Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
In the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel reigned Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah.
2Ki 14:1-6. Amaziah's Good Reign over Judah.
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.
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.
3-6. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father—The beginning of his reign was excellent, for he acted the part of a constitutional king, according to the law of God, yet not with perfect sincerity of heart (compare 2Ch 25:2). As in the case of his father Joash, the early promise was belied by the devious course he personally followed in later life (see 2Ch 20:14), as well as by the public irregularities he tolerated in the kingdom.
Howbeit the high places were not taken away: as yet the people did sacrifice and burnt incense on the high places.
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.
5. as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand—It was an act of justice no less than of filial piety to avenge the murder of his father. But it is evident that the two assassins must have possessed considerable weight and influence, as the king was obliged to retain them in his service, and durst not, for fear of their friends and supporters, institute proceedings against them until his power had been fully consolidated.
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, The 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.
6. But the children of the murderers he slew not—This moderation, inspired by the Mosaic law (De 24:16), displays the good character of this prince; for the course thus pursued toward the families of the regicides was directly contrary to the prevailing customs of antiquity, according to which all connected with the criminals were doomed to unsparing destruction.
He slew of Edom in the valley of salt ten thousand, and took Selah by war, and called the name of it Joktheel unto this day.
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).
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.
2Ki 14:8-16. Joash Defeats Him.
8. Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel—This bold and haughty challenge, which was most probably stimulated by a desire of satisfaction for the outrages perpetrated by the discharged auxiliaries of Israel (2Ch 25:13) on the towns that lay in their way home, as well as by revenge for the massacre of his ancestors by Jehu (2Ki 9:1-37) sprang, there is little doubt, from pride and self-confidence, inspired by his victory over the Edomites.
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.
9. Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah—People in the East very often express their sentiments in a parabolic form, especially when they intend to convey unwelcome truths or a contemptuous sneer. This was the design of the admonitory fable related by Joash in his reply. The thistle, a low shrub, might be chosen to represent Amaziah, a petty prince; the cedar, the powerful sovereign of Israel, and the wild beast that trampled down the thistle the overwhelming army with which Israel could desolate Judah. But, perhaps, without making so minute an application, the parable may be explained generally, as describing in a striking manner the effects of pride and ambition, towering far beyond their natural sphere, and sure to fall with a sudden and ruinous crash. The moral of the fable is contained in 2Ki 14:10.
Thou 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?
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 Bethshemesh, which belongeth to Judah.
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.
And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents.
And Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Bethshemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits.
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.
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?
And Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his stead.
And Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years.
2Ki 14:17-20. He Is Slain by a Conspiracy.
And the rest of the acts of Amaziah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
Now they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and slew him there.
19, 20. they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem—Amaziah's apostasy (2Ch 25:27) was followed by a general maladministration, especially the disastrous issue of the war with Israel. The ruinous condition of Jerusalem, the plunder of the temple, and the loss of their children who were taken as hostages [2Ki 14:13, 14], lost him the respect and attachment not of the grandees only, but of his subjects generally, who were in rebellion. The king fled in terror to Lachish, a frontier town of the Philistines, where, however, he was traced and murdered. His friends had his corpse brought without any pomp or ceremony, in a chariot to Jerusalem, where he was interred among his royal ancestors.
And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.
And all the people of Judah took Azariah, which was sixteen years old, and made him king instead of his father Amaziah.
2Ki 14:21, 22. Azariah Succeeds Him.
21. all the people of Judah took Azariah—or Uzziah (2Ki 15:30; 2Ch 26:1). The popular opposition had been personally directed against Amaziah as the author of their calamities, but it was not extended to his family or heir.
He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers.
22. He built Elath—fortified that seaport. It had revolted with the rest of Edom, but was now recovered by Uzziah. His father, who did not complete the conquest of Edom, had left him that work to do.
In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.
2Ki 14:23-29. Jeroboam's Wicked Reign over Israel.
23. Jeroboam, the son of Joash king of Israel—This was Jeroboam II who, on regaining the lost territory, raised the kingdom to great political power (2Ki 14:25), but adhered to the favorite religious policy of the Israelitish sovereigns (2Ki 14:24). While God granted him so great a measure of national prosperity and eminence, the reason is expressly stated (2Ki 14:26, 27) to be that the purposes of the divine covenant forbade as yet the overthrow of the kingdom of the ten tribes (see 2Ki 13:23).
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.
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 Gathhepher.
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.
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.
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 kings of Israel?
And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zachariah his son reigned in his stead.