From 2 Chronicles 25-27
Amaziah is early on depicted as a good and trusting king. He trusted in the LORD and won over his enemies. But afterward he abandoned God. His example shows that God’s people can start off well and succumb to sin, abandoning God afterwards.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Sometimes there were kings with a mixed report. They do some things which please the LORD. And others that rightly anger him. Amazing was one such king.
25 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem. 2 And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, yet not with a whole heart. 3 And as soon as the royal power was firmly his, he killed his servants who had struck down the king his father. 4 But 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, “Fathers shall not die because of their children, nor children die because of their fathers, but each one shall die for his own sin.” (2 Chr 25:1–4)
In response to the murder of his father he killed all those who struck his father down. The law of Moses allowed for this, provided they didn’t flee to a city of refuge. Followed the laws instruction not to kill their children, even though they could grow up to kill him in response as well.
Amaziah had a tough beginning as king of Judah.
Eventually Amaziah had to go to war, so he conducted a census to amass his army.
5 Then Amaziah assembled the men of Judah and set them by fathers’ houses under commanders of thousands and of hundreds for all Judah and Benjamin. He mustered those twenty years old and upward, and found that they were 300,000 choice men, fit for war, able to handle spear and shield. 6 He hired also 100,000 mighty men of valor from Israel for 100 talents of silver.
7 But 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, with all these Ephraimites. 8 But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”
9 And Amaziah 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.”
10 Then Amaziah discharged the army that had come to him from Ephraim to go home again. And they became very angry with Judah and returned home in fierce anger. (2 Chr 25:5-10)
Amaziah’s army consisted of his own people and hired mercenaries. The 100,000 hired mercenaries were paid a total of 100 talents of silver. By way of comparison Solomon overlaid the holy of holies in the temple with 300 talents of gold ().
A prophet comes and instructed him to let go his mercenaries.
He doesn’t need them. The LORD is able to give him victory and much more. Amaziah believes the prophet and he frees them from service. This may imply he trusted in the LORD.
The mercenaries from Ephraim take the rejection as an insult to their courage, loyalty and prowess and leave in ‘fierce anger’.
11 But Amaziah took courage and led out his people and went to the Valley of Salt and struck down 10,000 men of Seir. 12 The men of Judah captured another 10,000 alive and took them to the top of a rock and threw them down from the top of the rock, and they were all dashed to pieces. (2 Chr 25:11-12)
Despite their anger and the reduced size of his army Amaziah ‘took courage’. His remaining 300,000 strong army wins over the dangerous 20,000 who opposed him. He pushes many over the cliff!
The mercenaries from Ephraim, angered from the rejection, were venting their wrath.
13 But the men of the army whom Amaziah sent back, not letting them go with him to battle, raided the cities of Judah, from Samaria to Beth-horon, and struck down 3,000 people in them and took much spoil. (2 Chr 25:13)
They raided and pillaged some cities of Judah. Showing their character.
How should they have responded to the rejection?
One might think Amaziah would be grateful to the LORD for his victory…
14 After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. 15 Therefore the LORD was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?”
16 But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” 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 counsel.” (2 Chr 25:14–16)
Immediately after the LORD gave him victory, he abandoned him and worshipped other gods. The LORD sends him another prophet. This time to rebuke him.
But Amaziah has become proud and full of his own power. In response to the rebuke, Amaziah threatens the prophet. The prophet cowers, but has the last word.
God has determined to destroy Amaziah.
Some time later Ezekiel will announce.
24 But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. (Eze 18.24)
While Amaziah started off good, he later abandoned the LORD and refused to repent. Several more evil kings will follow him and the LORD will send Judah into exile.
In the gospel Jesus warns his people from sinning like Amaziah did.
24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Lk 11.24-26)
The person starts off as good by cleaning up his house, but he leaves it empty. Afterwards it is filled with unclean spirits.
The illustration highlights we need to fill our lives with good things. Because if we don’t the void will be filled with sin and evil.
It warns us against complacency. God’s people are still tempted and can fall into sin. Learn from Amaziah’s example and don’t make the same mistake.
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