Asa's Piety and Military Prowess
v. 1. So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David; and Asa, his son, reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years, an interval of peace following the battle of Zemaraim, giving Asa the opportunity of effecting many needed improvements.
v. 2. And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord, his God, 1Ki_15:11-14;
v. 3. for he took away the altars of the strange gods, those which had been introduced from foreign, heathen nations, and the high places, for it was on the hills that the places of worship to idols were erected, and brake down the images, memorial stones erected to Baal, and cut down the groves, the wooden posts and sacred trees dedicated to Astarte, the female idol of the Canaanites,
v. 4. and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the Law and the commandment, both in its entirety and in its individual precepts.
v. 5. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images, the statues before the altars of Baal, consecrated to him as the sungod; and the kingdom was quiet before him, although he was by no means free from faults, 2Ch_16:7-12.
v. 6. And he built fenced cities in Judah, the fortifications erected by Rehoboam having probably been destroyed during the invasion by Shishak; for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.
v. 7. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, the list surely including Geba and Mispah, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, while it was not occupied by foes nor threatened by invasion, while they were still unhampered in their movements, because we have sought the Lord, our God; we have sought Him, and He hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered, the Lord Himself keeping all misfortune away from them at that time.
v. 8. And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, not all professional soldiers, but able to bear arms and ready to enter the service at any time, out of Judah three hundred thousand, and out of Benjamin that bare shields and drew bows two hundred and fourscore thousand. All these were mighty men of valor. There is a hint here for application to spiritual matters, namely, not to become secure and careless in days when Satan is less active than usual against the Church, but to be prepared at all times to meet his onslaughts.
The Defeat of the Ethiopians
v. 9. And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian, either a Cushite king of Arabia or a mighty Ethiopian king, who, as history relates, invaded the southwest of Egypt and of Asia, with an host of a thousand thousand and three hundred chariots, an immense army, filled with the lust of conquest; and came unto Mareshah, a fortified town in the lowlands of Judah.
v. 10. Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the Valley of Zephathah, between Hebron and Ashdod, at Mareshah.
v. 11. And 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, he had the firm confidence that the almighty power of God was independent of the armed forces of man, no matter what their number was. Help us, O Lord, our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude, which outnumbered his whole army almost two to one. O Lord, Thou art our God; let not man prevail against Thee, mere mortal man, in this case, being represented by the horde which threatened to overwhelm the army of Judah.
v. 12. So the Lord, in answer to Asa's prayer, smote the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
v. 13. And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar, the ancient Philistine city southeast of Gaza; and the Ethiopians were overthrown that they could not recover themselves, they fell beyond the hope of rallying their forces; for they were destroyed before the Lord, broken like a piece of glass or fragile pottery. and before His host, for so Asa's army is called as the instrument of the divine justice and wrath against the enemy, and they, the soldiers of Judah, carried away very much spoil.
v. 14. And they smote all the cities round about Gerar, the Philistines, as usual, probably having made common cause with the Cushites; for the fear of the Lord came upon them, the inhabitants of this entire region. And they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.
v. 15. They smote also the tents of cattle, the herds of the nomad tribes in the northwestern part of Paran, bordering upon the Philistine country, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem. Those who trust in the Lord with all their heart shall never be ashamed, for His blessing and protection is always near them.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 14". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany