Amaziah, the son and successor of Joash, is the king whom here we have an account of. Let us take a view of him,
I. In the temple; and there he acted, in some measure, well, like Joash, but not like David, 2 Kgs. 14:3. He began well, but did not persevere: He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, kept up his attendance on God’s altars and his attention to God’s word, yet not like David. It is not enough to do that which our pious predecessors did, merely to keep up the usage, but we must do it as they did it, from the same principle of faith and devotion and with the same sincerity and resolution. It is here taken notice of, as before, that the high places were not taken away, 2 Kgs. 14:4. It is hard to get clear of those corruptions which, by long usage, have gained both prescription and a favourable opinion.
II. On the bench; and there we have him doing justice on the traitors that murdered his father, not as soon as ever he came to the crown, lest it should occasion some disturbance, but he prudently deferred it till the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, 2 Kgs. 14:5. To weaken a factious party gradually, when it is not safe to provoke, often proves the way to ruin it effectually. Justice strikes surely by striking slowly, and is often executed most prudently when it is not executed presently. Wisdom here is profitable to direct. Amaziah did thus, 1. According to the rule of the law, that ancient rule, that he that sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed. Never let traitors or murderers expect to come to their graves like other men. Let them flee to the pit, and let no man stay them. 2. Under the limitation of the law: The children of the murderers he slew not, because the law of Moses had expressly provided that the children should not be put to death for the fathers, 2 Kgs. 14:6. It is probable that this is taken notice of because there were those about him that advised him to that rigour, both in revenge (because the crime was extraordinary—the murder of a king) and in policy, that the children might not plot against him, in revenge of their father’s death. But against these insinuations he opposed the express law of God (Deut. 24:16), which he was to judge by, and which he resolved to adhere to and trust God with the issue. God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, because every man is guilty before him and owes him a death; so that, if he require the life for the father’s sin, he does not wrong, the sinner having forfeited it already by his own. But he does not allow earthly princes to do thus: the children, before them, are innocent, and therefore must not suffer as guilty.
III. In the field; and there we find him triumphing over the Edomites, 2 Kgs. 14:7. Edom had revolted from under the hand of Judah in Joram’s time, 2 Kgs. 8:22. Now he makes war upon them to bring them back to their allegiance, kills 10,000 and takes the chief city of Arabia the stony (called Selah—a rock), and gave it a new name. We shall find a larger account of this expedition, 2 Chron. 25:5-13