Today: [2 Chronicles Twenty-Five] King Amaziah’s Folly. In this chapter we learn of Amaziah the son of Joash. King Joash dies at the hands of assassins because he works treachery against the priesthood. In this chapter Amaziah grudgingly yields to the prophets but maintains an idolatrous lifestyle. As his father before him Amaziah rejects any leadership but his own and ultimately pays with his life.
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[2Ch 25:1-28 KJV] 1 Amaziah [was] twenty and five years old [when] he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name [was] Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 2 And he did [that which was] right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart. 3 Now it came to pass, when the kingdom was established to him, that he slew his servants that had killed the king his father. 4 But he slew not their children, but [did] as [it is] written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin. 5 Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of [their] fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice [men, able] to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield. 6 He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. 7 But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD [is] not with Israel, [to wit, with] all the children of Ephraim. 8 But if thou wilt go, do [it], be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down. 9 And Amaziah said to the man of God, But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the army of Israel? And the man of God answered, The LORD is able to give thee much more than this.
Joash king of Judah dies at the age of 47 and his son Amaziah rules in his stead. Once again we have mention of his mother’s name which became common after Jezebel’s notoriety and her kinswomen Athaliah who ruled in Judah for 6 years before Joash. Amaziah was obedient to the Lord outwardly but not with a whole heart. Once his reign was established he executed the servants who assassinated his father Joash but he refrained from retaliating against their children (in compliance with the law of Moses). Amaziah took great care and expense to build up the military including hiring 100,000 mercenaries from Israel in the north. Israel and Judah were almost always at war with one another so this was a unique method of pacifying Israel and maintaining peace among the brother nations. As practical as this may have seemed a prophet comes to Amaziah and advises him to reverse this policy quoting his grandfather Asa who in his early victories declared “God can save by few or by many…” Amaziah is troubled at this word from the prophet because he has already paid 100 talents of gold for the loyalty of the soldiers. The prophet simply points out that God is capable of providing funds in far greater amounts than this.
This is a meaningful lesson to us when we spend our time and money in a direction or decision that we haven’t consulted God concerning. When money has been spent or we have openly gone in a certain direction we often don’t want to reverse ourselves. It is important to remember that God is our resource and not to be concerned about what people think in their criticisms. Very often God will call upon you to reverse yourself and people of lesser fortunes will criticize and remark how inconsistent you are. People that have time in their lives to busy themselves commenting on your choices are usually living in failure in their own circumstances. Always look at the life and successes of a critic before you take them seriously. Do you want to submit yourself to that? Do you want your life to look like their life does? Better to obey God and let your critics go unanswered.
10 Then Amaziah separated them, [to wit], the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger. 11 And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand. 12 And [other] ten thousand [left] alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces. 13 But the soldiers of the army which Amaziah sent back, that they should not go with him to battle, fell upon the cities of Judah, from Samaria even unto Bethhoron, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil. 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. 17 Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face. 18 And Joash king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that [was] in Lebanon sent to the cedar that [was] in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that [was] in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. 19 Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast smitten the Edomites; and thine heart lifteth thee up to boast: abide now at home; why shouldest thou meddle to [thine] hurt, that thou shouldest fall, [even] thou, and Judah with thee? 20 But Amaziah would not hear; for it [came] of God, that he might deliver them into the hand [of their enemies], because they sought after the gods of Edom.
After the prophet tells Amaziah to send the mercenaries from the north home he does comply but as a king his ego is bruised. Remember that this is the son of Joash who chafed in his rule under the tutelage of the high priest. Eventually Joash gave in to his baser nature and after Jehoiada’s death executed his son Zecheriah. Amaziah would have observed these actions by his father and likewise been resistant and offended at being told what to do by the priesthood or by the prophets. He does obey and send the mercenaries home however and goes on to gain a great victory in Mount Seir just as the prophet spoke.
While Amaziah is conquering mount Seir however the offended mercenaries from the north attack cities in Judah and carry away great spoil. Their pride was bruised and they sought to retaliate. Remember this was Ephraim. Numerous times in their history this formidable tribe would forbear to go to war and then after the fact make a great show of bluster and offense that they were not consulted in the battle. This characteristic is demonstrated for centuries in the tribe of Ephraim. This is a lesson to us in dealing with those former enemies who may come to us at some future time feigning support for our cause or desiring to connect operationally with us in our life’s endeavors. Pride and offense always die hard and short of deep and heartfelt repentance once an enemy always an enemy even when they might later feign support for your cause. This is a bitter truth but a truth nonetheless.
Amaziah returns victorious from mount Seir but he also brings the idols pillaged from the high places that the people of mount Seir worshipped. This is an inexplicable contradiction but it demonstrates the resentment and rebellion festering in Amaziah that he inherited from his father Joash. The prophet comes to Amaziah and points out the incredulity of choosing to worship the gods of a defeated people. The king threatens the prophet but the prophet stands fast predicting that these choices will not bode well for the king’s future.
Amaziah obstinately maintains his posture of rebellion and makes the assumption that he won the battle against the people of mount Seir in his own strength. He goes on to seek revenge against the northern kingdom and challenges them to a battle. The king of Israel gives him an opportunity to withdraw but he refuses because God has determined that his kingdom will reap the consequences of idolatry and rebellion against the law and the prophets.
21 So Joash the king of Israel went up; and they saw one another in the face, [both] he and Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, which [belongeth] to Judah. 22 And Judah was put to the worse before Israel, and they fled every man to his tent. 23 And Joash the king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, at Bethshemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits. 24 And [he took] all the gold and the silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God with Obededom, and the treasures of the king’s house, the hostages also, and returned to Samaria. 25 And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, behold, [are] they not written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel? 27 Now after the time that Amaziah did turn away from following the LORD they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish: but they sent to Lachish after him, and slew him there. 28 And they brought him upon horses, and buried him with his fathers in the city of Judah.
In the battle that Amaziah unwisely provoked with Israel things do not go well. The king in the north defeats Amaziah and brings him hostage back to Jerusalem. To curtail Amaziah’s warlike posture 400 cubits of the city walls are destroyed and the temple and palace are pillaged. Hostages are taken as well and Amaziah is left humiliated and shamed in defeat. He lives on for another fifteen years until he also is assassinated and buried in the city of David.
Amaziah and his father Joash are examples of dealing with presumption, pride and arrogance. Joash rebelled against the priesthood and died before his time. Amaziah rebelled against the prophets and died before his time in shame and defeat. In most leadership situations those in authority see themselves as answering to no other power – however in God’s economy leadership is spread out from prophet, priest and king. The people of God would do well to make notice of this as a system of checks and balances. Accountability exists not just to one particular leader, pastors, minister but to various callings and offices. Who is your pastor? Who is your prophet? Who is the apostle that speaks into your life? Answering these questions and responding wholeheartedly salvages your life from inevitable peril and loss.
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