be seen Amos 7:10-17. The interregnum referred to in the margin cannot be accounted for in a satisfactory manner.