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King Amaziah of Judah

25 Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem, the hometown of his mother Jehoaddin.[a]

Even though Amaziah obeyed the Lord by doing right, he refused to be completely faithful. For example, as soon as he had control of Judah, he arrested and killed the officers who had murdered his father. But the children of those officers were not killed; the Lord had commanded in the Law of Moses that only the people who sinned were to be punished.[b]

Edom Is Defeated

Amaziah sent a message to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin and called together all the men who were twenty years old and older. Three hundred thousand men went to Jerusalem, all of them ready for battle and able to fight with spears and shields. Amaziah grouped these soldiers according to their clans and put them under the command of his army officers. Amaziah also paid almost four tons of silver to hire one hundred thousand soldiers from Israel.

One of God’s prophets said, “Your Majesty, don’t let these Israelite soldiers march into battle with you. The Lord has refused to help anyone from the northern kingdom of Israel, and so he will let your enemies defeat you, even if you fight hard. He is the one who brings both victory and defeat.”

Amaziah replied, “What am I supposed to do about all the silver I paid those troops?”

“The Lord will give you back even more than you paid,” the prophet answered.

10 Amaziah ordered the troops from Israel to go home, but when they left, they were furious with the people of Judah.

11 After Amaziah got his courage back, he led his troops to Salt Valley, where he killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers in battle. 12 He captured ten thousand more soldiers and dragged them to the top of a high cliff. Then he pushed them over the side, and they all were killed on the rocks below.

13 Meanwhile, the Israelite troops that Amaziah had sent home, raided the towns in Judah between Samaria and Beth-Horon. They killed three thousand people and carried off their possessions.

14 After Amaziah had defeated the Edomite army, he returned to Jerusalem. He took with him the idols of the Edomite gods and set them up. Then he bowed down and offered them sacrifices. 15 This made the Lord very angry, and he sent a prophet to ask Amaziah, “Why would you worship these foreign gods that couldn’t even save their own people from your attack?”

16 But before the prophet finished speaking, Amaziah interrupted and said, “You’re not one of my advisors! Don’t say another word, or I’ll have you killed.”

The prophet stopped. But then he added, “First you sinned and now you’ve ignored my warning. It’s clear that God has decided to punish you!”

Israel Defeats Judah

17 King Amaziah of Judah talked with his officials, then sent a message to King Jehoash[c] of Israel: “Come out and face me in battle!”

18 Jehoash sent back a reply that said:

Once upon a time, a small thornbush in Lebanon arranged the marriage between his son and the daughter of a large cedar tree. But a wild animal came along and trampled the small bush.

19 Amaziah, you think you’re so powerful because you defeated Edom. But stay at home and do your celebrating. If you cause any trouble, both you and your kingdom of Judah will be destroyed.

20 God made Amaziah stubborn because he was planning to punish him for worshiping the Edomite gods. Amaziah refused to listen to Jehoash’s warning, 21 so Jehoash led his army to the town of Beth-Shemesh in Judah to attack Amaziah and his troops. 22 During the battle, Judah’s army was crushed. Every soldier from Judah ran back home, 23 and Jehoash captured Amaziah.

Jehoash took Amaziah with him when he went to attack Jerusalem. Jehoash broke down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to Corner Gate, a section about six hundred feet long. 24 He carried away the gold, the silver, and all the valuable furnishings from God’s temple where the descendants of Obed-Edom stood guard. He robbed the king’s treasury, took hostages, then returned to Samaria.

Amaziah Is Killed

25 Amaziah lived fifteen years after Jehoash died. 26 Everything else Amaziah did while he was king is written in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.

27 As soon as Amaziah started disobeying the Lord, some people in Jerusalem plotted against Amaziah. He was able to escape to the town of Lachish, but another group of people caught him and killed him there. 28 His body was taken to Jerusalem on horseback and buried beside his ancestors.

King Uzziah of Judah

26 1-3 After the death of King Amaziah, the people of Judah crowned his son Uzziah[d] king, even though he was only sixteen at the time. Uzziah ruled fifty-two years from Jerusalem, the hometown of his mother Jecoliah. During his rule, he recaptured and rebuilt the town of Elath.

He obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. Zechariah was Uzziah’s advisor and taught him to obey God. And so, as long as Zechariah was alive, Uzziah was faithful to God, and God made him successful.

While Uzziah was king, he started a war against the Philistines. He smashed the walls of the cities of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod, then rebuilt towns around Ashdod and in other parts of Philistia. God helped him defeat the Philistines, the Arabs living in Gur-Baal, and the Meunites. Even the Ammonites paid taxes to Uzziah. He became very powerful, and people who lived as far away as Egypt heard about him.

In Jerusalem, Uzziah built fortified towers at the Corner Gate, the Valley Gate, and the place where the city wall turned inward.[e] 10 He also built defense towers out in the desert.

He owned such a large herd of livestock in the western foothills and in the flatlands, that he had cisterns dug there to catch the rainwater. He loved farming, so he had crops and vineyards planted in the hill country wherever there was fertile soil, and he hired farmers to take care of them.

11 Uzziah’s army was always ready for battle. Jeiel and Maaseiah were the officers who kept track of the number of soldiers, and these two men were under the command of Hananiah, one of Uzziah’s officials. 12-13 There were 307,500 trained soldiers, all under the command of 2,600 clan leaders. These powerful troops protected the king against any enemy. 14 Uzziah supplied his army with shields, spears, helmets, armor, bows, and stones used for slinging. 15 Some of his skilled workers invented machines that could shoot arrows and sling large stones. Uzziah set these up in Jerusalem at his defense towers and at the corners of the city wall.

God helped Uzziah become more and more powerful, and he was famous all over the world.

Uzziah Becomes Too Proud

16 Uzziah became proud of his power, and this led to his downfall.

One day, Uzziah disobeyed the Lord his God by going into the temple and burning incense as an offering to him.[f] 17 Azariah the priest and eighty other brave priests followed Uzziah into the temple 18 and said, “Your Majesty, this isn’t right! You are not allowed to burn incense to the Lord. That must be done only by priests who are descendants of Aaron. You will have to leave! You have sinned against the Lord, and so he will no longer bless you.”

19 Uzziah, who was standing next to the incense altar at the time, was holding the incense burner, ready to offer incense to the Lord. He became very angry when he heard Azariah’s warning, and leprosy[g] suddenly appeared on his forehead! 20 Azariah and the other priests saw it and immediately told him to leave the temple. Uzziah realized that the Lord had punished him, so he hurried to get outside.

21 Uzziah had leprosy the rest of his life. He was no longer allowed in the temple or in his own palace. That’s why his son Jotham lived there and ruled in his place.

22 Everything else Uzziah did while he was king is in the records written by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 23 Since Uzziah had leprosy, he could not be buried in the royal tombs. Instead, he was buried in a nearby cemetery that the kings owned. His son Jotham then became king.

King Jotham of Judah

27 Jotham was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled from Jerusalem for sixteen years. Jerushah his mother was the daughter of Zadok.

Jotham obeyed the Lord and did right. He followed the example of his father Uzziah, except he never burned incense in the temple as his father had done. But the people of Judah kept sinning against the Lord.

Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple and did a lot of work to repair the wall near Mount Ophel. He built towns in the mountains of Judah and built fortresses and defense towers in the forests.

During his rule he attacked and defeated the Ammonites. Then every year for the next three years, he forced them to pay four tons of silver, sixty thousand bushels of wheat, and sixty thousand bushels of barley.

Jotham remained faithful to the Lord his God and became a very powerful king.

Everything else Jotham did while he was king, including the wars he fought, is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah. After he had ruled Judah sixteen years, he died at the age of forty-one. He was buried in Jerusalem, and his son Ahaz became king.

Footnotes

  1. 25.1 Jehoaddin: The Hebrew text has “Jehoaddan,” another spelling of the name.
  2. 25.4 the Lord had commanded. . . punished: See Deuteronomy 24.16.
  3. 25.17 King Jehoash: The Hebrew text has “King Joash son of Jehoahaz son of Jehu”; Jehoash is another spelling for the name Joash.
  4. 26.1-3 Uzziah: In the parallel passages in 2 Kings, he is called “Azariah” (see also 1 Chronicles 3.10-15). He is also called “Uzziah” in 2 Kings 15.13; Isaiah 1.1; Hosea 1.1; and Amos 1.1. One of these names was probably his birth name, while the other was his name after he became king.
  5. 26.9 the place where the city wall turned inward: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 26.16 going into the temple and burning incense as an offering to him: This was to be done only by priests (see Exodus 30.1-10; Numbers 16.39,40).
  7. 26.19 leprosy: The word translated “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.