2 Chronicles 25:1-26:2 – Amaziah
SummaryLike his predecessor, Amaziah starts off as a pious king, but his reign ends in apostasy, again contrary to the report in 2 Kings 14.
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.