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AZARIAH’S PROPHECY, 2 Chronicles 15:1-7.
1. Azariah the son of Oded is mentioned only here. He was probably a member of one of the prophetic schools, and was full of enthusiasm and zeal for Jehovah. He appears, like others of his order, to counsel and admonish kings and princes by the word of the Lord.
2. Went out to meet Asa The occasion was one peculiarly appropriate for the prophecy Azariah was about to utter. Returning from a victory which had most manifestly been gained by the help of Jehovah, it was well for him to be solemnly admonished of his responsibilities, and advised (though it might be for the hundredth time) that Jehovah’s mercies were conditioned upon obedience to his law.
3. Now for a long season Literally, and many clays to Israel to be without a God of truth, etc. The period here referred to by the long season, or many days, has been variously understood. Some refer it to the kingdom of the ten tribes at that time; others to the past history of the nation, especially the age of the Judges; and others make it a prophecy of the future. No doubt the passage states facts which were true of various periods in the history of Israel, and conveys moral lessons applicable to all times; but it seems more natural for the prophet to speak in this connexion of things which had actually taken place, so as to base his counsels on matters of fact, and the allusions in 2 Chronicles 15:4-6 are most obviously to the state of things often experienced in the times of the Judges. With this more special reference in mind, but at the same time remembering the wider application of the statement, we may convey the true sense of the passage thus: Many a time has Israel been without the true God, etc.
Without a teaching priest Israel always had priests enough, such as they were; but many a time were they destitute of wise and pious priests who were competent to instruct the people in the true knowledge of Jehovah.
Without law That is, when the law was ill understood and worse observed, and “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6; Judges 21:25.
4. When they in their trouble did turn… he was found This was often verified in the days of the Judges. Compare Judges 3:9; Judges 3:15; Judges 4:3-7, etc.
5. No peace… but great vexations As when the highways were untravelled, (Judges 5:6,) and the people sought asylum in the mountains and caves. Judges 6:2.
The countries The various districts of the land of Israel.
6. Nation… destroyed of nation “It is quite in harmony with the rhetorical nature of the passage that the contentions of the Israelites among themselves (for example, in the time of the Judges between the inhabitants of Gilead and Ephraim, and between Benjamin and the rest of the tribes, Judges 12:4; Judges 20:21; and in later times between the two Israelitish kingdoms) should be described as a crushing of one people by the other.” Bertheau.
City of city Comp. Judges 9:45.
7. Be ye, strong therefore This was the direct application of Azariah’s prophecy counsel and exhortation for the king and people to be firm in obedience to Jehovah and in maintaining the honour of his name and law.
ASA’S REFORMS AND RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT, 2 Chronicles 15:8-19.
8. And the prophecy of Oded the prophet Here is doubtless a corruption in the text. Either the words of Oded should be omitted, as an interpolation, or else the words Azariah the son (see 2 Chronicles 15:1) should be supplied.
Took courage Azariah’s oracle inspired the king with a zeal and enthusiasm even additional to that occasioned by the recent marvellous victory.
Put away the abominable idols This effort to clear his realm of idolatry is probably not to be identified with his earlier work of reform described in 1 Chronicles 14:3, but a later effort, inspired and encouraged by his victory over Zerah and by the words of the prophet. It may have been that his earlier efforts were only partially successful, and that Azariah’s oracle reminded him that much remained to be done in the work of reform.
The cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim The cities which his father had taken from Jeroboam. 2 Chronicles 13:19. The writer, in his hasty brevity of narration, attributed to Asa what was really the work of his father. See a similar inaccuracy in 2 Chronicles 17:2.
Renewed the altar The great brazen altar described in 1 Chronicles 4:1, which stood in the priests’ court before the porch of the temple. Some sixty years had passed since the temple was built, and this altar may, for that reason, have needed repair; or it may have been polluted by idolatry, and therefore needed renewal.
9. The strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh The Israelites of these leading tribes of the northern kingdom are here spoken of as strangers. Such estrangement had secession wrought, Many of the more pious Israelites out of the various tribes joined the kingdom of Judah in the days of Rehoboam, but multitudes more came now when they saw that the Lord his God was with Asa.
And out of Simeon Most of the tribe of Simeon probably fell to the southern kingdom from the first, but not all the tribe, for there were not a few whose jealousy of Judah and Jerusalem led them to cast in their fortunes with the majority of the nation. Keil remarks that “the Simeonites, though politically united with Judah, yet in religious matters were not so, but had set up in Beersheba a worship of their own similar to that in Beth-el and Dan. In such a case the more earnest and thoughtful people from Simeon, as well as from Ephraim and Manasseh, may have gone to Jerusalem to the sacrificial festival prepared by Asa. In favour of this last supposition we may adduce the fact that the prophet Amos (1 Chronicles 4:4; 1 Chronicles 5:5; 1 Chronicles 8:14) mentions Beer-sheba, along with Beth-el and Gilgal, as a place to which pilgrimages were made by the idolatrous Israelites.”
12. They entered into a covenant Compare a like event in the time of Josiah, 2 Chronicles 34:31; 2 Kings 23:3; and in the time of Nehemiah, Nehemiah 10:28-29.
13. Whosoever would not seek the Lord… should be put to death The stern requirement of the ancient law. See at Exodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 13:6-17; Deuteronomy 17:2-7.
16-18. These verses are identical with 1 Kings 15:13-15, where see notes.
17. The high places were not taken away See note on 2 Chronicles 14:3.
19. No more war unto the five and thirtieth year of… Asa This date, and also that of the next verse, (2 Chronicles 16:1,) is undoubtedly erroneous, for in the twenty-sixth year of Asa Baasha was dead, and his son Elah began to reign. 1 Kings 16:8. We think, with Rawlinson, that the simplest emendation is to substitute twentieth for thirtieth in both verses. Then we may suppose that previous to the war with Zerah Asa had ten years of peace, (2 Chronicles 14:1,) and after that war he had peace again until the last year of Baasha’s reign, when the latter undertook the war against Judah mentioned in 2 Chronicles 16:1.
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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25