King Amaziah - Biography

Chart of the Kings King Amaziah - Biography God's Judgment Regarding King Amaziah
Previous King: Joash   Next King: Uzziah

When Amaziah was 25 years old, his father King Joash, having committed a repulsive crime, was assassinated, and so Amaziah became king. Like his father, he was faithful to the LORD at first, and later turned to a life of sin.

Amaziah's first act as king was to punish by death those who had murdered his father. In this, he deviated from the custom of also executing the criminals' heirs, instead executing only the conspirators themselves, acting according to the Bible's prohibition.1

A border war broke out between Judah and Edom. Amaziah mustered his army of 300,000 men for the battle. Considering this insufficient, he hired an additional 100,000 men from neighboring Israel, at a price of nearly 4 tons of silver. After this large sum was paid and the army on hand, a prophet told King Amaziah that because of Israel's sin, the LORD would oppose Amaziah's army if Israel marched with them. Obediently, Amaziah sent Israel home, forfeiting the payment he had made.

The result was a great success. The army of Edom fled so swiftly that only 20,000 casualties could be inflicted. Amaziah captured Selah, deep in Edomite territory, and gave it the Hebrew name Joktheel. That Judah occupied it for a long time is indicated since the new name stuck.

After the battle, however, Amaziah looted Edom's temples and brought their idols home, there establishing his own center of idol worship. For this the LORD was angry, and sent a prophet to point out to Amaziah that those idols hadn't saved the Edomites from him, and so it was foolish for him to trust them. Furious, the king silenced the prophet, threatening him with death. He later prophesied that God would destroy Amaziah for refusing to hear.

Meanwhile, the army of Israel, greatly insulted by their abrupt dismissal and associated accusatory inferences, launched raids against border towns in Judah. Amaziah sent a message to Israel's King Joash, demanding that he put a stop to the raids or face Amaziah in war. Joash, probably unwilling to dismiss the insult to his army, advised Amaziah to allow the army to vent their frustration, and avoid war, for Amaziah would lose.

Amaziah, however, refused to listen to reason. He was now living a life of idolatry and its associated sin, and therefore lacked God's aid. Even so, he assembled his army, but was badly beaten by Israel. Joash captured Amaziah and in order to cripple his future offensive ability, broke down a large segment of Jerusalem's protective wall. He also looted the temple and palace and took some hostages.

At this horrible loss, Amaziah's people were so enraged that a group conspired to kill him. He fled to Lachish, near the Philistine border, but was killed there by the conspirators.

Where to read Amaziah's story: 2 Kings 14:1-21; 2 Chronicles 25

  1 Deuteronomy 24:16
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