“All the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old and made him king to succeed his father King Amaziah. He built Eloth and restored it to Judah, after the king slept with his ancestors. King Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign. He reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. He did what was right in the sight of Yahweh, just as his father King Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought Yahweh, God made him prosper.”
Once again, this biblical chronicler used 2 Kings, chapter 15 as his basic text. King Uzziah ruled for a long time. The text says 52 years but the title and most charts put it at 42 years. He may have been a regent king ruling with his father, since his father King Amaziah was so unpopular. Also there is a question about his name. Here he is referred to as King Uzziah, but in 2 Kings, he was named King Azariah. This is the problem with names that are so close except for a consonant or two. He was 16 when he came to rule. His mother’s name was Jecoliah who was from Jerusalem, like his grandmother. Thus their names were similar. He was a righteous king who followed Yahweh. The text mentions that he followed his father, Azariah, but we just saw that his father was unfaithful to Yahweh. Nevertheless, King Uzziah conquered Elath, which was near the Red Sea. As usual there was no reference to the kingdom of Israel as in 2 Kings. Also there was no mention of the fact that the high places of worship still existed.
“However, King Amaziah would not listen. This was God’s doing, in order to hand him over to his enemies, because they had sought the gods of Edom. So King Joash of Israel went up, as he and King Amaziah of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. Judah was defeated by Israel. Everyone fled home. King Joash king of Israel captured King Amaziah of Judah, son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh. He brought him to Jerusalem. He broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate, a distance of four hundred cubits. He seized all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of God, as well as Obed-edom with them. He seized also the treasuries of the king’s house and also hostages. He then returned to Samaria.”
Once again, this is based on 2 Kings, chapter 14, word for word except for a different opening twist. King Amaziah would not listen to anyone. Here, however, it is the work of God because he had worshipped false gods, which was not mentioned in 2 Kings. King Amaziah wanted to fight the king of Israel, King Joash. They met at the battlefield in Beth-shemesh, which was in Judah territory. King Joash and Israel prevailed. They defeated and captured King Amaziah and the people of Judah. Everyone fled to their own homes. King Joash proceeded to Jerusalem where he broke down the northern wall in a section that was 200 yards or 600 feet long (400 cubits), that left a gaping hole. He took the gold, silver, and other treasures from the house of the king, the palace, and from Yahweh’s house, the Temple. King Joash then took some hostages and went home to Samaria. This was a crushing defeat for King Amaziah, Jerusalem, and Judah. The north had conquered the south.
“Then King Amaziah of Judah took counsel and sent to King Joash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, of Israel, saying. ‘Come! Let us look one another in the face.’ King Joash of Israel sent word to King Amaziah of Judah. ‘A thorn bush on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying. ‘Give your daughter to my son for a wife.’ However, a wild animal of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thorn bush. You say. ‘See! I have defeated Edom.’ Your heart has lifted you up in boastfulness. But now stay at home! Why should you provoke trouble so that you fall, you and Judah with you?’”
This is similar to 2 Kings, chapter 14, almost word for word at times. King Amaziah of Judah wanted to see who was better between him and King Joash of Israel. He wanted to have them look in the face at each other. However, King Joash said that this would be like comparing a thorn bush to a Lebanon cedar tree. Wild animals would trample the thorn bust. He told King Amaziah to stay home and bask in the glory of his defeat of the Edomites. He told him not to provoke trouble between Israel and Judah. They were taunting each other. King Joash had been the name of King Amaziah’s father, but the two King Joashs were not related. One was in Judah and the other in Israel.
“King Amaziah took courage. He led out his people. He went to the Valley of Salt. He struck down ten thousand men of Seir. The people of Judah captured another ten thousand alive. He took them to the top of Sela. They threw them down from the top of so that all of them were dashed to pieces.”
The first verse is pretty much from 2 Kings, chapter 14. The second verse is an addition to the story. King Amaziah led an expedition to Edom, where he killed over 10,000 people as in 2 Kings. However, not only did they kill 10,000 Edomites, he then had another 10,000 thrown from the top of a rock at Sela so that they were smashed to pieces. Edom was southeast of Judah and had revolted against his great grandfather King Jehoram earlier. The Valley of the Salt is where King David also had defeated the Edomites.