We have here this degenerate prince mortified by his neighbour and murdered by his own subjects.
I. Never was proud prince more thoroughly mortified than Amaziah was by Joash king of Israel.
1. This part of the story (which was as fully related 2 Kgs. 14:8-22, as it is here)--embracing the foolish challenge which Amaziah sent to Joash (2 Chron. 25:17), his haughty scornful answer to it (2 Chron. 25:18), with the friendly advice he gave him to sit still and know when he was well off, (2 Chron. 25:19),—his wilfully persisting in his challenge (2 Chron. 25:20, 21), the defeat that was given him (2 Chron. 25:22), and the calamity he brought upon himself and his city thereby (2 Chron. 25:23, 24),—verifies two of Solomon’s proverbs:—(1.) That a man’s pride will bring him low, Prov. 29:23. It goes before his destruction; not only procures it meritoriously, but is often the immediate occasion of it. He that exalteth himself shall be abased. (2.) That he that goes forth hastily to strive will probably not know what to do in the end thereof, when his neighbour has put him to shame, Prov. 25:8. He that is fond of contention may have enough of it sooner than he thinks of.
2. But there are two passages in this story which we had not before in the Kings. (1.) That Amaziah took advice before he challenged the king of Israel, 2 Chron. 25:17. But of whom? Not of the prophet—he was not made of the king’s counsel; but of his statesmen that would flatter him and bid him go up and prosper. It is good to take advice, but then it must be of those that are fit to advise us. Those that will not take advice from the word of God, which would guide them aright, will justly be left to the bad advice of those that will counsel them to their destruction. Let those be made fools that will not be made wise. (2.) Amaziah’s imprudence is here made the punishment of his impiety (2 Chron. 25:20): It was of the Lord; he left him to himself to act thus foolishly, that he and his people might be delivered into the hands of their enemies, because they had forsaken God and sought after the gods of Edom. Those that will not persuaded to do well for their souls will justly be given up to their own counsels to do ill for themselves even in their outward affairs.
II. Never was poor prince more violently pursued by his own subjects. From the time that he departed from the Lord (so it may be read, 2 Chron. 25:27) the hearts of his subjects departed from him, and they began to form a design against him in Jerusalem. It is probable they were exasperated against him more for his rashly engaging in a war against Israel than for his worshipping the gods of Edom. But at length the ferment grew so high, and he perceived the plot to be laid so deeply, that he thought fit to quit his royal city and flee to Lachish, either as a private place where he might be hid or as a strong place where he might be guarded; but they sent after him thither, and slew him there. By this the putting of him to death seems to have been done deliberately, and to have been the act, not of a disgusted servant or two, but of a considerable body that durst avow it. How unrighteous soever they were herein, God was righteous.