|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-7 Amaziah began well, but did not go on so. It is not enough to do that which our pious predecessors did, merely to keep up the common usage, but we must do it as they did, from the same principle of faith and devotion, and with the same sincerity and resolution.
Verse 7. - He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand. Edom had revolted from Judah and recovered complete independence in the reign of Jehoram, about fifty years previously (2 Kings 8:20). Since that time the two countries had remained at peace. Now, however, Amaziah resolved upon a great effort to resubjugate them. According to Josephus ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:9. § 1) and Chronicles (2 Chronicles 25:5), he levied an army of 400,000 men - 300,000 Jews, and 100,000 hired Israelites - with which he marched against the three nations of the Amalekites, the Idumaeans, and the Gabalites. Rebuked by a prophet for want of faith in calling to his aid the wicked Israelites, he consented to dismiss them, and made the invasion at the head of his own troops only. These were carefully organized (2 Chronicles 25:5), and met with a great success. Ten thousand of his enemies fell in battle, and an equal number were made prisoners. These last were barbarously put to death by being precipitated from the top of a rock (2 Chronicles 25:12). "The valley of salt," the scene of the battle, is probably identified with the sunken plain, now called Es Sabkah, at the southern extremity of the Dead Sea. This is "a large flat of at least six miles by ten, occasionally flooded" (Tristram), but dry in the summertime. It is full of salt springs, and is bounded on the west and northwest by a long ridge of pure salt, known as the Khasm Usdum, so that the name "valley of salt" would be very appropriate. And took Selah by war. Selah with the article (has-Selah) can only be the Idumaean capital, which the Greeks called Petra (Πέτρα or ἡ Πέτρα), and which is one of the most remarkable sites in the world. In the rocky mountains which form the eastern boundary of the Arabah or sandy slope reaching from the edge of the Sabkah to the Red Sea, amid cliffs of gorgeous colors, pink and crimson and purple, and ravines as deep and narrow as that of Proffers, partly excavated in the rook, partly emplaced upon it, stood the Edomite town, difficult to approach, still more difficult to capture, more like the home of a colony of sea-gulls than that of a number of men. Petra is graphically described by Dean Stanley ('Sinai and Palestine,' pp. 88-92), and has also received notice from Robinson ('Researches,' vol. it. pp. 518-538), Highten ('Dictionary of the Bible,' vol. 3. p. 1191), and others. And called the name of it Joktheel; i.e. "subdued by God." The name took no permanent hold. Selah is still "Sela" in Isaiah (Isaiah 16:1), Obadiah (ver. Obadiah 1:3), and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:16). It is known only as "Petra" to the Greeks and Romans. Unto this day; i.e. to the time of the writer who composed the account of Amaziah's reign for the 'Book of the Kings,' and whoso words the author of Kings transcribes here as so often elsewhere.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He slew of Edom in the valley of Salt ten thousand,.... Of which valley; see Gill on 2 Samuel 8:13, the Edomites having revolted from Judah in the days of Joram, 2 Kings 8:20. Amaziah undertook to reduce them with an army of 300,000 choice men; and, besides these, hired also of Israel 100,000 valiant men, for one hundred talents of silver; but at the instance of a prophet of the Lord he dismissed the latter, and went against Edom only with his men, and slew of the Edomites 10,000, besides other 10,000 he took alive, and cast headlong from a rock, which came into his hands, see 2 Chronicles 25:5,
and took Selah by war; which signifies a rock, the same with Petra, the metropolis of Arabia Petraea, the country of the Edomites. The city itself was not a rock, nor built on one, but was situated in a plain, surrounded with rocks and mountains, as Strabo (z) and Pliny (a) relate, from whence it seems to have its name; and by the Syrians called Recem, where Rocan a king of Midian reigned (b), called in the Greek version of Numbers 31:8, Recon; though Vitringa (c) is of opinion, that not Petra, the metropolis of Edom, is meant, but Maalehakrabbim, Joshua 15:3, which lay on the south border of Judea, near the salt sea:
and called the name of it Joktheel; which signifies "the obedience of God"; in memory of his obedience to the prophet of the Lord, in consequence of which he obtained this victory: and the name continued unto this day: the time of the writing this book.
(z) Geograph. l. 16. p. 536. (a) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. (b) Hieron. de loc. Heb. fol. 93. M. & 94. A. Vid. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 4. c. 7. sect. 1.((c) Comment. in Jesaiam, c. 16. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2Ki 14:7. He Smites Edom.
7. He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand—In the reign of Joram the Edomites had revolted (see 2Ki 8:20). But Amaziah, determined to reduce them to their former subjection, formed a hostile expedition against them, in which he routed their army and made himself master of their capital.
the valley of salt—that part of the Ghor which comprises the salt and sandy plain to the south of the Dead Sea.
Selah—literally, "the rock"; generally thought to be Petra.
Joktheel—that is, "given" or "conquered by God." See the history of this conquest more fully detailed (2Ch 25:6-16).
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