2 Chronicles 15


Azariah’s Call to Revival

      • The Spirit of God came upon Oded’s son Azariah. He went out to meet Asa and told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin. Yahweh is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you. For many years Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without the law. But when they turned back to Yahweh, the God of Israel, because of their distress, and sought Him, He was found by them. In those days it wasn’t safe to travel about, because great turmoil afflicted all the inhabitants of the surrounding lands. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. But as for you, be strong and don’t give up, because your work will be rewarded.”

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “Azariah is not otherwise known. His speech is intended to encourage Asa to continue his reforms and lead the people into covenant renewal…The theme of ‘seeking the Lord’ recurs throughout 2 Chronicles 15 (vv. 4, 12, 13, 15). Verses 3-6 call to mind the unstable time of the judges, marked by cycles of apostasy and return to God (see Judges 3), and the absence of effective spiritual leadership (see Judg 17:5-6).”

        • Guzik says, “King Asa and the Kingdom of Judah had just enjoyed a significant victory over a mighty army. It would be easy to think that they had a permanent claim to God’s favor and blessing. Speaking through the prophet Azariah, God wanted Asa to know the importance of abiding in the LORD. This is an important principle repeated many times in the Bible. The idea is that when we draw near to God, He reveals Himself to us. God does not hide Himself from the seeking heart. You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29); And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13); Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7). The converse is also true: if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. Ultimately, God gives us what we want from Him. If He gives the heart that seeks Him more, and He also gives the heart that rejects Him what it desires.”

Covenant Renewal and Celebration

      • When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded’s son Azariah, he was encouraged. He removed the detestable idols from the entire land of Judah and Benjamin, and from the cities that he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of Yahweh that was in front of the porch of Yahweh’s house.

        • The Masoretic text here says that Asa heard Oded’s prophecy, which is contrary to verse 1. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers suggests the following: “This is suspicious, and suggests the idea that ‘Oded the prophet’ is a marginal gloss, which has crept into the text; especially as, according to 2Chronicles 15:1, not Oded, but Azariah son of Oded, was the author of the prophecy. Possibly there is a lacuna, and the original text ran: ‘And the prophecy which Azariah son of Oded, the prophet, spake.’ There is no variation in Heb. MSS., and the readings of the versions only show that the difficulty is ancient. (LXX., Vatic., ‘the prophecy of Adad the prophet;’ but in 2Chronicles 15:1 : ‘Azarias son of Oded;’ Alex., ‘Azarias son of Adad the prophet;’ Syr., ‘Azariah son of Azur;’ Vulg., ‘Azariah son of Oded the prophet.’) these words and the prophecy, i.e., these words, even (or, that is) the prophecy. Epexegetical use of the conjunction.”

      • Then Asa gathered all of Judah and Benjamin, as well as the settlers from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had come to live among them. Large numbers of people from Israel had defected to him when the realized that Yahweh his God was with him. They assembled in Jerusalem in the 3rd month of the 15th year of Asa’s reign. That day they sacrificed 700 cattle and 7,000 sheep to Yahweh from all the plunder they had brought. Then they entered into a covenant to seek Yahweh, God of their ancestors, with their whole heart and soul. All those who would not seek Yahweh, the God of Israel, would be put to death- whether young or old, or male or female. They swore an oath to Yahweh with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All of Judah rejoiced over the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They had sought Him with all their heart, and He was found by them. So Yahweh gave them rest on all sides.

        • Guzik says, “King Asa’s bold obedience to God earned the respect of the godly remnant among the apostate northern tribes that made up the Kingdom of Israel. They wanted to be part of a committed return to God.”

        • Guzik continues, “After sacrifice, they committed the matter to a covenant between them and God. This was after the pattern of the covenant the people of Israel originally made with God at Sinai (Exodus 24:7-8).This covenant was deliberately connected with these past covenants (to seek the LORD God of their fathers). This was their way of saying, ‘LORD God, we want the same relationship with You that our great forefathers enjoyed. We want to be bound to You with the same kind of covenant.’ his covenant was supported by the threat of punishment (whoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel was to be put to death) and with a public oath (they took an oath before the LORD with a loud voice). This combination of a public oath and a promised punishment made the whole community accountable to keep this promise they made. This was a demonstration of the fact that it was a covenant made with all their heart and with all their soul. It was not a half-hearted or half-way covenant that no one could be held accountable to…Through the Prophet Azariah, God had promised Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:2: If you seek Him, He will be found by you. This was the fulfillment of that promise. Not only the king himself, but the nation as a whole found the LORD when they sought Him this way.”

        • On the timing of this event ESV Study Bible notes, “Probably May/June 895 BC. The assembly may have taken place during the Festival of Weeks (or Pentecost) (see Ex 23:16 [‘Feast of Harvest’]; Lev 23:15-21).

      • King Asa also removed his grandmother, Maakah, from her position as queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut it down, crushed it, and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although he didn’t remove the high places from Israel, Asa remained wholeheartedy devoted throughout his lifetime. He brought the holy gifts that his father had made, and the holy gifts that he had made, into Yahweh’s house: silver, gold, and other articles. There was no more war until the 35th year of Asa’s reign.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The queen mother played an important role within the family politics of the court as an adviser of the king and teacher of the royal children. The… ‘Kidron Valley,’ was just outside Jerusalem and was used as a refuse dump for idolatrous objects (29:16; 30:14). An inscription found at the site of Khirbet El-Qom, near modern Hebron, reads: ‘Blessed be Uriyahu by Yahweh and by his Asherah; from his enemies he saved him!’ The inscription dates to the second half of the eighth century BC. It reflects the constant struggle in Judah between true servants of Yahweh and those who were syncretists and idolaters.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Asherah is well known from Canaanite literature as the wife of the god El and the mother of seventy children, including Baal. The image made of her quite possibly had prominent sexual characteristics, a common practice in Cannan.”

        • On the reference to the high places not being removed from Israel, the same source says, “…probably refers to those cities that had previously belonged to the northern kingdom and where then under Asa’s control (‘out of Israel’ is the Chronciler’s addition to 1 Kings 15:14a); in Judah, by contrast, Asa’s reforms had been much more successful…”

        • On the statement in v. 17 that Asa “remained wholeheartedly devoted throughout his lifetime,”:

          • ESV Study Bible writes, “This is the overall assessment of his reign, despite the decline of his last years…”

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