Verses 1-4 – Amaziah was the ninth king of Judah and only followed God halfheartedly. He was not able to resist the lure of idolatry or the temptation to go to war unnecessarily. He executed the servants who had killed his father, but not the entire family. (Deuteronomy 24:16 says, … a person shall be put to death for his own sin.)
Verses 5, 6 – The army that Amaziah put together was the smallest division in the kingdom. Even Abijah was able to muster up 400,000 men, while Jehoshaphat’s army numbered over one million. Amaziah could only get 300,000 soldiers. He felt that was not enough, so he hired 100,000 men from the northern kingdom of Israel.
Verses 7-10 – Amaziah thinks he is ready now, to go to battle until a prophet of God shows up. This prophet told Amaziah to send the soldiers back to Israel and let them keep the money. Money should never be the deciding factor when choosing to do what’s right. God’s favor and approval is always more valuable than riches.
Verse 14 – After the victory, pagan idols were set up and worshiped. We are very susceptible to temptation and sin after a victory. It is then that we feel confident about our success. In the excitement, don’t let your defenses down. After you’ve reached the mountain, remember, next comes the valley.
Verse 15 – How foolish Amaziah was to worship the idols of the ones he had just defeated. If they couldn’t save his enemies, how were they going to save him? He took the credit and honor that should have went to God and gave it to “things.” We can make the same mistake when we run after money, power, and recognition. We have to recognize these are empty pursuits.
Verse 18 – In this parable, Judah is the thistle and Israel’s army is the cedar. Ahaziah was proud after defeating Edom and wanted to defeat Israel also. Jehoash warned him not to attack. Pride comes before destruction! And so it did.