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2 Chronicles 25:1-26:2 – Amaziah

Summary

Like his predecessor, Amaziah starts off as a pious king, but his reign ends in apostasy, again contrary to the report in 2 Kings 14.

Analysis

The initial period of Amaziah's reign (vv. 1-13) is judged favorably, as indicated by his victory over the Edomites, though the Chronicler's suspicions about foreign alliances (vv. 6, 9) may have suggested his substitution of "yet not with a true heart" (v. 2) for "yet not like his ancestor David" (2 Kings 14:3).

The second period of Amaziah's reign (2 Chronicles 25:14-28) is a different matter, however. In two crucial instances, Amaziah is depicted as behaving in ways contrary to his faithful first period:

  • Instead of doing "what was right in the sight of the LORD" (v. 2), Amaziah "brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up as his gods, and worshiped them" (v. 14).
  • Instead of listening to the word of the prophet ("man of God" in NRSV) to trust in God alone and achieving victory over the Edomites (vv. 5-13), Amaziah rejects the word of the prophet and suffers military defeat and assassination (vv. 15-28).

The Chronicler is clear that God was responsible for both Amaziah's victory and his defeat (vv. 20, 27). As such, this passage serves as a prime example of his understanding of retributive justice. Amaziah experienced blessing during the faithful period of his reign when he heeded the warnings of the prophet; conversely, Amaziah experienced judgment in the unfaithful period of his reign when he ignored the prophetic warning. These prophetic warnings are especially important for understanding the Chronicler's view of retributive justice. They show that judgment is not inevitable; the possibility of repentance is always open to the sinner.

2 Chronicles 25:1-26:2

Reign of Amaziah

25Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 2He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart. 3As soon as the royal power was firmly in his hand he killed his servants who had murdered his father the king. 4But he did not put their children to death, according to what is written in the law, in the book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, ‘The parents shall not be put to death for the children, or the children be put to death for the parents; but all shall be put to death for their own sins.’

Slaughter of the Edomites

5 Amaziah assembled the people of Judah, and set them by ancestral houses under commanders of the thousands and of the hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those twenty years old and upwards, and found that they were three hundred thousand picked troops fit for war, able to handle spear and shield. 6He also hired one hundred thousand mighty warriors from Israel for one hundred talents of silver. 7But a man of God came to him and said, ‘O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—all these Ephraimites. 8Rather, go by yourself and act; be strong in battle, or God will fling you down before the enemy; for God has power to help or to overthrow.’ 9Amaziah said to the man of God, ‘But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?’ The man of God answered, ‘The Lord is able to give you much more than this.’ 10Then Amaziah discharged the army that had come to him from Ephraim, letting them go home again. But they became very angry with Judah, and returned home in fierce anger.

11 Amaziah took courage, and led out his people; he went to the Valley of Salt, and struck down ten thousand men of Seir. 12The people of Judah captured another ten thousand alive, took them to the top of Sela, and threw them down from the top of Sela, so that all of them were dashed to pieces. 13But the men of the army whom Amaziah sent back, not letting them go with him to battle, fell on the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth-horon; they killed three thousand people in them, and took much booty.

14 Now after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up as his gods, and worshipped them, making offerings to them. 15The Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, ‘Why have you resorted to a people’s gods who could not deliver their own people from your hand?’ 16But as he was speaking the king* said to him, ‘Have we made you a royal counsellor? 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.’

Israel Defeats Judah

17 Then King Amaziah of Judah took counsel and sent to King Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu of Israel, saying, ‘Come, let us look one another in the face.’ 18King Joash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah, ‘A thornbush on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying, “Give your daughter to my son for a wife”; but a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thornbush. 19You say, “See, I have defeated Edom”, and your heart has lifted you up in boastfulness. Now stay at home; why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?’

20 But Amaziah would not listen—it was God’s doing, in order to hand them over, because they had sought the gods of Edom. 21So King Joash of Israel went up; he and King Amaziah of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 22Judah was defeated by Israel; everyone fled home. 23King Joash of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh; he brought him to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of four hundred cubits. 24He seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God, and Obed-edom with them; he seized also the treasuries of the king’s house, also hostages; then he returned to Samaria.

Death of Amaziah

25 King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah, lived fifteen years after the death of King Joash son of Jehoahaz of Israel. 26Now the rest of the deeds of Amaziah, from first to last, are they not written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel? 27From the time that Amaziah turned away from the Lord they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But they sent after him to Lachish, and killed him there. 28They brought him back on horses; he was buried with his ancestors in the city of David.

Reign of Uzziah

26Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king to succeed his father Amaziah. 2He rebuilt Eloth and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his ancestors.

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v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

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