Amaziah, son of Joash

Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and Scripture records that “he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a loyal heart.” (2Ch 25:1-2, NKJV). As soon as his kingdom was established, he executed the servants who had murdered his father king Joash, but spared their children in accordance with the Law of Moses.

The next major event of Amaziah's reign was to wage war against Edom, which had revolted from Judah during the days of his great grandfather Jehoram. He raised up a three hundred thousand man army from Judah, and paid one hundred talents (about 4 tons of silver) to hire a mercenary army of one hundred thousand men from Israel.

“But a man of God came to him, saying, O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel - not with any of the children of Ephraim.” (2Ch 25:7)

The prophet drove home the point sarcastically by suggesting that if Amaziah proceeded as planned, his army best be very strong because he would in effect be fighting against God, and he would fall before his enemies. Protesting at first, Amaziah asked the prophet “what about the huge sum of silver already paid?” The prophet implied that he should forfeit it saying “the LORD is able to restore much more to you. Amaziah finally heeded the prophet's warning and discharged the mercenary army. Apparently, this was a great insult to their honor as Israelite warriors, and they retaliated during withdrawal by raiding the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth Horon, killing three thousand, and taking much spoil. Nevertheless, Amaziah secured a victory over the Edomites:

“Then Amaziah strengthened himself, and leading his people, he went to the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand of the people of Seir. Also the children of Judah took captive ten thousand alive, brought them to the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, so that they all were dashed in pieces.” (2Ch 25:11-12)

In a rather incomprehensible turn about, Amaziah then set up the Edomite gods as his own, bowed down before them and burnt incense to them!

“Therefore the anger of the LORD was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?” (2Chr 25:15)

Incensed by this prophetic rebuke, the king said “who made you my counselor?” — and warned the prophet of his impending execution should he continue speaking. The prophet ceased, but not before letting Amaziah know that God had now determined to destroy him for his idolatry.

At this juncture, Amaziah sought an alliance with Israel by offering his daughter in marriage to the son of Jehoash, king of Israel. His offer was rebuffed by Israel's king in a parable which compared Amaziah to an irritating worthless thistle, who sought to become the equal of Jehoash who saw himself as a majestic cedar, but a wild beast haphazardly crushed the thistle. Seemingly, the victory over Edom had gone to Amaziah's head for he now challenged the superior army of Israel to war. Battle ensued at Beth Shemesh and Judah was soundly defeated. Amaziah was captured, his palace and the Temple at Jerusalem plundered, and hostages were taken back to Samaria.

Although Amaziah outlived his captor by fifteen years, in the end he was assasinated: “After the time that Amaziah turned away from following the LORD, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish and killed him there. Then they brought him on horses and buried him with his fathers in the City of Judah.” (2Ch 25:27-28)