I think we're heading into the beginning of the end of the nation of Israel prior to the Assyrian and Babylonia defeats.
Amaziah in Judah
When Joash of Israel was in his second year on the throne, Amaziah became King of Judah. He was the son of Judah's Joash.
He was 25 when he took the throne and reigned 29 years.
So, he receives an initial good report. He does right in the sight of the Lord to the same degree as his father, but not like David. He left the high places and people still burned the incense there.
Once he firmly had the throne, he killed the servants who had killed his father. They had killed his father for killing Jehoiada's son, Zechariah, the prophet who spoke out against Joash's idolatry and sin. He did not kill their sons, though, out of resect for God's law on the topic.
He won a couple of victories and then asked the king of Israel to "face on another'. Ryrie footnote translates this as a call to a battle. In response, the king of Israel called Amaziah proud and told him he was a little thistle that was going to get crushed; unlike Israel who was a strong cedar.
Amaziah was no put off so they faced one another in Judah territory. Judah was defeated and they had to flee to their tents.
Oh wow. The King of Israel captured the king of Judah and then went on to Jerusalem and tore down part of the wall. Then he took all of the gold, silver, and treasures, including the holy utensils, plus hostages, and went back to Samaria.
So this is the end of the story for both kings
- Jehoash, king of Israel died and was buried in Samaria with his fathers. Jeroboam II, his son, became king.
- Amaziah, king of Judah, lived 15 more years after Jehoash died. But eventually, he had men conspire against him, he fled to Lachish; but they chased him down and killed him there. They did bring him back to Jerusalem to be buried with the fathers. The people took his son, 16 year old Azariah and made him king.
Azariah was able to rebuild Elath and restore it to Judah.
Jeroboam II (Israel)
When Amaziah (Judah) was in his 15th year of reigning, Jeroboam became king of Israel. He reigned 41 years.
He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He followed Jeroboam and led the people astray.
He was able to restore the border of Israel and gain back land. this victory seems to have come from a prophesy from Jonah, the prophet. Yes, that Jonah. We're going to read his book after this section.
This good thing happened because of the mercy and faithfulness of our Lord. He was Israel's affliction and that there was no bond or free. They had no helper. Which makes sense because they had rejected their Helper in lieu of golden calves and idols and a false priesthood.
He didn't decide to blot them out; but to save them, using Jeroboam (who was evil). He won several battles and won back territory for Israel, that had belonged to Judah.
He died and was replaced by King Zechariah of Israel.
II Chronicles 25
Amaziah was 25 years old when he took the throne and reigned 29 years.
In his top summary, as in II Kings, he's given credit for doing right in the sight of the Lord; but not with his whole heart. And then it reiterates him killing those who killed his father. He did not slay their children out of respect for the law.
He took a census and found 300,000 choice men. He hired another 100,000 out of Israel.
The Lord sent a prophet to warn Amaziah not to include Israel in his troops. He says the Lord is not with Israel or any of the sons of Ephraim. He reminds Amaziah that the Lord can help and the Lord can tear down.
In response Amaziah complained about the silver he had already paid to Israel for their service.
The unnamed prophet promises:
The Lord has much more to give to you than this.II Chronicles 25:9b
Amaziah releases the men and sends them home; but they take it very poorly and leave burning with anger.
I thought that, perhaps, they were angry for having been sent away because of an embarrassment; which may be true. They would have heard that Judah's God had found them unworthy. However, Wiersbe points out that they were also probably angry to be missing out on the spoils of war. That silver may have gone to Israel; but how much reached the foot soldier is unclear. The spoils would have been their motivation; and they were "deprived" of that.
Amaziah strengthened himself and led his people into battle at the Valley of Salt and slayed 10,000 sons of Seir. Then they threw another 10,000 off of a cliff. The MacAuthur Bible Commentary notes that this was a common form of execution among the pagans. So, Amaziah was already showing a preference to their lifestyle.
But, meanwhile, the anger Israelites invaded Judah and raided, plundered, and struck down 3,000. Again, to Wiersbe's point, the Israelites may have felt justified in taking their spoils of war from Judah, since Judah "deprived" them of taking it from the Edom battle earlier.
And Now for the Bad News
Starting in verse 14, for some unfathomable reason, Amaziah took the idols that represented the losing gods of the Edomites and made them his own. Bowing to them and burning incense.
God sends a prophet to ask that very question. Why would you worship a god that can't even save its own people? Amaziah n replied by telling the prophet to shut up. Since he wasn't appointed royal counsel, he shouldn't be weighing in. The prophet replied to that with the knowledge that he had:
God has planned to destroy you, because you have done this, and have not listened to my counsel.II Chronicles 25:16b
How often is that how we treat godly counsel. "I didn't ask you what you thought." This happens overtly in the teenage years; but I think many of us become more stealthy in our distain for the good news we don't want to hear. That's why God is all about the heart. He knows.
Starting in verse 17, we see Amaziah's arrogance come to a head and he challenges Joash, King of Israel to a fight. I assume that Amaziah picked this fight because the Israelite mercenaries pillaged Judah while Amaziah was away winning the battle with Edom. The King of Israel was told about the Israel soldiers being send home bfore the mercenaries invaded the Judah border; so it's logical that they had his permission. Otherwise, he doesn't say why Amaziah decides to pick this fight.
Joash sends back the response in the same form as above in II Kings. "Don't let your tiny victory against Edom go to your head and lose everything..."
The results were also the same as the II Kings account. Israel and Judah faced off in Judah; Israel won; Judah fled back to their tents; Israel capture Amaziah and tore down a chunk of the wall of Jerusalem. He also stole all of the treasures the people worked so hard to build up. Apparently, the idols of Edom didn't help much.
Amaziah lived for 15 more years. He stopped following the Lord. his people conspired against him. He fled. They caught him, killed him, and brought his body back for burial.
Let us be watchful after the victory as before the battle.Andrew Bonar, Scottish Minister (as quoted by Warren Wiersbe)
Wiersbe often includes this quotation in his commentaries. Largely because it is so often in the bible that "good" men often seems to fall the furthest after a big win or breakthrough. It's counterintuitive. But often very true.
True in my life as well. Flying high, I guess we make a good target for the enemy. Or we start trusting in ourselves somehow. Again, it doesn't make sense to me; but Amaziah's failure to stay humble and give God the glory is a great example of this principle.
The greatest judgement God can send to people is to let them have their own way.Warren Wiersbe, Be Distinct
Yeah...also very true. I've seen this in my own life, as well as the lives around me, let alone so many stories in the Bible.
Amaziah preferred the Edom gods (idols). And he received from them all of the help they had to offer when he fought with Israel. Which is to say...NONE. They're stone and wood...how can they help you, stupid. And by "stupid", I often mean me. I've put my faith in many things with even less substance that stone and wood. And I've received all the help it had to offer. Which is to say...None.
We think we want something and harden our heart to whether God wants it for us...And He agrees to our terms and let's us have our way...
Wiersbe makes the point that it seemed like Amaziah defeated the Edomites, with their 20,000 dead. However, Edom actual defeated Amaziah in the end by sending their Gods with him- leading to the complete destruction of Amaziah, along with all of the treasures of Judah, a chunk of the wall of Jerusalem, and other losses.