"Amaziah's Reign over Judah
This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org
In the early years of king Solomon's reign the Temple was a beautiful building, built to the glory of God. The worship and sacrifice that went on in Solomon's day was a glory to God, however by the time queen Athaliah went on her rampage to kill all the males of the king line in the royal family, the Temple lay in ruins with big holes in the structure and the walls. God raised Joash, that small infant from the pile of male bodies, and brought life back into Joash's body and he became the king at age seven. Even as a child, Joash ordered the temple to be restored so that the huge holes in the temple walls would be mended. As an infant the Temple was the only place that Joash knew as home.
In time the money was raised and the temple walls were restored, one big hole at a time, and in our lives we also have those big holes that need repair, one hole at a time. The fixing and patching up of our lives starts with one step at a time. It starts by making that first stand, and as we saw in the prior chapter, shooting that first arrow directly at the problem. Sure, that arrow will not fix the problem, but it set the direction for the arrows that would follow, and then came the battles, until the war was finally won.
The first step is your deciding for yourself, rather than listening to some man, for it is through the Word of God that we have the path that is set forth, and treaded down and made easy to travel, and that living Word is Jesus Christ. If you follow that Living Word, than life is beautiful. Then God gives you his riches and blessings, and in Solomon's days when he was right with God, the Temple flourished and the people were blessed. The splendor and beauty were great, but when the Kenite practices of Hiram were brought in at the end of his life, the temple went down hill when the mixing of Satan's things with God's ways took place.
Paul warned us in I Corinthians 10:11 that these things of the Old Testament happened as an "ensample", [example] as to what would befall us in the latter times. As we observe what these kings did and said lets us know how our Heavenly Father thinks of similar things of our day. God doesn't change for he is the same today as He was them. We can see what God thinks of nations and rulers that do those things that please and displease Him. For we know that when they had turned their backs on God, He turned his blessings off to them, and when a man or woman sought to please God, God blessed them. So these types let us know when we ourselves displease God, we learn why God's blessing come and go from us individually by understanding the examples that has given us in His Word.
II Kings 14:1 "In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah."
Joash was the second in the line of kings from Jehu, the dynasty in Israel that God promised would last for at least four generations. It was in Joash's second year that Amaziah, the son of Joash, [that seven year old boy king of Judah, that had reigned for forty years] became king of Judah. Remember that the tribes were split into two separate nations, the house or nation of Israel to the north, and the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin making up the house or nation of Judah to the south. So at the same time there was a Joash reigning in Judah, and a Joash king of Israel. Review the order of these kings on page 138.
"Amaziah" in the Hebrew tongue means, "strength of the Lord". So many of the kings displeased God, and we will now see how he pleased the Father.
II Kings 14:2 "He was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem."
Amaziah reigned twenty nine years in Jerusalem over the nation of Judah. "Jehoaddan" in the Hebrew means "whom God adorns". When you are in the Lord, God does adorn you, and your countenance of your spirit will show it; for the Spirit of God will be in and with your spirit.
II Kings 14:3 "And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did."
Amaziah sought to please God in all that he did, and in seeking God's pleasure, his thought was right by God. However, he used his father Joash as his guide rather than his forefather David. So what was it that Joash did? The same old things:
II Kings 14:4 "Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the People did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places."
Of course they set up there on those high places right across Kedron, on the mount of Olives and followed the traditions of burned sacrifices and incenses to baal, to follow after the traditions that their forefathers had made. They mixed the things of the groves with the things of God in their religious practices. They went to the same place that Christ gave the sermon of the mound, and that Christ's feet shall touch down on His second advent; that is the place where these things and offerings at the high places took place. When Amaziah became king they did not end their heathen practices. Many of those things are still considered of God even today, as by tradition, the church has just not separated them out yet. These kings of Judah allowed idol worship to go on there.
II Kings 14:5 "And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father. "
You remember back when the Syrian army had swept through the nation of Israel and gone down to Gath and had taken that city, Joash the king of Judah went out to battle with the Syrian. Joash was wounded in that battle and went to the house of Millo to heal. While there on his bed, several of his servants came in and killed him. Well Amaziah waited until the scepter was placed into his hand, and when it had, the first order that he gave as the king was that those responsible for his father death be put to death.
II Kings 12:20 "And his servants arose, and made a conspiriacy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, which goeth down to Silla."
So it was payback time, the son of Joash takes revenge.
II Kings 14:6 "But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, "Thy fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."
This is a quote from Deuteronomy 24:16; "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sins."
So the question comes up, Why would God allow all the males of the family of Ahab to be put to death by Jehu, as ordered by the prophet Elisha? Yes all of the children of Ahab was put to death, including many others of his family included. The reason was that they were worse than he was. God knew their heart, and what they were when the order was given to kill them all. God doesn't make a law and then go against that law. If there was a judgment by God, than that was the right judgment. If you ever feel that God made a mistake, the problem is with your thinking, not God's for He is always just.
II Kings 14:7 "He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Jokthell unto this day."
"Jokthell" means, "subdued by God". However in II Chronicles 25:14; "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."
"Seir" is "Edom", the children of Esau, and Amaziah took those heathen gods or idols of Edom back to Jerusalem and set them up and worshipped them. Though Amaziah started out right with the True God, it didn't take long for things to go down hill fast. He went to battle in the name of God, and when the battle was won, what does he do? Amaziah took those heathen gods and bow down to them in thanksgiving and worship. This wickedness was left out our the book of II Kings, but this is the reason that the grace of God will fall away from Amaziah. Sure God was with him when he came to power, and through his first few battles, but it didn't take long for the fall to come. Amaziah knew that it was God's power that gave him the victory, yet who gets the thanks for those victories? The heathen gods of the enemy. This should be a warning and message to each of us, as to who we give the credit of the blessings that God sends our way, it had better be God.
II Kings 14:8 "Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, "Come, let us look one another in the face."
So now Amaziah is sending his messengers to Joash, the king of Israel, and trying to set up challenge. "Come, let us look one another in the face," is a challenge to the other king that he is ready to meet you on the battle field. Amaziah is fresh off the battle field with a victory over the Edomites, and he feels that he can lick anyone. His army was ready to fight after the war with the Edomites had ended. There were many mercenaries that came from Israel, and God told Amaziah to send them back home. He wanted only committed soldiers from Judah in the ranks.
We see this in II Chronicles 25:13; "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, and from Samaria even unto Beth-horon, and smote three thousand of them, and took much spoil."
Amaziah didn't know it at the time, but when those troops were returning home, they had turned into nothing but a bunch of hoods, roaming bands of thieves and robbers. The king of Israel was already getting ready for war because of those drunken soldiers, rejected of Amaziah's army, and out of control. When the king of Judah went to fight the king of Edom, he hired many mercenaries of Israel to fight for him. However, a man of God, in chapter twenty five, told Amaziah, "Don't take them with you, but send them back home". At that time Amaziah was still serving God and when he sent them back home, it made them so mad that they divided themselves into bands and turned into nothing but thieves and robbers against both the town of Judah and Israel. In that they would not receive any of the spoils of war, they took their spoils from the towns they passed through on their way home.
Sure the war went well for the army of Judah, but because of what these mercenaries did to his land on their way home, he was not happy with the men of Israel for what they did when he turned them loose. So we see that the King of Israel blamed Amaziah for the problems that these men of Israel caused, and Amaziah blamed Israel for the damage of their mercenaries. So in the end, Amaziah is calling Israel out to war to settle it once and for all, and Israel at the same time put the blame on the shoulders of Amaziah. This is the reason that Amaziah feels bold about his threat, for he feels that his army can beat Israel and set the record straight.
We are talking about family here, for both of these nations are next of kin, from the family of Jacob. This fight then is a civil war, settled with a family fight. There was a little dispute, when the king promised the mercenaries something, and he did not come through with the promise, they made things miserable for the rest of the people. Amaziah did what God told him to do, when he sent them home, only this was an insult to them, and they took it out on the people of both Israel and Judah. They took the maidens, the live stock, and all the gold and silver that they could lay their hands on. That became their spoils of war. This is family steeling from family; Don't fight within your own family. That is what civil war is all about, and there are better ways to work things out within the family.
II Kings 14:9 "And Jehoash the 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."
Old king Joash, the king of Israel gave his answer to Amaziah's challenge, and the answer came through this little story of the thistles. What it is say, is that down there in Edom you may have been a big army, but up here in Israel your nothing but a thistle. The cedar's of Lebanon are symbolic of the house of Israel, and it represents something very big and strong. While here Joash is comparing himself to these cedars, he is telling Amaziah that his army is nothing but a patch of trodden down thistles. Remember that the families had intermarried all the way back to Ahab, and Joash is telling him, no giving of a daughter to wife is going to save you from the thumping that I am going to give you.
Joash does try to settle it without war, and let him know that the odds are not with Judah in case of war.
II Kings 14:10 "That hast indeed smitten Edom, and thine heart hath lifted thee up: glory of this, and tarry at home: for why shouldest thou meddle to thy hurt, that thou shouldest fall, even thou, and Judah with thee?"
You are so proud of the battle that you just fought and won, and you killed ten thousand men in battle, but don't think that you can do that against Israel. Go home and glory in the battle that you have won, and stay there, for why would you want to start something that may get you hurt. After all, you could even die in battle over this. Then Joash adds a little salt to the wound, by telling him that his pride will get others of Judah hurt right along with him.
Talk about an insult, egging him into battle; first he compares Amaziah to a thistle, and himself to a big strong cedar of Lebanon, then Joash tells him that he is a meddling old man that is about to get those around him hurt. Sure Joash should have told the truth concerning the matter, but not in a manner of insulting the person that you are talking to. He should have left room so that Amaziah could save face, and change his mind. That was not done here.
Remember this is family, and it applies to our families today, as much as it did between Amaziah and Joash. The words should be offered gracefully, and received with respect. The details of this conversation between Amaziah and Joash are given in II Chronicles 25:16-20.
II Kings 14:11 "But Amaziah would not hear. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went up; and he and Amaziah king of Judah looked one another in the face at Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah."
Amaziah would not listen to anything that Joash, king of Israel would say. So Joash took his army and headed south to Beth-shemesh to face Amaziah and the army of Judah. Amaziah is about to get whipped badly. So why would God allow is to happen to Amaziah and the army of Judah?
II Chronicles 25:20 "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."
God is going to teach Amaziah a lesson for bringing back the gods of the Edomites, and bowing down to them, and giving thanks for a victory that God gave to Judah. God is on Amaziah for the wicked act that he as done, and it is payback time for that wickedness. So the point that we should learn from this, is though you may have one great victory, and it may make us quite bold over it, the moment that you leave of serving God, and start serving other gods and religious systems, God is going to deal harshly with you over those things. You may even use the right words when you are doing what you do, but it is a matter of the intent that is within your heart. By your traditions you shall know them. Are their traditions in accordance with God's Word? That is what is important, are their traditions documented within God Word? Of course not.
Once the prophet of God told him what the outcome would be, Amaziah turned around and threatened the prophet of God, and that is not a wise man. Not that it would make the prophet mad, but it makes God very mad.
II Kings 14:12 "And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents."
This war between Israel and Judah didn't last long, and very few lives were lost, because Judah's army didn't stick around when they heard that God was not on their side. Every man headed back home for his own tent back home. Sure enough the old cedar of Lebanon is walking all over that little thistle to the south.
II Kings 14:13 "And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits."
Joash did not want to kill off the army of Judah, but he took only Amaziah the king, and marched him right back to Jerusalem. Broke down the walls of Jerusalem and took all the gold and silver and things of value that they could find. This gate that was broken down is on the north side and is called the gate of Benjamin. A cubit is the measurement from the tip of the palm of the hand to the elbow of a mature man, or about two feet. So the breech in the wall was about eight hundred feet long or less.
II Kings 14:14 "And he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria."
Joash emptied out the treasures of the king's house, and the Temple, as well as all the booty that Amaziah gained from the battle with the Edomites. The reason that the hostages were taken, was that when Joash released the king to remain in Jerusalem, he did not want any trouble on his way back home. Joash took hostages in the place of the king. In the Hebrew text, the hostage was taken as a "pledge of good faith"; they were his sons to insure securities of the agreements reached. This is the only place in the entire scripture where "hostages" were taken for the sake of security.
Amaziah still reigned fifteen years after this took place.
II Kings 14:15 "Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?"
Yes they are, in II Chronicles 25. Before Joash is finish with his wars with Syria, he will come to Amaziah and Judah for help, because his father only shot three arrows into the ground, and he will rely on Judah to finish the battle with the Syrians. God works in strange ways, but He gets the job done.
Many times families fall apart when one member of the family thinks himself or herself better than the others. A brother will not speak to his brother for years, or a son to his father. That is when a little humility comes in, for a little humility can heal a deep wound, and mend the family. In time Joash would turn to these people of Judah for help, when the forth battle against the Syrians went against him.
II Kings 14:16 "And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead."
When Joash the king of Israel died, his son Jeroboam II came to the throne over the house of Israel.
II Kings 14:17 "And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years."
So in the end, Amaziah lived fifteen years longer than Joash, the king of Israel that belittled him and stole the gold and silver from the house of God.
II Kings 14:18 "And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"
Yes, they are written in II Chronicles 25, and many of those acts are not to the glory of Amaziah, for he did many stupid things like bowing and worshipping idols.
II Kings 14:19 "Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lechish, and slew him there."
We read in II Chronicles 25:27 the reason that this conspiracy grew against Amaziah. "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."
It was during this fifteen years that Amaziah picked up all sorts of bad habits and playing around in idolatry, and many in Jerusalem did not like it. He did much the same as Ahab did, in bring in all sorts of heathen religious practices into Jerusalem. He formed traditions right in the house of God, and this brought him many enemies from God's people. It doesn't state the form of these religious practices, but it could have even been the sex orgies of the grove worship. The priests and the prophets of the Temple in Jerusalem did not mess around. God's leaders knew what kind of a curse this would bring on their nation if it was allowed to continue, and they put a stop to it immediately.
II Kings 14:20 "And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David."
So both of these two distant brothers that went to war against each other are now dead and in the grave.
II Kings 14:21 "And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah."
There is some confusion in this verse, in as much as "Azariah" is the same name as "Uzziah". Through most of the places telling of the deeds of Azariah, the name used is Uzziah. "Azariah" means "whom the Lord helps", while "Uzziah" means "the strength of God [Ya]".
II Kings 14:22 "He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers."
Azariah built Elath, in the land of Edom, and made it part of Judah.
II Kings 14:23 "In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joah king of Judah Jeroboam the son the Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years."
This Jeroboam II was not a relative of Jeroboam the first, for Jeroboam the first's dynasty ended a century prior, however he was named after that first king over the house of Israel. It is said for eliminating confusion, that this Jeroboam is called "Jeroboam II". Jeroboam means "whose people are many".
II Kings 14:24 "And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin."
From this point on we will see king after king of both houses drifting off into the things that just do not please the Lord. They continued to hold on to the heathen religions and making traditions out of them that God hated. They got to likeing their sex orgies in the groves, and bowing to anything they could get their hands on. As far as the house of Judah was concerned, they carried on their heathen traditions right in the house of God, and out there on the mount of Olives.
Remember all the way back to the time of the Judges, God wanted to be our king, only our people wanted a man to sit on the throne that they could see and bow down to, so God gave them Saul and David to be their kings. Man has his problems and limitations, and as time passed, these kings slipped into sin deeper and deeper. Though the throne of Israel will be ended within eighty years, the throne over the house of Judah will be carried on and overturned to Ireland, to Scotland, and on to England where it sits today, with Queen Elizabeth II reigning. At the close of this chapter, pages 150 to 152 we will follow that lineage, and to this day the first duty of the one on the throne is to be, "The defender of the faith", of the people of all Israel.
So the sin of Jeroboam II was to worship another god, and the sin was religion.
II Kings 14:25 "He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He spake by the hand of His servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet which was of Gath-hepher."
The "Jonah" spoken here is the writter of the book of Jonah, the man that God sent to Nineveh to repent or God will eliminate their people. Jeroboam II restored all the land from Hamath all the way to the dead sea to the house of Israel. this servant that spoke in the court of Jeroboam II is the same Jonah that Jesus Christ talked about in Matthew 12:38, 39.
Matthew 12:38 "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, "Master, we would see a sign from Thee."
Matthew 12:39 "But He answered and said unto them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and ehre shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:"
Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."
Jonah knew that God would use Nineveh to destroy his nation Israel, and rather than go and preach to them, he hopped on a ship and tried to run from Nineveh. We know that Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish that God had prepared. That great fish threw Jonah up on the shore right where the people of Assyria witnessed the event, and the word spread. Remember that the Assyrian's god was "Dagon the fish god", and they watched as their fish god had delivered a prophet to them. The people of Nineveh listened to the words of Jonah and they repented, and were saved, only in one generation to turn against Israel and scatter her to the ends of the earth. This is just a little background of this man of God Jonah that was in the court of Jeroboam II, advising the king. This little town of Gath-hepher was north, about three miles from Nazarath, the place where Jesus and his family grew up.
II Kings 14:26 "For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel."
By this time Israel's army was little or nothing, and there defenses were very weak. The people were left outside the walls for there simply was no protection. So, had God not intervened at this time, Israel would have ended.
II Kings 14:27 "And the Lord said not that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash."
God can use anyone He chooses, and even though Jeroboam II did all those wicked things, God still used this king to protect Israel from destruction. God can use you in places where you have no idea the manner that He is using you. That seed that you plant can grow in another mind and that person may go out to be a teacher of thousands. If you are willing to be of service for God, than God will fit you into His plan in the place that He fells you fit, to do a service in the manner that He will give you the gifts to serve. Your responsibility is to be willing to serve when that time comes and He leads.
II Kings 14:28 "Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the king of Israel?"
Damascus was initially part of the land of Israel, and he took Damascus back from Syria for Israel. Hamath is the land of the Kenites, and was a land of merchandising and trade. It was on the coast, and the Kenites were involved in shipping, very much as the Kenites are today. However, don't read to much into it here.
II Kings 14:29 "And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead."
This king Zachariah is the fourth in line from king Jehu, for God promised that Jehu's sons to the forth generation would rule over Israel. This would be the longest reign of any dynasty of any of the kings of the house of Israel. This is not talking about the lineage of David and Judah, but of the house of Israel. Zachariah's reign will be a short one of only about six month, before Shallum his servant will rise and slay him. Here again Zachariah will not remover idol worship from the land of Israel. This is not the Zachariah that is the prophet of God, the prophet that wrote down the instruction we call the book of Zachariah.
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