2 Chronicles 15:1. Azariah the son of Oded; whose father is named, to distinguish him from the highpriest of that name.
2 Chronicles 15:3. For a long season, Israel, the ten revolted tribes, had been without the true God, and without a teaching priest to read and expound the law. What in such dark times could be expected but national ruin?
2 Chronicles 15:16. She had made an idol in a grove. Maachah, queen dowager, as we now say, still enjoyed the גבירה Gebireh, or chief rank. This act of decision would strike terror into the heart of idolaters. Our learned Selden, in his treatise on the gods of Syria, a work much followed in Poole’s Synopsis, contends that the Hebrew word Asherah, here rendered grove, should in every place where it implies an idol, be rendered Astartè, as in the Greek. Dr. Wall, profiting by Selden, quite relieves our version in the following places. “Manasseh set up a graven image of the grove in the house of the Lord.” 2 Kings 21:7. It should read, image of Astartè. “Josiah brought out the grove from the house of the Lord, and stamped it to powder.” 2 Kings 23:6. It cannot be a grove of trees, but the image of Astartè. “Throw down the altar of Baal, and the grove that is by it.” 6:25. The Hebrew is, “upon it;” the right reading would be, “the image which is upon it.” “Ahab made a grove,” that is, an image of Astartè, who was the god or goddess of his wife Jezebel, and of her nations the Sidonians. 1 Kings 16:33. “And the prophets of the groves four hundred;” that is, the prophets of the Astartès, or Ashtaroth. 1 Kings 18:19. See also on 1 Kings 15:13.
Asa returning in triumph, and intoxicated no doubt with victory and spoil, was about to make an entrance into his capital, too much in the spirit of a carnal conqueror. Therefore the Lord graciously instructed him by Azariah, the son of Oded, how to consolidate the fruits of victory by going against Israel’s spiritual enemies, and destroying every vestige of idolatry in his kingdom.
To effectuate this most desirable work he addresses the hopes and fears of Asa, by reminding him of the conditions of the covenant. “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him. If ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he also will forsake you.” In this manner also David exhorted Solomon, 1 Chronicles 28:9; and thus all the prophets sought to reform and convert their countrymen. Let the christian therefore rejoice with trembling, let him in prosperity as well as in affliction lay the axe to the root of every sin.
From this victory, and from Azariah’s sermon, Asa took occasion to follow the example of Moses, of Joshua, and of Samuel, to renew the national covenant with the Lord. And how much better was this, after so great a victory, than what we now call a grand military fête, where drunkenness, blasphemy, and all kinds of wickedness ensue, and where it has the appearance of giving thanks to hell for the blessings conferred by heaven. What can be so grand, so wise and grateful, as a nation taking occasion from signal mercies to come into a closer bond with heaven.
But the most glorious trait in Asa’s reformation was the removal of his grandmother from much of her dignity, because she had degraded herself to be a priestess to Astartè. This was a godlike deed; for in the divine economy, judgment must first begin at the house of God. What an example of justice and of terror! If the queen could not escape, what superstitious woman would dare to transgress? What an example for the heads of houses to follow. He would spare vice neither in mother, nor in servant, nor in son, nor in himself. Lord help us, in like manner, to put away every sin, and to covenant with thee on the purest principles, and on the broadest scale.
After the renewal of the covenant, great prosperity followed on the kingdom: and when did either men or nations renew their covenant with heaven, without being partakers of covenant blessings?
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany