Amaziah’s Good Start. 1a Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jehoaddan, from Jerusalem. 2He did what was right in the LORD’s sight, though not wholeheartedly. 3When he had the kingdom firmly in hand, he struck down the officials who had struck down the king, his father. 4But their children he did not put to death, for he acted according to what is written in the law, in the Book of Moses, which the LORD commanded: “Parents shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their parents; they shall each die for their own sin.”b
5Amaziah gathered Judah and placed them, out of all Judah and Benjamin according to their ancestral houses, under leaders of thousands and of hundreds. When he made a count of those twenty years old and over, he found that there were three hundred thousand picked men fit for war, capable of handling lance and shield. 6He also hired a hundred thousand valiant warriors from Israel for a hundred talents of silver. 7But a man of God came to him and said: “O king, let not the army of Israel go with you, for the LORD is not with Israel—with any Ephraimite. 8Instead, go on your own, strongly prepared for the battle; why should the LORD hinder you in the face of the enemy: for with God is power to help or to hinder.” 9Amaziah answered the man of God, “But what is to be done about the hundred talents that I paid for the troops of Israel?” The man of God replied, “The LORD can give you much more than that.” 10Amaziah then disbanded the troops that had come to him from Ephraim, and sent them home. But they became furiously angry with Judah, and returned home blazing with anger.
11Amaziah now assumed command of his army. They proceeded to the Valley of Salt, where they killed ten thousand men of Seir.c 12The Judahites also brought back another ten thousand alive, led them to the summit of Sela, and then threw them down from that rock* so that their bodies split open. 13Meanwhile, the troops Amaziah had dismissed from going into battle with him raided the cities of Judah from Samaria to Beth-horon. They struck down three thousand of the inhabitants and carried off much plunder.
Amaziah’s Apostasy. 14When Amaziah returned from his conquest of the Edomites he brought back with him the gods of the people of Seir. He set these up as his own gods; he bowed down before them and offered sacrifice to them. 15Then the anger of the LORD blazed out against Amaziah, and he sent a prophet to him who said: “Why have you sought this people’s gods that could not deliver their own people from your power?” 16While he was still speaking, however, the king said to him: “Have you been appointed the king’s counselor? Stop! Why should you have to be killed?” Therefore the prophet stopped. But he said, “I know that God’s counsel is your destruction, for by doing this you have refused to listen to my counsel.”
Amaziah Punished. 17d Having taken counsel, Amaziah, king of Judah, sent word to Joash, son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, the king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us meet face to face.” 18Joash, king of Israel, sent this reply to Amaziah, king of Judah: “A thistle of Lebanon sent word to a cedar of Lebanon, ‘Give your daughter to my son in marriage,’ but an animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled the thistle underfoot.e 19You are thinking,
‘See, I have struck down Edom!’
Your heart is lifted up,
And glories in it. Stay home!
Why bring misfortune and failure
on yourself and on Judah with you?”
21So Joash, king of Israel, advanced, and he and Amaziah, king of Judah, met face to face at Beth-shemesh of Judah, 22and Judah was defeated by Israel, and all fled to their tents. 23But Amaziah, king of Judah, son of Joash, son of Jehoahaz, was captured by Joash, king of Israel, at Beth-shemesh. Joash brought him to Jerusalem and tore down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate, four hundred cubits. 24He took all the gold and silver and all the vessels found in the house of God with Obed-edom,* and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages as well. Then he returned to Samaria.
25f Amaziah, son of Joash, king of Judah, survived Joash, son of Jehoahaz, king of Israel, by fifteen years. 26The rest of the acts of Amaziah, first and last, are recorded in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 27Now from the time that Amaziah turned away from the LORD, a conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. But he was pursued to Lachish and killed there. 28He was brought back on horses and was buried with his ancestors in the City of Judah.*
* [25:12] Sela…rock: a pun—the name of the city, Sela, in Hebrew means “rock.”