2 Kings 14:3, 7—Why is Amaziah commended for abhorring Edomites when God said not to do so?

Problem: The record says that Amaziah did “what was right in the sight of the Lord” (v. 3) and that “he killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt” (v. 7). This is in spite of the fact that the law commanded, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother” (Deut. 23:7).

Solution: It should be observed in response to this objection, first of all, that although Amaziah’s life was commended in general, the passage does not explicitly approve of this particular action. In fact, even his general commendation is not without stated reservation by God (cf. v. 3).

Second, the text does not state that he killed Edomites because he “abhorred” them. It may have been an act of just retaliation. His other act of vengeance was in accord with the Law of Moses, inasmuch as he did not kill the children for their father’s sins (cf. v. 6).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.