Backstory of the Kings 18: Amaziah

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 19, 2024 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Amaziah was the second of four consecutive semi-good kings of Judah. They were moral for the most part though they never bothered to tear down the high places. But they had problems. Of these four kings, only Jotham does not have a sin recorded against him and that is only because his reign, and the coverage of it, was short. Amaziah ruled for 29 years and began his reign when he was 25 years old. This put Amaziah being born 15 years into Joash’s reign, making Joash 22 years old when Amaziah was born. Amaziah would be succeeded by Uzziah who was 16 when he became king, thus putting Uzziah’s birth 13 years into Amaziah’s reign, with Amaziah being 38 when Uzziah was born.

Amaziah had two notable events in his reign, and both were battles: one against Edom in which he won and then brought back their idols, and the other against Jehoash of Israel in which he got spanked. Amaziah, like his father Joash, was assassinated to end his reign. In the first battle, Amaziah initially hired 100k troops from Israel, and God told him through a prophet to send them back and to trust Him for victory. But after the victory, Amaziah brought back the idols of Edom and worshiped them. Why would one worship the gods of the very people you just beat? Amaziah was rebuked and didn’t want to hear it.

Amaziah got on a power trip and decided to do a skirmish battle against Jehoash. This wasn’t a political battle, or a need for resources, or a conquering battle. It was merely an arrogant, “I want to show off my strength” battle. Jehoash warned him against doing it and Amaziah did not listen. He lost badly, and Jehoash entered Jerusalem and took his choice of spoils. This was all directed by God to punish Amaziah for his idolatry and the people knew it too. Amaziah fled Jerusalem for his life, was hunted down, and was assassinated. The officials then put Uzziah on the throne at the mere age of 16.

What set this up? What drove Amaziah’s thinking? Amaziah was still a youth when Joash had the temple repaired, but he watched his father turn to idolatry after Jehoiada passed. He saw how evil his father had turned and that led him to be assassinated. Amaziah clearly did not fall far from the tree. He did the same thing. He turned to idolatry and was assassinated for it as well.

During Amaziah’s reign, it is believed that Jonah, Amos, and Hosea had their ministries, however, none of them directly witnessed in Judah. They primarily focused on Israel where Jehoash and Jeroboam II were ruling. There were plenty of unnamed prophets, including the two who rebuked Amaziah for seeking Israel’s aid for the battle with Edom and then for taking Edom’s idols and bowing before them. So it was not like Amaziah did not get a message from God. He did; he listened to the first but not the second. And in the rejection of the second, his doom was decided. He would lose a battle he instigated, and following the battle, he would be assassinated.

One would wonder if Amaziah learned his lesson from his father, but hindsight is 20/20. Amaziah walked in the same path as Joash did from fearing God to idolatry to being assassinated. It is not much different than children of sinning fathers, whether it be drunkenness, adultery, pornography, abuse, drugs, or whatever. The kid will have a choice: seeing his dad and walking the same way he did or seeing his dad and walking away from that. The same can be true about the believing father. A believer’s child will see his father and either walk in the same path or walk away. In every case, the kid is still responsible for his own choices. Amaziah could not blame Joash for making him like he was. He can only blame himself for following the sins of his father.

Joash departed the faith he was raised in. Amaziah walked in the same faith his father did: a nominal one that turned when the opportunity presented itself. Just raising your kid in Biblical ways is no guarantee he will walk in them. It helps greatly, but he still has to make his own decisions. Letting the world raise your kids is worse. That is what I pointed out last week with Jehoahaz and Jehoash walking in Jehu’s footsteps, only half-hearted before God at best. One thing I have noticed is that only those who intentionally continue in a godly man’s footsteps remain walking that way. Any other direction will go to another destination.

Amaziah was killed for his idolatry; in a way, it was God’s mercy to not let it continue. Following them would be Uzziah, the king with the second longest reign of all the kings in part due to his youth upon ascension, but he too had his own problems. We’ll examine those and look at Jeroboam II, the longest-reigning monarch of Israel and the last one who would have a chance at turning things around but didn’t. After Jeroboam II, the bottom would fall out for Israel before God would send Assyria to wipe them off the map. Uzziah would contrast with Jeroboam II, but not by a lot. We’ll examine both kings together next week.

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