2 Chronicles 14


Reign of Abijah (Continued)

    • Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him as king and during his reign, there was peace in the land for 10 years.

      • NET Bible points out that, “Beginning with 14:1, the verse numbers through 14:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 14:1 ET = 13:23 HT, 14:2 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:3 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:15 ET = 14:14 HT. Beginning with 15:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.”

Reign of Asa (14:1 – 16:14)

Early Years of Asa’s Reign

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler’s account of Asa’s reign (910-869 BC) is also much longer and more complex than that given in the earlier history (1 Kings 15:9-24). It describes a reign that begins well but ends badly, as trust in God and obedience to the prophetic word give way to a dependence on human alliances and the rejection of the prophetic word.”

      • Asa did what was good and right in Yahweh’s eyes. He removed the pagan altars and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherah poles, and commanded the people of Judah to seek Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, and to obey His law and commands. He also removed all the high places and incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom had rest under his rule.

        • HCSB includes this interesting note on the reference to the law in v. 4, “The Hebrew word for ‘instruction’ includes the definite article, hatorah, ‘the law,’ and is possibly one of the first references to the canonical books of Moses.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “At the beginning of his reign, Asa…removed the foreign altars in Judah…However, he did not remove the pagan shrines from Israel (15:17). These were probably in the cities of the northern kingdom that Asa had inherited from Abijah. Idolatry practiced by other peoples occupying the land plagued Judah throughout its history; this pagan activity might have revived toward the end of Asa’s reign more than thirty years later.”

        • Guzik points out, “Interestingly, 1 Kings 15:14 says of the reign of Asa, but the high places were not removed. Since 2 Chronicles 14:3 connects these high places with altars of the foreign gods. Therefore Asa removed the high places that were dedicated to idols, but not the ones that were dedicated to the LORD.”

        • On that note, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary agrees, saying,”he took away … the high places—that is, those devoted to idolatrous rites. He took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images—All public objects and relics of idolatry in Jerusalem and other cities through his kingdom were destroyed; but those high places where God was worshipped under the figure of an ox, as at Beth-el, were allowed to remain (1Ki 15:14); so far the reformation was incomplete.”

      • Since the land was at rest he built fortified cities throughout Judah. There was no war during those years because Yahweh gave him peace. Asa told the people of Judah, “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates. The land remains ours because we have sought Yahweh our God. We sought Him so He has given us peace on all sides.” So they built the cities and prospered.

The Ethopian Invasion

      • Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah who were equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who were armed with small shields and bows. All these men were brave warriors. Once an Ethopian named Zerah marched against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots. He came as far as Mareshah, and Asa marched out to oppose him. Asa deployed his armies for battle in the Valley of Zephathah, which is near Mareshah.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Ethiopian (literally ‘Cushite’) might refer to someone from southern Egypt (Nubia) or a Midianite territory northeast of Aqabah (see Num 12:1; Hab 3:7). However, the mention of Libya in 2 Chr 16:8, the size of the battle (comparable to the attack of Shishak against Rehoboam in 12:3), and the location of Mareshah in the west of Judah indicate that Zera was an Egyptian; he is otherwise unknown. He might have been a Nubian general dispatched by Osorkon I, the Libyan pharaoh who ruled Egypt between the tenth and fourteenth years of Asa (900-897 BC). Another view is that Shishak established a buffer state around Gerar, supported by Nubian mercenaries that invaded Judah. The account, however, only says that Asa and his armies pursued the armies south to Gerar and took a vast amount of plunder, particularly from the herdsmen living in tents around the cities.”

      • Then Asa cried out to Yahweh his God saying, “O Yahweh, there is no one besides You who can help the weak against the mighty. Help us O Yahweh our God, because we rely on You, and it is in Your name that we have marched out against this vast army. O Yahweh, You are our God; don’t let mere mortals prevail against You.” Yahweh struck the Ethiopians down before Asa and Judah. The Ethiopians ran away and Asa and the men who were with him chased them as far as Gerar. The Ethopians fell until there were no survivors; they were broken before Yahweh and His army. The men of Judah carried off a huge amount of plunder. They destroyed all the towns surrounding Gerar because terror from Yahweh had come upon them. The men of Judah looted all the towns because there was a lot of plunder there. They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen and took many sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.

        • ESV Study Bible says, “Asa’s prayer reflects the situation envisioned in 6:34-35. Many of the motifs of sacred warfare found in ch 13 are expressed here as well and will recur in ch 20: a prayer (or speech) is made by the king before battle expressing trust in God (see 13:4-12; 20:5-12); Judah faces overwhelming odds (see 13:3; 20:2); and Yahweh strikes the enemy (see 13:15-16; 20:22-23)…The plunder was used for sacrifices (15:11).”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible includes this informative summary section on King Asa:

        • Asa became the third king of Judah (910-869 BC) after the split of Solomon’s empire into independent kingdoms. Asa succeeded his father Abijah’s brief kingship (913-910 BC), and reigned for 41 years.

        • In the beginning of his reign, Asa was a good king. He opposed the worship of false gods in the land, destroyed the Asherah pole that his grandmother Maacah had set up, and removed her remaining political influence (2 Chr 15:16; 1 Kgs 15:10).

        • In these early days, God blessed Asa’s reign with military victory and peace. Asa forced out or defeated all who attempted to conquer, divide, or destroy Judah (2 Chr 14:1-8). Asa’s most astounding conquest was over an Ethiopian leader named Zerah (14:9-15), who attacked Judah with more than a million troops. Because of Asa’s obedience and faithfulness, God gave him a tremendous victory.

        • Unfortunately, Asa’s attitude changed toward the end of his life, and he abandoned his trust in God. Baasha, the king of the northern kingdom, attacked Judah with the support of Ben-hadad, king of Aram, and fortified the city of Ramah. Asa paid the king of Aram to change sides and support him rather than Baasha. This meant that Asa had more confidence in a foreign king than in the Lord. Worse, Asa paid Ben-hadad with gold and silver that he had earlier given to the Temple! Asa’s power play worked, and the northern kingdom of Israel had to leave Judah to stave off Ben-hadad’s threat from the north. But the prophet Hanani rebuked Asa for his disbelief in God. Infuriated, Asa had Hanani thrown into prison (16:7-10).

        • For the final years of his reign, Asa became ill with a serious foot disease. ‘Even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians’ (16:12). Even so, when Asa died he was buried with honor in the royal tombs (16:14; 1 Kgs 15:24).”

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