|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:8-14 For some time after the division of the kingdoms, Judah suffered much from the enmity of Israel. After Asa's time, it suffered more by the friendship of Israel, and by the alliance made with them. Now we meet with hostility between them again. How may a humble man smile to hear two proud and scornful men set their wits on work, to vilify and undervalue one another! Unholy success excites pride; pride excites contentions. The effects of pride in others, are insufferable to those who are proud themselves. These are the sources of trouble and sin in private life; but when they arise between princes, they become the misery of their whole kingdoms. Jehoash shows Amaziah the folly of his challenge; Thine heart has lifted thee up. The root of all sin is in the heart, thence it flows. It is not Providence, the event, the occasion, whatever it is, that makes men proud, secure, discontented, or the like, but their own hearts do it.
Verse 11. - But Amaziah would not hear. The message of Joash was not conciliatory, but provocative. On hearing it, Amaziah (as Josephus says, 'Ant. Jud.,' 9:9. § 3) was the more spurred on to make his expedition. Therefore Jehoash King of Israel went up. "Joash," as Bahr says, "did not wait for the attack of Amaziah, but anticipated his movements, and carried the war into the enemy's country." Defensive warfare often requires such an Offensive movement. And he and Amaziah King of Judah looked one another in the face - e.g., came to an engagement (setup. ver. 8) - at Beth-shemesh, which belongeth to Judah. Beth-shemesh was assigned to Judah by Joshua (Joshua 19:38), and lay on its western frontier line. Its position is marked by the modern Ain-Shems, which lies nearly due west of Jerusalem, on the road from Hebron to Jaffa. Ain-Shems itself is an Arab village, but "just to the west of it are the manifest traces of an ancient site" (Robinson, 'Researches,' vol. 3. p. 17). The position commands the approach from the Philistine plain; and we may suspect that Joash, avoiding the direct line of approach, led his troops to the attack through Philistia, as was so often done by the Syrians in their attacks on the Maccabees (see 1 Macc. 3:40 1 Macc. 13:12, 13 1 Macc. 15:40 1 Macc. 16:4-8, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Amaziah would not hear,.... Being given up to a judicial hardness of heart through pride; for this was of God, and by his overruling providence, that he might be punished for his idolatry, in setting up the gods of Edom to be his gods, and offering to them, 2 Chronicles 25:14.
therefore Jehoash king Israel went up; from Samaria to the land of Judah, which was higher ground:
and he and Amaziah looked one another in the face; in the field of battle:
at Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah; which is observed, not merely to distinguish it from another Bethshemesh in Naphtali, but to observe, that the king of Israel waited not for him to give him the challenge, but met his adversary in his own country, whither he carried the war, not suffering him to come into his.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11-14. But Amaziah would not hear—The sarcastic tenor of this reply incited the king of Judah the more; for, being in a state of judicial blindness and infatuation (2Ch 25:20), he was immovably determined on war. But the superior energy of Joash surprised him ere he had completed his military preparations. Pouring a large army into the territory of Judah, he encountered Amaziah in a pitched battle, routed his army, and took him prisoner. Then having marched to Jerusalem [2Ki 14:13], he not only demolished part of the city walls, but plundered the treasures of the palace and temple. Taking hostages to prevent any further molestation from Judah, he terminated the war. Without leaving a garrison in Jerusalem, he returned to his capital with all convenient speed, his presence and all his forces being required to repel the troublesome incursions of the Syrians.
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