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2 Chronicles 25

6He also hired a hundred thousand fighting men from Israel for a hundred talents b of silver.

7But a man of God came to him and said, “Your Majesty, these troops from Israel must not march with you, for the Lord is not with Israel—not with any of the people of Ephraim. 8Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.”

9Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about the hundred talents I paid for these Israelite troops?”

The man of God replied, “The Lord can give you much more than that.”

10So Amaziah dismissed the troops who had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home. They were furious with Judah and left for home in a great rage.

Why do the troops from Ephraim angry for getting pay for doing nothing?

3 Answers 3

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The logic is simple; here are the facts from 2 Chron 25:

  • v6 - 100,000 men hired from Israel
  • Amaziah paid (to the leaders of Ephraim) 100 talents of silver for the soldiers
  • If this money had been paid to the soldiers, it could have been 1/1000th of a talent of sliver each - not much money!
  • Actually, the money would have been paid to the leaders only.

The nub of this problem is that ancient soldiers were paid very little to nothing to (perversely in our eyes) make them more fierce - the main pay of soldiers came from the spoils/plunder that they could gather after a successful battle.

That is, the soldiers were very disappointed at being denied anything by way of plunder.

3
  • +1 good answer.
    – user35953
    May 19, 2021 at 22:18
  • I'd like to copy your answer here over to my subreddit :)
    – user35953
    Feb 23, 2023 at 21:31
  • @TonyChan - you are, again, very welcome.
    – Dottard
    Feb 23, 2023 at 21:38
1

2 Chronicles 25:

10 So Amaziah dismissed the troops who had come to him from Ephraim and sent them home. They were furious with Judah and left for home in a great rage.

They were not just angry; they were furious, so much so that:

13 Meanwhile the troops that Amaziah had dismissed from battle raided the cities of Judah, from Samaria to Beth-horon. They struck down 3,000 people and carried off a great deal of plunder.

Amaziah paid them a hundred talents of silver (verse 6), canceled the deal without asking for the money back. But these troops were already hyped up with their adrenaline. In those days, the hired soldiers expected to get paid additionally in plunder. So they attacked Amaziah cities. In their minds, Amaziah didn't pay them enough.

Ellicott

Obviously the dismissed force would be incensed at treatment which seemed to indicate distrust of their honour, and robbed them of the possible fruits of victory. On their way home they revenged themselves by plundering and slaughtering in the cities of Judah

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In support of the answer that the soldiers were disappointed by the lost opportunity for plunder, I can cite two episodes in Judges when Ephraim resented their exclusion, probably for the same reason;

"What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight with Midian? And they upbraided him violently" (Judges ch8 v1 RSV) Gideon's answer is that they got much more spoil in their campaigns elsewhere at the same time; "God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb" (v2)

"The men of Ephraim were called to arms and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah 'Why did you cross over to fight the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire" (Judges ch12 v1) He managed to defeat them, which led into the "shibboleth" episode.

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