2 Chronicles 25:5
Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
AMAZIAH’S MILITARY STRENGTH, AND CONQUEST OF EDOM

(2Chronicles 25:5-13).

This section is for the most part peculiar to Chronicles. In Kings the conquest of Edom is recorded in a single verse (2Kings 14:7).

(5) And made them captains over thousands.—Rather, And made them stand (marshalled them) according to father houses, to wit, according to the captains of thousands and according to the captains of hundreds of all Judah and Benjamin.

Numbered.Mustered.

Twenty years old.—The military age: Numbers 1:2-3; 1Chronicles 27:23.

Three hundred thousand.—A total immensely below that of the forces of Jehoshaphat (2Chronicles 17:14-18), and not much more than half that of Asa’s (2Chronicles 14:8). All these high numbers are no doubt suspicious; but a certain relative propriety is observable in the present instance, inasmuch as the country had suffered great losses by the disastrous wars of Jehoram, Ahaziah, Joash.

Able to go forth to war.—Literally, going out in the host. (See Num. l.c.)

That could handle spear and shield.Grasping lance and target, i.e., heavy-armed warriors. (Comp. 1Chronicles 12:8.)

25:1-13 Amaziah was no enemy to religion, but cool and indifferent friend. Many do what is good, but not with a perfect heart. Rashness makes work for repentance. But Amaziah's obedience to the command of God was to his honour. A firm belief of God's all-sufficiency to bear us out in our duty, and to make up all the loss and damage was sustain in his service, will make his yoke very easy, and his burden very light. When we are called to part with any thing for God and our religion, it should satisfy us, that God is able to give us much more than this. Convinced sinners, who have not true faith, always object to self-denying obedience. They are like Amaziah; they say, But what shall we do for the hundred talents? What shall we do if by keeping the sabbath holy we lose so many good customers? What shall we do without this gain? What shall we do if we lose the friendship of the world? Many endeavour to quiet their consciences by the pretence that forbidden practices are necessary. The answer is, as here, The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. He makes up, even in this world, for all that is given up for his sake.Three hundred thousand - Asa's army had been nearly twice as numerous, amounting to 580, 000 2 Chronicles 14:8. The diminution was due, in part, to wars 2 Chronicles 21:8, 2 Chronicles 21:16; 2 Chronicles 24:23-24; in part, to the general decadence of the kingdom. 2Ch 25:5-10. Having Hired an Army of Israelites against the Edomites, at the Word of a Prophet He Loses a Hundred Talents and Dismisses Them.

5. Amaziah … made captains, &c.—As all who were capable of bearing arms were liable to serve, it was quite natural in making up the muster-roll to class them according to their respective families and to appoint the officers of each corps from the same quarter; so that all the soldiers who formed a regiment were brothers, relatives, friends. Thus the Hebrew troops were closely linked together, and had strong inducements to keep steady in their ranks.

found them three hundred thousand choice men—This was only a fourth part of Jehoshaphat's army (2Ch 17:14-19), showing how sadly the kingdom of Judah had, in the space of eighty-two years, been reduced in population by foreign wars, no less than by internal corruptions. But the full amount of Amaziah's troops may not be here stated.

No text from Poole on this verse. Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together,.... The inhabitants thereof:

and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin; he divided the people, according to their families throughout his kingdom, into thousands and hundreds, and out of their respective families appointed captains over them:

and he numbered them from twenty years old and above; the usual age men were numbered at for war, to the fiftieth, according to Josephus; the Roman law (a) obliged none to be soldiers after fifty, nor might any be dismissed before (b); the age of military men with the Romans was from seventeen to forty six, or, as some, forty five; but with the Persians from twenty as here to fifty (c):

and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield; which shows that their number was greatly decreased since the times of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 17:14, occasioned by the wars under Jehoram, Ahaziah, and Joash; some copies of the Vulgate Latin (d) have only 30,000.

(a) Seneca de Brevitate Vitae, c. 20. (b) Liv. Hist. l. 42. c. 33. (c) Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 20. (d) Ed. of Sixtus V. the Lovain and MSS. in James's Corruption of the Fathers, p. 295.

Moreover Amaziah gathered Judah together, and made them captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, according to the houses of their fathers, throughout all Judah and Benjamin: and he numbered them from {c} twenty years old and above, and found them three hundred thousand choice men, able to go forth to war, that could handle spear and shield.

(c) So many as were able to bear weapons and go to war.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5–10 (not in Kings). Amaziah prepares for War

5. and made them … and Benjamin] R.V. and ordered them according to their fathers’ houses, under captains of thousands and captains of hundreds, even all Judah and Benjamin.

three hundred thousand] These were spearmen and correspond in number with Asa’s spearmen (2 Chronicles 14:8).

choice men] R.V. chosen men.Verse 5. - This and the following five verses are entirely omitted in the parallel, which contents itself with giving in its ver. 7, in fewer words, but with the supplement of other matter, what is contained in our ver. 11. Found them three hundred thousand. Compare Asa's "five hundred and eighty thousand" (2 Chronicles 14:8), and Jehoshaphat's "eleven hundred and sixty thousand" (2 Chronicles 17:14-19; see note, however, on these verses, and the improbability of numbers so high). The Hebrew text of the second clause of this verse simply says, "he set them" (יַעֲמִידֵם), or placed them according to... fathers' houses, under captains, etc., glancing most naturally at Numbers 1:2-2:34. Twenty years old and above (comp. 1 Chronicles 27:23). The punishment comes upon them. Joash afflicted by the invasion of Judah by Hazael the Syrian; and his death in consequence of a conspiracy against him. - These two events are narrated in 2 Kings 12:18-21 also, the progress of Hazael's invasion being more exactly traced; see the commentary on 2 Kings 12:18. The author of the Chronicle brings forward only those parts of it which show how God punished Joash for his defection from Him.

"At the revolution of a year," i.e., scarcely a year after the murder of the prophet Zechariah, a Syrian army invaded Judah and advanced upon Jerusalem; "and they destroyed all the princes of the people from among the people," i.e., they smote the army of Joash in a battle, in which the princes (the chief and leaders) were destroyed, i.e., partly slain, partly wounded. This punishment came upon the princes as the originators of the defection from the Lord, 2 Chronicles 24:17. "And they sent all their booty to the king (Hazael) to Damascus." In this booty the treasures which Joash gave to the Syrians (2 Kings 12:19) to buy their withdrawal are also included. In order to show that this invasion of the Syrians was a divine judgment, it is remarked in 2 Chronicles 24:24 that the Syrians, with a small army, gained a victory over the very large army of Judah, and executed judgment upon Joash. שׁפטים עשׂה, as in Exodus 12:12; Numbers 33:4, frequently in Ezekiel, usually construed with בּ, here with את, analogous to the את טּוב עשׂה, e.g., 1 Samuel 24:19. These words refer to the wounding of Joash, and its results, 2 Chronicles 24:25. In the war Joash was badly wounded; the Syrians on their withdrawal had left him behind in many wounds (מחליים only met with here, synonymous with תּחלאים, 2 Chronicles 21:19). Then his own servants, the court officials named in 2 Chronicles 24:26, conspired against him, and smote him upon his bed. In 2 Kings 12:21, the place where the king, lying sick upon his bed, was slain is stated. He met with his end thus, "because of the blood of the sons of Jehoiada the priest" which had been shed. The plural בּני is perhaps only an orthographical error for בּן, occasioned by the preceding דּמי (Berth.); but more probably it is, like בּנין, 2 Chronicles 28:3 and 2 Chronicles 33:6, a rhetorical plural, which says nothing as to the number, but only brings out that Joash had brought blood-guiltiness upon himself in respect of the children of his benefactor Jehoiada; see on 2 Chronicles 28:3. Upon the murdered king, moreover, the honour of being buried in the graves of the kings was not bestowed; cf. 2 Chronicles 21:20. On the names of the two conspirators, 2 Chronicles 24:26, see on 2 Kings 12:21. In 2 Chronicles 24:27 it is doubtful how ורב is to be read. The Keri demands ירב, which Berth. understands thus: And as regards his sons, may the utterance concerning him increase; which might signify, "May the wish of the dying Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:22, be fulfilled on them in a still greater degree than on their father." But that is hardly the meaning of the Keri. The older theologians took ירב relatively: et quam creverit s. multiplicatum fuerit. Without doubt, the Keth. ורב or ורב is the correct reading. המּשּׂא, too, is variously interpreted. Vulg., Luther, and others take it to be synonymous with משׂאת, 2 Chronicles 24:6, 2 Chronicles 24:9, and understand it of the money derived from Moses' tax; but to that עליו is by no means suitable. Others (as Then.) think of the tribute laid upon him, 2 Kings 12:19, but very arbitrarily. On the other hand, Clericus and others rightly understand it of prophetic threatenings against him, corresponding to the statement in 2 Chronicles 24:19, that God sent prophets against him. As to the Midrash of the book of Kings, see the Introduction.

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