Easton's Bible Dictionary
strengthened by Jehovah.
(1) A Levite, son of Hilkiah, of the descendants of Ethan the Merarite ( 1
Chronicles 6:45 ).
(2) The son and successor of Joash, and eighth king of the separate kingdom of
Judah ( 2
Kings 14:1 - 4
). He began his reign by punishing the murderers of his father (2
Kings 5 - 7
Chronicles 25:3 - 5
). He was the first to employ a mercenary army of 100,000 Israelite soldiers,
which he did in his attempt to bring the Edomites again under the yoke of Judah
Chronicles 25:5 , 25:6
). He was commanded by a prophet of the Lord to send back the mercenaries, which
he did ( 2
Chronicles 25:7 - 10
), much to their annoyance. His obedience to this command was followed by a decisive
victory over the Edomites ( 2
Chronicles 25:14 - 16
). Amaziah began to worship some of the idols he took from the Edomites, and this
was his ruin, for he was vanquished by Joash, king of Israel, whom he challenged
to battle. The disaster he thus brought upon Judah by his infatuation in proclaiming
war against Israel probably occasioned the conspiracy by which he lost his life
Kings 14:8 - 14
). He was slain at Lachish, whither he had fled, and his body was brought upon
horses to Jerusalem, where it was buried in the royal sepulchre ( 2
Kings 14:19 , 14:20
Chronicles 25:27 , 25:28
(3) A priest of the golden calves at Bethel ( Amos
7:10 - 17
(4) The father of Joshah, one of the Simeonite chiefs in the time of Hezekiah
Chronicles 4:34 ).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
the strength of the Lord
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(the strength of the Lord ).
(1) Son of Joash, and eighth king of Judah, reigned B.C. 837-809. He succeeded
to the throne at the age of 25, on the murder of his father, and punished the
murderers. In order to restore his kingdom to the greatness of Jehoshaphats days,
he made war on the Edomites, defeated them in the Valley of Salt, south of the
Dead Sea, and took their capital, Selah or Petra, to which he gave the name of
Jokteel, i.e. "God-subdued." Flushed with his success, he challenged Joash king
of Israel to battle, but was completely defeated, and himself was taken prisoner
and conveyed by Joash to Jerusalem, which opened its gates to the conqueror. Amaziah
lived 15 years after the death of Joash; and in the 29th year of his reign was
murdered by conspirators at Lachish, whither he had retired from Jerusalem for
safety. ( 2
Chronicles 25:27 )
(2) A descendant of Simeon ( 1
Chronicles 4:34 )
(3) A Levite. ( 1
Chronicles 6:45 )
(4) Priest of the golden calf at Bethel who endeavored to drive the prophet Amos
from Israel into Judah. ( Amos
7:11 , 7:12
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
('amatsyah, 'amatsyahu, "Yahweh is mighty"; 2 Kings 14:1 - 20 ; 2 Chronicles 25).
Son of Jehoash, and tenth king of Judah. Amaziah had a peaceable accession at
the age of 25. A depleted treasury, a despoiled palace and temple, and a discouraged
people were among the consequences of his father's war with Hazael, king of Syria.
When settled on the throne, Amaziah brought to justice the men who had assassinated
his father. Amaziah verbal citation of Deuteronomy 24:16 in 2 Kings 14:6, forbidding
the punishment of children for a father's offense, shows that the laws of this
book were then known, and were recognized as authoritative, and, in theory, as
governing the nation. His accession may be dated circa 812 (some put later).
1. The Edomite War:
The young king's plan for the rehabilitation of his people was the restoration
of the kingdom's military prestige, so severely lowered in his father's reign.
A militia army, composed of all the young men above 20 years of age, was first
organized and placed upon a war footing (2 Chronicles 25:5; the number given,
300,000, is not a reliable one). Even this not being considered a large enough
force to effect the project, 100 talents of silver were sent to engage mercenary
troops for the expedition from Israel. When these came, a man of God strongly
dissuaded the king from relying on them (2 Chronicles 25:7). When this was communicated
to the soldiers, and they were sent back unemployed, it roused them to "fierce
anger" (2 Chronicles 25:10).
2. Its Occasion:
Amaziah's purpose in making these extensive preparations for war, in a time of
profound peace, is clear to the Southeast of Judah lay the Edomite state, with
its capital at Petra. For many years Edom had been subject to Jehoshaphat, and
a Hebrew "deputy" had governed it (1 Kings 22:47). In the reign of his son and
successor, Jehoram, a confederacy of Philistines, Arabians and Edomites took Libnah
and made a raid on Jerusalem. A band of these penetrated the palace, which they
plundered, abducted some women, and murdered all the young princes but the youngest
(2 Chronicles 21:17 ; 22:1). The public commotion and distress caused by such
an event may be seen reflected in the short oracle of the prophet Obadiah, uttered
against Edom, if, with some, Obadiah's date is put thus early
3. The Victory in the Valley of Salt:
From that time "Edom .... made a king over themselves" (2 Chronicles 21:8), and
for fifty years following were practically independent. It was this blot on Jerusalem
and the good name of Judah that Amaziah determined to wipe out. The army of retaliation
went forward, and after a battle in the Valley of Salt, south of the Dead Sea,
in which they were the victors, moved on to Petra. This city lies in a hollow,
shut in by mountains, and approached only by a narrow ravine, through which a
stream of water flows. Amaziah took it "by storm" (such is Ewald's rendering of
"by war," in 2 Kings 14:7). Great execution was done, many of the captives being
thrown from the rock, the face of which is now covered with rock-cut tombs of
the Greek-Roman age.
4. Apostasy and Its Punishment:
The campaign was thus entirely successful, but had evil results. Flushed with
victory, Amaziah brought back the gods of Edom, and paid them worship. For this
act of apostasy, he was warned of approaching destruction (2 Chronicles 25:14
- 17). Disquieting news soon came relating to the conduct of the troops sent back
to Samaria. From Beth-horon in the south to the border of the northern state they
had looted the villages and killed some of the country people who had attempted
to defend their property (2 Chronicles 25:13). To Amaziah's demand for reparation,
Jehoash's answer was the contemptuous one of the well-known parable of the Thistle
and the Cedar.
5. Battle of Beth-shemesh:
War was now inevitable. The kings "looked one another in the face," in the valley
of Beth-shemesh, where there is a level space, suitable to the movements of infantry.
Judah was utterly routed, and the king himself taken prisoner. There being no
treasures in the lately despoiled capital, Jehoash contented himself with taking
hostages for future good behavior, and with breaking down 400 cubits of the wall
of Jerusalem at the Northwest corner of the defense (2 Kings 14:13 ,14 ; 2 Chronicles
25:22 - 24).
6. Closing Years and Tragical End:
Amaziah's career as a soldier was now closed. He outlived Jehoash of Israel "fifteen
years" (2 Kings 14:17). His later years were spent in seclusion and dread, and
had a tragical ending. The reason for his unpopularity is not far to seek. The
responsibility for the war with Jehoash is by the inspired writer placed upon
the shoulders of Amaziah (2 Kings 14:9 - 11). It was he who "would not hear."
The quarrel between the kings was one which it was not beyond the power of diplomacy
to remedy, but no brotherly attempt to heal the breach was made by either king.
When the results of the war appeared, it could not be but that the author of the
war should be called upon to answer for them. So deep was his disgrace and so
profound the sense of national humiliation, that a party in the state determined
on Amaziah's removal, so soon as there was another to take his place. The age
of majority among the Hebrew kings was 16, and when Amaziah's son was of this
age, the conspiracy against his life grew so strong and open that he fled to Lachish.
Here he was followed and killed; his body being insultingly carried to Jerusalem
on horses, and not conveyed in a litter or coffin (2 Kings 14:19 , 20 ; 2 Chronicles
25:27 , 28). He was 54 years old and had reigned for 29 years. The Chronicler
(2 Chronicles 26:1) hardly conceals the popular rejoicings at the exchange of
sovereigns, when Uzziah became king.
In 2 Chronicles 25:28 is a copyist's error by which we read "in the city of Judah,"
instead of "in the city of David," as in the corresponding passage in Kings. The
singular postscript to the record of Amaziah in 2 Kings 14:22 is intended to mark
the fact that while the port of Elath on the Red Sea fell before the arms, in
turn, of Amaziah and of his son Uzziah, it was the latter who restored it to Judah,
as a part of its territory. Amaziah is mentioned in the royal genealogy of 1 Chronicles
3:12, but not in that of Mt 1. There is a leap here from Jehoram to Uzziah, Ahaziah,
Jehoash and Amaziah being omitted.
W. Shaw Caldecott
amaziah, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, idol worship, king of judah (eighth), murdered