2 Chronicles 16

2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 16

War with Israel’s King Baasha

      • In the 36th year of Asa’s reign, Israel’s King Baasha went to war with Judah, and he established Ramah as a military outpost to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the land of Judah’s King Asa.

        • This text contradicts 1 Kings, as the ESV Study Bible points out, “The thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa would be c. 876 or 875 BC. As it stands, the text raises a problem, since Baasha had already been dead 10 years by this time (see 1 Kings 15:33; 16:8)…”

        • HCSB explains, “By the thirty-sixth year of Asa, Omri ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, contradicting this verse. Some suggest ’36’ refers to the years since the division of the nation, thus putting it at the sixteenth year of Asa’s reign. However, the text clearly states that it was Asa’s reign, not the years since the kingdom had been divided. First Kg 15:16 says that there was war the entire time Baasha was king. So the events narrated here could have been at any point during that 24-year period. A clear solution to this chronological problem has not yet presented itself.”

        • ESV Archaeology Study Bible notes, “Ramah was located in the territory of Benjamin on the only northern route in and out of Judah via Jerusalem. By fortifying it, Baasha could effectively isolate his rival.”

      • Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of Yahweh’s house and the king’s house and sent it to Syria’s King Ben Hadad, who lived in Damascus, with this message: “Let’s make a treaty between us, just as our father’s had a treaty between them. Look, I’ve sent you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will withdraw from me.” Ben Hadad listened to Asa and he sent his army commanders to attack the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim, and all the storage cities of Naphtali. When Baasha heard about this he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned his work. Then King Asa brought all the men of Judah, and they carried away all the stones and timber that Baasha was using to fortify Ramah, and used those materials to build up Geba and Mizpah.

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “By entering into an alliance with Ben-hadad (at the expense of the temple and his palace), Asa countered the threat from Baasha, but his action reflected a lack of faith in Yahweh, who had delivered him from a greater threat (2 Chron 16:8). Foreign alliances are condemned in 19:2; 20:35-37; 22:5; 28:16-21.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “King Ben-hadad of Aram…broke his treaty with Baasha and attacked northern Israel, capturing all the land of Naphtali; this area included all of Galilee and nearly all of the country north of the Jezreel Valley and east of the Sea of Galilee. Ijon was a large village in the southern Beqa’ Valley, on the southern border of modern-day Labanon. This town is usually listed with Dan (Laish), Abel-beth-maacah [listed above and in other translations as ‘Abel Maim’], and Hazor in northern Israel. Abel-beth-macaah was near a major waterfall of the Jordan River tributaries, at the juncture of the Hula Valley and the Beqa’ Valley in Lebanon.”

Hanani’s Rebuke of Asa

        • At that time, Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you relied on the King of Syria and didn’t rely on Yahweh your God, the army of the King of Syria has escaped from your hand. Didn’t the Cushites and the Libyans have a vast army with large numbers of chariots and horsemen? But when you relied on Yahweh, He handed them over to you. Certainly Yahweh watches the whole earth carefully to give strong support to those whose hearts are devoted to Him. You have acted foolishly in this matter, and from now on you will have war.” Asa was so angry with the seer, he put him in prison. Asa also brutally oppressed some of the people at this same time.

          • ESV Study Bible writes, “The rebuke by Hanani contrasts with Azariah’s exhortation (15:2-7). Asa, who had once relied on Yahweh (14:11; 16:8), has relied instead on the king of Syria and will now face future wars (v. 9; contrast 15:15, 19). Hanani implies that Asa could have defeated Syria as well as Israel…had he trusted in God. During the reign of Asa’s son Jehoshaphat, Judah will in fact be at war with Syria (18:30).”

        • On Hanani’s remark about Yahweh watching the whole earth, the same source continues, “God continuously watches and evaluates everyone’s inner thoughts, attitudes, and convictions (heart). Similar wording appears in Zech 4:10.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Asa’s infidelity to the Lord in relying on power resulted in other sins, including oppression of the prophet and the people.”

        • Guzik notes, “We don’t know much about this prophet, other than his bold word to King Asa here, and that his son was also a prophet who spoke to Baasha the king of Israel (1 Kings 16:1, 16:7) and to Jehoshaphat king of Judah (2 Chronicles 19:2).”

Asa’s Death

      • The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are recorded in the “Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel.” In the 39th year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease and it became very severe. Yet, even in his disease he didn’t seek Yahweh, but only the doctors. Asa died and rested with his ancestors in the 41st year of his reign, and he was buried in the tomb he had carved out himself in the City of David. They laid him out on a platform covered with spices and various mixtures of prepared ointments. Then they built a huge fire in his honor.

        • NET Bible clarifies, “The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7. “

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The Chronicler does not specify whether Asa’s foot disease is divine punishment for his lack of faith and his abuse of Hanani, though this may be implied. (An explicit connection between sickness and through divine punishment is made in 2 Chron 21:16-20; 26:16-23. The primary concern here is Asa’s response: he did not seek the Lord (cf 14:4, 7; 15:12). He is not criticized so much for seeking help from physicians (or ‘healers’), but for doing so apart from ‘the Lord, ‘[his] healer’ (Ex 15:26), and his promises of ‘healing’ in 2 Chron 7:14 (see 30:20)…Asa ruled 912-871 BC. Funeral reports in Chronicles are often used to pass theological judgment on a reign…The honor shown Asa at his funeral indicates that he was held in high esteem by the people. The Chronicler also seems to have taken a generally positive view of his reign, despite the decline of his last five years (or his last 25 years).”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says, “A funerary pyre was a statement of respect and honor for the deceased and was typically only available for those of high position. Such fires were honorary acts rather than a means of cremation. Attendees would then have made a pile of stones over the place to commemorate the dead king…”

        • Guzik writes, “The closing chapters of the life of King Asa are discouraging. Here was a man involved in a notable period of trust in God, great victory, and the renewal of God’s covenant with His people. All in all, Asa was a good man who did not finish well. The last years of his life were marked by unbelief, hardness against God, oppression against his people, and disease. Age and time do not necessarily make us better; they only do if we continue to follow God in faith. He refused to rely on God in the face of the threat against him from Israel and Syria; he refused to rely on God in His loving correction from Hanani the seer. It is no wonder that he also refused to rely on God regarding his diseased feet at the end of his life. This was a powerful warning to both the first readers of the Chronicler and to us.”

        • On physicians, Guzik also says, “Overall, the Bible is positive about the role of physicians and medical care (Colossians 4:14, Acts 28:9, James 5:14-15, and 1 Timothy 5:23). However, it is never right to seek the physicians instead of the LORD. One may rather trust the LORD and when appropriate, see His hand move through a physician.”

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