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Third Millennium Study Bible
Notes on 2 Kings 14:1-22

In Judah (796-767 B.C.): Amaziah of Judah - 2 Kings 14:1-22

The historian returns to Judah in 796 B.C., after reporting on the history in Israel up to 782 B.C. Following Joash's assassination by his own officials (2 Kings 12:20-21), Amaziah succeeded his father as king of Judah and followed Joash's godly example. His rash challenge to Jehoash, king of Israel, however, resulted in defeat for Judah in battle, as well as destruction of part of the wall of Jerusalem and looting of the Temple and the royal treasuries. This chapter divides into (1) the opening of his reign (2 Kings 14:1-5), (2) his positive accomplishments (2 Kings 14:6-7), (3) the battle with Israel (2 Kings 14:8-14), and (4) the closure of this reign (2 Kings 14:15-22). See "Rulers of the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah" below.

Amaziah became king and ruled 29 years, from 796-767 B.C. (2 Kings 14:1-2).

He "did what was right in the eyes of the LORD" (2 Kings 14:3), that is, he followed the prescriptions of the covenant (see 1 Kings 2:3), "but not as his father David had done." See 1 Kings 11:4. "The high places . . . were not removed" (2 Kings 14:4). Amaziah was praised, but the praise was qualified because he had tolerated worship at hilltop shrines (see 1 Kings 3:2).

"After the kingdom was firmly in his grasp, he executed the officials who had murdered his father the king" (2 Kings 14:5). See 2 Kings 12:20-21. However, "he did not put the sons of the assassins to death" (2 Kings 14:6). See Deuteronomy 24:16. See also Jeremiah 31:29-30 and Ezekiel 18:1-32.

He "defeated ten thousand Edomites" (2 Kings 14:7). This major victory temporarily reversed earlier losses (cf. 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chron 25:5-13). The "Valley of Salt" is probably the salt flats south of the Dead Sea (cf. 2 Sam 8:13; Psa. 60). For "Sela . . . Joktheel" the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) identified Sela ("rock" in Hebrew) as Petra ("rock" in Greek), located along the north-south rift between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. Some modern scholars place it five miles southwest of Tapla in Edomite territory (Num 24:21; Judges 1:36). The phrase "to this day" indicated a preexilic perspective (see 1 Kings 8:8).

In 2 Kings 14:8-14 we observe that Amaziah battled with Israel. For "Jehoash" (2 Kings 14:8) see 2 Kings 13:10-25. At this time Israel was more powerful than Judah (see 1 Kings 15:17). Jehoash responded to Amaziah's challenge with a fable: A mere thistle (Amaziah, 2 Kings 14:9) claimed parity with a Lebanon cedar (Jehoash), only to be trampled underfoot (cf. Judges 9:8-15). "Beth Shemesh" (2 Kings 14:11) was situated 15 miles west of Jerusalem (1 Kings 4:9). "Jehoash . . . captured Amaziah" (2 Kings 14:13). Jehoash probably took Amaziah back to Samaria (2 Kings 14:14). Amaziah was forced to stay there until Jehoash's death, when he was finally released (2 Kings 14:17). "Ephraim Gate" was a main gate located in the north wall. The "Corner Gate" was situated at the northwest angle of the wall (2 Chron 26:9; Jer 31:38; Zech 14:10).

For the "book of the annals of the kings of Israel" (2 Kings 14:15) see 1 Kings 11:41. 2 Kings 14:16 refers to "Jeroboam," that is, Jeroboam II, who ruled from 793-753 B.C. (2 Kings 14:23-29).

"Amaziah . . . lived for fifteen years" (2 Kings 14:17). Likely Amaziah was in effect coregent with his son Azariah (2 Kings 15:1-7) for many years, because of Amaziah's capture by Jehoash.

For the "book of the annals of the kings of Judah" (2 Kings 14:18) see 1 Kings 11:41. "Lachish" (2 Kings 14:19) was a major city of Judah, located 15 miles west of Hebron.

"Then all the people of Judah took Azariah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah" (2 Kings 14:21). Probably Azariah was made king during his father's captivity in Samaria, so that the reigns of father and son overlapped for many years.

2 Kings 14:22 mentions "Elath" a seaport on the Gulf of Aqaba. This was first used by Solomon to foster sea trade with other nations (1 Kings 9:26-28). Because Amaziah defeated Edom (2 Kings 14:7), his son Azariah was able to rebuild Elath and use it once again as a Judean port (cf. 1 Kings 22:47-50; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 16:6).

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