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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 16

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Introduction

Second Chronicles Chapter 16

2 Chronicles 16:1 "In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah."

Asa was a good king, who did right in the sight of the LORD. Jerusalem was in the hands of Judah, but the immediate surrounding territory, such as this Ramah, belonged to Benjamin. It appears, from this, that Ramah had been taken away from Benjamin by Israel. Baasha was the grandson of Jeroboam, and was just as evil as he had been. His intent, in building up Ramah, was to stop traffic in, or out, of Judah.

2 Chronicles 16:2 "Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,"

2 Chronicles 16:3 "[There is] a league between me and thee, as [there was] between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me."

There was not the amount of gold and silver there had been in the temple, before. The temple had been robbed of much of its treasure in the last war. There seemed to be some, however, and Asa sent this to make peace with Ben-hadad at Damascus, Syria. A league that must be bought with silver and gold is not permanent. The loyalty of Syria seemed to be with the highest bidder, whoever that might be.

2 Chronicles 16:4 "And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali."

2 Chronicles 16:5 "And it came to pass, when Baasha heard [it], that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease."

This attack on the other cities of Israel was to get Baasha out of Ramah, so that Asa could take it back. Ben-hadad made an agreement with Asa and helped Asa get his land back. Baasha had to go home and protect his own cities from destruction. He had no time to try to take Asa’s cities.

2 Chronicles 16:6 "Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah."

It appears, that Baasha had left in such a hurry, he left his building material behind. Asa built Ramah up, and then built Geba and Mizpah as fortresses to ward off another attack from Judah’s enemies.

2 Chronicles 16:7 "And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand."

God did not want His people looking for help from the heathen kings. He was their help. Hanani, the seer, was the father of Jehu. God had intended to give the Syrians into the hands of Judah. Now, Asa had stopped that by making an alliance.

2 Chronicles 16:8 "Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand."

God was reminding Asa that it was not important how large the army was that came against Judah. God had been with them before, when they had been greatly outnumbered, and would have been with them again. They needed to cry out to God, not to the Syrians. God was their very present help. They did not need earthly help.

2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars."

God was disappointed and angry with the decision they had made without consulting Him. If their hearts had been right with God, He would have protected them from all of their foes. They were placing their faith in the arm of man, instead of in their LORD. He would allow the wars to come upon them, to teach them where their true source of help was.

2 Chronicles 16:10 "Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for [he was] in a rage with him because of this [thing]. And Asa oppressed [some] of the people the same time."

Asa did not want to believe what the seer had said. He classified him as a false prophet, and threw him in prison. The people who Asa oppressed had, probably, agreed with the seer. Their oppression was for not siding in with their king.

2 Chronicles 16:11 "And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they [are] written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel."

We do read a great deal about Asa in the book of Kings, chapter 15, in the Bible. This is, possibly, speaking of some additional record books.

2 Chronicles 16:12 "And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease [was] exceeding [great]: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians."

This is a help to all of us who have an illness in our body. God wants to be consulted about every aspect of our lives. This indicates, had Asa prayed to God, he would have been healed. We see, in this, that Asa depended more in the flesh of mankind, than he did in the One who was Creator of that flesh. God created us, so He is perfectly capable of helping His creation in their troubles.

2 Chronicles 16:13 "And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign."

Asa made some mistakes, as we all do, but over-all he was thought of as a good king. He did restore worship in Judah, and he did destroy the idols. His weakness lay in the fact that he trusted strong earthly leaders.

2 Chronicles 16:14 "And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds [of spices] prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him."

It appears, that he prepared a room where he could be buried in his bed. It was very much like the mausoleums of our day. He was not in a coffin, but in his bed in a sealed room. The "burning" was, possibly, the spices and perfumes to cover the odor of the decaying body.

2 Chronicles 16 Questions

1. Who came against Judah to build Ramah?

2. __________ was the grandson of Jeroboam.

3. What did Asa take out of the temple, to give to the king of Syria?

4. Why was he to give him the things of the temple?

5. Who had there been a league between before, that caused Asa to want this league?

6. Who was king of Syria?

7. Where was he staying?

8. What did Ben-hadad do on the behalf of Asa?

9. What did Baasha immediately do?

10. What did Asa do with the building materials, that Baasha left in Ramah?

11. What were Geba and Mizpah?

12. What was the name of the seer that came to Asa?

13. What message did he bring Asa from God?

14. Hanani was the father of _______.

15. What victory did God remind Asa of?

16. Who is God constantly watching to help?

17. What punishment would come to Asa for this mistake?

18. What did Asa do with the seer?

19. Why did he do the same thing to some of the people?

20. Where are more of the acts of Asa written?

21. What disease did Asa have in his 39th year as king?

22. Who did he seek for help?

23. When did Asa die?

24. What was he buried in?

25. What was the "burning" spoken of in 2 Chronicles 16:14?

Verses 1-6

2Ch 16:1-6

2 Chronicles 16:1-6

THE CONCLUSION OF THE REIGN OF ASA;

HIS REBUKE BY THE PROPHET;

BAASHA; THE KING OF ISRAEL; BEGINS TO FORTIFY RAMAH

"In the sixth and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any one to come unto or go in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of Jehovah and of the king’s house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father, behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. Then Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Napthtali. And it came to pass when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building Ramah, and let the work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah."

David was "a man after God’s own heart"; yet he was guilty of many sins; and likewise Asa, although his heart was "perfect toward Jehovah," yet, like all mortals, he was guilty of sin; and the Chronicler in this chapter cites two events in which king Asa did wrong in the sight of God. The first of these was his seeking aid of Benhadad the king of Syria instead of seeking it of the Lord.

"Baasha ... built Ramah" (2 Chronicles 16:1). That is, he began to do so, because the invasion of Benhadad compelled him to abandon the project. It is not hard to see what was in the mind of Baasha. The popularity of Asa’s reign, and the general knowledge that God was blessing him had led many in Baasha’s northern kingdom to go to Jerusalem for the legitimate worship of God. All of the northern kings vigorously opposed this, because they considered it a threat to the continuity of Northern Israel; and Baasha, by fortifying Ramah, had in mind to prohibit such excursions to Jerusalem, which, of course, occurred three times annually on the occasions of the three set feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.

"Asa brought out silver and gold" (2 Chronicles 16:2). It apparently never entered the mind of Asa that, "If silver and gold could buy the help of Syria, a little more silver and gold could cancel it and deliver their help to someone else."

One may only wonder at Asa’s actions here. God had delivered him from a far greater threat in that war with Zerah. Northern Israel was nothing compared with the tremendous strength of Egypt; and perhaps that was the reason that Asa might have felt that he did not need God in this instance, feeling that he was able to take care of this threat without God’s help. Such a feeling on the part of any mortal is never justified. All men need God’s help continually, in small matters as well as large ones; and it is always sinful for men to trust in themselves instead of seeking God’s help.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 16:1. Baasha was king of Israel which was the kingdom of the 10 tribes. With a few exceptions there was a state of war between the two kingdoms all the years of their existence. Baasha built Ramah which means he fortified it with the intent of blockading Jerusalem, since the two cities were not far apart.

2 Chronicles 16:2-3. We will always remember that the Jewish nation was secular as well as religious. It had dealings with other nations as a temporal power, and such relations were not necessarily wrong. However, in the dealings with other temporal powers, the kings of the nation of God should never have left the Lord out of their calculations. Damascus was the capital of Syria, a country just north of Palestine, and hence a near neighbor of the 10 tribes. An alliance had previously been formed between the two kingdoms. Now that Judah is about to be attacked by the king of Israel, Asa thinks to divert his attention by turning his ally away from him. With this In view, Asa appropriated some of the treasurers in the house of the Lord. Since the object was in the interests of that house, as Asa saw it, we can see a favorable motive in his act. We should not consider the offer of the silver and gold as a bribe in the ordinary sense of that word. It costs money to carry on war, and if the king of Syria is to do so on behalf of Asa, he should be supported in the expense.

2 Chronicles 16:4. Ben-hadad king of Syria accepted the proposition of Asa and sent his soldiers against Israel. Store cities were the ones containing the magazines of supplies for military and other uses.

2 Chronicles 16:5. The plan of Asa had the desired effect of drawing away the attention of Baasha. He stopped the work of fortifying Ramah and left the materials behind him.

2 Chronicles 16:6. Took all Judah means that Asa called the people of Judah into his service for the special work. The materials that had been brought to Ramah to oppose Asa were used to help him instead. They were used to fortify two cities of Judah that were important to the welfare of the nation.

Verses 7-10

2Ch 16:7-10

2 Chronicles 16:7-10

GOD’S PROPHET REBUKED ASA; AND ASA WAS ANGRY

"And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and hast not relied on Jehovah thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim a huge host, with chariots and horsemen exceeding many? yet, because thou didst rely on Jehovah, he delivered them into thy hand. For the eyes of Jehovah run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect before him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; for from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in the prison-house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people at the same time."

One thing that the Chronicler most certainly had in mind here was to show the colossal failure of the whole institution of the monarchy. Even a good king like Asa could not remain uncorrupted while wielding the scepter of unchallenged power. The constant pressure of the flattering sycophants that surround every ruler, and the constantly nourished and promoted conceit of any natural man have the power eventually to break down the strongest heart.

Also, it may have been his way of establishing the principle that all men are sinners. The Sinless One did not appear until the Christ was cradled in the manger at Bethlehem.

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 16:7. Good men are subject to mistakes. Asa did not give the Lord his due consideration in the plan to draw off the king of the 10 tribes (see remarks at 2 Chronicles 16:2-3). A prophet was sent to chastise Asa for his mistake, and to punish him with a military loss in that the Syrians were allowed to escape completely.

2 Chronicles 16:8. The main point in this verse is the truth that great numbers do not count when opposed to the Lord, nor does the victory for the Lord depend on numbers.

2 Chronicles 16:9. God sees everything in all places, and understands the full strength as well as the weaknesses of all. He is ready to help those who put their trust in him. The punishment that was threatened against Asa was not directly upon his body; it was to affect his condition of peace in the kingdom. The period of peace that he had been enjoying was to end and wars would come instead.

2 Chronicles 16:10. Human nature manifests some strange traits at times. The seer or prophet of God was not responsible for the unpleasant message, yet Asa put him in prison for it. His rage did not stop at the prophet, but he oppressed or tortured some of the people at that time. Blind spite could have been the only motive for such conduct. We are not elated over the errors of this good man who was so nearly always righteous. The fact that God had the truth about it put into his Book for the information of man, is another proof that the Bible was not the production of human beings. They would have extolled the goodness of Asa, but suppressed his mistakes.

Verses 11-14

2Ch 16:11-14

2 Chronicles 16:11-14

THE DEATH OF ASA

"And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And in the thirty and ninth year of his reign, Asa was diseased in his feet; his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to Jehovah, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had hewn out for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and divers kinds of spices prepared by the perfumers’ art: and they made a very great burning for him."

"And they made a very great burning for him" (2 Chronicles 16:14). "This is a reference to the burning of spices," an ancient custom designed to fill the atmosphere with sweet odors accompanying a funeral procession. The Romans used large quantities of incense for this purpose

E.M. Zerr:

2 Chronicles 16:11. As an explanation of this verse, see the comments at 1 Kings 14:19.

2 Chronicles 16:12. Opponents of medical doctors may think they have a point here, but they do not. Those were days of special providence, and important servants of God had reason to appeal for divine help in times of distress. The failure to do so was one of the weak points in the life of Asa.

2 Chronicles 16:13. Slept with his fathers is explained at 1 Kings 2:10.

2 Chronicles 16:14. Abraham and other prominent den of Biblical times prepared their own burying places. Asa had made a sepulchre for his body and his friends laid him there. They added some things to the place by preparing a bed filled with various spices. They made a very great burning for him. Moffatt’s translation gives us "bonfire" in the place of burning. Such a demonstration was done at times in the same spirit as were other acts of respect for the remains of loved ones. See Jeremiah 34:5.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/2-chronicles-16.html.
 
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