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both toward God, and toward his house." The amount of good which he had done when living must have been the more sensibly felt after his death, by reason of the falling away of Joash into the most grievous offences against God. Thus there is a blessing which can be imparted to good men on earth, even beyond the honour paid to their remains ; namely to be much missed, and regretted with sincere sorrow, and remembered with affectionate respect. And as it is recorded, to the dishonour of Jehoram king of Judah, that he “ departed without being desired,” ch. 21. 20, so we may believe that Jehoiada, long after his honourable burial, lived in the grateful remembrance of the most devout servants of the Lord. Happy are they whose memory is blessed! See Prov. 10.7. Happy are those ministers of religion, who are not only here thankfully remembered after death, but shall hereafter find, in those who now remember them, a crown of rejoicing, “ in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming!" 1 Thess. 2. 19.
The princes of Judah were the means of seducing Joash into the practices of idolatry. Leagued with them for this unholy purpose, he turned a deaf ear to the prophetic warnings, which God graciously vouchsafed to send. And when “ Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest,” moved by “the Spirit of God,” remonstrated with the people, and warned them, that like as they had forsaken God, so had God forsaken them; then “ Joash the king remembered not the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done unto him, but slew his son.” Oh base ingratitude; but all too natural in one, who had forsaken the covenant of his God, that he should slay the son of his earthly benefactor! “And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it." Oh fearful prophecy, soon fulfilled in the disasters of Joash and of Judah ; and yet reserved for further fulfilment in that future generation of the Jews, on whom should come “all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias !" Matt. 23. 35. So long afterwards does God remember to visit for such a sin as this! So abominable in his sight is the wickedness of rejecting his message, and slaying his messenger! And if He spared not those who thus evil intreated his prophets, what will He do to those who set at nought his Son? How surely will He look upon it and require it of those, who by renouncing like Joash the faith they once professed, do no less than "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame !" Heb. 6. 6.
Amaziah defeateth the Edomites. i Amaziah was twenty and five for the Lord is not with Israel, years old when he began to reign, to wit, with all the children of and he reigned twenty and nine Ephraim. years in Jerusalem.
And his 8 But if thou wilt go, do it, be mother's name was Jehoaddan strong for the battle: God shall of Jerusalem.
make thee fall before the enemy: 2 And he did that which was for God hath power to help, and right in the sight of the Lord, to cast down. but not with a perfect heart. 9 And Amaziah said to the
3 Now it came to pass, when man of God, But what shall we the kingdom was established to do for the hundred talents which him, that he slew his servants I have given to the army of Isthat had killed the king his rael? And the man of God anfather.
swered, The LORD is able to 4 But he slew not their chil- give thee much more than this. dren, but did as it is written in 10 Then Amaziah separated the law in the book of Moses, them, to wit, the army that was where the Lord commanded, come to him out of Ephraim, to saying, The fathers shall not die go home again : wherefore their for the children, neither shall the anger was greatly kindled against children die for the fathers, but Judah, and they returned home every man shall die for his own in great anger. sin.
li And Amaziah strengthened 5 Moreover Amaziah gathered himself, and led forth his people, Judah together, and made them and went to the valley of salt
, captains over thousands, and cap- and smote of the children of Seir tains over hundreds, according ten thousand. to the houses of their fathers, 12 And other ten thousand left throughout all Judah and Ben- alive did the children of Judah jamin: and he numbered them carry away captive, and brought from twenty years old and above, them unto the top of the rock, and found them three hundred and cast them down from the top thousand choice men, able to go of the rock, that they all were forth to war, that could handle broken in pieces. spear and shield.
13 But the soldiers of the army 6 He hired also an hundred which Amaziah sent back, that thousand mighty men of valour they should not go with him to out of Israel for an hundred ta- battle, fell upon the cities of Julents of silver.
dah, from Samaria even unto 7 But there came a man of God Beti-horon, and smote three to him, saying, O king, let not thousand of them, and took much the army of Israel go with thee; spoil.
Of trusting in God's power to help. How many Christians would think it quite enough to bave the praise here given to Amaziah, that “he did that which was right
in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart !” How few ever think of aiming to fulfil the commandment of our Saviour, “ Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect !” Matt. 6. 48. As if it were not our gain to be as obedient as possible to the will of God, as nearly conformed as possible to the image of our blessed Lord! As if He would have given us any commandment, which it is not good for us to endeavour to fulfil ! Let us then set before us no less an object than this, to do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, with a perfect heart. Let us harbour no reserve, in the fulness of our purpose, to serve God in all that we know to be his will, and to use all means in our power to know it more thoroughly, and to fulfil it more devotedly.
We see proof of the divided state of Amaziah's heart, in his being disposed to trust in the numbers of his army rather than in the protection of the Lord. When about to engage in war, he first numbered his own people that were able to bear arms, and he next hired “an hundred thousand mighty men of valour out of Israel for an hundred talents of silver.” He must have known how sinful this act of numbering the people was esteemed in the case of David. And as to hiring the men of Israel for allies, he ought to have remembered, that all alliance was unlawful for the servants of Jehovah with the worshippers of images. On this latter point he was expressly warned by a man of God, that however strong he might make himself for battle by this help, yet God would make him fall before the enemy, for this reason, namely, that the Lord was not with Israel. He acted on this warning, and so far he did right in the sight of the Lord. But he grudged the loss of the hundred talents, which he had given to the men of Israel for their hire. Upon which the man of God assured him, “ The Lord is able to give thee much more than this.” Accordingly the Lord gave him victory. And whilst the Israelites, in whom he had sought for strength, were spoiling his cities in revenge for their dismissal, his own people, whom he appears to have distrusted, were completely successful in the battle with the Edomites. Let us be reminded by this instance, that “God hath power to help, and to cast down.' Let us learn to depend on his assistance, yea, to put our whole trust in it, whatever dangers beset us, temporal or spiritual. And whilst we fail not to do for our own parts whatsoever is required by prudence, and
perseverance, let us rest our whole confidence all the while, not in that which we do ourselves, but in that which we trust God is doing for us.
Help us, O Lord, with thy almighty power; and grant that we may put our trust in thy all sufficient help, through Christ our Lord.
Amaziah's defeat and death. 14 Now it came to pass, after thou, and Judah with thee? that Amaziah was come from 20 But Amaziah would not the slaughter of the Edomites, hear; for it came of God, that that he brought the gods of the he might deliver them into the children of Seir, and set them hand of their enemies, because up to be bis gods, and bowed they sought after the gods of down himself before them, and Edom. burned incense unto them. 21 So Joash the king of Israel 15 Wherefore the anger of the went up; and they saw one anLord was kindled against Ama- other in the face, both he and ziah, and he sent unto him a Amaziah king of Judah, at Bethprophet, which said unto him, shemesh, which belongeth to JuWhy hast thou sought after the dah. gods of the people, which could 22 And Judah was put to the not deliver their own people out worse before Israel, and they of thine hand?
fled every man to his tent. 16 And it came to pass, as he 23 And Joash the king of Istalked with him, that the king rael took Amaziah king of Jusaid unto him, Art thou made dah, the son of Joash, the son of of the king's counsel? forbear; Jehoahaz, at Beth-shemesh, and why shouldest thou be smitten? brought him to Jerusalem, and Then the prophet forbare, and brake down the wall of Jerusasaid, I know that God hath de- lem from the gate of Ephraim termined to destroy thee, because to the corner gate, four hundred thou hast done this, and hast not cubits. hearkened unto my counsel. 24 And he took all the gold and 17 Then Amaziah king of Ju- the silver, and all the vessels dah took advice, and sent to that were found in the house of Joash, the son of Jehoahaz, the God with Obed-edom, and the son of Jehu, king of Israel, say- treasures of the king's house, the ing, Come, let us
see one another hostages also, and returned to in the face.
Samaria. 18 And Joash king of Israel 25 And Amaziab the son of Josent to Amaziah king of Judah, ash king of Judah lived after the saying, The thistle that was in death of Joash son of Jehoahaz Lebanon sent to the cedar that king of Israel fifteen years. was in Lebanon, saying, Give 26 Now the rest of the acts of thy daughter to my son to wife: Amaziah, first and last, behold, and there passed by a wild beast are they not written in the that was in Lebanon, and trode book of the kings of Judah and down the thistle.
Israel? 19 Thou sayest, Lo, thou hast 27 Now after the time that smitten the Edomites; and thine Amaziah did turn away from heart lifteth thee up to boast: following the Lord they made abide now at home; why should- a conspiracy against him in Jeest thou meddle to thine hurt, rusalem; and he fled to Lachish: that thou shouldest fall, even but they sent to Lachish after
him, and slew him there. horses, and buried him with his 28 And they brought him upon fathers in the city of Judah.
The infatuation of sinners. That any human being should bow down to idols, seems most inconsistent with the reason which God has given us. But that one who had so lately experienced the proof of God's power, as Amaziah had, should set up the gods of the children of Seir to be his gods, and that he should persevere in doing so, after being reminded by a prophet, that they could not deliver their own people out of his hand; this appears little short of madness. But no; reason, such as we have it in our fallen state, is compatible with the vanity of our preferring to be the authors of every thing to ourselves. And hence men, who must be allowed to have been in their senses, chose to worship gods of their own devising, rather than bow down to Him who made both them and all things. In like manner, there are many now amongst ourselves, who whilst they see the absurdity of idol worship, and own that there is but one true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, will not serve Him in the way of his own appointment, or in the way appointed by authority from Him; but delight in setting up a religion for themselves; and think no ministers so acceptable, no ordinances so profitable, as those which are only sanctioned by their own choice and authority.
But the true God soon made manifest his truth in the defeat of Amaziah, as He had before done in giving him the victory: The presumptuous challenge sent to Joash king of Israel, ended in the entire overthrow of the armies of Judah. And the rashness of Amaziah, who persisted in provoking Joash to the battle, was overruled by God, to the chastisement of Judah and their king; "that he might deliver them into the hand of their enemies, because they sought after the gods of Edom.” This helps further to explain many an act of folly or of wickedness, which may at first sight seem unaccountable in a reasonable creature. Though God has made us free to act according to our choice, He is able, if He so think fit, to make our choice the means of chastisement for sin. He can so order the temptations set before the wicked, or so infatuate their minds at the moment of their choosing, that they obstinately prefer the evil to the good, and take the way that leads to ruin, instead of that which would admit them to eternal happiness. But for such infatuation, judicially inflicted by the righteous Ruler of the universe, the folly of the wicked would indeed be utterly inexplicable. For what rashness of Amaziah can be more manifest, what idolatry of Judah more gross, than that which we daily see around us, in those, who knowing both the mercies and the terrors of the Lord, give all their thoughts to the pleasures of the world?