(am uh zai' uh) HEBREW: AMASYAHU
"Yahweh is strong/mighty"

The eighth king of Judah, Amaziah ascended the throne in 800 B.C. upon the assassination of his father, Joash, who had paid a huge bribe to King Hazael of Syria in exchange for peace.

Amaziah's first political act was to find and execute his father's assassins, Jozacar and Jehozabad, servants who had joined a palace cabal of those who opposed alliances with nations that did not worship Yahweh. In strict adherence to Mosaic Law, however, Amaziah "did not put to death the children of the murderers" (2 Kg. 14:6).

The king's first military move was the recapture of Edom, bringing the land south and east of the Dead Sea back under Judean rule after a half century of independence. Flushed with victory, Amaziah challenged Israel's King Joash to battle. He responded by sending a messenger with a parable of warning: "A thistle on Lebanon sent to a cedar on Lebanon, saying 'Give your daughter to my son for a wife'; and a wild beast of Lebanon passed by and trampled down the thistle" (2 Kg. 14:9). The message from Joash concluded with an interpretation of the parable: Though emboldened by his victory over Edom, Amaziah should be content with his own kingdom. Heedless of the warning, Amaziah insisted on war. But the Judean armies were routed. Amaziah was taken captive, the walls of Jerusalem were breached, the temple was plundered, and hostages were taken back to Israel.

Joash returned Amaziah to his throne, but as a weakened and humiliated vassal. Amaziah continued to reign for 15 years, until a conspiracy against him forced him to escape to Lachish. He was safe for only a time before his pursuers killed him and returned his body to Jerusalem for burial alongside his forebears.

Amaziah was the father of Uzziah, who probably served as coregent during the last part of his father's 17-year reign.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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