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16But as he was speaking the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be put to death?” So the prophet stopped, but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my advice.”
Amaziah's Idolatry. (b. c. 826.)
14 Now 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. 15 Wherefore 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? 16 And 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.
Here is, I. The revolt of Amaziah from the God of Israel to the gods of the Edomites. Egregious folly! Ahaz worshipped the gods of those that had conquered him, for which he had some little colour, ch. xxviii. 23. But to worship the gods of those whom he had conquered, who could not protect their own worshippers, was the greatest absurdity that could be. What did he see in the gods of the children of Seir that could tempt him to set them up for his gods and bow himself down before them? v. 14. If he had cast the idols down from the rock and broken them to pieces, instead of the prisoners, he would have manifested more of the piety as well as more of the pity of an Israelite; but perhaps for that barbarous inhumanity he was given up to this ridiculous idolatry.
II. The reproof which God sent to him, by a prophet, for this sin. The anger of the Lord was kindled against him, and justly; yet, before he sent to destroy him, he sent to convince and reclaim him, and so to prevent his destruction. The prophet reasoned with him very fairly and very mildly: Why hast thou sought the favour of those gods which could not deliver their own people? v. 15. If men would but duly consider the inability of all those things to help them to which they have recourse when they forsake God, they would not be such enemies to themselves.
III. The check he gave to the reprover, v. 16. He could say nothing in excuse of his own folly; the reproof was too just to be answered. But he fell into a passion with the reprover. 1. He taunted him as saucy and impertinent, and meddling with that which did not belong to him: Art thou made of the king's counsel? Could not a man speak reasonably to him, but he must be upbraided as usurping the place of a privy-counsellor? But, as a prophet, he really was made of the king's counsel by the King of kings, in duty to whom the king was bound not only to hear, but to ask and take his counsel. 2. He silenced him, bade him forbear and say not a word more to him. He said to the seer, See not, Isa. xxx. 10. Men would gladly have their prophets thus under their girdles, as we say, to speak just when and what they would have them speak, and not otherwise. 3. He threatened him: "Why shouldst thou be smitten? It is at thy peril if thou sayest a word more of this matter." He seems to remind him of Zechariah's fate in the last reign, who was put to death for making bold with the king; and bids him take warning by him. Thus he justifies the killing of that prophet by menacing this, and so, in effect, makes himself guilty of the blood of both. He had hearkened to the prophet who ordered him to send back the army of Israel, and was ruled by him, though he contradicted his politics and lost him 100 talents, v. 10. But this prophet, who dissuaded him from worshipping the gods of the Edomites, he ran upon with an unaccountable rage, which must be attributed to the witchcraft of idolatry. He was easily persuaded to part with his talents of silver, but by no means with his gods of silver.
IV. The doom which the prophet passed upon him for this. He had more to say to him by way of instruction and advice; but, finding him obstinate in his iniquity, he forbore. He is joined to idols; let him alone, Hos. iv. 17. Miserable is the condition of that man with whom the blessed Spirit, by ministers and conscience, forbears to strive, Gen. vi. 3. And both the reprovers in the gate and that in the bosom, if long brow-beaten and baffled, will at length forbear. So I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts. The secure sinner perhaps values himself upon it as a noble and happy achievement to have silenced his reprovers and monitors, and to get clear of them; but what comes of it? "I know that God has determined to destroy thee; it is a plain indication that thou art marked for ruin that thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened to my counsel." Those that are deaf to reproof are ripening apace for destruction, Prov. xxix. 1.