1-4Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king and reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem. He lived well before God, doing the right thing for the most part. But he wasn’t wholeheartedly devoted to God. When he had the affairs of the kingdom well in hand, he executed the palace guard who had assassinated his father the king. But he didn’t kill the sons of the assassins—he was mindful of what God commanded in The Revelation of Moses, that parents shouldn’t be executed for their children’s sins, nor children for their parents’. We each pay personally for our sins.
5-6Amaziah organized Judah and sorted out Judah and Benjamin by families and by military units. Men twenty years and older had to register—they ended up with 300,000 judged capable of military service. In addition he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel in the north at a cost of about four and a half tons of silver.
7-8A holy man showed up and said, “No, O King—don’t let those northern Israelite soldiers into your army; God is not on their side, nor with any of the Ephraimites. Instead, you go by yourself and be strong. God and God only has the power to help or hurt your cause.”
9But Amaziah said to the holy man, “But what about all this money—these tons of silver I have already paid out to hire these men?”
“God’s help is worth far more to you than that,” said the holy man.
10So Amaziah fired the soldiers he had hired from the north and sent them home. They were very angry at losing their jobs and went home seething.
11-12But Amaziah was optimistic. He led his troops into the Valley of Salt and killed ten thousand men of Seir. They took another ten thousand as prisoners, led them to the top of the Rock, and pushed them off a cliff. They all died in the fall, smashed on the rocks.
13But the troops Amaziah had dismissed from his army, angry over their lost opportunity for plunder, rampaged through the towns of Judah all the way from Samaria to Beth Horon, killing three thousand people and taking much plunder.
14-15On his return from the destruction of the Edomites, Amaziah brought back the gods of the men of Seir and installed them as his own gods, worshiping them and burning incense to them. That ignited God’s anger; a fiery blast of God’s wrath put into words by a God-sent prophet: “What is this? Why on earth would you pray to inferior gods who couldn’t so much as help their own people from you—gods weaker than Amaziah?”
16Amaziah interrupted him, “Did I ask for your opinion? Shut up or get thrown out!”
The prophet quit speaking, but not before he got in one last word: “I have it on good authority: God has made up his mind to throw you out because of what you’ve done, and because you wouldn’t listen to me.”
* * *
17One day Amaziah sent envoys to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, challenging him to a fight: “Come and meet with me, I dare you. Let’s have it out face-to-face!”
18-19Jehoash king of Israel replied to Amaziah king of Judah, “One day a thistle in Lebanon sent word to a cedar in Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage.’ But then a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and stepped on the thistle, crushing it. Just because you’ve defeated Edom in battle, you now think you’re a big shot. Go ahead and be proud, but stay home. Why press your luck? Why bring defeat on yourself and Judah?”
20-22Amaziah wouldn’t take no for an answer—God had already decided to let Jehoash defeat him because he had defected to the gods of Edom. So Jehoash king of Israel came on ahead and confronted Amaziah king of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh, a town of Judah. Judah was thoroughly beaten by Israel—all the soldiers straggled home in defeat.
23-24Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh. But Jehoash didn’t stop at that; he went on to attack Jerusalem. He demolished the Wall of Jerusalem all the way from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate—a stretch of about six hundred feet. He looted the gold, silver, and furnishings—anything he found that was worth taking—from both the palace and The Temple of God—and, for good measure, he took hostages. Then he returned to Samaria.
25-26Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah continued as king fifteen years after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel. The rest of the life and times of Amaziah from start to finish is written in the Royal Annals of the Kings of Judah and Israel.
27-28During those last days, after Amaziah had defected from God, they cooked up a plot against Amaziah in Jerusalem, and he had to flee to Lachish. But they tracked him down in Lachish and killed him there. They brought him back on horseback and buried him in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the City of David.