Amaziah became king at the age of twenty-five, and he ruled in Jerusalem for twenty-nine years. His mother was Jehoaddin from Jerusalem.
He did what was pleasing to the Lord, but did it reluctantly.
As soon as he was firmly in power, he executed the officials who had murdered his father.
He did not, however, execute their children, but followed what the Lord had commanded in the Law of Moses: "Parents are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their children, and children are not to be put to death for crimes committed by their parents; people are to be put to death only for crimes they themselves have committed." 1
King Amaziah organized all the men of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin into army units, according to the clans they belonged to, and placed officers in command of units of a thousand and units of a hundred. This included all men twenty years of age or older, 300,000 in all. They were picked troops, ready for battle, skilled in using spears and shields.
In addition, he hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel at a cost of about four tons of silver.
But a prophet went to the king and said to him, "Don't take these Israelite soldiers with you. The Lord is not with these people from the Northern Kingdom.
You may think that they will make you stronger in battle, but it is God who has the power to give victory or defeat, and he will let your enemies defeat you."
Amaziah asked the prophet, "But what about all that silver I have already paid for them?" The prophet replied, "The Lord can give you back more than that!"
So Amaziah sent the hired troops away and told them to go home. At this they went home, bitterly angry with the people of Judah.
Amaziah summoned up his courage and led his army to Salt Valley. There they fought and killed ten thousand Edomite soldiers
and captured another ten thousand. They took the prisoners to the top of the cliff at the city of Sela and threw them off, so that they were killed on the rocks below.
Meanwhile the Israelite soldiers that Amaziah had not allowed to go into battle with him attacked the Judean cities between Samaria and Beth Horon, killed three thousand men, and captured quantities of loot.
When Amaziah returned from defeating the Edomites, he brought their idols back with him, set them up, worshiped them, and burned incense to them.
This made the Lord angry, so he sent a prophet to Amaziah. The prophet demanded, "Why have you worshiped foreign gods that could not even save their own people from your power?"
"Since when," Amaziah interrupted, "have we made you adviser to the king? Stop talking, or I'll have you killed!" The prophet stopped, but not before saying, "Now I know that God has decided to destroy you because you have done all this and have ignored my advice."
King Amaziah of Judah and his advisers plotted against Israel. He then sent a message to King Jehoash of Israel, who was the son of Jehoahaz and grandson of Jehu, challenging him to fight.
Jehoash sent this answer to Amaziah: "Once a thorn bush in the Lebanon Mountains sent a message to a cedar: "Give your daughter in marriage to my son.' A wild animal passed by and trampled the bush down.
Now Amaziah, you boast that you have defeated the Edomites, but I advise you to stay at home. Why stir up trouble that will only bring disaster on you and your people?"
But Amaziah refused to listen. It was God's will for Amaziah to be defeated, because he had worshiped the Edomite idols.
So King Jehoash of Israel went into battle against King Amaziah of Judah. They met at Beth Shemesh in Judah,
the Judean army was defeated, and the soldiers fled to their homes.
Jehoash captured Amaziah and took him to Jerusalem. There he tore down the city wall from Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of two hundred yards.
He took back to Samaria as loot all the gold and silver in the Temple, the Temple equipment guarded by the descendants of Obed Edom, and the palace treasures. He also took hostages with him.
King Amaziah of Judah outlived King Jehoash of Israel by fifteen years.
All the other things that Amaziah did from the beginning to the end of his reign are recorded in [The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel.]
Ever since the time when he rebelled against the Lord, there had been a plot against him in Jerusalem. Finally he fled to the city of Lachish, but his enemies followed him there and killed him.
His body was carried to Jerusalem on a horse, and he was buried in the royal tombs in David's City.