Amaziah's Good Reign over Judah.
3-6. He did that which was right in the sight of
the Lord, yet not like David his father—The beginning of his
reign was excellent, for he acted the part of a constitutional king,
according to the law of God, yet not with perfect sincerity of heart
(compare 2Ch 25:2). As
in the case of his father Joash, the early promise was belied by the
devious course he personally followed in later life (see 2Ch 20:14), as well as by the public
irregularities he tolerated in the kingdom.
5. as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his
hand—It was an act of justice no less than of filial piety to
avenge the murder of his father. But it is evident that the two
assassins must have possessed considerable weight and influence, as the
king was obliged to retain them in his service, and durst not, for fear
of their friends and supporters, institute proceedings against them
until his power had been fully consolidated.
6. But the children of the murderers he slew
not—This moderation, inspired by the Mosaic law (De 24:16), displays the good character of this
prince; for the course thus pursued toward the families of the
regicides was directly contrary to the prevailing customs of antiquity,
according to which all connected with the criminals were doomed to
He Smites Edom.
7. He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten
thousand—In the reign of Joram the Edomites had revolted (see
8:20). But Amaziah,
determined to reduce them to their former subjection, formed a hostile
expedition against them, in which he routed their army and made himself
master of their capital.
the valley of salt—that part of the
Ghor which comprises the salt and sandy plain to the south of the Dead
Selah—literally, "the rock"; generally
thought to be Petra.
Joktheel—that is, "given" or
"conquered by God." See the history of this conquest more fully
detailed (2Ch 25:6-16).
2Ki 14:8-16. Joash Defeats
8. Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of
Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel—This bold and haughty
challenge, which was most probably stimulated by a desire of
satisfaction for the outrages perpetrated by the discharged auxiliaries
of Israel (2Ch 25:13)
on the towns that lay in their way home, as well as by revenge for the
massacre of his ancestors by Jehu (2Ki 9:1-37) sprang, there is little doubt, from
pride and self-confidence, inspired by his victory over the
9. Jehoash the king of Israel sent to
Amaziah—People in the East very often express their
sentiments in a parabolic form, especially when they intend to convey
unwelcome truths or a contemptuous sneer. This was the design of the
admonitory fable related by Joash in his reply. The thistle, a low
shrub, might be chosen to represent Amaziah, a petty prince; the cedar,
the powerful sovereign of Israel, and the wild beast that trampled down
the thistle the overwhelming army with which Israel could desolate
Judah. But, perhaps, without making so minute an application, the
parable may be explained generally, as describing in a striking manner
the effects of pride and ambition, towering far beyond their natural
sphere, and sure to fall with a sudden and ruinous crash. The moral of
the fable is contained in 2Ki 14:10.
11-14. But Amaziah would not hear—The
sarcastic tenor of this reply incited the king of Judah the more; for,
being in a state of judicial blindness and infatuation (2Ch 25:20), he was immovably determined on war.
But the superior energy of Joash surprised him ere he had completed his
military preparations. Pouring a large army into the territory of
Judah, he encountered Amaziah in a pitched battle, routed his army, and
took him prisoner. Then having marched to Jerusalem [2Ki 14:13], he not only demolished part of the
city walls, but plundered the treasures of the palace and temple.
Taking hostages to prevent any further molestation from Judah, he
terminated the war. Without leaving a garrison in Jerusalem, he
returned to his capital with all convenient speed, his presence and all
his forces being required to repel the troublesome incursions of the
2Ki 14:17-20. He Is Slain by
19, 20. they made a conspiracy against him in
Jerusalem—Amaziah's apostasy (2Ch 25:27) was followed by a general
maladministration, especially the disastrous issue of the war with
Israel. The ruinous condition of Jerusalem, the plunder of the temple,
and the loss of their children who were taken as hostages [2Ki 14:13, 14], lost him the respect and
attachment not of the grandees only, but of his subjects generally, who
were in rebellion. The king fled in terror to Lachish, a frontier town
of the Philistines, where, however, he was traced and murdered. His
friends had his corpse brought without any pomp or ceremony, in a
chariot to Jerusalem, where he was interred among his royal
2Ki 14:21, 22. Azariah
21. all the people of Judah took
Azariah—or Uzziah (2Ki 15:30; 2Ch 26:1). The popular opposition had been
personally directed against Amaziah as the author of their calamities,
but it was not extended to his family or heir.
22. He built Elath—fortified that
seaport. It had revolted with the rest of Edom, but was now recovered
by Uzziah. His father, who did not complete the conquest of Edom, had
left him that work to do.
2Ki 14:23-29. Jeroboam's
Wicked Reign over Israel.
23. Jeroboam, the son of Joash king of
Israel—This was Jeroboam II who, on regaining the lost
territory, raised the kingdom to great political power (2Ki 14:25), but adhered to the favorite religious
policy of the Israelitish sovereigns (2Ki 14:24). While God granted him so great a
measure of national prosperity and eminence, the reason is expressly
stated (2Ki 14:26, 27) to be that the purposes of the divine
covenant forbade as yet the overthrow of the kingdom of the ten tribes