The reign of Amaziah king of Judah started out on the right foot. Amaziah intended to do the LORD’s will when he attacked the devil worshippers identified as “the children of Seir” (2 Chronicles 25:11). Unfortunately, Amaziah was attracted to the goat demons. “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” (2 Chronicles 25:14).
It could be that Amaziah’s demon worship caused him to become mentally unstable. His declaration of war on Joash king of Israel was foolish to say the least. When Joash received Amaziah’s invitation to battle, he responded with this parable. “And Joash 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” (2 Chronicles 25:18).
Joash’s comparison of Amaziah’s strength to his own as a thorn to that of a ceder tree illustrates the absurdity of Amaziah’s challenge. Joash’s army had defeated Syria three times (2 Kings 13:25) and his conquests included the restoration of Israel’s coastline, as well as, the northern territory of Damascus (2 Kings 14;25, 28). Amaziah’s only victory was killing 20,000 of the children of Seir (2 Chronicles 25:11-12).
In spite if Joash’s warning to mind his own business, Amaziah went up against Joash’s army. The explanation given for his decision is recorded in 2 Chronicles 25:20.
“But Amaziah would not hear for it came of God, that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.”
Judah’s army was defeated by Israel and hostages were taken back to Samaria, where it is likely they remained until Joash’s death. It states in 2 Chronicles 25::25 that Amaziah lived fifteen years after the death of Joash. Amaziah’s reign overlapped with his son Uzziah’s from 792-767 B.C., so it is possible that Uzziah reigned while his father was being held captive in Samaria. After Amaziah turned away from following the LORD, his authority was taken away and he may have lived as a fugitive the entire 25 years of his son’s coregency (2 Chronicles 25:27).”
King Amaziah benefitted from his father Jehoash’s 40 year reign in Judah because most of that time the nation was peaceful. It was near the end of Johoash’s reign that war broke out with Syria and Jehoash was able to keep the damage to a minimum by paying Hazael king of Syria to leave Jerusalem.
After wining a battle with Edom, Amaziah made the mistake of antagonizing Jehoash king of Israel. “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu, king of Isreal, saying, Come, let us look one another in the face” (2 Kings 14:8). Amaziah’s comment was the equivalent of challenging Jehoash to a dual.
Jehoash was a seasoned warrior that had defeated the Syrian army three times (2 Kings 13:25). Jehoash’s response to Amaziah’s challenge indicates he was not impressed with Amaziah’s victory over Edom. “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?
Amaziah’s reckless behavior resulted in Judah being defeated by Israel’s army. In order to humiliate Amaziah and leave him in a vulnerable position, Jehoash broke down a 600 foot section of the wall of Jerusalem. He also raided the temple, “and he took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD” (2 Kings 14:13-14).
Jehoash’s intention in defeating Amaziah was not to protect his own nation, but to diminish Judah’s strength, both physically and spiritually. Amaziah’s foolishness put his people at risk and left Judah vulnerable to attack. “And they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem: and he fled to Lachish” (2 Kings 14:19).
One of the things I’m really good at is planning. I’m not the kind of person that likes to fly by the seat of my pants. I rarely do anything without first having a plan in place. When I got married, I planned to have a big family. I thought having 12 kids would be really cool. The only problem was my husband didn’t want any children and I failed to consult God about the matter. Instead, I plunged ahead, thinking my plan was a good one, I just needed to get my husband on board with it.
It says in Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth to counsel is wise.” There are several variations of the word fool in the Bible. In this particular instance, the fool is someone that twists God’s ways into his own (191). The basic meaning of the word translated right, yashar is “‘to be straight’ in the sense of ‘to be level.’ The Israelites designated an easy road for traveling as a ‘level road.’ It had few inclines and declines compared to the mountain roads” (3477). In some instances, yashar is translated as convenient.
My desire to have a big family was consistent with the Bible, but it was not at all practical from the standpoint of my family’s lifestyle. My husband’s job in the Marine Corps required him to be away from home for weeks, even months at a time. Once he was stationed overseas for an entire year. As much as I thought it would be easy to have more children, I had no idea how difficult it was for my husband and children to be separated from each other for long periods of time…but God knew, and I didn’t bother to ask him.