2 Chronicles 14:2
2 Chronicles 14:3
2 Chronicles 14:4
2 Chronicles 14:5
2 Chronicles 14:6
2 Chronicles 14:7
2 Chronicles 14:8
2 Chronicles 14:9
2 Chronicles 14:10
2 Chronicles 14:11
2 Chronicles 14:12
2 Chronicles 14:13
2 Chronicles 14:14
2 Chronicles 14:15
The Kingdom of Israel
From Splendor to Disaster
2 Chronicles 1-9
|Rulers of the Southern
Kingdom of Judah
After the Split
of the Temple
|Decline & Destruction
of the Temple
|~40 Years||~393 Years|
Click chart to enlarge
Chart from Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Click Chart from Charles Swindoll
|1Samuel||2 Samuel||1Kings||1Kings||2 Kings|
1 Chronicles 10
Legend: B.C. dates at top of timeline are approximate. Note that 931BC marks the division of the Kingdom into Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and Ten Northern Tribes. To avoid confusion be aware that after the division of the Kingdom in 931BC, the Southern Kingdom is most often designated in Scripture as "Judah" and the Northern Kingdom as "Israel." Finally, note that 1 Chronicles 1-9 is not identified on the timeline because these chapters are records of genealogy.
ESV chart - kings of Israel - more information
ESV chart - kings of Judah - more information
Another Chart with Variable Dates for Reigns of Kings
NOTE: THESE COMMENTS ARE OFFERED IN AN "AS IS" FORMAT - IF I HAVE TIME IN THE FUTURE, THEY WILL BE UPDATED.
CLICK 2 CHRONICLES COMMENTARIES FOR MULTIPLE SERMONS AND COMMENTARIES
- slept (KJV): 2Ch 9:31 1Ki 2:10 14:31
- Asa (KJV): 1Ki 15:8-24 1Ch 3:10 Mt 1:7,8
- See BELOW FOR BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR 1-2 CHRONICLES - adapted from Paul Apple's Bible Outlines
KING ASA ASCENDS
AND HAS PEASE 10 YEARS
Paul Apple - We see many examples in Scriptures and in life where somebody starts out strong – trusting the Lord alone in times of pressure – but finishes poorly. New challenges to our faith require sustaining spiritual faithfulness. As the financial commercials clearly state: “Past performance is no guarantee of future success.” Yet Asa must be given his due credit for his many reforms.
August Konkel: There is never a time when learning to be faithful is complete. Faithfulness is an attitude that must be practiced; it is learned again in each new circumstance. Failures in faithfulness strike without warning. The consequences of such failures are not limited to the individual who sins. Like all sins, unfaithfulness affects all those around, and its effects continue far into the future. Asa is an example of such a disastrous failure, both at the individual level as well on the institutional scene. Leaders of institutions, whether denominations or congregations, therefore carry a particular responsibility to learn to trust God in every situation and to recognize that success at one time does not make future success more likely. (Multipart Video Series on 1-2 Chronicles)
Andrew Hill: In summary, King Asa is a religious reformer (14:3–5) and a builder of fortifications for the defense of Judah’s perimeter (14:7). The repetition of “seeking the LORD” in 14:4, 7 (2×)—an expression that occurs nine times in the three chapters recounting Asa’s kingship (see also 15:2, 4, 12, 13, 15; 16:12)—sets the theme for the entire section. The “rest” (14:5, 6, 7) or peace that Judah enjoys under Asa is due in part to Abijah’s victory over Jeroboam (13:19–20) but is also a reward for Asa’s faithfulness to God (14:7). This accords well with the Chronicler’s emphasis on the retribution principle in Israelite history; that is, obedience to God’s commands results in reward whereas disobedience brings punishment. “Rest” in the land is the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to give Canaan to the Israelites as their “inheritance” (Deut. 12:8–10).
Iain Duguid: The story of Asa’s long reign is an example of growth in obedience as one “seeks the Lord.” The life of faith is not static. The prophetic word, with its promises, warning, and encouragement, came after initial reforms and enjoyment of blessing over some years, and after a victory over attackers that resulted from “relying” on God. The unreserved commitment (“covenant”) came after deliverance; repentance (15:8: further “put[ting] away”; cf. 14:3–5) came after God’s gracious acts. . .In the Chronicler’s narration, the last six years of Asa’s reign are quite different from the first thirty-five. The concise side comment in 1 Kings 15:23 that “In his old age he was diseased in his feet” required explanation in light of the positive reforms during his reign. The Chronicler sees examples of judgment that followed Asa’s failure to “rely” on God and his subsequent angry rejection of the prophet’s word; they are outworkings of the second alternative in 2 Chronicles 15:2, “If you forsake him, he will forsake you.” The theological perspective of retribution shapes his narrative and explains the additions.
Raymond Dillard: The Chronicler notes that after Asa’s accession, the land was quiet for ten years, a statement that contrasts with 1 Kgs 15:16 which describes warfare between Asa and Baasha throughout their reigns. The Chronicler proceeds to elaborate on Asa’s reform, essentially interpolating between 1 Kgs 15:12 and 13 a large block of material unique to his account (2 Chr 14:4—15:15). This material is rich in the concepts of retribution theology: it elaborates on Asa’s building programs, his trust in God and the subsequent victory over the much more numerous forces of Zerah, and his responsiveness to the word of God through Azariah. . .The writer accepts the basic evaluation of his reign from Kings (14:1  // 1 Kgs 15:10). He takes details from the Kings account (details of the reform, the wars with Baasha, the death from a foot disease) and elaborates upon them in light of his convictions about retribution. Each detail is provided with its cause or results: reforms issue in victory, peace, prosperity, and the loyalty of the populace (chaps. 14–15); war and disease follow infidelity (chap. 16). The reign is divided into two periods, and apostasy is confined to the last few years. The Chronicler commonly uses speech materials to announce themes important to him; the speech materials often seem to have direct homiletical relevance for the post-exilic period. Building, prosperity, and the possession of the land depend on seeking God (14:6 ); even though facing numerically insurmountable opposition, no one can prevail against God (14:10 ). In spite of the ferment and tumult of the past, there is reward for labor (15:2–7); do not rely on political alliances but on God (16:7–9). (BORROW 2 Chronicles)
Frederick Mabie: Asa is the first of the post-divided kingdom Judean kings to be described as doing what is right in God’s eyes. Moreover, Asa is the first Judean king of this era to inaugurate significant reforms designed to eradicate syncretism and revitalize covenantal fidelity within the community (cf. 15:8-18). Thus the reign and reforms of Asa function as a sort of precursor to the later reformer kings in Judah, most notably Hezekiah and Josiah. Note that Asa, like Hezekiah (30:6-11), invites those situated within the northern kingdom to assemble in Jerusalem and publicly declare their loyalty to God’s ways (cf. 15:9-15). By contrast, the final six or so years of Asa’s reign (compare 15:19; 16:1, 13) are punctuated with compromise and ungodly behavior.
De Vries: The lesson of Asa is clear: when formidable enemies attack God's people, their trust in Yahweh will assure them the victory. But when they use force and intrigue on their own initiative, ignoring their special calling as his people, they bring ineluctable [inescapable] ruin on themselves and their posterity. (BORROW 1 and 2 Chronicles)
So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, and his son Asa became king in his place. The land was undisturbed for ten years during his days - So Asa had a good beginning for 10 years but he would reign a total of 41 years and not all remained "undisturbed."
Ron Daniel - "The City of David" is a title of two cities, actually. In the New Testament, the city of David refers to his birthplace, the city of Bethlehem (Luke 2:4,11). But in the Old Testament, the term referred to the place where David had conquered the stronghold of Zion (2Sam. 5:7), eventually moving in the ark of the covenant (2Sam 6:12), and ultimately was buried (1Kings 2:10). This is the city of Jerusalem. As the Judean kings before him, Abijah was buried in Jerusalem.
Phil Winfield: Early Rule: He did right in times of peace and prosperity (2 Chronicles 14.1- 8). I have said many times people get spiritual in a crisis. Notice that: Asa did right by using the peace time to remove the foreign altars, high places, asherim (v.3&5) Asa did right by motivating the people to seek God and to obey his law (v.4). He did right by building up his cities and their defenses while they were at peace. It is foolish to wait for a battle to get ready for war. (v.6-8). God rewarded them with rest and they were undisturbed on every side. Amen. Peace comes from a position of strength not weakness as far as nations are concerned.
Martin Selman: The first part of Asa’s reign exemplifies faithfulness, expansion, and security. In the evaluation, good has been added to right (v. 1; cf. 1 Kgs 15:11), apparently as a parallel with Hezekiah (the phrase recurs only in 2 Chr. 31:20). The reform has three main features: worship (vv. 3-5), buildings and fortifications (vv. 6-7), and the army (v. 8). (BORROW 2 Chronicles : a commentary)
Gleason Archer - New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties - Are there not historical inaccuracies in Kings and Chronicles, such as “So, King of Egypt” and “Zerah the Ethiopian,” of whom there is no record in secular sources (cf. 2 Kings 17; 2 Chron. 14)?
The plainest and shortest answer to this question is that there are no proven inaccuracies in any of the historical records in Scripture. The second observation to make is that if a historical statement in the Bible is factually true, it does not require any corroboration from secular sources to become true. This is a basic canon of logic. Undoubtedly there are multitudes of events that have taken place in earlier times that have never been recorded either in sacred or secular written sources. They nevertheless actually took place, even though they were not recorded. And if an event was recorded only in a nonscriptural document, it needs no attestation from Scripture to preserve it from being a non-event. And, of course, the reverse is true. An episode that actually took place became a fact of history whether or not it was recorded in an extrabiblical source.
The only way to justify skepticism of scriptural veracity when it records names or events not found in extant secular accounts is to establish that the Bible is demonstrably inferior to all other ancient sources in the matter of its trustworthiness. To assume that the failure up until now to find a mention of Zerah or So in any pagan document proves that they never existed is to fall into a blatant non sequitur quite unworthy of true scholarship. Those who follow such a criterion in their handling of scriptural testimony should be reminded that the number of such unverified names and events has been sharply reduced by the archaeological discoveries of the last 150 years. Back in 1850, for example, many learned scholars were confidently denying the historicity of the Hittites and the Horites of Sargon II of Assyria and Belshazzar of Chaldean Babylon, or even of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet all of these have more recently become accepted by the scholarly world because of their appearance in ancient documents discovered within the last fifteen decades of archaeological investigation.
The skeptical approach toward the historical statements of Scripture has thus been proven to be completely unjustified. This furnishes strong evidence that the cynical suspicion toward the Bible’s accuracy is basically unfounded and that a far sounder approach—considering the excellent record of Bible history in the light of archaeological discovery—would be to assume that any biblical notice is accurate and dependable until proven false. Up until now, so far as this writer is aware, there is no biblical record that has ever been proven false by any evidence exhumed by the excavator’s spade.
It is not altogether certain that So (Sôʾ), the king mentioned in 2 Kings 17:4 as a potential ally of Hoshea of Samaria, during the final years of its existence in the 720s B.C., is the name of a king at all. The Hebrew text could be translated as follows: “He [i.e., ‘Hoshea’] sent to Sais [the name of the Egyptian capital city at that time], the king of Egypt.” During that time the king of Egypt was named Tefnakht (ca. 730–720) and he made his headquarters in Sais. (This is suggested by K.A. Kitchen in his article on “So” in J.D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1962], p. 1201.)
It is true that no mention of Zerah the Ethiopian (Heb., kûšî) has yet turned up in any ancient text outside the Bible itself (2 Chron. 14:9–15). Apparently he was not a reigning monarch of Egypt during the time of king Asa of Judah (910–869), since none of the Egyptian rulers bore such a name during that period. K.A. Kitchen (The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt [Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 1973]) estimates the date of the Battle of Mareshah to be about 897 B.C., which would have been the twenty-eighth year of Pharaoh Osorkon I (who was of a Libyan dynasty rather than a Cushite). But Kitchen (ibid., P. 309) says: “By 897 B.C. Osorkon I was already an old man, and so he may well have sent a general of Nubian [or Cushite] extraction to lead a force into Palestine.… However, Zerah proved no match for the Judean king, and so we have no trace of a triumphal relief of Osorkon to adorn anew the temple walls of Egypt”—as Osorkon’s father, Sheshonq (Shishak) had done back in the days of Rehoboam.
QUESTION - Who was King Asa in the Bible?
ANSWER - Asa was a descendant of David and the third king of the southern kingdom of Judah. He ruled for forty-one years (1 Kings 15:10) and “did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (2 Chronicles 14:2). The biblical account of Asa’s reign is detailed in 1 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 14–16.
Asa became king of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam of Israel’s reign (Jeroboam was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel after the kingdom divided). Asa’s father, Abijah, had done much evil in God’s sight and only ruled for three years. Asa’s grandfather, Rehoboam, had also done evil in God’s sight. But King Asa instituted reform; he removed the male shrine prostitutes, cut down Asherah poles, and even deposed his grandmother from her position as queen mother because of her involvement with Asherah worship (1 Kings 15:12–13; 2 Chronicles 14:3, 16). Asa also commanded his people to follow the Lord (2 Chronicles 14:4). First Kings 15:14 says, “Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life” (see also 2 Chronicles 15:17).
Judah was at peace with surrounding nations for ten years during Asa’s reign (2 Chronicles 14:1). Second Chronicles 15 describes a time when Azariah, a prophet, told Asa that, if he sought the Lord, God would be with him. This encouraged Asa to remove idols and to repair the altar at the Lord’s temple. He assembled the people together to sacrifice to the Lord: “They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 15:12–15).
Asa built up the fortified cities, and Judah enjoyed a time of prosperity (2 Chronicles 14:6–7). When Zerah the Cushite marched out to make war against Judah, Asa called on God for aid. “The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the Lord and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder” (2 Chronicles 14:12–13).
Unfortunately, in the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign, he made some mistakes. When King Baasha of Israel fortified Ramah so as to isolate the territory of Judah, Asa made a treaty with Ben-Hadad, king of Aram. The treaty was effective in stopping Israel, and the Judahites took supplies from Ramah and built up Geba and Mizpah, but the treaty with Aram was not pleasing to God (see 1 Kings 15:16–22; 2 Chronicles 16:1–10). Hanani, the seer, visited Asa and reminded him of the way God had conquered the Cushites. He chastised Asa for relying on Ben-Hadad instead of God. Rather than repent of his sin, however, Asa became angry; at the same time he began to oppress some of his people (2 Chronicles 16:10). For the remainder of Asa’s reign, his kingdom was at war.
In the thirty-ninth year of Asa’s reign, he got a severe foot disease, but he looked only to the physicians for help and not God (2 Chronicles 16:12). In the forty-first year of his reign, Asa died and was buried with great honor.
Despite a less-than-ideal end to his reign, Asa is considered a godly and good king. His son, Jehoshaphat, succeeded him and ruled for twenty-five years. Jehoshaphat was also a godly ruler, following in his father’s footsteps and seeking the Lord, yet he also made foolish alliances with those who did not follow the Lord (2 Chronicles 19:1–3; 20:31–33, 20:35–21:1). The life of King Asa is an example to all of us of how easy it is to drift away from the Lord. Asa began his reign with a strong commitment to God, but as years went by his dedication faltered, bringing unnecessary trouble.GotQuestions.org
D A Carson - THE REIGN OF KING ASA of Judah is instructive on several fronts, and will occupy our attention both today (2 Chron. 14–15) and tomorrow.
Asa’s long reign began with ten years of peace (14:1), “for the LORD gave him rest” (14:6). During this time Asa “commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands” (14:4). The people sought the Lord, “and built and prospered” (14:7). At the end of ten years, Asa faced the devastating power of the Cushite forces (from the upper Nile). Asa could not possibly have forgotten how his grandfather Rehoboam was subjugated by Shishak of Egypt (2 Chron. 12). Asa’s own conduct is exemplary, a foretaste of how his descendant Hezekiah would handle himself centuries later when he faced the Babylonians: he called on the Lord, frankly acknowledging his utter powerlessness against such forces. “Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you” (14:11). By whatever means (the text does not specify), the Lord answers, and Asa’s relatively tiny army crushes the Cushite host.
Enter Azariah son of Oded, a prophet with a message of encouragement for Asa and for all Judah and Benjamin (15:1–2). Reflecting on the terrible years of anarchy under the closing years of the judges and the opening years of the monarchy, when travel and trade were dangerous and when the Levites were not sufficiently disciplined and organized to teach the people, Azariah encourages king and people alike to seek the Lord, for “he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you” (15:2). Such a message strengthens Asa’s resolve. He proceeds against the remaining idolatry in the land and pours resources into the maintenance of the temple. This is the covenant community, and under Asa it begins to act like one. “They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side” (15:15) for a further quarter century, to the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign (15:19). The “high places” were not removed (15:17)—a residue of competition with the temple—but for the most part Asa was a straight arrow.
We should not be embarrassed by the blessing of God on integrity and righteousness. Righteousness exalts a nation: it lifts it up and strengthens its hand. This is not merely a sociological inference: it is the way God has structured things, the way he providentially rules. Inversely, corruption attracts the wrath of God, and sooner or later will bring a nation down. (BORROW For the Love of God, Combined Edition, Volumes One and Two)
James Smith - ASA’S FAITH AND FAILURE 2 CHRONICLES 14–16
“Belief’s fire, once in us,
Makes all else mere stuff to show itself;
We penetrate our life with such a glow
As fire lends wood and iron.”
In these chapters we have a faithful biography of Asa. The features of his character, both good and bad, are equally prominent. In the Bible there is no touching up of the negative to give the photograph a more pleasing appearance. As an historian the Spirit of God knows nothing of the art of flattery. As a man is in his heart so is he before God. The life of Asa is full of encouragement and warning to us. We observe his—
I. Good Character.
“Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God” (chap. 14:2). This was a noble start. He refused to be guided by the light of his own eyes, or by the opinions and prejudices of others. It is a good thing to remember that the eyes of the Lord are ever in search of those whose hearts are right with Him, that He might show Himself strong in their behalf (chap. 16:9). Right thinking will lead to right acting, and God’s strength is on the side of the righteous. Asa not only “broke down the images,” he also “commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers.” It is not enough to put away the wrong. We must seek the right. To give up our idols will avail us nothing unless we turn to God (1 Thess. 1:9).
II. Great Faith.
Asa’s faith was put to the test when his army of 580,000 was met by 1,000,000 Ethiopians and 300 chariots, but it stood the test. “Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many or with them that have no power. We rest on Thee, and in Thy Name we go against this multitude” (2Ch 14:11, 12). He looks upon the many as nothing, but the “help of God” as everything. To have God’s help is to get an almighty lift. The way to secure His help is to “rest on Him,” and go in His Name. This is the work of faith, and faith gains the day, for the “Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa.” He did it, for Asa rested on Him, and trusted in His Name to do it. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
III. Timely Warning.
“The Spirit of God came upon Azariah, and he went out to meet Asa, and said, Hear ye me, Asa, the Lord is with you while ye be with Him … Be ye strong therefore, … for your work shall be rewarded” (2Ch 15:1–7). This is emphatically a Spirit-inspired message. Why did it come to Asa immediately after his great victory of faith? Because the Spirit of God knew that at that moment there was a danger of him being lifted up with pride, and of falling back into a state of self-confidence. Oh, how anxious the Holy Spirit still is to maintain our faith in God, that His Name might be honoured by doing great things for us! “If thou wouldst believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God” (John 11:40). Take heed how you hear.
IV. Mighty Influence.
“They fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him” (2Ch 15:9). Many strangers from the kingdom of Israel joined the ranks of the king of Judah when they saw that God was on his side. Those who gain victories by faith are the most influential of all leaders. All are not born leaders. Many are ready to follow a tune who could never raise it. But the supernatural element must be self-evident in the divinely appointed leader. “My sheep,” says Christ, “hear My voice, and they follow Me.” Are there not many who would fall out of the kingdom of darkness to-day if they could but see that the Lord our God is with us? Not with us in theory, but in mighty conquering deeds. Asa’s influence was not only attractive, but it was most effectual in turning the whole heart of Judah unto the Lord (2Ch 15:12–14). He constrained them to seek the Lord until “He was found of them.” He used his great influence for the best of all purposes—to bring men to God.
V. Sudden Failure.
When “Baasha, king of Israel, came up against Judah … Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord, and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria” (2Ch 16:1–4). This was a bribe sent to the king of Syria to help him against the king of Judah. Has he forgotten already that Spirit-inspired message of Azariah? (2Ch 15:1, 2). Where is his faith now? He began in the spirit. Is he going to end in the flesh? His present unbelief leads him to desecrate the things of God (2Ch 15:18). When in his greater trouble with the Ethiopian host he cried unto the Lord and rested on Him, but this is not such a formidable affair, so he thinks to manage it by his own skill and stratagem. God is ignored, and Asa has fallen from grace. Our greatest dangers do not always lie in our greatest temptations, for when we are made conscious of our own helplessness in the face of a great trial, we fortify ourselves by leaning upon God. It is thinking ourselves wise enough and strong enough for the petty occasion that our greatest danger lies. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:6).
VI. Rebellious Attitude.
When Hanani the seer rebuked Asa “because he had relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord his God,” Asa, we read, “was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house, for he was in a rage with him because of this thing” (2Ch 16:7–10). It is an infallible sign of backsliding when a man gets into a rage at the seer of God because he tells him the truth. Casting the man of vision into the prison does not make the vision any the less true. The man of faith will always be a seer, while the man of unbelief will always be blind. Asa makes no attempt to bribe the seer, but he attempts to bridle his lips. Instead of repenting his folly in putting his trust in an arm of flesh, he seeks to justify himself, even to the condemnation of the warning voice of God. To get beyond repentance is to get beyond the hope of recovery. “If we sin we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous” (1 John 2:1).
VII. Miserable End.
“Asa … was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceedingly great, yet in his disease he sought not the Lord, but to the physicians” (2Ch 16:12). His sin lay not in seeking the help of the physicians, but in not seeking the help of the Lord. Had not his heart been diseased as well as his feet this sin would never have been laid to his charge. A physician may be a gift from God as much as a seer, but when we trust the gift instead of the Giver, we dishonour God, and expose ourselves to failure and death. It is a melancholy fact that this otherwise great and good man’s life is closed with these sorrowful words, “He sought not the Lord.” “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Remember the words of the son of Oded, “The Lord is with you while ye be with Him” (2Ch 15:2).
- good and right (KJV): 2Ch 31:20 1Ki 15:11,14 Lu 1:75
1 Kings 15:11-15 - Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father. 12 He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made. 13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not taken away; nevertheless the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the LORD all his days. 15 He brought into the house of the LORD the dedicated things of his father and his own dedicated things: silver and gold and utensils.
Asa did good and right in the sight of the LORD his God,
Iain Duguid: Asa’s doing “good and right in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 2; said also of Hezekiah, 2Ch 31:20) and his command to Judah “to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers [cf. 2Ch 15:12], and to keep the law and the commandment” (14:4) led to peace: “The kingdom had rest under him . . . for the Lord gave him peace” (vv. 5–6). Here, after reform, is return to the “rest” from attacks that was a feature of the reign of Solomon (1 Chron. 22:9). This follows the pattern of the period of the judges, in which there was always “rest” for some years after God delivered the people, until they again “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (e.g., Judg. 3:11–12; 3:30–4:1); an intentional parallel here with Judges is likely, given the later reminder of the turmoil of that time (2 Chron. 15:3–6).
Ron Daniel 14:2-5 Asa Did Good And Right - Asa did good and right in the sight of God. When he became king, the land was full of idolatry. Foreign altars, sacred pillars, Asherim, high places, and incense altars were prevalent. The Canaanites believed Asherah was the wife of BAH-al, and the goddess of fertility. The Asherim were wooden poles carved into her form. The pillars were similar, but were images of other gods. King Asa had these things torn down and removed. He also commanded the people to seek God and observe the Word. Now, these things are the keys to understand that what he did was "good and right." Asa was able to do these things because he was the king. If God has put you in a position of authority, either as a leader, a mom, or an employer, you have been placed there for a godly purpose, to do "good and right." In order to do good and right, you must do what is within the spectrum of your authority. Of course, it would be good if all your employees went to church, but it wouldn't be right for you to force them to go, because that wouldn't be within your lawful authority. So, good and right is doing what is within the spectrum of your authority. If you're the boss, you may only be able to forbid the playing of offensive music, or displaying of indecent pictures. You have the right to do that, and it would be good. I would encourage you to have a godly influence in the areas of your life that you have authority. Since Asa was the king, he had the authority to command all the people in the nation to seek the Lord and obey the Word. For him, that was good and right.
- For he took (KJV): De 7:5 1Ki 11:7,8 14:22-24
- the high places (KJV): 2Ch 15:17 Lev 26:30 1Ki 15:12-14
- brake (KJV): 2Ch 34:4 Ex 34:13 De 7:5,25
- images (KJV): Heb. statue, 2Ki 23:14 *marg:
- cut down (KJV): Judges 6:25-28 1Ki 11:7 2Ki 18:4 23:6,14
for - Term of explanation. What is writer explaining?
THOUGHT - How can we apply this to our life? Do you have any "high places," "Asherim poles", etc in your life? (Enabled by the Holy Spirit) Destroy them. Kill them so they do not kill you. (Ro 8:13+, Col 3:5+).
Guzik - 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.
“Sacred pillars were stone posts associated with Canaanite fertility rites. Wooden images were fashioned from live evergreen trees, which were regarded as a fertility symbol, since they retain their leaves throughout the year. Eventually, cut poles took the place of live trees, because they could be erected anywhere, even in places where trees did not grow.”
Asherim (0842) Asherah refers to "poles" representing and/or associated with the goddess Asherah - these poles could be cut down and burned (Jdg. 6:25-26). They were made (1Ki 14:15) and set up (1Ki 14:23) after being carved (2Ki 21:7). In many cases, Asherah clearly refers to the deity and not to an image or symbol (Judg. 3:7, 1 Ki. 18:19 and 2 Ki. 23:4).
NIDOTTE - (a) wooden cult-object; pole (Asherah pole); (b) goddess (direct reference not accepted by NIV). Derivation unknown. Ancient Near Eastern - Asherah (Aṯiratu/Ašratu/Ašertu) in the second millennium was worshiped from Asia Minor to Mesopotamia. In Ugar. myths she (ʾṯrt) was wife of El and “mother of the gods.” She was the goddess (Elat) of Tyre and Sidon. She is ʾṯirat ym: Asherah of the sea. Cf. Akk. ašratum, consort of Amurru (see Lipiński). In the first millennium references to her are found only on the fringes of the culture area, especially in Arabia. It is generally held that the Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qôm inscriptions refer to some cultic object associated with Yahweh, and not exclusively—as some still maintain—his consort. Outside of the possible references in the Bible, she is not well attested in the Syria/Palestine region. OT Most scholars accept that the word is used as the name of the goddess in 1 Kgs 15:13 (= 2 Chron 15:16); 1 Kgs 18:19; 2 Kgs 21:7; 23:4 (perhaps 7); and the textually doubtful Judg 3:7 (possibly Astarte). All references in the OT, whether to goddess or to the cult object, are uniformly antagonistic. The אֲשֵׁרָה (pole, Asherah) is also said to be used within the worship of Yahweh, but is never approved. The אֲשֵׁרָה was also at times described as being in the temple, either as a symbol in the worship or as the image of a “guest goddess” (2 Kgs 21:7; 23:6). If an image, she could only be the consort of Yahweh, even if Baal was also a “guest god” there. There is apparently no part of the Bible that accepts the poles (אֲשֵׁרִים) as legitimate cult objects, even though the pillars, מַצֵּבָה, are sometimes accepted (Gen 28:18; perhaps Hos 3:4). LXX translates this word as ἄλσος, sacred grove, which is also the meaning as understood in Jewish literature (cf. Abodah Zarah). This association was unchallenged (cf. AV) until the Babylonian evidence was studied (cf. RV, BDB).
W E Vine - ashērâ refers to a cultic object representing the presence of the Canaanite goddess Asherah. When the people of Israel entered Palestine, they were to have nothing to do with the idolatrous religions of its inhabitants. Rather, God said, "But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves [ʾashērîm]…" (Exod. 34:13). This cult object was manufactured from wood (Judg. 6:26; 1 Kings 14:15) and it could be burned (Deut. 12:3). Some scholars conclude that it was a sacred pole set up near an altar to Baal. Since there was only one goddess with this name, the plural (ʾashērîm) probably represents her several "poles." ʾashērâ signifies the name of the goddess herself: "Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves [ʾashērâ] four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table" (1 Kings 18:19). The Canaanites believed that ʾashērâ ruled the sea, was the mother of all the gods including Baal, and sometimes was his deadly enemy. Apparently, the mythology of Canaan maintained that ʾashērâ was the consort of Baal, who had displaced El as their highest god. Thus her sacred objects (poles) were immediately beside altars to Baal, and she was worshiped along with him. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words)
Victor Hamilton - To turn to the OT, there is no actual description of an Asherah there. Was it a tree, a pole, some kind of tree symbol, an image? It apparently was not a natural object but one that was constructed by man, an artifact. It was "made": 1 Kings 16:33; 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Kings 21:3; it was "set up": 2 Kings 17:10; 2 Chron. 33:19; Isaiah 27:9; it was "built": 1 Kings 14:23. Only once is the verb "to plant" used, Deut. 16:21, and here the meaning is "implant." The conclusion then is that in the OT Asherah stands for the Canaanite goddess represented by a carved wooden image implanted into the ground, usually adjacent to an altar dedicated to the god Baal and located on a hilltop under a leafy tree (Patai). It is in the period of the divided monarchy that the Asherah cult flourished both in Israel and Judah, though its existence before is documented by the command in Exodus 34:13, the prohibition of Deut. 16:21, and the incident at the threshold of Gideon's life of service to God, Judges 6:25ff. Rehoboam's career marks the beginning of this in Judah (1 Kings 14:23). In the north the cult received its greatest momentum from the incentive of Jezebel who was responsible for the presence of "four hundred prophets of Asherah" (1 Kings 18:19). Even a reform-minded king such as Asa (1 Kings 15:13) or later Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4) was unable to liquidate the movement. It was knocked down, but not knocked out. There was an almost inevitable resurrection even in the wake of reform. Compare son Manasseh's policy (2 Kings 21:7, even to the point of placing the image in the temple) on the heels of father Hezekiah's reform (2 Kings 18:4). Apostasy and idolatry just behind revival! What one generation attempts to get rid of a subsequent generation may trot back in, however reprehensible it may be. All too frequently this has been the pattern in the human race. (TWOT - Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)
QUESTION - What is an Asherah pole?
ANSWER - An Asherah pole was a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the pagan goddess Asherah, also known as Astarte. While the exact appearance of an Asherah pole is somewhat obscure, it is clear that the ancient Israelites, after entering the land of Canaan, were influenced by the pagan religion it represented.
In the Bible, Asherah poles were first mentioned in Exodus 34:13. God had just remade the Ten Commandment tablets, and Moses had requested God graciously forgive the Israelites for worshiping the golden calf. Verse 10 begins the covenant God made: if the Israelites obey Him, He will drive out the tribes living in Canaan. But they must cut down the Asherah poles. Deuteronomy 7:5 and 12:3 repeat the command nearly verbatim, while Deuteronomy 16:21 commands the Israelites not set up any wooden Asherah poles of their own. Two books later, In Judges 3:7, “The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.”
Gideon became the first to fight against the infestation of Asherah poles, although, in his fear, he chopped his father’s Asherah pole down at night (Judges 6:25-27). The books of 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles tell a long story of one king chopping down Asherah poles and another building them back up. King Manasseh of Judah went so far as to install a pole in the temple of the Lord (2 Kings 21:3, 7). In the midst of a great cleansing, King Josiah took out the Asherah pole and ground it to powder, further defiling it by spreading the dust over graves (2 Kings 23:6).
Most areas in that time and place had a god and goddess designated as responsible for the well-being of crops and livestock. Likely, in the constant evolution of pagan gods and goddesses, Asherah was one of the names given for a fertility goddess in the region. Asherah’s consorts varied, depending on the cultic beliefs of the people—sometimes Asherah was said to consort with the Canaanite creator-god, El; or with the god of fertility, Ba’al; or, horrifically, with the Lord God Himself. Asherah poles were wood poles (sometimes carved, sometimes not) or trees planted by the “high places” where pagan worshipers sacrificed, although the specific purpose of the poles is not clear. It’s interesting to note that, while the once-essential “Asherah” has morphed from goddess to wooden pole to obscurity, Father God, Creator of the universe, has never changed.GotQuestions.org
- Who was Ashtoreth? | GotQuestions.org
- Who was Asherah? | GotQuestions.org
- Why was the worship of Baal and Asherah a constant struggle for the Israelites? | GotQuestions.org
- commanded (KJV): 2Ch 29:21,27,30 30:12 33:16 34:32,33 Ge 18:19 Jos 24:15 1Sa 3:13 Ezr 10:7-12 Ne 13:9,19-22 Ps 101:2-8
- seek (KJV): 2Ch 11:16 30:19 Isa 55:6,7 Am 5:4
- to do (KJV): Ne 10:29-39 Ps 119:10
and commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment - This is not legalism, but is what Israel should have been doing instead of seeking the idols.
J.A. Thompson: There are nine references to seeking the Lord in the three chapters devoted to Asa (2Ch 14:3, 7 [twice]; 2Ch 15:2, 4, 12, 13, 15; 16:12). The phrase was a summary description of how one was to respond to God and thus defined one who was a member of the believing community. It involved more than a specific act of seeking God’s help and guidance but stood for one’s whole duty toward God (cf. 2Ch 14:7; 15:2, 12-13). According to 1 Chr 28:9 it is equivalent to knowing God and serving him “with wholehearted devotion.” Part of that attitude was the keeping of God’s laws and commands. S. Wagner notes that the concept is “so complex that very important consequences are causally connected with it”: success (2 Chr 17:5), peace (2 Chr 14:5- 6), and life (1 Chr 10:13-14; 2 Chr 15:13). He also explains that it denotes “the Chronicler’s typical ideal of piety.” (The New American Commentary – Volume 9 – 1, 2 Chronicles.)
- images (KJV): Heb. sun-images, 2Ch 34:4
1 Kings 15:12 He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.
Guzik - These state-sanctioned homosexual idol-temple prostitutes were introduced into Judah during the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:24). Asa’s father Abijam didn’t remove these perversions and idols, but King Asa did. 1 Kings 15 also tells us that he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. This demonstrated the thoroughness of Asa’s reforms. He was able to act righteously even when his family was wrong, in particular his own grandmother (called Michaiah in 2 Chronicles 13:2). “It is in a man’s own family circle that his faithfulness is put fairly to the test.” (Knapp)
2 Chronicles 15:17 But the high places were not removed from Israel; nevertheless Asa's heart was blameless all his days.
2 Chronicles 34:4 (JOSIAH'S REIGN) They tore down the altars of the Baals in his presence, and the incense altars that were high above them he chopped down; also the Asherim, the carved images and the molten images he broke in pieces and ground to powder and scattered it on the graves of those who had sacrificed to them.
He also removed the high places (bamah) and the incense altars (chamman) from all the cities of Judah. And the kingdom was undisturbed under him - Incense altars in the Septuagint is rendered " the altars and the idols," so clearly it relates to idolatry.
Iain Duguid: The removal of the “high places” appears to contradict 1 Kings 15:14 (“but the high places were not taken away”), but the Chronicler notes that the removal was from “all the cities of Judah” (2 Chron. 14:5) but not “out of Israel” (15:17). “Pillars” were standing stones representing Baal, and “Asherim” were wooden poles representing the goddess Asherah (cf. Deut. 7:5); the “incense altars” (2 Chron. 14:5; 34:4, 7; Lev. 26:30; Isa. 17:8) were perhaps small shrines.
Frederick Mabie: In addition to Asa’s efforts to facilitate Godwardness and adherence to divine truth (orthodoxy) summarized in v.4, Asa takes specific steps to remove places associated with syncretism (heterodoxy). The result of these efforts in covenantal obedience is God-given peace and stability within the southern kingdom. (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Revised Edition)
High places (01116) bamah Six activities seem to be related to high places -- burning of incense, sacrificing, eating of sacrificial meals, praying, prostitution, child sacrifice (cf. bama in the valley, Je 7:31). The first use in Lev 26:30 is God's declaration to Israel "I will destroy your high places." In Dt 32:13 speaking of Jacob (Israel) He declared "He made him ride on the high places of the earth," so clearly some uses of bamah are not negative. In a similar use God says Israel "you will tread upon their (Israel's enemies') high places." Another positive use is Psalm 18:33 where David declared Jehovah "makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me upon my high places." (cp Hab 3:19 - NET Note = David "compares his agility in battle to the ability of a deer to negotiate rugged, high terrain without falling or being injured.", cp Isa 58:14) We see he effect of Israel's high places on Jehovah in Ps 78:58 = "For they provoked Him with their high places and aroused His jealousy with their graven images."
A sad phrase that is repeated again and again (speaking of Israel) is "the high places were not taken away" (1Ki 15:14, 2Chr 15:17 = King Asa but notice he did remove some of them - 2Chr 14:3, 5, 1Ki 22:43, 2Chr 20:33 = King Jehoshaphat, 2Ki 12:3 = King Jehoash, 2Ki 14:4 = King Amaziah, 2Ki 15:4 = King Azariah, 2Ki 15:35 = King Jotham son of Uzziah and look what his son did in 2Ki 16:1-4!, 2Chr 20:33). In many of these passages the context was of a king doing "spiritual house cleaning" so to speak and yet still failing to remove the high places. Isn't sin that way? We confess one or two sins but we have a little pet sin (better a "venomous viper") that we just don't have the heart to kill! God grant us spiritual eyes and hearts to learn from Israel's mistakes. Amen! Some kings like Hezekiah (1Ki 18:4, 2Chr 31:1, Isa 36:7) and Josiah (2Ki 23:4,8, 13, 15, 19-20, 2Chr 34:3 cp prophecy about Josiah 300 years earlier = 1Ki 13:2) did destroy the high places, but in Hezekiah's case his own son Manasseh rebuilt them (2Ki 21:1-2, 3, 2Chr 33:3) and in Josiah's case the people rebuilt them!
We see the spiritual effect of high places on the people when King Jehoram (2Chr 21:5-10) "made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray." (2Chr 21:11)
One of the most incredible (and saddest) verses in the OT (in my opinion) is "Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon." (1Ki 11:7, cp 1Ki 3:3 = Solomon had "half a heart" for God!) This was too much for Jehovah and He declared that the 12 tribes would be split as a result of Solomon's sin! Sin is costly. You may think you are getting away with it, but you are not! You may think you are the wisest man in the world (like Solomon) but you are really the most foolish (as Solomon was)! There was one high place that was not idolatrous (at least not at the outset) - "Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place which was at Gibeon; for God's tent of meeting was there, which Moses the servant of the LORD had made in the wilderness." (2Chr 1:3, cp 1Chr 16:39-40, 21:29).
Incense altars (02553)(chamman) root refers to physical heat, i.e. warmth produced, by the sun, the human body, clothing, and an oven and is sometimes translated as a sun pillar because it was a pillar used in idolatrous worship of the solar deities. This noun represents small (2 Chron. 34:4) cultic objects used in pagan worship and is paralleled to ʾashērîm (Isaiah 17:8). Nabatean and Palmyra inscriptions substantiate the proffered identification. Gilbrant adds "Derived from the verb chāman (HED #2657), "to be hot," this masculine noun, refers to an "incense altar." It is often associated with the god Baal in Phoenician inscriptions. One Aramaic inscription reads, "this statue of the sun and this altar they made and consecrated to the sun" (Gesenius, 287f). Several of the biblical passages use chammān along with Asherah (Hebrew term for Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of fertility, the consort of Baal). This term's rendering in the Targumim and Peshitta (Syrian) varies considerably indicating difficulty in ascertaining its meaning. The Septuagint translates the noun variously "the wooden things" (Lev. 26:30), "images" (2 Chr. 34:4, 7; Ezek. 6:6), "elevated spots" (Ezek. 6:6) and "sacrificial altars" (cf. Nabatean and Palmyrene cognates; Ezek. 6:4). Chammān is often translated "sun pillar." According to 2 Chr. 34:4, it stood on (or above) the altar of Baal. It is conjectured that both "pillar" and "altar" are appropriate. The first describes the object and deity associated with it, the second its function as an altar (TDOT 4:475f). The solar cult incorporated the symbols of Baal and Astarte. King Josiah put an end to this cult (2 Ki. 23:1-25).
Chamman - 8v - incense altars(7), incense stands(1). Lev. 26:30; 2 Chr. 14:5; 2 Chr. 34:4; 2 Chr. 34:7; Isa. 17:8; Isa. 27:9; Ezek. 6:4; Ezek. 6:6
ANSWER - High places, very simply, were places of worship on elevated pieces of ground. High places were originally dedicated to idol worship (Numbers 33:52; Leviticus 26:30), especially among the Moabites (Isaiah 16:12). These shrines often included an altar and a sacred object such as a stone pillar or wooden pole in various shapes identified with the object of worship (animals, constellations, goddesses, and fertility deities). It seems that, at times, high places were set up in a spot that had been artificially elevated; 2 Kings 16:4 seems to differentiate the “high places” from the “hills.”
The Israelites, forever turning away from God, practiced Molech worship and built high places for Baal (Jeremiah 32:35). Although Solomon built the temple of God in Jerusalem, he later established idolatrous high places for his foreign wives outside of Jerusalem and worshiped with them, causing him the loss of the kingdom (1 Kings 11:11). The people were still sacrificing at the pagan high places before the temple was built, and Solomon joined them. After the Lord appeared to him in a dream at Gibeon, the king returned to Jerusalem and sacrificed offerings; however, he continued to waver between the two places of worship.
Not all high places were dedicated to idol worship. They played a major role in Israelite worship, and the earliest biblical mention of a site of worship, later called a “high place,” is found in Genesis 12:6–8 where Abram built altars to the Lord at Shechem and Hebron. Abraham built an altar in the region of Moriah and was willing to sacrifice his son there (Genesis 22:1–2). This site is traditionally believed to be the same high place where the temple of Jerusalem was built. Jacob set up a stone pillar to the Lord at Bethel (Genesis 28:18–19), and Moses met God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1–3).
Joshua set up stone pillars after crossing the Jordan (Joshua 4:20) and considered this a high place of worship because the Israelites “came up from” the Jordan onto higher ground. The high places were visited regularly by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 7:16). High places as sites of Canaanite idol worship (Judges 3:19) extended into the period of Elijah (1 Kings 18:16–40). God would name only one high place where sacrifice was authorized, and that was the temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). God commanded that all other high places be destroyed. King Josiah destroyed them in 2 Kings 22—23.GotQuestions.org
- And he built (KJV): 2Ch 8:2-6 11:5-12
- for the land (KJV): Judges 3:11,30 5:31 1Ki 5:4 1Ch 22:9
- the Lord (KJV): 2Ch 15:15 Jos 23:1 Job 34:29 Ps 46:9
He built fortified cities in Judah, since the land was undisturbed, and there was no one at war with him during those years, because the LORD had given him rest - The question is during what years? In context, it was when Asa "cleaned house" and called for worship of Yahweh, the One True God!
John Trapp - “Though he had no war, yet he provided for it. So did our Queen Elizabeth; and so must every Christian soldier.”
Raymond Dillard: The Chronicler commonly reports on the building projects of godly kings; he makes no mention of such projects in his account of the reigns of kings under divine censure. These two verses are a fairly direct articulation of his historiographical concepts: obedience brings peace (“no wars . . . for Yahweh had given him rest”; “we sought him and he has given us rest”) and the prosperity to build (“they built and prospered”). (BORROW 2 Chronicles)
Ron Daniel - 14:6-7 The Lord Had Given Him Rest - The kingdom was undisturbed for a period of ten years. It would have been very tempting to rest easy. To focus on entertainment and relaxation. But instead, King Asa used that time to build fortified cities surrounded by walls and gates. Asa was building his defenses in times of rest. Is he being paranoid? Not at all! - Farmers work hard in the springtime to insure that we'll have food in the winter. - Investors build up their savings for times to insure they'll have reserves when the market dips. - Even ants at harvest time aren't fooled by the massive amounts of grain surrounding them (Prov. 6:6-8). They store much of it away in anticipation of the freeze to come. How foolish, then, that we don't build our spiritual defenses in times of peace! The famous passage of spiritual warfare in Ephesians six warns us to do this, (though most people miss it by jumping ahead to the description of the armor): Eph. 6:13 ...take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. When are we to take up the armor? Now. When are we going to need to use it? In the evil day. "Well, can't I wait to take it up then?" No. Why do so many Christians bail out on church when life is easy, and only return when things get bad? Why do so many believers stop reading their Bibles, and only open them again when life throws them a curve? Why is it that we stop praying until we fall into a pit? Saints, we need to build up our defenses in times of rest in anticipation of the difficulties ahead.
2 Chronicles 14:7 For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.
- Therefore (KJV): 2Ch 32:5 Ac 9:31
- while the land (KJV): Joh 9:4 12:35,36 Heb 3:13-15
- we have sought (KJV): 2Ch 14:4 1Ch 28:9 Ps 105:3,4 Jer 29:12-14 1Pe 3:12
- and he hath given (KJV): 2Ch 14:6 Jos 23:1 Mt 11:28,29
For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered - Asa clearly understand the words of the old hymn, Trust and Obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.
Guzik - The Chronicler includes this account, not previously recorded in 1 Kings, to encourage the people in his own day who had been allowed to rebuild the destroyed city of Jerusalem after its fall to the Babylonians.
- out of Judah (KJV): 2Ch 11:1 13:3 17:14-19 25:5
ASA' ARMY OF
Now Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, bearing large shields and spears, and 280,000 from Benjamin, bearing shields and wielding bows; all of them were valiant warriors.
Ron Daniel - 14:8-10 War With Ethiopia - Sure enough, war was coming. In this case, it came from ZEH-rakh the Ethiopian, with an army more than three times the size of King Asa's. The battle lines were drawn in the valley of Tsef-AW-thaw at Mar-ay-SHAW. For you geography buffs, this is a valley about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem. King Asa was hopelessly outnumbered. A million-man army had come up from the African Continent, and was just miles from his capital city. What would he do?
- Zerah (KJV): 2Ch 12:2,3 16:8 2Ki 19:9 Isa 8:9,10 Eze 30:5 Rev 16:14
- Mareshah (KJV): Jos 15:44 Mic 1:15
Now Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and he came to Mareshah.
Martin Selman: Normally in the Bible Cush is the area south of Egypt, i.e. Sudan (cf. GNB; rather than modern Ethiopia, cf. NRSV, RSV). Mention of Gerar (vv. 13-14), however, just across the Judean-Philistine border, may indicate a more local bedouin conflict, perhaps supported by the parallel between “Cushan” and Midian (Hab. 3:7). The African interpretation is more likely, however, for the following reasons. The Cushites are associated with the Libyans (2 Ch. 16:8, cf. 12:3), local bedouin tribes are unlikely to have owned 300 chariots when Judah had none (v. 9), and precise geographical conclusions should not be drawn on the basis of a single example of prophetic poetry, especially as Gerar is west of Judah and Midian is to the south. (BORROW 2 Chronicles : a commentary)
Easton's Bible Dictionary - ZERAH—sunrise. (1.) An “Ethiopian,” probably Osorkon II., the successor of Shishak on the throne of Egypt. With an enormous army, the largest we read of in Scripture, he invaded the kingdom of Judah in the days of Asa (2 Chr. 14:9–15). He reached Zephathah, and there encountered the army of Asa. This is the only instance “in all the annals of Judah of a victorious encounter in the field with a first-class heathen power in full force.” The Egyptian host was utterly routed, and the Hebrews gathered “exceeding much spoil.” Three hundred years elapsed before another Egyptian army, that of Necho (B.C. 609), came up against Jerusalem. (SEE ISBE ARTICLE ON ZERAH THE ETHIOPIAN)
Norman Geisler - 2 CHRONICLES 14:9—How can this verse make reference to Zerah the Ethiopian, when there are no historical records of such a person?
PROBLEM: When Asa was king in Judah, he was confronted by Zerah the Ethiopian who marshalled an army of 1 million men. However, there are no historical records of such a person. Is this an error?
SOLUTION: This is not an error. It is true that until now no extra-biblical records of Zerah the Ethiopian have been found. However, simply because extra-biblical records of Zerah have not been discovered does not mean the biblical record is in error. To doubt the historical accuracy of the Bible on the basis of the silence of extra-biblical sources is to engage in faulty reasoning. Through the years, critics have doubted the existence of many historical figures of the Bible, only to be refuted by additional historical and archaeological discoveries (e.g., the existence of the Hittites and of Sodom and Gomorrah). (When Critics Ask)
- Zephathah (KJV): Jos 19:4 Judges 1:17, Zephath
So Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up in battle formation in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah - Mareshah halfway between Gaza and Jerusalem and which had fortified by King Rehoboam (see 2Ch 11:8).
Guzik makes an excellent point - Asa could know that God’s power was not limited because the army of Judah was smaller by what God did for Judah under the reign of Abijah, his father (2 Chronicles 13:3).
J. Barton Payne: This was one of the cities Rehoboam had fortified in anticipation of just such an attack (11:9).
2 Chronicles 14:11 Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
- cried unto (KJV): 2Ch 13:14 18:31 32:20 Ex 14:10 1Ch 5:20 Ps 18:6 22:5 34:6 50:15 Ps 91:15 120:1 Ac 2:21
- nothing (KJV): Lev 26:8 De 32:30 Judges 7:7 1Sa 14:6 1Ki 20:27-30 Am 5:9 2Co 12:9,10
- them that (KJV): 2Ch 20:12 De 32:36 Isa 40:29-31
- rest on thee (KJV): 2Ch 32:8 1Sa 17:35,36 Ps 37:5 Pr 18:10 Isa 26:3,4 41:10-14 Joh 14:1,27 Ro 8:31
- in thy name (KJV): 2Ch 13:12,18 1Sa 17:45,46 Ps 20:5,7 Isa 26:13 Ac 3:16
- man (KJV): or, mortal man, De 32:27 Jos 7:8,9 1Sa 2:9 Ps 9:19 79:9,10 Isa 2:22 Jer 1:19 Zec 2:8 Mt 16:18 Ac 9:4
1 Samuel 14:6 Then Jonathan said to the young man who was carrying his armor, “Come and let us cross over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; perhaps the LORD will work for us, for the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”
2 Chronicles 6:34-35 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
PRAYER OF FAITH
Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, “LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You
“Remind God of His entire responsibility.”
-- F B Meyer
Andrew Hill: As in the report of Abijah’s war with Jeroboam (ch. 13), Yahweh-war motifs flavor this story: the overwhelming numbers of the enemy army (14:9; cf. 13:3), a pre-battle speech or prayer invoking God to be a warrior for Israel (14:11–12; cf. 13:5–11), Yahweh’s striking down the enemy for the king of Judah (14:12–13; cf. 13:15–16), and the fear of Yahweh falling on the enemy (14:13; cf. 13:16). The Chronicler includes this story of Judah’s victory over Zerah and the Cushites as evidence of the king’s faithfulness and reliance on God. Despite Asa’s defensive strategy and military resources (14:7–8), he acknowledges powerlessness before the foe and pleads for divine deliverance (14:11). McConville (BORROW I & II Chronicles) observes that events like this one are recorded in the Bible “precisely to encourage faith that can hold in the face of such (overwhelming) odds.” Allen (BORROW 1, 2 Chronicles) goes further, first by outlining the beautiful structure of Asa’s prayer, “beginning and ending with appeals to God and setting human faith in the middle, surrounded by the protective power of the covenant God,” and second by noting that “God’s help is triggered by prayer, prayer which admits to human helplessness and lays claim to God’s patronage.” Such prayer is exemplary, whether for the Chronicler’s time or our own (The NIV Application Commentary – 1 & 2 Chronicles.)
J.A. Thompson: Asa’s prayer is appropriate for the occasion and in keeping with Solomon’s advice. The Lord is called upon as the one who could help the powerless against the mighty. The literal Hebrew reads, “It is not with you to help between the great and him that has no strength.” The meaning is that the strong as well as the weak need the Lord’s assistance to gain victory. In this situation the appeal is to the Lord to help the weak. Asa’s appeal was that as he relied on the Lord and in the Lord’s name had come against the vast army of the Cushites, so may the Lord not allow people to prevail against him (the Lord). This is the standard theological approach of the Chronicler. The war was a holy war, and the victory must have been assured when the Lord’s people relied on him however small Israel’s forces may have been.
Ron Daniel - 14:11-15 No One Besides You To Help. Asa knew that his only hope in this situation was the Lord. He cried out to God and put his trust in Him. It is examples like this that remind us to do the same when we are facing insurmountable odds. David told himself,
Psa. 62:5-6 My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
And this is the promise we have from God when we are walking in His ways:
Lev. 26:3 "If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out...
Lev. 26:8 five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword."
The unfaithful may be dropping like flies all around you, but if you stick close to the Lord, then you will be the one described in Psalm 91...
Psa. 91:1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty
Psa. 91:7 A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you.
As the Lord does for the faithful that cry out to Him, He delivered Judah from the Ethiopians, and gave them the complete victory. They actually chased them down to Gher-AWR, more than 25 miles away - in Philistine territory.
Help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. —2 Chronicles 14:11
Today's Scripture: 2 Chronicles 14:1-11
An 85-year-old woman, all alone in a convent, got trapped inside an elevator for 4 nights and 3 days. Fortunately, she had a jar of water, some celery sticks, and a few cough drops. After she tried unsuccessfully to open the elevator doors and get a cell phone signal, she decided to turn to God in prayer. “It was either panic or pray,” she later told CNN. In her distress, she relied on God and waited till she was rescued.
Asa was also faced with the options of panic or pray (2 Chron. 14). He was attacked by an Ethiopian army of a million men. But as he faced this huge fighting force, instead of relying on military strategy or cowering in dread, he turned to the Lord in urgent prayer. In a powerful and humble prayer, Asa confessed his total dependence on Him, asked for help, and appealed to the Lord to protect His own name: “Help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude” (v.11). The Lord responded to Asa’s prayer, and he won the victory over the Ethiopian army.
When we are faced with tight spots, meager resources, a vast army of problems, or seemingly dead-end solutions, let’s not panic but instead turn to God who fights for His people and gives them victory. By: Marvin Williams (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)
In my distress, anxiety, and fear, Lord, teach me to rely on You and draw close to You. Then I know I’ll be able to stand strong in Your power and won’t be dependent on my own strength.
Prayer is the bridge between panic and peace.
Help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You. —2 Chronicles 14:11
Today's Scripture: 2 Chronicles 16:1-13
An ancient Indonesian fable tells of a turtle that could fly. He would hold on to a stick with his mouth as it was carried by geese. When the turtle heard the onlookers on the ground saying, “Aren’t those geese brilliant!” his pride was so hurt that he shouted, “It was my idea!” Of course he lost his grip. His pride became his downfall.
For 41 years, Asa was a strong and humble king. He brought peace and prosperity to the kingdom of Judah. During the early years of Asa’s reign he prayed, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You” (2 Chronicles 14:11).
But toward the end of his reign, when the army of the northern kingdom of Israel confronted him, Asa sought help from the king of Syria instead of from God. Because of his foolishness, his rule weakened and his nation experienced wars. What went wrong? Proud of past achievements, Asa had forgotten to depend on the Lord, so the Lord was no longer showing “Himself strong” on Asa’s behalf (16:9).
God is still looking for those who will allow Him to show Himself strong in their lives. Living a humble, God-dependent life is truly a brilliant idea! By: Albert Lee (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)
We must depend upon our God
With deep humility,
Lest pride should rob us of His strength
And bring futility.
—D. De Haan
No one is stronger than the one who depends on God.
Arnot on the phrase We rest on thee.
The ship that is anchored is sensitive to every change of wind or tide, and ever turns sharply around to meet and resist the stream, from what direction soever it may flow. A ship is safest with her head to the sea and the tempest. In great storms the safety of all often depends on the skill with which the sailors can keep her head to the rolling breakers. Life and death have sometimes hung for a day and a night in the balance, whether the weary steersman could keep her head to the storm until the storm should cease. Even a single wave allowed to strike her on the broadside might send all to the bottom. But to keep the ship in the attitude of safety, there is no effort and no art equal to the anchor. As soon as the anchor feels the ground, the vessel that had been drifting broadside, is brought up, and turns to the waves a sharp prow that cleaves them in two and sends them harmless along the sides. Watch from a height any group of ships that may be lying in an open roadstead. At night when you retire they all point westward; in the morning they are all looking to the east. Each ship has infallibly felt the first veering of the wind or water, and instantly veered in the requisite direction, so that neither wind nor wave has ever been able to strike her on the broadside. Thereby hangs the safety of the ship. Ships not at anchor do not turn and face the foe. The ship that is left loose will be caught by a gust on her side, and easily thrown over. As with ships, so with souls.
F B Meyer - Lord, there is none beside Thee to help. (R. V.)
Remind God of His entire responsibility.— “There is none beside Thee to help.” The odds against Asa were enormous. There was a million of men in arms against him, beside three hundred chariots. It seemed impossible to hold his own against that vast multitude. There were no allies who would come to his help: his only hope therefore was in God. There was none beside to help. It may be that your difficulties have been allowed to come to so alarming a pitch, that you may be compelled to renounce all creature aid, to which in lesser trials you have had recourse, and cast yourself back on your Almighty Friend.
Put God between yourself and the foe.— To Asa’s faith, Jehovah seemed to stand between the might of Zerah and himself, as one who had no strength. Nor was he mistaken. We are told that the Ethiopians were destroyed before the Lord and before His host, as though celestial combatants flung themselves against the foe in Israel’s behalf, and put the large host to rout, so that Israel had only to follow up and gather the spoil. Our God is Jehovah of Hosts, who can summon unexpected reinforcements at any moment to the aid of His people. Believe that He is there between you and your difficulty, and what baffles you will flee before Him, as clouds before the gale.
Identify your cause with His.— “In Thy name are we come…. Let not man prevail against Thee.” It is a great matter when a small State is so identified with a strong European power, as that an insult to one of its officials is deemed a causs belli by the more powerful Government; and whenever we are so delivered from selfish aims, as to be able to show that our cause and God’s are one, we are invincible.
John Kitto - The Way of Help—II Chronicles 14:11 - Daily Bible Illustrations
O Lord, Thou art our God, let not man prevail against Thee!” These were the words with which king Asa, full of faith, marched against the Cushite host. Great words they are, and deserve to be well considered. Observe the root of the idea from which they spring. At the first view it might seem more obvious and natural to say, “Let not man prevail against us;” but he says, “Let not man prevail against Thee.” This is a bold word. It assumes that the Lord’s cause and theirs was so much identified, his honor so much involved in theirs in this matter, that man’s triumph over them would be triumph over him—would compromise the glory of his great name even more than it would compromise theirs. If this notion rested not on strong foundations, it were egregious presumption; but if it were well founded, it was faith. On what, then, was it founded? We are left at no loss in this matter, for Asa himself declares the grounds of this strong, we may almost say daring, claim upon the Lord’s assistance.
It was the conviction of his utter helplessness, and therefore of the absolute necessity of the Lord’s deliverance, and that all the glory must therefore be his. “Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power. Help us, O Lord our God.” This is something. This goes a great way. It is indispensable that we should feel our own helplessness, in order to estimate at its true value the help that maybe given to us. The claim to help is not with him who thinketh that he has need of nothing, or only of a little help just to make out the “possible insufficiency of his own resources; but with him who feels that he has need of everything—that in himself he has no resources whatever—no works, no worthiness, no strength that may, so to speak, somewhat help the Lord to help him—that old delusion, that old snare, which has in all time kept so many souls from the help they might else have had from God. See that man drowning in the waters, and see that other coming forth from the shore with a strong stroke to save him. See the vain efforts of the first to help himself. He kicks, he struggles, be beats the waters, he rears aloft his arms, he will not be still. He thinks he is helping himself; but all the while he is only doing his utmost to aid his own submersion. If he would be but quiet, in the conviction of the utter impotency of all such attempts to save himself, he might float quietly upon the water until the deliverer came near.544 He is near—he grasps the sufferer by the hair, he holds his head above the wave, and propels him gently on towards the shore. Let not the thought of helping his helper cross his mind, or he is again undone. Let him lie still in the hands of his preserver—let him have faith in his power to save, and that strong arm shall bear him triumphantly through; but if he yet struggles to help himself, and lifts himself up to catch convulsively at every floating straw, there is no help for him—down he goes.
Asa knew he was in himself helpless, and he knew where to seek an all-sufficient Helper, and he desired to know no more. In this he rested—“We rest on Thee.” This resting on God was both a cause and an effect. That he was enabled so to rest with undisturbed mind on God, was one of the grounds on which he expected help—“for we rest on Thee;” and so far it was a cause. But the capacity of enjoying this rest, in leaning so entirely upon the Lord, was an inevitable effect of the previous convictions which he had reached of his own helplessness, and of the boundless sufficiency of his Helper. These things belong to the life of faith, and are essentially the same, whether they have regard to our defence against the innumerable adversaries who disturb or threaten our bodily repose—or the spiritual enemies, within us and without us, that bring danger to our souls. In either case, perfect love to God, and perfect trust in Him, which trust is essential to love, gives REST—casts out all fear and doubt. “He that feareth is not made perfect in love;” and therefore he has not yet attained to perfect rest. To enjoy this rest, which is the result of perfect love and perfect faith, is a state of inconceivable blessedness, infinitely greater than that of those whom the multitude look up to with envy and admiration. It is the state of the man who can say, in the quaint language of an old poet—
“The God that made my heart is He alone
That of himself both can and will
Give rest unto my thoughts, and fill
Them full of all content and quietness;
That so I may possess
My soul in patience,
Until He find it time to call me hence.
In Thee, as in my centre, shall
The lines of all my longings fall,
To Thee, as to mine anchor, surely tied,
My strip shall safely ride.
On Thee, as on my bed
Of soft repose, I’ll rest my weary head.
Thou, Thou alone, shall be my whole desire
I’ll nothing else require
But Thee, or for thy sake.
In Thee I’ll sleep secure; and, when I wake,
Thy glorious face shall satisfy
The longing of my looking eye.
I’ll roll myself on Thee, as on my rock,
When threatening dangers mock.”—SCHOOL OF THE HEART.
A man who has realized these convictions, and who has attained that state of rest, of reliance, of perfect freedom from all anxiety and care, who is fully clad in the armor of God—his hands are fit for war and his fingers for fight—he goes forth conquering and to conquer all the enemies of his peace, as well those who lurk in the corners of the soul’s dark cottage, as those that beset him round in his open walk, and prowl, and grin, and gibber about his path. He is fearless. Nothing can harm him; for he has that peace with him which all the world’s armies could not wrest from him, which the world’s terrors cannot disturb, which its foul breath cannot sully, and which the raging of its utmost storms can as little ruffle, as it can the “sea of glass” before the throne of God.
It is because that Asa had attained to the state of “rest on God,” by which all these privileges became his—that he could say, “In thy name we go against this multitude.” This was his might. In this might he went, and he overcame. And it was because, feeling his own weakness, knowing where help was to be found, relying, resting upon that help and in that reliance, and in no other, going forth to oppose the Cushean host, that he was entitled and authorized to regard the cause as the Lord’s own, and to say—“O Lord, Thou art our God, let not man prevail against THEE.”
Streams in the Desert - “Lord, there is none beside thee to help.” (2 Chron. 14:11, R. V.)
REMIND God of His entire responsibility. “There is none beside thee to help.” The odds against Asa were enormous. There was a million of men in arms against him, besides three hundred chariots. It seemed impossible to hold his own against that vast multitude. There were no allies who would come to his help; his only hope, therefore, was in God. It may be that your difficulties have been allowed to come to so alarming a pitch that you may be compelled to renounce all creature aid, to which in lesser trials you have had recourse, and cast yourself back on your Almighty Friend.
Put God between yourself and the foe. To Asa’s faith, Jehovah seemed to stand between the might of Zerah and himself, as one who had no strength. Nor was he mistaken. We are told that the Ethiopians were destroyed before the Lord and before His host, as though celestial combatants flung themselves against the foe in Israel’s behalf, and put the large host to rout, so that Israel had only to follow up and gather the spoil. Our God is Jehovah of hosts, who can summon unexpected reinforcements at any moment to aid His people. Believe that He is there between you and your difficulty, and what baffles you will flee before Him, as clouds before the gale.—F. B. Meyer.
“When nothing whereon to lean remains,
When strongholds crumble to dust;
When nothing is sure but that God still reigns,
That is just the time to trust.
“’Tis better to walk by faith than sight,
In this path of yours and mine;
And the pitch-black night, when there’s no outer light
Is the time for faith to shine.”
Abraham believed God, and said to sight, “Stand back!” and to the laws of nature, “Hold your peace!” and to a misgiving heart, “Silence, thou lying tempter!” He believed God.—Joseph Parker.
- 2Ch 13:15 20:22 Ex 14:25 De 28:7 32:39 Jos 10:10 Ps 60:12 Ps 136:17,18 1Co 9:26 15:57
So the LORD routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled - In short they re-traced their route (pun intended). Supernatural deliverance in the midst of battle is seen several times in 2 Chronicles (2Ch 13:14–18; 14:11–12; 18:31; 20:1ff; 2Ch 32:20–22).
Paul Apple - When God goes up against His enemies, there are no buzzer beaters, no close calls, no tight skirmishes. He utterly vanquishes those who oppose Him. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord! There’s Victory in Jesus!
G Campbell Morgan - In the story of the reign of Asa, we find a break in the continuity of naughtiness which so persistently characterized the succession of kings. His was a long reign, and though the reforms he instituted were not as thorough as some which were carried out by subsequent kings, he yet gave the nation some glimpses of a better order. He commenced by breaking down false worship so far as he was able, and by insisting on the observance of the Divine law. As a result, the land had "quiet before him." He took advantage of the peaceful years to build and wall the cities. Then suddenly came the Ethiopian invasion in great strength threatening the prosperity, and indeed the very life, of the nation. The prayer of Ma, as recorded in this chapter, is a model of simple directness. Its strength lay in the loyalty of this man to his God, and in his perfect confidence in Him. The answer was immediate. Through the hosts of Judah, God operated for the discomfiture and defeat of the invaders. How unfailingly the patience of God is manifested in these records! The repetition of this fact in notes of exposition, becomes almost monotonous. Yet it is glorious monotony, like to that of the perfect music of such as with veiled faces ceaselessly chant the story of His holiness and His love. The condition of the people of Judah at this time was a very sad one. Yet immediately man or nation turned to God with repentance, and in need, He responded with pardon and deliverance.
2 Chronicles 14:13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar; and so many Ethiopians fell that they could not recover, for they were shattered before the LORD and before His army. And they carried away very much plunder.
- Gerar (KJV): 2Ch 14:14 Ge 10:1,19 20:1 26:1
- destroyed (KJV): Heb. broken
- before the Lord (KJV): Job 6:9 9:4 2Th 1:9
- his host (KJV): Jos 5:14 1Sa 25:28 1Ch 12:22 Ps 108:11
Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar; and so many Ethiopians fell that they could not recover, for they were shattered before the LORD and before His army. And they carried away very much plunder.
Adam Clarke - “The spoil was immense, because the multitude was prodigious, indeed almost incredible; a million of men in one place is almost too much for the mind to conceive, but there may be some mistake in the numerals; it is evident from the whole account that the number was vast and the spoil great.”
GERAR [ISBE] - ge'-rar (gerar, "circle," "region"; Gerara): A town in the Philistine plain South of Gaza (Gen 10:19), where both Abraham and Isaac ' sojourned for a time, and where they came into contact with Abimelech, king of Gerar (Gen 20 and 26, passim). The place has not been fully identified, but the site is probably in one of the branches of Wady Sheri`a, at a place called Um Jerrar, near the coast Southwest of Gaza and 9 miles from it (SWP, III, 389-90). The site answers fairly well to the statements of Eusebius and Jerome, Eusebius, Onomasticon, that it was 25 (Roman) miles South of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin). It is actually 30 English miles, but distances were not very accurately determined in early times. Gerar was known in the first 5 centuries AD, when it was the seat of a bishopric, and its bishop, Marcian, attended the Council of Chalcedon 451 AD, It was also the seat of a monastery.
The statements in Gen indicate that Gerar belonged to the Philistines, and we are led to infer that Abimelech was king of that people, but it is quite certain that they did not occupy this region until after the time of Abraham, in fact only a short time before the Exodus. It is probable, however, that the writer of Gen would refer to the country as it was known in his day. The town certainly existed in the Philistine period, for it is mentioned in connection with Asa, who defeated the Ethiopian host under Zerar and pursued them in their flight unto Gerar (2 Ch 14:13). Besides the locality of Um Jerrar, another place in the vicinity known as Jurf el-Jerrar has been thought by some to be the site of Gerar. Jerrar in Arabic means "jars," and it is doubtful whether it represents the Hebrew Gerar. Jurf means usually "steep declivity," or "precipice," and at the place mentioned many fragments of pottery were found, but this does not necessarily indicate the site of an ancient town. The site of Gerar is discussed in Thomson's LB, I, 196-99 (ed. 1882); Robinson's BR, II, 43-44; PEFS, 1871, 84; 1875, 162-64; 1881, 38. H. Porter
- the fear (KJV): 2Ch 17:10 20:29 Ge 35:5 De 2:25 Jos 2:9-11,24 5:1 1Sa 14:15 2Ki 7:6 Job 15:21 Ps 48:5,6 Isa 31:9
- exceeding (KJV): 2Ch 20:25 Judges 14:19 2Ki 7:7,8,16 Ps 68:12 Isa 33:23 Ro 8:37
They destroyed all the cities around Gerar, for the dread of the LORD had fallen on them; and they despoiled all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.
- he tents of cattle (KJV): 1Ch 4:41
- carried away (KJV): Nu 31:9,30-47 1Sa 30:20 1Ch 5:21
They also struck down those who owned livestock, and they carried away large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
Iain Duguid: “Then they returned to Jerusalem” could be simply a matter-of-fact statement, but Chronicles’ focus on Jerusalem and the temple points greater significance. The phrase functions as transition to the next stage, centering on the temple. Immediately following is an account of further reform and a gathering of all the people in worship, with sacrifices from the “spoil” (14:13; 15:11) and a “covenant” ceremony that concluded with “rejoicing” and a recognition that “the Lord gave them rest all around” (15:15).
Mark Boda: In the Chronicler’s account, the attack of an enemy is usually a sign of God’s discipline awakening the people to their need for renewal. In the Chronicler’s pattern the repentance of the people leads to God’s miraculous deliverance of his people. In this case, however, God’s deliverance was provided without any reference to repentance and was followed by a prophetic call to renewal. Thus, deliverance rather than discipline served as a motivation for renewal. This may be linked in the present case to the absence of a clear link between sin and the attack of the enemy or to the exemplary character of Asa’s cry to the Lord in 14:11, which was enough to secure deliverance in the moment of crisis. However, it is possible that the Chronicler’s program was multidimensional, in this case providing a model for repentance that followed the gracious intervention of God rather than preceded it. Such a model would have resonated with the Persian-period community, which had experienced the grace of God and was being called to an even deeper level of purity and commitment.
NOTE: SOME CAN BE BORROWED FROM ARCHIVE.ORG
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