New European Commentary


About | PDFs | Mobile formats | Word formats | Other languages | Contact Us | What is the Gospel? | Support the work | Carelinks Ministries | | The Real Christ | The Real Devil | "Bible Companion" Daily Bible reading plan

Deeper Commentary

2Ki 14:1  In the second year of Joash son of Joahaz king of Israel began Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah to reign-
Amaziah's father Joash died at 47, so Joash would have been 22 when Amaziah was born. He would have lived under the Godly influence of Jehoiada for some time, and witnessed his father's apostacy and gross ingratitude to Jehoiada shown by murdering his sons.

2Ki 14:2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem: and his mother’s name was Jehoaddin of Jerusalem-
His mother, 'pleasing to Jehovah', was one of the wives chosen for Joash by his Godly uncle Jehoiada.

2Ki 14:3 He did that which was right in the eyes of Yahweh, yet not like David his father-
Chronicles says, "not with a perfect heart", Kings says "yet not like David". David was far from perfect, but he had a heart wholly ['perfectly'] devoted to God. 

He did according to all that Joash his father had done- Repeatedly, the New Testament speaks of converting others as a bringing forth of children. This means that our level and style of spirituality is likely to be replicated in those we convert. Thus Amaziah “did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord… according to all things as Joash his father had done” (2 Kings 14:3). What spirituality he had was according to that which his father had displayed.

2Ki 14:4 However the high places were not taken away. The people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places-
"Taken away" is the same word as 'depart from' in :24. The way of Jeroboam was not departed from, and so the high places were not departed from. The suggestion is that they were associated with the calf worship.

2Ki 14:5 As soon as the kingdom was established in his hand, he killed his servants who had slain the king his father-
This continues a theme, of the kings of Judah strengthening or establishing themselves, often when they first became king; but then having that human strength tested by God or removed. The same word is used repeatedly (1 Chron. 11:10; 2 Chron. 11:11,17; 12:13; 13:21; 17:1; 23:1; 25:3,11; 26:8,15; 29:3; 32:5). The lesson of course was that it is God's Angelic eyes who run to and fro in the land promised to Abraham, "to shew Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him" (2 Chron. 16:9).

2Ki 14:6 But the children of the murderers he didn’t put to death; as written in the book of the law of Moses, that Yahweh 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 die for his own sin-
Overall this man appears to have spiritually failed. But he as it were grabs hold of one commandment and religiously obeys it. We see this kind of thing all the time in 'religious' approaches to Christianity. But it is the heart which God is looking at, and it was in this that Amaziah failed, ultimately. Chronicles was written for the exiles, and perhaps they needed reminding of this principle (as in Ez. 18:20) because of their wrong idea that they were being unjustly punished for the sins of their fathers.

2Ki 14:7 He killed of Edom in the Valley of Salt ten thousand and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel to this day-
Far more details are given in 2 Chron. 25:5-10. This was where David had won a great victory (1 Chron. 18:12). Amaziah was being guided to follow in David's footsteps. This, as noted on 2 Chron. 25:7, was another baby step taken to try to reform him.

2Ki 14:8 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-
The soldiers he had hired were apparently mercenaries. They had apparently been paid, but not used in the battle. And so they had gotten offended and sacked cities of Judah (2 Chron. 25:13). And Amaziah was demanding compensation for this from the king of Israel. By so doing he demonstrated that his apparent willingness to lose the money paid for them was not a decision taken from the heart. He was still after compensation for his losses, rather than believing that God could give him all riches (see on 2 Chron. 25:9).

2Ki 14:9 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 your daughter to my son as wife. Then a wild animal that was in Lebanon passed by, and trampled down the thistle-
This is similar to the parable of the trees in Jud. 9:7-15, which also talks of the land of Israel as "Lebanon" (Jud. 9:15). The king of Israel presents himself and Amaziah as both living in the same land, and considered himself to be the glorious cedar and Amaziah merely a thistle. It was quite inappropriate, he felt, for Amaziah to provoke him over the fact mercenaries from his country had ransacked towns in Judah over an argument about money and payment. He is saying that it as inappropriate as a poor man asking a wealthy man to give him his daughter to marry the poor man's son. And he threatens to act not just as an elegant cedar, but to morph into a wild beast who would trample down Amaziah. Perhaps Amaziah had indeed provoked Joash by making a marriage proposal which he knew Joash would turn down. 

2Ki 14:10 You have indeed struck Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Enjoy the glory of it, and stay at home; for why should you meddle to your harm, that you should fall, even you, and Judah with you?’-
The victory against Edom was from God, but by accepting the vanquished gods of Edom, Amaziah shows that he trusted in his own strength rather than that of Yahweh. So often the victories God gives, be it passing an exam or military victory, lead to pride and boasting. 

2Ki 14:11 But Amaziah would not listen. So Jehoash king of Israel went up-
2 Chron. 25:20 says this was "of the Lord". There are a number of other passages which mention how "it was of the Lord" that certain attitudes were adopted by men, resulting in the sequence of events which He desired (Dt. 2:39; Josh. 11:20; 1 Sam. 2:25; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron. 10:15; 22:7; 25:20). It is tempting to read Jud. 14:4 in this context, meaning that God somehow made Samson desire that woman in order to bring about His purpose of freeing Israel from Philistine domination. The fact a man does something "of the Lord" doesn't mean that he is guiltless. In the same context of God's deliverance of Israel from the Philistines, men who did things "of the Lord" were punished for what they did (Dt. 2:30; 1 Sam. 2:25; 2 Chron. 22:7; 25:20). God through His Spirit works to confirm men in the path they wish to go. And this is the huge significance of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives today.

And he and Amaziah king of Judah faced each other at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah-
This was on the border of Judah and Dan, the frontier of Judah. The pagan name, "house of the sun", had not been changed; and reflects Judah's abiding penchant for idolatry.

2Ki 14:12 Judah was defeated by Israel; and they fled each man to his tent-
This was not because Israel were more spiritual or faithful, but because God has a special interest in judging pride. Victories of secular people must be understood in this context. The giving of victory by God (in whatever context) is multi factorial and is not simply a reflection of His pleasure with the victor.

2Ki 14:13 Jehoash king of Israel took Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh, and came to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits-
This is s.w. Neh. 1:3; 4:7, and would have helped remind the exiles how the walls of Jerusalem had come to be so broken down. It would seem by the implication of Jer. 31:38; Zech. 14:10 that this gate was on the north of Jerusalem. Depending how we define a cubit, this would have been between 600 and 700 feet.  

2Ki 14:14 He took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of Yahweh and in the treasures of the king’s house, with hostages also, and returned to Samaria-
This faithful family who had cared for the ark had been entrusted with caring for the gold and silver in the temple. But Joash had given much of this to the Syrians previously.

2Ki 14:15 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, and his might, and how he fought with Amaziah king of Judah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?-
This is the common rubric found in the histories of the kings (1 Kings 15:23; 16:5,27; 22:45; 2 Kings 10:34; 13:8,12; 14:15,28; 20:20). "His might that he showed" uses a word for "might" which has the sense of victory / achievement. But the contrast is marked with the way that David so often uses this word for "might / victory / achievement" in the context of God's "might"; notably in 1 Chron. 29:11, which the Lord Jesus places in our mouths as part of His model prayer: "Yours is the power [s.w. "might"], and the glory and the majesty". The kings about whom the phrase is used were those who trusted in their own works. It therefore reads as a rather pathetic memorial; that this man's might / achievement was noted down. But the unspoken further comment is elicited in our own minds, if we are in tune with the spirit of David: "But the only real achievement is the Lord's and not man's". All human victory and achievement must be seen in this context. The same word is used in Jer. 9:23,24: "Don’t let the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might [s.w.]... but let him who glories glory in this, that he has understanding, and knows Me, that I am Yahweh who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness, in the earth". The glorification of human "might" is often condemned. "Their might [s.w.] is not right" (Jer. 23:10; also s.w. Jer. 51:30; Ez. 32:29; Mic. 7:16 and often).  

2Ki 14:16 Jehoash slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son reigned in his place-
The description of death as sleeping with fathers is clear evidence that death is seen as a sleep, unconsciousness, and not as the start of an immortal soul going to heaven or 'hell'. Good and bad, David and Solomon, are gathered together in death. The division between them will only therefore come at the resurrection of the dead, and the granting of immortality at the judgment seat of the Lord Jesus.

2Ki 14:17 Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah lived after the death of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel fifteen years-
The implication may be that he was given ample opportunity to repent; and we have noticed that in the lives of other kings.

2Ki 14:18 Now the rest of the acts of Amaziah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?-
This may not necessarily be the same books of Chronicles which we have in our Bible.

2Ki 14:19 They made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem; and he fled to Lachish; but they sent after him to Lachish, and killed him there-
Perhaps he was trying to flee to Egypt, ever representative of human strength which fails. For Lachish was on the road there. Athaliah, Joash and Amaziah each died due to a conspiracy. Surely Amaziah was intended to learn from the deaths of his predecessors, but the great theme of Biblical history is that so few learn from it. And that is the challenge to us. The planning of the conspiracy apparently took at least 15 years (2 Chron. 25:25).

2Ki 14:20 They brought him on horses; and he was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David-
Horses were forbidden to the kings of Israel (Dt. 17:16) so this is an appropriate end for an unfaithful man who trusted in human strength. 

2Ki 14:21 All the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the place of his father Amaziah-
Called Uzziah in 2 Chron. 26:1. Those who conspired against Amaziah were apparently stopped by the people from taking power. And they insisted upon the line of David continuing, through Uzziah. Despite their general unspirituality. "Uzziah", 'strength of Jehovah', has a very similar meaning to the name of his father Amaziah, 'power of Jehovah'. Yet Amaziah had not lived up to that (see on 2 Chron. 25:15. He may have named his son similarly in a hope that he would succeed where he failed.

2Ki 14:22 He built Elath, and restored it to Judah, after that the king slept with his fathers-
Amaziah his father had defeated Edom, and Eloth was in Edom. This explains the comment that Uzziah did this after his father died. But in doing so he was really living out the ghost of his father and fulfilling parental expectation; for he repeated the works for Yahweh which his father had done (2 Chron. 26:4). Those raised in believing families must ever probe the degree to which their faith and works are possibly just living out parental expectation.

2Ki 14:23 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 for forty-one years-
This was the longest reign of an Israelite king. The kings of Israel lived and reigned far shorter than those of Judah. And yet in the final analysis, Ezekiel says that Judah sinned more than Israel. But their kings had greater signs of external blessing, and perhaps overall they were generally more righteous than their people. Whereas the kings of Israel were as wicked as their people. 

2Ki 14:24 He did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh: he didn’t depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin-
See on :4. Israel had been commanded to "not depart" from the way of Yahweh's commandments (Dt. 28:14; Josh. 1:7), but the frequent lament of the historical records is that they did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam. The Bible, especially in Proverbs, constantly reduces human moral choice to that between two ways of life and being. We constantly wish to argue that "it's not so simple" because there are grey areas. But the 'grey area' argument is what leads us so often into sin, into following the "way" of sin.  

2Ki 14:25 He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of Yahweh, the God of Israel, which He spoke by His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was of Gath Hepher-
Jeroboam was a wicked man, but God reversed Israel's fortunes through him, by grace alone (:26). The entrance of Hamath generally means the northern border of Israel (Num. 13:21; 34:8); the sea of the Arabah is the Dead Sea. The Jonah of the book of Jonah was also the son of Amittai, so we conclude this was the same prophet.  Hosea and Amos also prophesied at this time. This prophecy of restoration of territory was fulfilled by grace alone (:26), and would have been an encouragement to the exiles at the time of the restoration, who would have feared that the exiles were generally so unspiritual that the restoration could not happen. "Restored" is the usual word used for the "return" of the exiles. Gath Hepher was near Nazareth in the tribe of Zebulon. According to Jewish tradition, he was the son of the widow of Zarephath.

2Ki 14:26 For Yahweh saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter; for there was none shut up nor left at large, neither was there any helper for Israel-
As noted on :25, the restoration of :25 was therefore an example of God's fulfilment of His prophetic word by grace alone, rather than in response to the righteousness of His people.

We must watch out for the tendency to think that because a man has dug a hole and then fallen into it, well, that’s his problem. But we have all done this, hopelessly so. We only have ourselves to blame. And yet God has rushed to us in Christ. He was grieved for the affliction of Israel, even though it was purely due to their own sin and wilful rebellion. If a man has fallen into his own hole, well he is still there and needs help, however he got there.

Scripture repeatedly speaks as if God notices things and is then hurt by what He sees (Jonah 3:10; Gen. 29:31; Ex. 3:4; Dt. 32:19; 2 Kings 14:26; 2 Chron. 12:7; Ez. 23:13; Is. 59:15 cp. Lk. 7:13). If He knew in advance what they were going to do, this language is hard for me to understand. But God is therefore hurt and 'surprised' at sin- He saw Israel as the firstripe grapes, but they were worshipping Baal even then (Hos. 9:9). Thus God can allow Himself to feel an element of surprise- and this was a shock to Jeremiah, who queried: "Why are You like a man who is caught by surprise...?" (Jer. 14:9).

2Ki 14:27 Yahweh didn’t say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under the sky; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash-
And this Jeroboam was a wicked man, although the appointed saviour (2 Kings 13:5). The idea may be that He did not say at that time that He would blot out the name of Israel. Or perhaps the message is that for all their sins, God did not blot out the name of Israel, for it continued, as in a sense He never cast away His people (Rom. 11:1,2).

2Ki 14:28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered for Israel Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?-
See on :15. This may not be the same books of Chronicles which we have in our Bibles. David had put garrisons in Damascus (2 Sam. 8:6) and had made Hamath's king a tributary to him (2 Sam. 8:9-11). So we are reading here of how Jeroboam restored to some extent the Davidic kingdom and situation- but by grace alone (:26), seeing he was wicked. This was all encouragement to the exiles, that God's word of restoration had come true earlier, by grace alone, despite His people's weakness.

2Ki 14:29 Jeroboam slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel; and Zechariah his son reigned in his place
This was now the fourth generation from Jehu who were to reign on the throne before being cut off (2 Kings 10:30).