II Chronicles 16
The contents of this chapter fall easily into three parts:
1. Asa’s conflict with Baasha (vs. 1-6; parallel, I Kings 15:16-22);
2. Hanani’s rebuke of Asa, and Asa’s ill reception of it (vs. 7-10);
3. Disease, death, and burial of Asa (vs. 11-14; parallel, I Kings 15:23-24).
1 "In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of
Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he
might let none go out
or come in to Asa king of
For the six and thirtieth year, read six and twentieth. Ramah
belonged to Benjamin (Joshua 18:21, 25, 28), and lay between
Bertheau, by some error, call it thirty miles from Jerusalem, having very
likely in their eye Ramah of Samuel, in Ephraim. The word signifies
“lofty,” and the present history speaks the importance of its position, and
would infer also that
places, Abijah had wrested from Jeroboam (ch.13:19). The reference of
Isaiah 10:28-29, 32 is exceedingly interesting, and bespeaks the fact that
Ramah commanded another intersecting route from Ephraim. When it is
said here that Baasha built (וַיִּבֶן) Ramah, the meaning is that he was
beginning to strengthen it greatly, and fortify it. The object of Baasha,
which no doubt needed no stating in the facts of the day, is now
stated by history.
2 "Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the
house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad
omits the pedigree of this Benhadad King of Syria, given in the parallel
“the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion.” Benhidri is the name of Benhadad
in the Assyrian monuments. The Septuagint gives Ader, which tallies with it,
For Damascus, we have here Dar-mesek, instead of the more usual Dammesek
of the parallel and Genesis 15:2; the resh representing (as in Syriac) the dagesh
forte in mem. The parallel (I Kings 15:18) says that Asa took all the silver and
the gold left in the treasures, etc.; but the reading “left” should very possibly
(see Septuagint Version) be “found,” the Hebrew characters easily permitting it.
3 "There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father
and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy
league with Baasha king of
The alliance of the King of Syria was sought now by one
kingdom, now by the other. On what occasion Abijah made league with the
king, the history does not say, either here or in the parallel, nor when he or
his son resigned it. For there is, read “Let there be a league between me
and thee, as between my father and thy father;” the short cut which Asa
thought to take now to his object was not the safe nor right one.
4 "And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of
his armies against
the cities of
Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali."
Benhadad was apparently not very long in making up either his
mind or his method. The bribe that tempted him, drawn from “the
treasures” described, well replenished (ch. 15:18; and parallel, I Kings 15:15),
was probably large. His method was to create a diversion in favor of his new
ally, by “smiting” certain picked
and highly important cities of
of Naphtalli.” Ijon. In Naphtali, mentioned only now, in the parallel, and
when a second time taken (II Kings 15:29) by Tiglath-Pileser. Dan. The
colonizing of this city is given in Judges 18:1-2, 29-31; it was originally
called Laish, and became the northern landmark of the whole country,
in the expression, “from Dan even to
Abel-maim. This place was situate at the foot of the Lebanon; in the parallel
(I Kings 15:20) it is called Abel-beth-maachah. It is again mentioned as
attacked by Tiglath-Pileser, who wrested it from Pekah (II Kings 15:29).
In II Samuel 20:18, 14, 15 it is called Abel by itself, but in the last two of
these verses Beth-maachah is mentioned in close connection with it. After this
name the parallel gives also “all Cinneroth” (Septuagint, “all the land of
Cinnereth”). The name is the original of the New Testament Gennesaret.
It was a city (Joshua 19:35) that gave its name to the sea and western region
of the lake, sometimes called so (Numbers 34:11; Joshua 11:2; 12:3). If
there were a little more external evidence of it, we should incline to the
opinion of Movers, that the “all Cinneroth” of the parallel is the
כָּל־מִּסְכְּנות (‘‘all the store-cities”) of our present verse. But at present
we may take it that the two records supplement one another. All the
store-cities of Naphtali (see ch. 32:28; 8:6 and its parallel, I Kings 9:19).
5 "And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building
of Ramah, and let his work cease." And let his work cease. The parallel has
not this, but follows the exact previous sentence with this, “and dwelt in Tirzah.”
It is the happy suggestion of one commentator (Professor James G. Murphy,
‘Handbook: Chronicles’) that this sentence may betray that it had been Baasha’s
intention to reside in Ramah.
6 "Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones
of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building;
and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah." The affair seems thus to have
come to an unbloody termination. The parallel (I Kings 15:22)is so much
the more graphic that it contains the two additions that Asa “made a
proclamation throughout all
from joining in the duty of moving all the stones and all the timber from
Ramah, and diverting’ them to the use of building Geba and Mizpah. This
greatly contributed to command the road from the north to
Geba. This was Geba of Benjamin, as clearly stated in the parallel. It was
a position north of Ramah, whether opposite Michmash and the modern
Jeba is not certain, as some think this answers to Gibeah of Saul
(I Samuel 14:2, 5). Mizpah (see Jeremiah 41:2-3, 9-10). This Mizpah
is not that of the Shefelah (Joshua 15:38), but was situate about two hours,
a short six miles, north-west of
probably the modern Neby Samwil (see also II Kings 25:22-26; Jeremiah
40:5 to 41:18).
Preferable Things (vs. 1-6)
This cannot be counted among the estimable acts of Asa; we could wish
that he had adopted other means for repelling the attack of Baasha —
means more worthy of himself as a servant of Jehovah. The abstraction of
the gold and silver from the treasury of the house of the Lord may speak to
us of the preferableness of:
temple no doubt rejoiced when Asa “brought into the house of God the
things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated,
silver, and gold, and vessels” (ch. 15:18). But it was not many
years before they endured the mortification of seeing these valuable things
carried out again to enrich the foreigner — possibly to be taken to one of
his temples. No great
acquisition was this. The temple at
more truly blessed by the genuine prayers and praises and sacrifices offered
within its precincts, albeit there was nothing left of them that the eye of
man could see or his hand could finger. And what are our best, our real
possessions? Not the gold and silver, the vessels and the jewels of which
the thief may rob us, or some revolution in the market may deprive us; they
are the knowledge, the wisdom, the purer tastes and appreciations, the
higher and more ennobling affections — the treasures of the spirit, which
“no thief can break through and steal” (Matthew 6:19), which are not
dependent upon the chances of commerce, or the conflicts of armies, or
the passage of time.
the temple at
“brought out.” Of comparatively little service to our friends and neighbors
is the temporary service we render them — the money which we require
again soon, the favor which is to be “returned,” the “friendship” which the
first small misunderstanding will disturb and perhaps dissolve. But there are
services which, once rendered, cannot be recalled, cannot be “brought out”
of the treasury, under any change of mood or circumstance:
Ø knowledge, and the power which it imparts for all the after-duty and
struggle of life;
Ø counsel, which guided the feet through some labyrinth of difficulty
and led them into “a large room;”
Ø comfort, which sustained the spirit in darkest and most dangerous hours,
delivering from despair, restoring to equanimity and hope;
Ø influence, gently and graciously constraining the soul to enter “the
kingdom which cannot be moved” (Hebrews 12:28)
within whose blessed boundaries are found present peace and immortal joy.
Live to do good which cannot be undone; to impart that which no mortal
hand can take back again (Matthew 6:20); to confer that gift which is secure
It is true that Asa achieved a certain triumph; his plan succeeded —
for the time. He bought Benhadad’s help with this consecrated treasure, and
obliged Baasha to retire, leaving some spoil behind him (vs. 4-6). But might
he not have succeeded in another way and by worthier means. If he had
committed his cause, his country’s security, to the strength and faithfulness
of his God, would he not have prevailed at least as well as he did by taking
consecrated wealth out of the
delivered the vast hordes of the Ethiopians into his hands (ch.14:12) have
saved him from the designs of Baasha? (see vs. 7-8). And would he not
have prospered in that way, without having this act of violation on his
conscience, without having this blot upon his record? A fearless faith in God
is better than recourse to a doubtful expediency. The latter very often fails to
accomplish the purpose in hand; and it always does some injury to the
character, lowering the standard of behaviour, and leaving some blemish
on the life. Take the higher road in the journey of life — the way of perfect
uprightness, of simple, childlike trust in God. That is the path which leads
to true success; even if there should be present apparent defeat, it is sure to
conduct to a glorious victory in the end.
King’s Asa’s Mistake (vs. 1-6)
Asa” (v. 1).
Ø An obvious error. Baasha
ascended the throne of
year (I Kings 15:33), and died in his twenty-sixth (ibid. ch. 16:8).
Yet it follows not that this blunder was in the original text. Most likely it
crept in through transcription. The existence of such mistakes is not fatal to
the claim of Scripture to be regarded as inspired.
Ø A probable solution. Different explanations have been given.
o The thirty-six years of v. 1 should be reckoned from the separation of
the kingdoms (Usher, Jamieson); but against this stands the fact that the
thirty-six years are stated to have belonged to the reign of Asa, while
assertion that no war occurred in
commencement as a separate kingdom is incorrect (ch.13:2).
o In ch.15:19, instead of “thirty-five” should be read “five,”
and in ch. 16:1, instead of “thirty-six” should be inserted “six”
(Vaihinger in Herzog, Thenius, Bahr). Thus the war with Zerah
would be later than the attack of Baasha, though reported before it;
and the connection of the verses would be, “There was no war unto
the fifth year of the reign of Asa; but in the sixth year Baasha came
up.” This shatters itself upon the two facts that Asa’s reign began with
ten years of quiet (ch. 14:1), and that Zerah’s invasion must have been
before Baasha’s attack (ch. 16:8). To be sure, as numbers are being
altered generally, the “ten” of ch. 14:1 might be changed into
“five;” but Hanani, in ch. 16:8, could hardly speak of the
Ethiopian invasion as an historical fact if it had not then taken place.
o The six and thirtieth year should be the five and twentieth (Adam
Clarke). In favor of this may be urged that it is a fair guess.
o The text should be “in the sixteenth year of the reign of Asa”
(Bertheau, Keil, Ewald, Kleinert in Riehm). The chronology
of Asa’s reign would thus run:
§ Ten years of quiet (ch. 14:1), in the third of which Baasha
the supreme authority in
§ the invasion of Zerah (ch.14:9) between the tenth
and fifteenth years, probably in the fourteenth;
§ the national covenant in the fifteenth year (ch.15:10);
§ in the sixteenth the threatening advance of Baasha (ch. 16:1).
year of Asa (ch. 15:19) may be harmonized with that in I Kings
15:16, 32, that “there was war between Asa and Baasha King of
Israel all their days,” by assuming that there was latent hostility
between the two kingdoms from the first, but no outbreak of war
until Asa’s thirty-fifth year (Keil) — the attack here recorded not
having culminated in any collision between the two powers on the
field of battle, the work of causing Baasha to withdraw having been
entrusted to Benhadad.
Ø The history of Baasha. The son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar —
not of Ahijah the prophet, who was an Ephraimite of Shiloh (I Kings
11:29) — Baasha appears to have been originally a person of obscure
station, though he afterwards rose to be a captain in the army of Nadab,
Jeroboam’s son, as Zimri subsequently was in that of Elah, Baasha’s son
(ibid. ch. 16:9). During the siege of Gibbethon he conspired against his
master, smote him and usurped his throne. Not content with this, he put
the whole house of Jeroboam to the sword — an act of cruelty which
rebounded on himself and his house (ibid. v.12). In the twelfth year of his
formed the plan here narrated for inflicting a blow upon
Ø The character of Baasha. More than likely a soldier of distinguished
bravery (I Kings 16:5), he was little other than a monster of cruelty
(ibid. ch. 15:29) — two qualities not often allied. The true hero is
seldom cruel; the cruel man is seldom brave. A faithful follower of
Jeroboam in the matter of religion, he was an ardent idolater and a
persistent corrupter of the people (ibid. ch. 16:2).
Ø The project of Baasha. To fortify Ramah, the modern Er-Ram, in
Benjamin (Joshua 18:25), about five miles north of
which properly belonged to
(Bahr, Bertheau) — but which Abijah had taken from Jeroboam
(ch. 13:19), Baasha had not previously conquered (Ewald), but at that
time seized. His object probably was:
o to cut off all traffic between the kingdoms — in fact, blockade
capitulate (Ewald, Bahr);
prevent alliance between
obtain a footing within the
future operations (Josephus).
Ø Not repairing to Jehovah for assistance against Baasha, as he had
formerly done against Zerah (ch. 14:11). Perhaps he deemed
Baasha a more manageable opponent than the Ethiopian leader had been
— an adversary that might be coped with successfully by his own craft,
without calling in the battalions of Jehovah. Or, his preceding prosperity
may have been his ruin, and this may have been the turning-point on that
downward path of spiritual degeneracy which he pursued until he died.
On any supposition it was an act of unbelief, and as such a sin; and,
considering the success of his former application to Jehovah, an act of
folly, and therefore a blunder as well as a sin. This he afterwards learned
from Hanani (v. 9).
Ø Seeking a league with Benhadad of
son of Ader (Septuagint) — in the Assyrian inscriptions Bin-hidri, the son of
the supreme divinity of
p. 200) — was the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, the King of Syria
Assyrian Dimaski and Dimmaska, in Arabic Dimesch-eseh-Schdm, or
shortly, esch-Scham — had been a town in the days of Abraham
(Genesis 14:15; 15:2), and is still one of the few towns of antiquity that
have never lost their primitive splendor and renown. (If I am not mistaken,
CY – 2016). It has been styled:
o “the pearl of the Orient,
plumage of the
o the colored collar of the ring-dove,
o the necklace of beauty,
o the door of Caaba,
o the eye of the East,
with other such hyperbolical expressions (Riehm’s ‘Handworter-buch,’ art.
who hoped with his assistance to subdue the southern kingdom. He was thus
(I Kings 11:25); and Asa might have reasoned, that not much help of a
genuine kind could be obtained from him, least of all by such a stratagem
as that adopted.
Ø Resorting to bribery in order to gain his end. Those who use
dishonorable methods to procure any advantage generally overestimate
the advantage they are willing in this way to buy; and, as a consequence,
discover in the long run they have been miserably duped. Even had Asa not
been at fault in the value he put upon Benhadad’s alliance, the means he
took to gain it were bad. The argument addressed to Baasha should never
have been employed by Asa. The league of Abijah with Tabrimon should
never have existed to lend countenance to the proposed league between
Asa and Benhadad. But bad actions once done are easily repeated by the
doers of them, and imitated by the children of those doers; while children
find less difficulty in copying the evil than in following the good examples
of their parents. Then Asa, while justified in attempting to dissolve the
league between Benhadad and Baasha, should not have resorted to bribery.
“A gift destroyeth the heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:7) of him that gives as of
him that receives it. Far less for such an unhallowed purpose should he
have robbed the temple, even if it had been permissible to raid the
palace. But not even “the treasures of the palace” should have been
employed in dishonorable schemes (the secret-service money of modern
governments falls under this condemnation); and much less “the treasures
of the Lord’s house.” Upon the gold and silver of both Church and state
should be inscribed, “Holiness unto the Lord,”
often appear to prosper for a season (Psalm 37:1; 92:7). Three things
resulted from Asa’s statecraft.
Ø Benhadad accepted the bribe. (v. 4.) The golden and silvern keys of
mammon can unlock the doors of most hearts. Great grace is needed to
resist the power of money. “Wealth maketh many friends,” and “every man
is a friend to him that giveth gifts” (Proverbs 19:4, 6). Sometimes
others besides wicked persons are guilty of “taking gifts out of their
bosom” (Proverbs 17:23). Asa’s present was too much for Benhadad’s
virtue. The King of Syria deserted his ally, the King of Israel for the King
highest bidder. Nor did he merely not assist Baasha, maintaining as it were
an attitude of armed neutrality between the hostile powers, but he
treacherously “sent the captains of his armies against the cities of
and they smote Ijon and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of
Naphtali” (see Exposition). Bad as Baasha was, and infamous as was his
project, the character and conduct of Benhadad were equally reprehensible
and offensive. But it is no part of wicked men’s creed that they should
change not when they swear to their own hurt (Psalm 14:4), or that
they should keep faith with one another longer than appears for their
advantage so to do. Modern kings and statesmen are sometimes charged
with acting on similar lines in the making and the breaking of treaties. If the
charge is true, it is not to their credit, and must ultimately turn to their
Ø Baasha desisted from his fortifications. He left off building Ramah, and
allowed his work to cease (v. 5). Had Baasha been engaged upon a good
work, upon God’s work, the falling away of Benhadad would have
mattered nothing; but being a wicked man himself, and occupied with a
wicked enterprise, when the prop which supported him fell, he also was
precipitated to the ground. When creature-arms fail the saints, the saints
lean the heavier on the Almighty Arm; when wicked men are deprived of
that in which they trust, they have nothing else to trust to.
Ø Asa despoiled Bamah, and turned its stones and timber to his own use.
He built therewith Geba and Mizpah (v. 6); i.e. he fortified them. Both
were in Benjamin, the former two miles and a half north of Ramah, on the
road to Michmash; the latter, thirteen miles and a half from Ramah, on the
employed in the defense, of
the arguments and learning of heretics and unbelievers to establish the truth
which these seek to overthrow (Bossuet). Again. whereas Baasha intended
Asa (v. 6). Mischief-makers often find their mischief return upon their
own heads, and violent dealers see their violence descend upon their own
pates (Psalm 7:15-16; Proverbs 26:27; Matthew 7:2).
Ø The lust of acquiring the true parent of war (James 4:1-2).
Ø The wickedness of bribery (Proverbs 17:23)
Ø The certainty of retribution (Numbers 32:23; Galatians 6:7).
Ø The baseness of treachery (Proverbs 25:19; 27:6; Obadiah 1:7).
7 "And at that time Hanani the
seer came to Asa king of
said unto him,
Because thou hast relied on the king of
not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king
Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because
thou didst rely on the LORD, He delivered them into thine hand."
The very impressive episode of four verses begun by the
seventh verse is not found in the parallel. The fact furnishes clear indication
that our compiler was not indebted to the writer of Kings for material. And
the moral aspects of the matter here preserved by the compiler of
Chronicles show the paramount reasons why he would not miss bringing it
to the front for the returned people’s better religious education.
Presumably Hanani the seer is the father of that other faithful seer and
prophet Jehu, who appeared to Baasha (I Kings 16:1, 7) and to
Jehoshaphat (here, ch. 19:1-2). Therefore is the host of the King
this expression (remarkable considering its following close upon successful
help given by Benhadad, and help unaccompanied, so far as we are told, by
any infidelity or untoward circumstance), suggests option of explanation,
and would engender the supposition that something very threatening was
on the horizon, at any rate. But reading between the lines, and giving due
weight to the significance of the illustration adduced of the combined
Ethiopians and Lubim (ch. 14:9-15), we may warrantably judge that Hanani’s
inspired language went a cut deeper, and meant that if the alliance had been not
broken between Benhadad and Baasha, both would surely have been taken in one
net (Psalm 124:7), as they would have entered into the conflict in alliance. A
decisive victory over the King of Syria would have been any way a grand day
the history of
northern schismatic kingdom would have been more than a doubly grand day;
it would have been a tenfold demonstration of God’s judgment, that “though
hand join in hand, yet shall not the wicked go unpunished” (Proverbs 11:21,
see particularly same Hebrew verb used of a bird escaped in Psalm 124:7).
9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole
earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is
perfect toward Him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore
from henceforth thou shalt have wars." Thou shalt have wars. Although this
language at first seems to be intended for very specific application to Asa, yet as
we do not read of individual wars occurring after this in his own time, it is quite
within a just interpretation of it if we read it as referring to the inevitable
experience of the kingdom. Its head and king had just thrown away the
opportunity of blocking out one ever-threatening enemy. What more natural
consequence than that wars should rush in the rather as a flood, in the after-times?
Divine Observation and Interposition (v. 9)
Hanani the seer was evidently a man who was not only bold and brave
enough to confront the king with a rebuke, but he was one who had a keen
sense of the near presence and power of the Lord “before whom he stood.”
We may very well believe that it was the latter which explained the former.
Let us heed his doctrine while we admire his fidelity.
vigorous words (of the text) indicate the prophet’s belief that God was
observing men everywhere, was actively observing them “run to and fro,”
and was drawing distinctions between the life of one man and another.
God’s particular and individual observation has been, not unnaturally,
objected to on the ground of our human littleness. How can we expect,
how can we believe, that the Eternal One would concern himself with the
doings or negligences of creatures so remote, so unimportant, so
infinitesimally minute as we are? Surely, it is said, such consideration is
beneath Him. But there are two thoughts which meet this objection and
correct this conclusion.
Ø The infinitude of God. For that includes the infinitely small as well as the
infinitely great; it is a distinct denial of this attribute of God, for it is a
limitation of His infinity, to maintain that there is one direction to which His
power and action do not extend. The infinitude of God positively requires
us to believe that He is observant of the hearts and lives of individual men.
Ø The fatherhood of God. Granted that our human spirits are nearly allied
to Him, share His own likeness, stand in conscious relation to Him; are
capable of loving, serving, following Him; can live on earth the life He lives
in heaven, are this and do this in such sense and degree that we can be
rightly called and considered His sons and daughters, — and there is no
more objection to be taken. Shall not the Divine Father of His human family
take particular notice of each one of His children? What fatherhood is that
which considers his own child to be unworthy of his notice?
Ø He divides all men into two classes — the evil and the good (see
Proverbs 15:3); between those “who fear him and those who fear him
not;” between those “who are righteous” and those who “do evil” (see
Ø He divides the good into two classes — the imperfectly and the perfectly
devoted. There are those who seek not the Lord “with their whole heart,”
and those who do thus seek Him; those whose “heart is not perfect,” and
those whose “heart is perfect” toward Him. This distinction is not absolute.
The less devoted of the servants of God have their better hours and their
nobler impulses; while the more devoted have their lapses and their
blemishes. Asa “did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord”
(ch. 14:2); he and his people “sought the Lord… with all their
heart and with all their soul” (ibid. ch. 15:12); yet here we find him
lacking confidence in God, and “going down” to
taking this into account, it remains true that God distinguishes clearly
between those of His servants who are but faint-hearted and feeble in His
service, and those who give themselves to Him “with their whole desire.”
Let there be so thorough and so complete a dedication of ourselves, of our
powers and of our resources and of our time, to the Person and the cause
of our Divine Saviour, that we shall be counted by Him among those
“whose heart is perfect toward Him.” We may attain to this, although we
may have much still to learn and to acquire as His disciples (see
have interposed on behalf of Asa, would have “shown Himself strong” in
his behalf. He would, said Hanani, have given him a far greater success
than that which he attained by his gifts and negotiations with Benhadad
(v. 7). God always succors His faithful ones.
Ø He may deliver them from their distress; as he had delivered Asa already,
and did afterwards deliver Hezekiah. He may give us the victory over our
enemies from without — over bodily ill, over opposing circumstances; He
may cause us to triumph as “men count” triumph.
Ø Or He may grant us deliverance in our distress; He may grant us such
spiritual elevation that we shall “glory in our infirmity,” shall “rejoice that
we are counted worthy to suffer,” shall bear the noble testimony of perfect
contentment with the inferior position (John 3:29); and thus (literally)
“show Himself strong in those whose heart is devoted to Him’ (Keil’s
The Eyes of the Lord (v. 9)
fro throughout the whole earth.” The words teach the doctrines of:
Ø The Divine omniscience; since “the eyes of the Lord” not only see to the
ends of the earth, and “run to and fro throughout the earth,” but are in
every place at the same time.
Ø The Divine vigilance; since God not merely knows all that transpires on
the earth and beneath the heavens, but, as it were, lies in wait to discover
opportunities for interposing on His people’s behalf. Contrast with this
exalted doctrine the teaching of the ‘Odyssey’ (17. 485): “The gods, in the
likeness of strangers from far countries, put on all manner of shapes, and
wander through the cities, beholding the violence and the righteousness of
of them whose hearts are perfect towards Him.” The object of the Divine
interposition is not so much to punish and destroy the wicked, although
that is indirectly implied, as it is to rescue and succor His people.
Ø In times of danger; like that of:
o Asa on the field of Zephathah (ch.14:12),
(II Kings 19:35),
o David when pursued by Saul (Psalm 18:17),
Ø In seasons of affliction; such as befell:
o Job in Uz (Job chapters 1, 2, 3, 42),
Hebrew children in
Ø In moments of trial; which oftentimes come upon His people as they
o Abraham (Genesis 22:1-12),
o Joseph (Genesis 38:20),
o David (I Samuel 26:9),
o Job (Job 2:9),
and in which God’s people could hardly hope to stand without
whom this Divine succor is promised?
Ø This means not we are sinless! Noah was “perfect” Genesis 6:9),
and yet “he drank of the wine, and was drunken” (ibid. ch. 9:21); Job
was “perfect” (Job 1:1), and yet God charged him with offences which
caused Job to say, “Behold, I am vile” (ibid. ch. 40:4); David’s heart was
“perfect” (I Kings 11:4), yet David was guilty of grievous sins (II Samuel
11:4); Asa’s heart also was “perfect’ (ch. 15:17), and yet Asa went astray
in the war with Baasha (v. 2). In the New Testament the Corinthians are
designated “perfect” (I Corinthians 2:6), and yet some of them were so far
from sinlessness that they committed very gross offences against morality
(ibid. ch. 5:1; 6:1).
Ø This means we are sincere in our profession of religion! Where
sincerity is wanting, religion is impossible. Nothing is more reprehensible
in itself, or more offensive to both God and man, than hypocrisy —
pretending to be a servant of God when one is really a slave of Satan; to be
a lover of righteousness when one is secretly a doer of unrighteousness.
Scripture in both its parts pronounces woe against hypocrites (Job
8:13; 15:34; Matthew 23:13; Luke 11:44).
10 "Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house;
for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some
of the people the same time." A prison-house; literally, Hebrew, the house of
the מַהְפֶכֶת; i.e. “of the twisting or distortion;” i.e. “the stocks.” The word
occurs three other times only, all of them in Jeremiah viz. 20:2-3; 29:26.
(For a forcible parallel, see I Kings 22:27.) And Asa oppressed some of the
people the same time. This may throw some explanatory, though no exculpatory,
light on Asa’s wrath and violence towards Hanani; for it probably marks
that either some goodly portion of the wiser of the people had anticipated
of their own common sense the matter of the message of Hanani the seer,
or that they had not failed to follow it with some keenly sympathetic remarks
For our Authorized Version, “oppressed,” read a stronger verb, as “crushed.”
The King and the Prophet (vs. 7-10)
Ø The prophet’s name. Hanani, “Favourable” (Gesenius); otherwise
unknown, though conjectured to be the father of “Jehu the son of Hanani,”
who announced to Baasha the ruin of his house (I Kings 16:1), and
afterwards appeared at the court of Jehoshaphat (here, ch. 19:2),
having probably been obliged to flee from the northern kingdom on
account of his ill-omened communication.
o This was the second time God had sent a prophet to Asa. God usually
gives to men “line upon line, and precept upon precept” (Isaiah 28:10).
o This was a second prophet God had sent to Asa. God has no lack of
messengers to run upon His errands. When a word wants speaking to
the Church or to the state, He can always find the man to speak it
o The message God sent by Hanani was different from that sent by
Azariah. That was a word of counsel; this, of rebuke. God always suits
His communications to the needs of His hearers. All Scripture
inspired by God “is profitable.......for reproof, for correction,” etc.
(II Timothy 3:16).
o Those who serve God faithfully as His messengers are sure to find
ample remuneration. Because of this mission well executed, Hanani
has obtained a posthumous renown, which will carry his name
throughout the world and to the end of time (compare Mark 14:9).
Ø The prophet’s sermon.
o A great opportunity lost, with the reason of it. The Syrians might have
been crushed, whereas they had escaped, because, instead of relying on
Jehovah, he, Asa, had relied upon Benhadad (v. 7). Compare Elisha’s
language to Joash of Israel (II Kings 13:19). Nothing commoner than
for men to be blind to their own best interests; to be neglectful of the
call in the aid of enemies rather than of friends — of their worst enemy,
the devil, rather than of their best friend, Jehovah — when they find
themselves placed in some critical situation.
o A great victory recalled, with the secret of it. The mighty host of the
Ethiopians and the Libyans had been defeated; their horsemen and chariots
their own prowess or by his generalship, but because, in answer to prayer,
Jehovah had entered the field upon his side (v. 8). It is strange how
easily and quickly men forget Divine interpositions on their behalf, and
how readily, almost how naturally, they put these to their own credit
rather than to God’s. “Time hath, my lord, a wallet on his back”
(Shakespeare, ‘Troilus and Cressida,’ act 3. sc. 3). No example better
to be followed by a Christian than that of David (Psalm 103:2). A good
memory would often save a Christian from foolish blunders.
o A great doctrine stated, with the lesson of it. Asa should have known
that the eyes of the Lord were ever running to and fro throughout the
earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts were
perfect before Him, and that all he had to do was to see that his heart
was perfect before God, and to show the same by trusting in Him
(v. 9). See homily following this one on “The eyes of the Lord.”
o A great sin committed, with the disastrous result of it. In turning his
back upon Jehovah and repairing to Benhadad, Asa, had acted foolishly
(v. 9). He had not only blundered, perpetrated an error in judgment, but
done what was inherently wicked; and, as a consequence both of his
blunder and of his sin, he “would have wars” — which he had in the
continued hostility of the northern kingdom. Observe the double aspect
of sin, as an act of folly and a deed of wickedness, and the double
aspect of retribution, as at once the natural outcome or result of
human folly and the positive infliction of a judicial sentence.
Ø He was angry with the prophet. Good men as well as bad may fall into
danger, but in both it is sin. If Asa’s “heart was perfect all his days,” it is
clear his life was not. He was “wroth with the seer.” Anger is a work of
the flesh (Galatians 5:20), the passion of a foolish heart (Ecclesiastes
7:9), and the foam of an unbridled tongue (Proverbs 25:28; Hosea 7:16).
Outrageous in any (Proverbs 27:4), it is unbecoming in all, but
especially in kings, and not allowable in Christians (Colossians 3:8).
Asa was angry with Hanani because Hanani told him of his fault. Even
good men require large grace before they can say, “Let the righteous
smite me,” etc. (Psalm 141:5). Yet the rebukes of the righteous should be
received submissively (Leviticus 19:17) and with grateful affection
(Proverbs 9:8). He who so welcomes them shall:
o be honored (ibid. ch. 13:18);
o get understanding (ibid. ch. 15:32);
o exhibit prudence (ibid. v. 5); and
o abide among the wise (ibid. v. 31).
Ø He put the prophet in a prison-house; literally, “in a house of stocks,”
the “stock” being “an instrument of torture, by which the body was forced
into an unnatural, twisted position, the victim, perhaps, being bent double,
with the hands and feet fastened together” (Keil). Into some such place of
confinement Jeremiah was thrust Jeremiah 20:2; compare 29:26), and Paul
and Silas (Acts 16:24). “The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion”
(Proverbs 19:12). If, in Hanani’s case, it did not turn out “messengers
of death” (ibid. ch. 16:14), it was because Asa was at bottom a good
man, whose hand as well as heart were in the keeping of the Lord
Ø He oppressed those who took the prophet’s side. These were, doubtless,
the pious section of the people who had not approved of the Syrian
alliance. It is seldom that a wicked policy can be entered on by kings or
parliaments (at least in a Christian land) without some voice or voices
being raised against it. Unhappily, these have often to share obloquy and
oppression, as Hanani’s supporters did. Yet nothing is more calamitous for
a country than to see the best people in it persecuted by its rulers for
protesting against their crooked ways. When a policy cannot be defended
or carried through without imprisoning those who are opposed to it, that
policy is wrong!
Ø The certainty that God sees everything that is done beneath the sun.
Ø The goodness of God in reproving wrong-doers.
Ø The folly of leaning upon an arm of flesh instead of upon God.
Ø The source of all calamity among men, viz. sin.
Ø The sign of an evil conscience — anger against an accuser.
Ø The uselessness of force as a remedy for evils of any kind.
Ø The courage required of them who would champion the cause of
truth and right.
11 "And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in
the book of the
three, is represented by the very summarized but sufficiently significant parallel
of I Kings 15:23-24. Note that the reference work cited in this verse as the book
the kings of
chronicles of the kings of
earlier in point of time.
12 "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in
his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he
sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians." His disease was exceeding
great Perhaps a somewhat more literal rendering will more correctly express
the emphasis of the original, e.g. his disease was great even to excess. For yet,
read emphatically, and also; the historian purposing to say that as, in his fear
of Baasha, he had not sought the Lord, but Benhadad, so, in his excessive
illness also, he had not sought the Lord, but the physicians!
13 "And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth
year of his reign.” Amid the frequent uncertainties of the chronology, we are
glad to get some dates fixed by the agreement of testimonies. E.g. this place and
the parallel state clearly that Asa’s reign was one that lasted to its forty-first
year. The parallel, however (I Kings 15:23), makes this date one
and the same thing with his “old age,” while no manipulation of dates can
make him (the grandson of Rehoboam and son of Abijah) more than about
fifty. And it is somewhat remarkable that, when introduced to us as
succeeding to the throne, nothing is said of his tender youth (as, for
instance, is said in the case of Josiah, II Kings 22:1). Nevertheless, the
apparent prominence of Maachah awhile would tally with
the circumstance of Asa’s youth at his accession. Another correspondence
in Josiah’s career is noticeable; for it is distinctly said that when he was
only twelve years of age (ch. 34:3) “he began to purge
therefore, may be credited with doing the like, while later on he took more
stringent measures, as for instance with Maachah, the queen-mother.
14 "And they buried him in his own sepulchers, which he had made for
himself in the city of
filled with sweet odors and divers kinds of spices prepared by the
apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him."
In his own sepulchers; Hebrew, קִבְרֹתָין; feminine plural of קֶבֶר.
The plural designates, of course, the range of burial compartments that
formed the tomb of one person or family. So Job 17:1, where the masculine
plural is used, קְבָרִים לִי. In the
In the bed; Hebrew, מִשְׁכָּב. The use or associations of
this word (found about fifty times) are almost entirely, if not entirely, those
of the bed of nightly rest, even when not at the time speaking of nightly
rest; and this is the first and only occasion that it is employed to link the
grave in kindly analogy with the couch of bodily repose during lifetime.
The fact might have suggested Bishop Ken’s lines in the evening hymn —
“Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.”
In the present instance, however, the writer, whoever he was (query, was
he the compiler of our Chronicles, or his original?), is doubtless led to the
analogy by considerations more earthly than those enshrined in Ken’s
hymn, viz. by the somewhat “vain show” of attractiveness and fragrance
(probably designed partly for preservative purposes) with which the place
was filled, and which were among even patriarchal indications of faith in a
future state. Sweet odors; Hebrew, כְּשָׂמִים. Of the twenty-nine times
that this word occurs in Exodus, Kings, and Chronicles, Esther, Canticles,
Isaiah, and Ezekiel, it is rendered in the Authorized Version:
The chief and determining references are those in Exodus 25:6; 30:23; 35:8, 28.
And divers kinds; Hebrew, וּזְנִים; plural of זַן; from the root, זָנַן; unused, but
probably one with an Arabic root, meaning “to shape;” hence our noun, meaning a
kind or species, used here and Psalm 144:13 (where the margin renders
literally, “from kind to kind”), and in the Chaldee of Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15.
Prepared; Hebrew, מְרֻקָּחִיס; solitary occurrence of pual conjugation
of the root רָקַח, “to spice,” i.e., to spice, season, or prepare oil for
ointment purposes. This root occurs in kal future once (Exodus 30:33);
in kal part. poel five times (Exodus 30:25, 35; 37:29; I Chronicles 9:30;
Ecclesiastes 10:1); and in hiphel infinite once (Ezekiel 24:10).
By the apothecaries’ art; Hebrew, בְמִרְקַחַת מַעֲשֲׂה. Translate the
clause, and divers kinds compounded by the compounding of art, which
means to say spices skillfully treated and wrought into ointments by
professional hands. A very great burning; literally, and they burned for
him a burning great even to an exceeding extent. The burning is not the
burning of I Samuel 31:12-13 (compare II Samuel 21:10-12; I Chronicles 10:12),
but the burning of spices, indicated by the language of our ch. 21:19 and
The Disappointing Relapse of What had Seemed Tried Worth,
Knowledge, and Proved Goodness. (vs. 1-14)
Mournful to the last degree is the impression made on us by what we are
given to learn last of the career of King Asa. It is a reversal — not the
reversal from bad to good, but of what seemed good and seemed sure, to
bad. The humiliating lesson and fresh illustration of human caprice and
weakness must be in like spirit and with proportionate humility noted and
learned by ourselves. It is, indeed, a chapter of biography which brings
again to our lips the reproving and stirring question of the apostle, “Ye did
run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?’ (Galatians 5:7)
and which reminds us also of language of far lower inspiration (Keble’s ‘Christian
Year:’ Eighth Sunday after Trinity) —
“The grey-haired saint may fail at last,
The surest guide a wanderer prove;
Death only binds us fast
To the bright shore of love.”
Among all uncertainties, mournful is the certainty of human uncertainty,
and necessary the prolongation of human probation to the extreme limit of
life. Let us listen with fresh veneration to the just expression of the virtual
beatitude of final perseverance, as pronounced by the lips of Jesus Christ
Himself, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
Side by side with the broad lesson of human fickleness and liability in the
very end to fall, there seem to be peculiarities attending the present history
which may yield something to careful notice and analysis, which are replete
indeed with instruction, and with the finer of the suggestions of caution and
warning. Thus, for instance:
PROBABLY LARGELY DUE TO THE CLOSENESS OF THE
PRESSURE OF APPREHENSION IN A DOUBLE SENSE. Family
quarrels are, to a proverb, the bitterest. The foe, the competing king, the
dissentient people, were abiding neighbors — nay, of one and the same
house, though that a house divided against itself. All this, no doubt, should
have had exactly the contrary effect, but did not. As in great stress of
illness, and under great pressure of mortal apprehension brought close
home, men will often resort to the trial of remedies, and flee to medical aid
they had been the first to disdain and the loudest to condemn under milder
and less domestic circumstances, so, strange though it were, the subtle
influence worked upon Asa, which was powerless to delude him when it
was Zerah of Ethiopia, and not Baasha of Israel, who was the confronting
SUPPOSING THAT THE NEARER DANGER FROM THE NEARER
FOE AND NEIGHBOUR FOE, WAS A DANGER HE COULD
BETTER COPE WITH BY HIS OWN UNAIDED RESOURCES, HIS
OWN SUPPOSED WISDOMS AND HIS OWN SUFFICIENT
DIPLOMACY. It is too true that the more distant enemy we are prone to
fear more than the enemy, who is really tenfold dangerous because he is so
near us, and very probably has this great and subtle consequent advantage,
that he knows us and our weak points better than we know them or know
ourselves. There is even such a thing as the Church having greater zeal for
the heathen far off than for those worse heathen (and more to be pitied for
themselves) who are dread corrosion and canker to the whole body politic
at home. It means that men have greater fear of the enemy at a distance
than of the serpent in their own bosom! Even Christian men are
unconsciously the victims of such beguilement. Distance lends enchantment
sometimes; distance lends large-looming apprehension sometimes. But in
the matter of our enemy sin, it is ever one thing that constitutes our
chiefest danger — its nearness; the great risk:
Ø of our overlooking it, because of familiarity with its countenance;
Ø of our trifling with it, because we underrate its power to hurt; and
Ø of our flattering ourselves that we must be a match for so near a
MISCHIEVOUS MEMORY OF A FATHER’S ERROR INSTEAD OF A
HOLY MEMORY OF A FATHER’S EXCELLENCE. He recalls his
father’s league with the King of Syria to copy it, and adopt it, and furbish
up afresh its dishonorable conditions. He relies on that king, and forgets
to “rely on the Lord his God,” who had but so lately shown him such
wonderful deliverance. He relies on that King of Syria, and gets his work
done apparently; but it was done also but very partially, very slightly, very
temporarily, and at this immense penalty that “the host of that King of
only too plain, taught by too many an analogy. The help God gives He does
give. The help we buy of sin, of guilty compromise, of doubtful friendship,
we buy dear often to begin with; but before we have done with our
bargain, we find it dear indeed, wastefully dear, exhaustingly dear,
EXPENDITURE. The things he should have kept for God, His people, and
His temple and its worship, he takes from them.
the faithful seer; he was “in a rage” with him for “this very thing,” that he
was faithful; he imprisons him, because he cannot imprison the truth; “and
oppresses some of the people at the same time.” All went wrong with him,
for all was wrong in him. Disease, exceeding great, overtakes him; but he
had lost moral force, for even then “he sought not to the Lord, but to the
physicians.” A long life and a very long reign close under the cloud. These
had been good in him; and though he dies an unhonored death, he goes to
a not unhonored burial and sepulcher; but they were what “he had made
for himself,” and the fragrance and perfume of which were “of the
Lessons from Last Years (vs. 10-14)
We could well wish the account of the last days of Asa to have been
different from what it is. Somber clouds, casting a chill shadow, gathered
in the evening sky. Not that there was actual defection, but there was an
amount of infirmity that detracts from the honor which his earlier years
had laid up for him. We cannot help feeling:
not even a “good old age;” not even Christian old age. Having enjoyed
so much of privilege, and having passed through so much discipline, it
ought to exemplify the lessons it has had opportunity to learn — it ought
to be calm, pure, steadfast, reverent, godly, pervaded with a Christian
spirit. But it is not always thus. Men may be always learning, but never
wise; men may pass through a very forest of privileges and of
opportunities, and never pluck any fruit from its trees. And if we do not
gather the good which is to be gained as we go on our way through life,
we shall sink into an old age in which we have attained nothing and lost
much. We must see to it that we do grow as we live; that we are laying up
a store of wisdom and of worth that will make old age honorable and
beloved. It is sometimes bare and unbeautiful enough; but it may “still
bring forth fruit” (Psalm 92:14), and be fair to see as it stands in the
garden of the Lord.
ANOTHER. Asa, having made the serious mistake of resorting to the
Syrian king instead of trusting in the Lord, now violently resents the
rebuke of the prophet of Jehovah; and he even proceeds to an act of
positive persecution; and, having gone thus far, he goes yet further by
some acts of severity, probably directed against those who sympathized
with the imprisoned prophet. Thus wrong leads to wrong, sin to sin. It is
the constant course of things:
Ø Equivocation leads to falsehood;
Ø impurity of thought to indelicacy of speech and licentiousness of action;
Ø sternness of spirit to cruelty of conduct;
Ø irregularity in worship to ungodliness, etc.
And not only does faultiness commonly lead to sin in the same direction,
but, as in this case, it often leads to wrong-doing in another direction. When
the heart is led astray from God, and His will is disregarded in one thing, it is
only too likely that that holy will will be defied in another thing. We may
well shun the first wrong step, for we have no conception of the
consequences it may entail. A wrong act, and still more a wrong course
leaves the heart exposed to the designs of the enemy; it is often found to be
the first of a series.
OF PROPORTION. (v. 12.) Asa rightly enough consulted his physicians
and leaned on their professional skill; he was wrong in placing too implicit
and too great a reliance upon them; he did not remember, as he should
have done, that all human means avail nothing without the blessing of God.
He had not enough of the spirit of the psalmist in him (Psalm 33:17-21).
To trust in God and to neglect the various sources of health and
strength He offers us — this is a foolish fanaticism which will bear its
penalty in suffering and weakness. To resort to human science and to trust
it, forgetful of the truth that we can do nothing at all independently of the
Divine power — this is impiety. True godliness is found in a wise
admixture, a true proportion, of diligence and devotion, of self-reliance and
self-surrender, of accepting the help of man and looking for the blessing of
THE LAST THING THEY DID, BUT BY ALL THAT THEY WERE.
His subjects, when he died, did not remember against him the infirmities of
his last days; they considered what had been his character and his course all
through his long reign, and “they made a very great burning for him” (v. 14).
Here they were right. Whether they be of the living or the departed,
we should not judge our fellow men by one or two exceptional acts, which
may be unlike them and unworthy of them; but by the spirit of their life, by
the principles by which they were guided throughout, by the character they
The Career of Asa (vs. 11-14)
Ø The length of his reign. Forty-one years. His father, whose “heart was
not perfect” towards God (I Kings 15:3), reigned only three years
(ch. 13:2). The Old Testament promised long life as a reward
to piety (Psalm 34:12-14). But, even without a special promise, a
religious life is calculated to prolong days. “Fear God, and keep his
commandments,” is the first rule of health. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Ø The incidents of his reign.
o The reformation of religion (ch.14:3).
o The building of fortresses (ibid. v. 6).
o The preparation of an army (ibid. v. 8).
o The defeat of Zerah the Ethiopian (ibid. v. 9).
o The formation of a grand national covenant (ibid. ch.15:8-15).
o The making of a league with Benhadad (here, vs. 2-4).
o The oppression of his people (ibid. v.10).
Ø The character of his reign.
o Peaceful. It began with ten years of quiet (ch.14:1); and,
with the two exceptions above specified, it had no more hostile
invasions to repel.
o Prosperous. Since the days of Solomon the kingdom had not
attained to such a pinnacle of excellence — of material strength
and religious consolidation — as it did under Asa.
Ø The date of it. In the forty-first year of his reign; most likely he was over
sixty at the time of his decease.
Ø The cause of it. Twofold.
o Disease. Two years before his end he became diseased exceedingly in
his feet; probably with gout (Clarke, Jamiesen). Whatever its nature, it
was fatal. Disease a sure precursor of death, of which every ailment
should be a monitor.
o Unbelief. Had he consulted Jehovah about his malady (the Chronicler
suggests), he might have been cured; but, as in repelling Baasha’s attack
he relied more on Benhadad than on JEHOVAH, so in his illness he
repaired to the physicians instead of to Jehovah. To infer from this that
Asa sinned in consulting a doctor, and that Christians should abstain
from calling in medical advisers when out of health, is unreasonable.
Asa’s error lay, not in consulting the physicians, but in reposing trust
in them to the exclusion of THE LORD, and, as Paul took Luke the
physician with him on his missionary journeys (Colossians 4:14;
II Timothy 4:11), it may be argued that he at least did not regard it
as inconsistent with religious principle to either give or accept medical
advice. Still, what the doctors could not do for Asa, Jehovah could have
done had He been consulted (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 91:9-12; 103:3); so
that unbelief was a real cause of Asa’s death. Perhaps it is the cause of
many deaths still. Without hinting that many practitioners are no better
than those of whom the Gospels tell (Mark 5:26; Luke 8:43), it is still
true that physicians cannot cure without the Divine blessing;
and, doubtless, in cases that is withheld, because it is not asked either
by the physician or his patient.
Ø The place of his sepulture. The city of
(I Kings 15:24), yet not in the general tomb of the kings, but in “his
own sepulchres;” in a tomb he had specially caused to be excavated for
himself (v. 14). Joseph of Arimathaea hewed out a tomb for himself
(Luke 23:53). The first thing a Pharaoh of Egypt did on ascending the
throne was to construct for himself and descendants a royal mausoleum
(Harkness, ‘Egyptian Life and History.’ p. 57).
Ø The manner of his entombment.
o His corpse was embalmed. The bed on which it was laid was filled with
sweet odors and spices of divers kinds, prepared by the apothecaries’ art.
Strictly speaking, this was only an imitation of the Egyptian practice (Keil,
‘Archaologie,’ §115; Riehm, art. “Begrianis”). Compare the embalmments
of Jacob (Genesis 50:2) and of Jesus (John 19:39-40).
o A very great burning was made for him. This burning was not of the
body (A. Clarke), which, among the Hebrews, was commonly interred —
the burning of the bodies of Saul and his sons (I Samuel 31:12) being
exceptional — but of the prepared spices. Other nations practiced similar
rites at the funerals of kings. Jehoram (ch. 21:19) and Jehoiakim
(Jeremiah 22:18-19), on account of their wickedness, were denied such
honors; Zedekiah was promised them (Jeremiah 34:5), perhaps, on
account of his misfortunes.
Ø A good man. His heart was perfect (ch. 15:17; I Kings15:14), if his life was not
(here, v. 10). The general tenor of his conduct was upright, though he erred
somewhat towards the close of his career. “It was thought a high eulogy on
Jehoshaphat his son that he walked in all the way of his father” (Rawlinson);
while the honors paid Asa on dying showed that his countrymen esteemed
him to have been an honorable prince. His “faults and follies” may suggest
that no man is perfect, and that “in many things we all offend.” (James 3:2)
Ø An ardent reformer. He removed the altars and the high places of the
strange gods or foreign divinities (ch. 14:3), though he left standing those
to Jehovah (ch. 15:17; I Kings 15:14). He “commanded
seek the Lord God of their fathers” (ch. 14:4), and bound mere by a solemn
league and covenant so to do (ch. 15:14), though he himself, in old age,
declined a little from his early faith (here, vs. 2,12).
Ø A valiant soldier. That with his piety he combined courage, his
encounter with Zerah the Ethiopian evinced. If he was genuinely good, he
was also conspicuously great.
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