Who was Amaziah?
[A] He was the son of Joash king of Judah (2 Kings 14:1). “His mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem” (2 Kings 14:2).
[B] He became king of Judah after the death of his father (2 Kings 12:21). He was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:2).
How does the Bible appraise the reign of Amaziah?
He was a good king in that “he did right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father” (2 Kings 14:3). He is compared to his father rather than to David because he did not serve the Lord with a whole heart (2 Chronicles 25:2). This is seen in that the high places were allowed to remain during his reign (2 Kings 14:4) and he brought back idols from his battle with the Edomites (2 Chronicles 25:14-16).
Practical Consideration: We must serve the Lord with a whole heart.
If someone were to publish an appraisal of how we lived our life, would they be able to write that we served the Lord with a whole heart? Amaziah did not serve the Lord with a whole heart. God desires our complete loyalty and devotion. He is not pleased when we serve Him with a lukewarm commitment (see Revelation 3:15-16).
What did Amaziah do to the men who killed his father?
The men who murdered Joash are named in 2 Chronicles 24:26. Once Amaziah was secure in his reign he killed the men who murdered his father (2 Kings 14:5 and 2 Chronicles 25:3). As per the law of Moses, Amaziah spared the children of his father’s murderers (2 Kings 14:6 and 2 Chronicles 25:4).
How did Amaziah plan to defeat Edom?
Amaziah recruited an army of 300,00 men from Judah (2 Chronicles 25:5) and hired 100,000 mercenaries from the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 25:6). Before going to battle against Edom however, a man of God warned Amaziah that his alliance with the soldiers from Israel would mean defeat because “the Lord is not with Israel nor with any of the sons of Ephraim” (2 Chronicles 25:7-8).
At the insistence of the man of God, Amaziah dismissed the mercenaries and sent them home. The mercenaries “returned home in fierce anger” (2 Chronicles 25:9-10) and pillaged several cities in Judah on their way back to Israel (2 Chronicles 25:13). Amaziah then went to battle against Edom, without the help of the mercenaries from the Northern Kingdom, and was victorious (2 Kings 14:7 and 2 Chronicles 25:11). He captured 10,000 men and brutally disposed of them by throwing them down from the top of a cliff “so that they were all dashed to pieces” (2 Chronicles 25:12).
What did Amaziah bring home from his military campaign against Edom?
Amaziah did not bring home any prisoners (see 2 Chronicles 25:12). Instead, “he brought the gods of the sons of Seir, set them up as his gods, bowed down before them, and burned incense to them” (2 Chronicles 25:14). Amaziah thus provoked God to anger. God sent a prophet to Amaziah to ask him why he was worshiping gods incapable of delivering their devotees in Edom (2 Chronicles 25:15). Amaziah silenced the prophet. The prophet then informed Amaziah that God would destroy him for failing to heed his counsel (2 Chronicles 25:16).
Note: Like father like son! Amaziah’s father (Joash) also lapsed into idolatry and refused to listen to the prophets sent by God and to Zechariah the son of Jehoiada (see 2 Chronicles 24:19-22 and Item 7 on page 33 of these notes for more information).
Practical Consideration: No man can serve two masters.
Jesus said that no man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Our attitude toward one master will determine our attitude toward the other. The more we love one master the more we will hate the other. Amaziah turned his affections toward the gods of the Edomites and consequently away from the true God. This greatly displeased God and brought the judgment of God upon Amaziah (see 2 Chronicles 25:20).
Practical Consideration: We reject wise counsel only at personal risk.
Amaziah refused to heed the counsel of the prophet sent to admonish him for worshiping the gods of the Edomites. As a result, he put himself in danger of judgment which came in the form of humiliating defeat in battle and his eventual assassination. Proverbs 19:20 states, “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
What did Amaziah do after his victory over Edom?
Amaziah challenged Jehoash (Joash) king of Israel to battle (2 Kings 14:8). Perhaps he challenged Israel to war because he wanted to avenge the pillage of Judean cities by the mercenaries (see 2 Chronicles 25:13). Perhaps he felt powerful and invincible after his victory over Edom, intoxicated with his success. King Jehoash suggested in his reply to Amaziah that he had become proud after his victory over Edom and advised him to stay home (2 Kings 14:10 and 2 Chronicles 25:19).
How did Jehoash (Joash) king of Israel respond to Amaziah’s challenge?
Jehoash responded to Amaziah’s challenge with a fable that demonstrated the utter foolishness of such a challenge. Jehoash likened Judah to a thorn bush and Israel to a cedar. The two clearly are not equal. Jehoash’s analogy depicted the weak thorn bush being trampled by a wild beast. Such would be the fate of Judah, said Jehoash, should she persist in the challenge to war (2 Kings 14:9 and 2 Chronicles 25:18).
The Scripture records that “Amaziah would not listen” (2 Kings 14:11 and 2 Chronicles 25:20) and went to war against Israel. 2 Chronicles 25:20 states that Amaziah’s insistence on going to war fit into God’s plan to punish him for worshiping the gods of Edom (see also 2 Chronicles 25:16).
What was the outcome of the war between Judah and Israel?
Judah and Israel faced each other in battle at Beth-shemesh in northern Judah (2 Kings 14:11 and 2 Chronicles 25:21) where Judah suffered a humiliating defeat (2 Kings 14:12 and 2 Chronicles 25:22). Amaziah was captured by Jehoash who took him back to Jerusalem (2 Kings 14:13 and 2 Chronicles 25:23). There, Joash tore down a substantial portion of Jerusalem’s wall, pillaged the house of God and the king’s house, took hostages, and returned victorious to Samaria (2 Kings 14:13-14 and 2 Chronicles 25:23-24). See also Proverbs 16:18.
Practical Consideration: The consequences of a foolish decision are far-reaching.
Amaziah’s foolish and proud decision to engage in war with Israel had far-reaching consequences. Jehoash not only defeated Amaziah in battle, he pillaged the city of Jerusalem and took with him hostages to Samaria. Many people died and suffered as a result of one man’s foolish course of action. Our decisions can have a great and far-reaching impact for either good or bad.
How did Amaziah’s life end?
Amaziah outlived Jehoash by fifteen years (2 Kings 14:17 and 2 Chronicles 25:25). He spent his final days hiding in Lachish because of a conspiracy to kill him (2 Kings 14:19 and 2 Chronicles 25:27). Amaziah was assassinated in Lachish and his body was returned to Jerusalem for burial (2 Kings 14:19-20). His son Azariah (Uzziah) became king in his place (2 Kings 14:21 and 2 Chronicles 26:1). Thus was the word of the prophet fulfilled (see 2 Chronicles 25:16 and 27).
Note: Like father like son! Amaziah died at the hands of assassins just like his father (see 2 Chronicles 24:25-26 and Item 12 on page 34 of these notes for more information).
Who was Jeroboam II?
He was the son of Joash king of Israel and became king after the death of his father (2 Kings 13:13 and 14:23). He reigned a total of forty-one years (2 Kings 14:23). Like every king of Israel before him, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam” (2 Kings 14:24). Some believe that he was the, or one of the, deliverers God sent in response to the prayer of Jehoahaz (see 2 Kings 13:4-5) because he regained much of the territory Israel lost to Syria (see 2 Kings 14:25-28).
Practical Consideration: A failure to correct a wrong course can lead to destruction.
Not one of Israel’s kings learned good lessons from the bad examples of the preceding kings. Every king of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and navigated the disastrous course set by Jeroboam. As a result, the nation was eventually steered to destruction. We too, will experience problems if we fail to order our course according to God’s instructions and make necessary course corrections as we are prompted by God’s Holy Spirit.