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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

2 Chronicles 25

Verse 1

Amaziah was twenty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem.

Amaziah was twenty and five years old ... - (see the notes at 2 Kings 14:1-6)

Verses 2-4

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a perfect heart.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 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.

Amaziah ... made them captains ... Since 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 cords 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 (2 Chronicles 17:14-19), showing how sadly the kingdom of Judah had, in the space of 82 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.

Verse 6

He hired also an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver. He hired also an hundred thousand ... for an hundred talents of silver. This sum was paid into the exchequer of Jehoahaz, not given as bounty to the mercenaries who were obliged to serve at the sovereign's call, their remuneration consisting only in the booty they might obtain. It was about 50,000 British pounds sterling, being 10 shillings per man including officers-a very paltry pay, compared with the bounty given for a soldier in this country. But it must be remembered that in ancient times campaigns were short, and the hazards of the seines comparatively small.

Verse 7

But there came a man of God to him, saying, O king, let not the army of Israel go with thee; for the LORD is not with Israel, to wit, with all the children of Ephraim.

There came a man of God - sent to dissuade Amaziah from the course he was following, on the ground that "the Lord was not with Israel." This statement was perfectly intelligible to the king. But the historian, writing long after, thought it might require explanation, and therefore added, the comment, "with all the children of Ephraim." Idolatry had long been the prevailing religion in that kingdom, and Ephraim its headquarters. As to the other part of the prophet's advice (2 Chronicles 25:8), considerable obscurity hangs over it, as the text stands; and hence, some able critics have suggested the insertion of 'not' in the middle clause, so that the verse will be thus-`But if thou wilt go (alone), do, be strong for the battle; God shall not make thee fall before the enemy.'

Verses 8-9

But if thou wilt go, do it, be strong for the battle: God shall make thee fall before the enemy: for God hath power to help, and to cast down.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 10

Then Amaziah separated them, to wit, the army that was come to him out of Ephraim, to go home again: wherefore their anger was greatly kindled against Judah, and they returned home in great anger.

Separated them ... the army ... out of Ephraim ... their anger was greatly kindled against Judah. Amaziah, who knew his position, as the Lord's viceroy, complied with the prophet's counsel, and, consenting to forfeit the purchase-money of the Israelite soldiers, discharged them. Exasperated at this treatment, they resolved to indemnify themselves for the loss of their expected booty, and so on their return home they plundered all the towns in their way, committing great havoc both of life and property, without any stoppage, as the king of Judah and his army had set out on their expedition ( 2 Kings 14:7).

Verse 11

And Amaziah strengthened himself, and led forth his people, and went to the valley of salt, and smote of the children of Seir ten thousand.

Valley of Salt. This ravine lies to the south of the Dead Sea. The arms of Amaziah, in reward for his obedience to the divine will, were crowned with victory-10,000 of the Edomites were slain on the field, and as many taken prisoners, who were put to death by precipitation "from the top of the rock." This rock might be situated in the neighbourhood of the battlefield, but more probably it formed one of the high craggy cliffs of Selah (Petra), the capital of the Edomites, where Amaziah marched directly from the valley of Salt, and which he captured (see the note at 2 Kings 14:7). The savage cruelty dealt out to them was either in retaliation for similar barbarities inflicted on the Hebrews, or to strike terror into so rebellious a people for the future. The mode of execution, by dashing against stones (Psalms 137:9), was common among ancient nations.

Verses 12-13

And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 14

Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Seir, and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.

Amaziah ... brought the gods of the children of Seir. The Edomites worshipped the sun under different forms and with various rites. But burning incense upon altars was a principal act of worship, and this was the very thing Amaziah is described as having, with strange infatuation, performed. Whether he had been captivated with the beauty of the images, or hoped, by honouring the gods, to disarm their spite at him for his conquest and harsh treatment of their votaries, his conduct in establishing these objects of religious homage in Jerusalem was foolish, ignorant, and highly offensive to God, who commissioned a prophet to rebuke him for his apostasy, and threaten him with the calamity that soon after befell him.

Verse 15

Wherefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Amaziah, and he sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king's counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

As he talked with him ... Those who were invested with the prophetic character were entitled to counsel kings, and Amaziah, had he not been offended by unwelcome truths, would have admitted the claim of this prophet, who was probably the same that had given him counsel previous to the war with Edom. But victory had elated and blinded him.

Verse 17

Then Amaziah king of Judah took advice, and sent to Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, Come, let us see one another in the face.

Then Amaziah ... sent to ... Joash ... Come, let us see one another in the face. This homage to the gods of Edom led indirectly to the defeat of his army by Joash, king of Israel, and exposed him to the infamy attached to the demolition of the wall of Jerusalem, as well as of the spoliation of the precious vessels of the temple. These disasters having started up a spirit of opposition to his government among the people of Jerusalem, occasioned the formation of a conspiracy against his life. He took flight, but was traced to Lachish, and slain there (see the notes at 2 Kings 14:8-20).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 25". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/2-chronicles-25.html. 1871-8.