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It is shocking to read of Amaziah's cruelty to the Edomites, and not easy to be accounted for in so mixed a character. What he did on his return was evidently a great act of sin and foily; yet the goodness of the LORD was still extended towards him, but he was deaf to the kind remonstrances of the prophet, and we cannot wonder at the adversity which afterwards befel him.
By whom Amaziah was advised to shew resentment to the king of Israel, for the devastations his subjects had made, we are not told; but they proved to be evil counsellors. Jehoash had by this time gained the three victories over the Syrians, foretold by the prophet Elisha, which had doubtless elated him; and he could nor forbear expressing the utmost contempt at Amaziah's arrogant challenge. The answer Jehoash returned was couched in the most scornful and mortifying terms, under the allegory of a despicable thistle, which having aspired to an alliance with the noble cedar, had, for its ambition, been crushed under the feet of a wild beast: he conclud ́ed with advising Amaziah to rest contented with his late petty victories, and not to suffer his ambition to drive him into desperate attempts, which would, most likely, end in the total loss of his kingdom.
Josephus, an ancient Jewish author, informs us, that Amaziah's army was seized with sudden terror, and turned their backs on Israel, without striking one stroke; and left their king to the mercy of the conqueror, who led him prisoner to Jerusalem, where he obliged him to purchase his freedom at the expence of all the gold and silver which were found, either in the Temple or his own treasury; after which, having demolished a part of the city wall, and taken hostages, he returned to Samaria.
As for Amaziah, though he out-lived his disgrace about fifteen years, we do not read that he performed +
any memorable action; but continuing to follow idolatrous practices, the favour of the LORD was totally withdrawn from him, he fell by the hands of his own subjects, and his corpse was treated with indignity, but at length buried with his ancestors.
THE REIGN OF JEROBOAM THE SECOND, KING OF
From 2 Kings, Chap. xiv.
In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Jehoash king of Is rael began to reign in Samaria.
He restored the coast of Israel, from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD Go of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gath-heper.
For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel.
And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Jehoash.
So Jeroboam warred and recovered for Israel Hamath and Damascus, which belonged to Judah.
And Jeroboam reigned forty-one years, and he slept with his fathers, even with the kings of Israel: and Zechariah his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Though the reign of this king is long, the history of it is related in few words. Jeroboam was a very valiant and
politic prince, and GoD enabled him, for the sake of the race of Jacob, to work great deliverances for Israel, and to restore this kingdom to splendour and power. We find he took the city of Damascus (which was the capital of Syria) and Hamath, both which formerly belonged to Judah; besides a vast extent of country. The particulars of these valiant exploits are unknown to us, having been written in the annals of the kings of Israel, long since lost.
After the death of Elisha, it pleased the LORD to raise up a succession of prophets in Israel and Judah, to give them instructions and exhortations, and to denounce his threatenings against them upon their persisting in impiety; and these he appointed, not only to warn them by word of mouth (as his former prophets had done), but to commit their admonitions to writing, that posterity might see the ingratitude of his people, and all nations, from their crimes and punishment, learn not to do so wickedly.
Those written prophecies contain much of general instruction.
PART OF THE PROPHECY OF AMOS,
From Chap. i, &c.
THE words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel, in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof: because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes.
That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of
the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek:
Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you,
O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely, the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth the secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared,' who will not fear? the LORD GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the LORD GOD, the GoD of hosts, that in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I will also visit the altars of Beth-el, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
And I will smite the winter-house with the summerhouse; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.
Come to Beth-el, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tythes after three years: and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with heaven, and proclaim and publish the free-offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the LORD GOD.
And I also have given you cleanliness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.
So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards, and your fig-trees, and your olive-trees increased, the palmer-worm devoured them; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses ; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
I have overthrown some of you as GoD overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand pluck, ed out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
For lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth: the LORD the GOD of hosts is his name.
For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Beth el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought.
Seek good, and not evil; that ye may live: and so the LORD the GoD of hosts shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate; it may be that the LORD GOD of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.