2 Chronicles 25 (New Living Translation)
Amaziah Rules in Judah
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. 2Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.
3 When Amaziah was well established as king, he executed the officials who had assassinated his father. 4 However, he did not kill the children of the assassins, for he obeyed the command of the Lord as written by Moses in the Book of the Law: “Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.”
He obeys the law of Moses. So far, so good.
5 Then Amaziah organized the army, assigning generals and captains for all Judah and Benjamin. He took a census and found that he had an army of 300,000 select troops, twenty years old and older, all trained in the use of spear and shield. 6 He also paid about 7,500 pounds of silver to hire 100,000 experienced fighting men from Israel.
7 But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, do not hire troops from Israel, for the Lord is not with Israel. He will not help those people of Ephraim! 8 If you let them go with your troops into battle, you will be defeated by the enemy no matter how well you fight. God will overthrow you, for he has the power to help you or to trip you up.”
9 Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?”
The man of God replied, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!” 10 So Amaziah discharged the hired troops and sent them back to Ephraim.
It is unsettling that he hires mercenaries and that he thinks first of the money he spent rather than faithfulness of God. But he obeys the prophet, even at a loss of profit! Good for him.
This made them very angry with Judah, and they returned home in a great rage.
11 Then Amaziah summoned his courage and led his army to the Valley of Salt, where they killed 10,000 Edomite troops from Seir. 12 They captured another 10,000 and took them to the top of a cliff and threw them off, dashing them to pieces on the rocks below.
13 Meanwhile, the hired troops that Amaziah had sent home raided several of the towns of Judah between Samaria and Beth-horon. They killed 3,000 people and carried off great quantities of plunder.
14 When King Amaziah returned from slaughtering the Edomites, he brought with him idols taken from the people of Seir. He set them up as his own gods, bowed down in front of them, and offered sacrifices to them!
What?! An ungrateful, even irrational response!
15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask, “Why do you turn to gods who could not even save their own people from you?”
16 But the king interrupted him and said, “Since when have I made you the king’s counselor? Be quiet now before I have you killed!”
This further ungrateful response is a direct rejection of God.
So the prophet stopped with this warning: “I know that God has determined to destroy you because you have done this and have refused to accept my counsel.”
17 After consulting with his advisers, King Amaziah of Judah sent this challenge to Israel’s king Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu: “Come and meet me in battle!”
He doesn’t like this counsel, so he goes elsewhere to get the advice he wants / to confirm his own intentions. (Where have we seen this before in 2 Chronicles? –or in my own heart?)
18 But King Jehoash of Israel replied to King Amaziah of Judah with this story: “Out in the Lebanon mountains, a thistle sent a message to a mighty cedar tree: ‘Give your daughter in marriage to my son.’ But just then a wild animal of Lebanon came by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it!
19 “You are saying, ‘I have defeated Edom,’ and you are very proud of it. But my advice is to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and the people of Judah?”
20 But Amaziah refused to listen, for God was determined to destroy him for turning to the gods of Edom. 21 So King Jehoash of Israel mobilized his army against King Amaziah of Judah. The two armies drew up their battle lines at Beth-shemesh in Judah.
Now let’s guess what will happen. How about humiliating defeat and loss of national wealth?
22 Judah was routed by the army of Israel, and its army scattered and fled for home. 23 King Jehoash of Israel captured Judah’s king, Amaziah son of Joash and grandson of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. Then he brought him to Jerusalem, where he demolished 600 feet of Jerusalem’s wall, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. 24 He carried off all the gold and silver and all the articles from the Temple of God that had been in the care of Obed-edom. He also seized the treasures of the royal palace, along with hostages, and then returned to Samaria.
25 King Amaziah of Judah lived on for fifteen years after the death of King Jehoash of Israel. 26 The rest of the events in Amaziah’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
I must confess: I have always thought it was unfortunate that these ancient books were lost. However, now that we are deep into 2 Chronicles, I am thinking it is a good thing. How depressing to read even more of these records of half-heartedness, unfaithfulness, idolatry, revenge, disobedience, assassination, destruction, stupidity . . .
27 After Amaziah turned away from the Lord, there was a conspiracy against his life in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But his enemies sent assassins after him, and they killed him there. 28 They brought his body back on a horse, and he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David.
It is a short distance from Amaziah’s half-hearted devotion to God – to my own. How grateful I am that I can find God’s grace and forgiveness “At the Cross.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.