Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, June 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 15

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 15

2 Chronicles 15:1 "And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:"

Obed was the prophet, who had encouraged Asa in the beginning. His son, Azariah, covered with the Spirit of God would, now, speak to him.

2 Chronicles 15:2 "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."

Azariah was speaking the Words the LORD had put into his mouth. These were not the words of Azariah, but of the LORD. A prophet is a leader of those God has sent him to, for spiritual direction in his life. The LORD had been with them in the past, and would be with them in the future, as long as they sought Him. He would bless them, as long as they were faithful to Him. He would curse them, if they were unfaithful to Him. The message was simple, but clear.

2 Chronicles 15:3 "Now for a long season Israel [hath been] without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law."

It appeared, that for many years before the time of Asa, there had not been the teaching of the law by the priests, that God knew was necessary. They had a form of godliness, but had wandered from the Truth. That is the same as our society today. Many of our churches have a form of godliness, but are not teaching the people the Word of God. That is exactly what this was saying about worship then. To do the will of God, a person must know what the will of God for his, or her, life is. The only way to know is to study His Word, the Bible. In their case, they needed to be taught the law of God.

2 Chronicles 15:4 "But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them."

It is the same throughout all ages. If we truly seek God, we will find Him. Asa certainly found this to be true, when the Ethiopians had come against him. God is our very present help in trouble. He does expect us to seek to know His Truth, and live by that Truth. He helped them, now they must keep His law.

2 Chronicles 15:5 "And in those times [there was] no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations [were] upon all the inhabitants of the countries."

Without God, there is danger at every hand. There is no peace, aside from what God can bring. Those away from God, are constantly vexed.

2 Chronicles 15:6 "And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity."

Without the blessings of God, there was war on every side. Vile men killed each other for what little self-gain there was in it, when they did not know God.

2 Chronicles 15:7 "Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded."

Their strength lay in their faith in God. They were strong because He made them strong. Everything they put their hands to would prosper, because of their faith in God.

2 Chronicles 15:8 "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."

This speaks of the prophet Obed telling Asa of these things. We do know that Asa had done away with the evil in the land at the very first of his reign. This could be saying, just as Obed, the prophet, had said before. Obed had warned Asa, and Asa had taken the warning. Asa would still receive warning from Azariah, as well. Asa made sure all of the idols were destroyed and he re-established the brasen altar before the porch of the temple in Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 15:9 "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."

Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon had the law, as well as Judah and Benjamin. Many of them followed Asa, when they saw he was a man willing to humble himself before God. There was no question that the LORD was with Asa. They came to Judah, so they could be counted on the side of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 15:10 “So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.”

This was during the Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost. This victory celebration would take place after the war with Zerah. The war began, probably, about the 11th year, and this was 4 years later. We are not told why this was so long a period of time.

2 Chronicles 15:11 "And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil [which] they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep."

This was a tremendously large amount of offering. It was, possibly, a peace offering. It would not be thought of as too much, however, considering the hundreds of thousands of soldiers involved in the victory. "Seven" means spiritually complete, and is not unusual to see in various offerings.

2 Chronicles 15:12 "And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;"

2 Chronicles 15:13 "That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman."

A "covenant" is an unbreakable agreement between man and his God. If a person does not seek God, he is in a sense dead already. Life is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who do not accept the Lord as their Saviour will be thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

2 Chronicles 15:14 "And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets."

This was a time of great rejoicing. This was not just a victory over Ethiopia, but was a victory over their own lives. They decided to follow the LORD, and Him only.

2 Chronicles 15:15 "And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about."

Judah was not just paying lip service to the LORD. They really were thrilled in their hearts, that they had made covenant with their God. It was the desire of their hearts to serve the LORD. There is no happier person in the world, than the one who is serving the LORD in his heart as well as in his actions.

2 Chronicles 15:16 "And also [concerning] Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from [being] queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped [it], and burnt [it] at the brook Kidron."

Maachah was really the grand-mother of Asa. She was acting queen, but Asa did not let that stop him. He removed her as queen because she had an idol. He, also, burned her idol. Asa had determined there would be no idols in Judah.

2 Chronicles 15:17 "But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days."

These high places had been used, before the temple was built in Jerusalem, and had never been destroyed. There was no worship of false gods going on there. Asa loved God, and lived perfect before the LORD. He tried to see that all of the people he was reigning over did, too.

2 Chronicles 15:18 "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."

So many of the beautiful things had been taken from the temple, while Rehoboam was king. It appears, that Abijah and Asa had gathered things of gold and silver, and dedicated them to the LORD. Asa put them in the temple.

2 Chronicles 15:19 "And there was no [more] war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa."

It was on the fifteenth year, Asa and the people had made covenant with God. The peace from that moment lasted 20 years. Baasha was a constant 238 threat, but it appears no war actually broke out, until the 35th year of Asa’s reign

2 Chronicles 15 Questions

1. And the __________ of God came upon Azariah.

2. Who did he go out to meet with a message from God?

3. What was Azariah speaking?

4. How long would God bless them?

5. What terrible thing had gone on in the land, before Asa became king?

6. Many of our churches today have a form of ___________.

7. What must you do, before you can do the will of God?

8. When they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, he was ________ of them.

9. Their strength lay in their __________in God.

10. What did Asa do when he heard these things from Obed and Azariah?

11. What was the altar that was before the porch of the temple?

12. Why did some of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon come to Judah?

13. When did they gather in Jerusalem for the celebration?

14. When is the Feast of Weeks?

15. What did they offer to the LORD of the spoil?

16. What does "seven" mean?

17. What is a "covenant"?

18. What covenant had they made with God?

19. Why was there such rejoicing?

20. Who did Asa remove as queen?

21. Why did he remove her?

22. What did he do with her idol?

23. What wonderful thing was said of Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:17?

24. What did Asa bring into the temple?

25. How long was there peace after this celebration?

Verses 1-7

2Ch 15:1-7

2 Chronicles 15:1-7

ASA’S FAITHFUL EFFORTS TO BRING ISRAEL BACK TO GOD;

AZARIAH’S ADMONITION FOR ISRAEL

"And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Obed: and he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: for Jehovah is with you while ye are with him; and if ye seek him he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Now for a long season Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law: but when in their distress they turned unto Jehovah, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in; but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the lands. And they were broken in pieces, nation against nation, and city against city; for God did vex them with all adversity. But be ye strong, and let not your hands be slack; for your work shall be rewarded."

Azariah’s purpose here is clear enough, namely, the encouragement of God’s people to be constant in their faithfulness to their God, for it was their lack of faithfulness which had so frequently resulted in manifold sorrows for the Chosen People.

2 Chronicles 15:3-6 are interpreted in various ways. Cook believed that, "They refer to the many apostasies of God’s people in the times of the Judges." Curtis (Madsen) applied the words to, "The Northern Kingdom"; and Keil stated that, "We must take the words in a general sense, applying then exclusively neither to the past nor to the future, because the truth uttered here has force at all times."

"Without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law" (2 Chronicles 15:3). There were many times in Israel’s history when these conditions prevailed. "It was not that Israel did not have instruction; Israel would not receive it."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 15:1. The prophets were not always under the inspiration of God; it was only when some communication was to be delivered. (Hebrews 1:1.) At the time we have reached in our study, God wished to give a message of encouragement and instruction to Asa, and sent his Spirit upon the prophet for that purpose.

2 Chronicles 15:2. Note the condition on which the Lord would be with his people, while ye be with him. That condition was always in force whether expressly stated or not.

2 Chronicles 15:3. God has always been, and his law was in existence at that time. Israel had been without God for the reason indicated in the preceding verse. They were without law simply because they had forsaken it. The priests were expected to be teachers of the law of God. (Leviticus 10:8-11; Deuteronomy 17:9 ; Malachi 2:7.) They had become negligent of their duty and the prophet complained about it.

2 Chronicles 15:4. The constancy of God’s compassion was indicated when the people returned and sought his favor, and they were not disappointed in their expectations.

2 Chronicles 15:5-6. Those times refers to the periods described in 2 Chronicles 15:3. As a punishment for the disobedience of his people, God suffered the foreign nations to come against them to vex and damage them.

2 Chronicles 15:7. The prophet was not implying that Asa was then guilty of neglect as described, for he had very recently waged a courageous battle against the heathen. The speech was for the purpose of encouraging him, and he was assured of being rewarded.

Verses 8-15

2Ch 15:8-15

2 Chronicles 15:8-15

ASA’S CONTINUING PROGRAM OF RELIGIOUS REFORM

"And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Obed the prophet, he took courage and put away the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from the hill-country of Ephraim; and he renewed the altar of Jehovah, that was before the porch of Jehovah. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and them that sojourned with them out of Ephraim, and Mansasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that Jehovah his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. And they sacrificed to Jehovah in that day, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen, and seven thousand sheep. And they entered into the covenant to seek Jehovah, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul; and that whosoever would not seek Jehovah, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they sware unto Jehovah with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and Jehovah gave them rest round about."

"And the prophecy of Obed" (2 Chronicles 15:8). "Some versions have, `the prophecy of Azariah the son of Obed,’ which may be the true reading."

"In the third month of the fifteen year of Asa" (2 Chronicles 15:10). "This was June (Sivan), on the sixth day of which the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) was observed. The great sacrifices on this occasion included some of the booty they had taken in the war with Zerah"; and if the conjecture that Zerah came against Asa in his eleventh year is correct, this would indicate that the war lasted four years. However, a great deal of the chronology of all of these Hebrew kings is very uncertain.

"And they entered into the covenant" (2 Chronicles 15:12). The original covenant between God and his people is recorded in Exodus 24:3-8; it was renewed again at Shechem (Joshua 8:30-35); this was a third ratification; and still another took place in the times of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 10:20).

"Whosoever would not seek Jehovah ... should be put to death" (2 Chronicles 15:23). This was part of the original covenant (Deuteronomy 17:2-8); and thus we have another testimonial to the prior existence of the Pentateuch, long centuries before the times of Josiah. The account here is a true record of what occurred in the reign of Asa (913-873 B.C.).

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 15:8. Oded was the father of Azariah, who was really the prophet. In a statement of respect his father was named as the prophet, although his son was the man who delivered the message. Upon the message of the prophet from God, Asa made a more thorough reformation still, by removing the idols from the territory of his own proper domain, and also from the extra cities that he had taken from the general territory outside, known as Mount Ephraim. After clearing out the institutions of false worship, he renewed the true service that belonged to the great altar before the temple.

2 Chronicles 15:9. This movement was recorded in 2 Chronicles 11:16. It is gratifying to read the motive that prompted these strangers from the other tribes to come to the side of Asa; it was their seeing that God was with him. Too often we see men "line up" on a certain side merely because it seems to be the winning side, not because it is the right side. To associate with a man because God is with him is the supremely good motive.

2 Chronicles 15:10. Third month was the one in which the feast of weeks or pentecost came. That was one of the three occasions on which all the males were required to go to Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 15:11. These offerings were voluntary contributions out of the things they had taken from the enemy. It does not mean, necessarily, that the beasts were slain. They were given over to the ones having charge of the service of God.

2 Chronicles 15:12. These strangers from the tribes of the northern kingdom had been tainted with a mixed worship and were very unsettled as to the true God. The evidence was convincing to them that a half-hearted service would not count for anything with God. They now entered into a covenant, which means they agreed with the Lord that they would give their whole heart to him.

2 Chronicles 15:13. The age of the Mosaic Dispensation was one with military phases in its execution. Violators of the law were liable to physical punishment. In order to be prepared against future departures into the ways of the heathen about them, these new arrivals at the temple of God threatened to inflict the penalty of death on all people who hesitated at seeking the true object of their devotions.

2 Chronicles 15:14. The threat of such severe punishment was emphasized by an oath. In order that none would escape the notice, the oath was accompanied with loud voices and with instruments made for producing heavy sounds.

2 Chronicles 15:15. This is more or less a general statement, going back to the previous chapter where the record may be found of the victory over the enemy. Rest round about refers to the freedom from war.

Verses 16-19

2Ch 15:16-19

2 Chronicles 15:16-19

MORE ABOUT ASA’S REFORMS

"And also Maacah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed from being the queen (mother), because she had made an abominable image for an Asherah and Asa cut down her image and made dust of it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days. 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. And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa."

The unceasing war against Chronicles by the radical critics focuses upon two things in this paragraph.

(1) "In 2 Chronicles 15:17 we read that the high places were not taken away, but in 2 Chronicles 15:8 that they were!" This is typical of the type of unprincipled and dishonest efforts of unbelievers to discredit Chronicles. Note that 2 Chronicles 15:8 does not even mention the high places! Furthermore, the abominations which Asa put away were those "in the cities"; and many of them continued to be observed in the rural areas. "Even Asa’s best efforts were not sufficient to eradicate pagan practices entirely."

(2) The other attack is directed against an alleged `contradiction’ between 1 Kings 15:16, which says, "There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days," and the word here in 2 Chronicles 15:19 that, "There was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa." Cook suggested that a corrupted text is responsible for this; but Barker has an even better explanation: "What this says, actually, is that a state of war was chronic between Asa and Baasha." Of course, this savage hatred between the two Israels continued without intermission as long as the Northern Israel existed.

"The mother of Asa ... had made an abominable image for an Asherah" (2 Chronicles 15:16). This was some kind of a pillar, called here an image; and we have been encouraged by some to think of it as an incense altar (See the RSV). However, the word abominable, as used here, is also rendered unspeakable, horrible, etc. by translators. These words are much too strong for anything innocent.

The Douay Version translates this passage like it is: "Maacah the mother of Asa made in a grove an idol of Priapus." This was an image of the human phallus, which in all probability was the usual form these pillars took. Curtis (Madsen) accepted this meaning of this passage, writing that, "This understanding of it is as good as any, and it is generally accepted." "In Greek and Roman mythology, this was the god of male procreative power."

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 15:16. The title of queen was an honorary one only; the full form is "queenmother." Yet it is a considerable honor and not lightly to be considered. But the mother of the king had made herself unworthy of the title by her idolatry. Asa showed his faithfulness to God by not allowing his flesh and blood interests to interfere with his devotion to the Lord.

2 Chronicles 15:17. But the high places . . . nevertheless. These two expressions modify each other. There was something wrong about the high places, but not as bad as some other things since Asa was spoken of favorably in spite of such places. See the comments I have made on the subject at 1 Kings 3:2.

2 Chronicles 15:18-19. When kings and other great men obtained valuables from their enemies, they generally appropriated a goodly portion of them to the Lord’s service. Asa carried out such an action in his devotion to the God of Israel. He had a prosperous reign and was free from war many years.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 15". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-15.html.
 
adsfree-icon
Ads FreeProfile