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And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
Azariah the son of Oded. This prophet, who is mentioned nowhere else, appears at this stage of the sacred story in the discharge of an interesting mission. He went to meet Asa as he was returning from his victorious pursuit of the Ethiopians, and the congratulatory address here recorded was publicly made to the king in presence of his army.
And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
The Lord is with you, while ye be with him. You have had, in your recent signal success, a remarkable proof that God's blessing is upon you; your victory has been the reward of your faith and piety. If you stedfastly adhere to the cause of God, you may expect a continuance of His favour; but if you abandon it, you will soon reap the bitter fruits of apostasy.
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. Now for a long season Israel hath been ... Some think that Azariah was referring to the sad and disastrous condition to which superstition and idolatry had brought the neighbouring kingdom of Israel. His words should rather be taken in a wider sense, because it seems manifest that the prophet had his eye upon many periods. in the national history, when the peoples were in the state described-a state of spiritual destitution and ignorance-and exhibited its natural result as widespread anarchy, mutual dissension among the tribes, and general suffering (Judges 9:23; Judges 12:4; Judges 20:21; 2 Chronicles 13:17). These calamities God permitted to befall them as the punishment of their apostasy. Azariah's object in these remarks was to establish the truth of his counsel (2 Chronicles 15:2), and threatening in case of neglecting it, by describing the uniform course of the divine procedure toward Israel, as shown in all periods of their history; and then, after this appeal to national experience, he concluded with an earnest exhortation to the king to prosecute the work of reformation so well begun.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
Be ye strong. Great resolution and indomitable energy would be required to persevere in the face of the opposition your reforming measures will encounter.
Your work shall be rewarded - i:e., what you do in the cause and for the glory of God will assuredly be followed by the happiest results both to yourself and your subjects.
And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD. When Asa heard ... the prophecy of Oded the prophet. The insertion of these words, "of Oded the prophet," is, generally regarded as a corruption of the text. 'The sole remedy is to erase them. They are, probably, the remains of a note, which crept in from the margin into the text' (Bertheau).
He took courage. Animated by the seasonable and pious address of Azariah, Asa became a more zealous reformer than ever, employing all his royal authority and influence to extirpate every vestige of idolatry from the land.
And out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim. He may have acquired cities of Ephraim, the conquest of which is not recorded (2 Chronicles 17:2); but it has been commonly supposed that the reference is to cities which his father Abijah had taken in that quarter (2 Chronicles 13:19).
Renewed the altar of the Lord ... before the porch - i:e., the altar of burnt offering. Since this was done on or about the 15th year of the reign of this pious king, the renewal must have consisted in some splendid repairs or embellishments, which made it look like a new dedication, or in reconstruction of a temporary altar, like that of Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:7), for extraordinary sacrifices to be offered on an approaching occasion.
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
He gathered all Judah and Benjamin. Not satisfied with these minor measures of purification and improvement, Asa meditated a grand scheme, which was, to pledge his whole kingdom to complete the work of reformation, and with this view waited for a general assembly of the people.
And the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh. The population of Asa's kingdom had been vastly increased by the continued influx of strangers, who, prompted by motives either of interest or of piety, sought in his dominions that security and freedom which they could not enjoy amid the complicated troubles which distracted Israel.
And out of Simeon. Although a portion of that tribe, located within the territory of Judah, were already subjects of the southern kingdom, the general body of the Simeonites had joined in forming the northern kingdom of Israel. But many of them now returned of their own accord.
So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month in the fifteenth year of the reign of So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
The third month - when was held the feast of Pentecost which, on this occasion, was celebrated at Jerusalem by an extraordinary sacrifice of 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep, the spoil of the Ethiopians being offered; and the assembled worshippers entered with great and holy enthusiasm into a national covenant [ babªriyt (H1285), into the covenant-phraseology borrowed from the Pentateuch, "to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul;" and, at the same time, to execute with rigour the laws which made idolatry punishable with death (Exodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 17:2-5; Deuteronomy 29:12-21; Hebrews 10:28).] It is evident that there had been a covenant already in existence-the purport of which, as described, Exodus 20:1-26; Exodus 24:1-18; Deuteronomy 29:1, is here substantially repeated. The people testified unbounded satisfaction with this important religious movements; and its moral influence was seen in the promotion of piety, order, and tranquillity throughout the land.
And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
The things that his father had dedicated - probably part of the booty obtained by his signal victory over Jeroboam, but which, though dedicated, had hitherto been unpresented.
And that he himself had dedicated - of the booty taken from the Ethiopians. Both of these were now deposited in the temple as votive offerings to Him whose right hand and holy arm had gives them the victory.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany