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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 14

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

B. Abijah 13:1-14:1

Abijah generally did not please God (1 Kings 15:3). However there was the instance the Chronicler recorded in which he spoke out in favor of the temple, the priests, and the Levites against the apostate Jeroboam I and Israel.

This is the only place in Chronicles where the writer linked the reigns of the southern and northern kings (2 Chronicles 13:1-2). He may have done this to identify the occasion on which Abijah made his speech, since he and Jeroboam were constantly fighting. Abijah took the offensive this time, even though Jeroboam’s army outnumbered his two soldiers to one (2 Chronicles 13:3). Since the town of Zemaraim lay within the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), this battle must have taken place near the border between Ephraim (Israel) and Judah. Abijah charged Israel with fighting against Yahweh, since the Judahites had remained faithful to Him, evidenced by their following the proper worship requirements (2 Chronicles 13:11-12). Judah won because the people relied on Yahweh (2 Chronicles 13:15; 2 Chronicles 13:18).

"It is hard to avoid the thought that, in biblical theology, weakness is a positive advantage, because it is a prerequisite of reliance (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10)." [Note: McConville, p. 165.]

The reference to a "covenant of salt" (2 Chronicles 13:5) suggests the connection between the ratification of a treaty and a meal (Exodus 24:11) at which salt provided the seasoning (cf. Leviticus 2:13). Normally participants sealed covenants by eating a meal together. What is more important, salt as a preservative symbolized the covenant-makers’ hope that their agreement would last a long time (cf. Numbers 18:19). [Note: The New Bible Dictionary, 1962 ed., s.v. "Salt," by R. K. Harrison.]

The real difference between the Southern and Northern Kingdoms was theological. Judah was relying on what God had done, but Israel was trusting in what she could do. The temple site and ritual were God’s provision for His people (cf. Genesis 22:14). Israel had rejected these, and had set up a system of her own devising that she hoped would make her acceptable to God. Israel had rejected God’s grace and had adopted a works system of worship.

This chapter is the only assessment in Chronicles of the Northern Kingdom’s sin. From here on, the writer’s attention focused on Judah primarily.

Other evidences of God’s blessing on Abijah were the cities he was able to take from Israel (2 Chronicles 13:19), the death of his enemy, Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:20), his power (2 Chronicles 13:21), and his many children (2 Chronicles 13:21). Though marrying many wives was a sin, fathering many children was an evidence of divine blessing (fruitfulness). The writer’s notation "the treatise of the prophet Iddo" (2 Chronicles 9:29) is literally in Hebrew "the midrash of the prophet Iddo." A midrash is a commentary (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:27).

Verses 2-14

C. Asa 14:2-16:14

Chronicles gives much more attention to Asa than Kings does. That is because Asa’s experiences illustrated the points the Chronicler wanted to drive home to his readers.

We have already seen in Rehoboam’s history that obedience brought blessing from God, but disobedience brought discipline (chs. 11-12). The Chronicler used this retributive motif frequently. We see it clearly here in Asa’s history. [Note: Raymond B. Dillard, "The Reign of Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16): An Example of the Chronicler’s Theological Method," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 23 (September 1980):213-18.] In chapters 14-15 we see Asa obeying and blessed. In chapter 16 he was disobedient, and God disciplined him.

Verses 2-15

1. Asa’s Wisdom 14:2-15

Asa inherited a kingdom at peace. He wisely used the peace to purge the idolatry that had crept into Judah (2 Chronicles 14:3-5). The term "Asherim" (pl. of ’asherah) refers to the various representations of Baal’s goddess consort Asherah. The Canaanites believed this goddess resided in a carved wooden pole that they erected beside a carved stone pillar in which they believed Baal abode. Both the wooden poles and the stone pillars served as incense stands, and both were idols. [Note: William F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, pp. 215-16.]

Asa also fortified his defenses against future attacks from the North. Because of his trust in Yahweh, God gave him deliverance from his attackers (2 Chronicles 14:9-15).

"They [the Cushites, 2 Chronicles 14:9] have been identified with Ethiopians (cf. 2 Chronicles 16:8). This is rejected by recent commentators. The reference in 2 Chronicles 14:15 to a Bedouin group with sheep, goats, and camels that Asa drove off has led several recent writers to suggest that Cush may have been an ethnic group living in the vicinity of Judah (cf. Habakkuk 3:7)." [Note: Thompson, p. 267. Cf. Williamson, 1 and 2 . . ., pp. 263-65. J. Daniel Hays, "The Cushites: A Black Nation in the Bible," Bibliotheca Sacra 153:612 (October-December 1996):401-3, argued for their being from Cush (modern Ethiopia).]

In all these events, Asa followed the good examples of David and Solomon.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 14". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-14.html. 2012.
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