1 Kings 15:16
And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) There was war . . .—According to 1Kings 15:33, Baasha reigned from the third to the twenty-seventh year of Asa. The phrase, here repeated from 1Kings 14:30, 1Kings 15:7, appears simply to mean that the old hostile relations remained, combined with, perhaps, some border war; for it is expressly said in 2Chronicles 14:1, that Asa’s first ten years were peaceful, and the open war with Israel did not break out till after the victory over Zerah, in his fifteenth year.

15:9-24 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. That is right indeed which is so in God's eyes. Asa's times were times of reformation. He removed that which was evil; there reformation begins, and a great deal he found to do. When Asa found idolatry in the court, he rooted it out thence. Reformation must begin at home. Asa honours and respects his mother; he loves her well, but he loves God better. Those that have power are happy when thus they have hearts to use it well. We must not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well; not only cast away the idols of our iniquity, but dedicate ourselves and our all to God's honour and glory. Asa was cordially devoted to the service of God, his sins not arising from presumption. But his league with Benhadad arose from unbelief. Even true believers find it hard, in times of urgent danger, to trust in the Lord with all their heart. Unbelief makes way for carnal policy, and thus for one sin after another. Unbelief has often led Christians to call in the help of the Lord's enemies in their contests with their brethren; and some who once shone brightly, have thus been covered with a dark cloud towards the end of their days.Baasha became king of Israel in the third year of Asa 1 Kings 15:33. The petty warfare which ordinarily prevailed on the borders of the two kingdoms continued "all the days" of Asa and Baasha. During the first ten years of Asa's reign he was little molested 2 Chronicles 14:1, 2 Chronicles 14:6. 16, 17. there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days—Asa enjoyed a ten years' peace after Jeroboam's defeat by Abijam, and this interval was wisely and energetically spent in making internal reforms, as well as increasing the means of national defense (2Ch 14:1-7). In the fifteenth year of his reign, however, the king of Israel commenced hostilities against him, and, invading his kingdom, erected a strong fortress at Ramah, which was near Gibeah, and only six Roman miles from Jerusalem. Afraid lest his subjects might quit his kingdom and return to the worship of their fathers, he wished to cut off all intercourse between the two nations. Ramah stood on an eminence overhanging a narrow ravine which separated Israel from Judah, and therefore he took up a hostile position in that place. So long as they two lived and reigned together; which is not so to be understood, as if there were a solemn and declared war continuing all that time, (for Asa was quiet in a great measure for his first ten years, 2 Chronicles 14:1, till the Israelites had recovered themselves from that dreadfull blow given them by Abijah, 2Ch 13, and Baasha began to reign in Asa’s third year,) but so that there were many private and particular hostilities practised among them; in which sense the same phrase is used 1 Kings 14:30.

And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days: That is as long as they lived together; for Baasha died many years before Asa, and this must be reckoned from the time the war began between them. Baasha did not begin his reign until the third year of Asa, 1 Kings 15:25 and in the first ten years of Asa's reign the land was quiet and free from war, 2 Chronicles 14:1 of which there must be seven in the reign of Baasha, who is here made mention of out of course, for Nadab reigned before him, 1 Kings 15:25, the reason of which Abarbinel thinks is, that the historian, having given an account of the good deeds of Asa, relates his failings before he proceeds to the other part of his history. And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16–24. Asa’s war with Baasha. His death (2 Chronicles 16:1-6; 2 Chronicles 16:11-14)

16. between Asa and Baasha] Baasha obtained the throne of Israel in the third year of Asa’s reign (1 Kings 15:33) and reigned twenty-four years. So Asa was king all through Baasha’s reign. Hence ‘all their days’ implies the whole of Baasha’s reign.

Verse 16. - And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days [This statement must be compared with 2 Chronicles 14:1, 6, from which we gather that during the first ten years of Asa's reign there cannot have been war, properly so called, between them. Indeed, it would seem from 2 Chronicles 15:19; 2 Chronicles 16:1, that it was not until the 36th year of Asa's reign that it first broke out. But these numbers have clearly not escaped corruption (see note there), as at the date last mentioned Baasha must have been dead (cf. ver. 33 below). It is probable that war is to be taken here, as elsewhere (1 Kings 14:30), in the sense of hostility, and in any case we have here another instance of the hyperbolical habit of the Eastern mind.] 1 Kings 15:16The state of hostility between Judah and Israel continued during the reign of Asa; and Baasha the king of Israel advanced, etc. These statements are completed and elucidated by the Chronicles. After the great victory obtained by Abijam over Jeroboam, the kingdom of Judah enjoyed rest for ten years (2 Chronicles 14:1). Asa employed this time in exterminating idolatry, fortifying different cities, and equipping his army (2 Chronicles 14:1-7). Then the Cushite Zerah invaded the land of Judah with an innumerable army (in the eleventh year of Asa), but was totally defeated by the help of the Lord (2 Chronicles 14:8-14); whereupon Asa, encouraged by the prophet Azariah, the son of Oded, proceeded with fresh zeal to the extermination of such traces of idolatry as still remained in the kingdom, then renewed the altar of burnt-offering in front of the temple-hall, and in the fifteenth year of his reign held, with the whole nation, a great festival of thanksgiving and rejoicing to the Lord at Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 15:1-15). The next year, the sixteenth of his reign and the thirty-sixth from the division of the kingdom (2 Chronicles 16:1), Baasha commenced hostilities, by advancing against Judah, taking possession of Ramah, the present er Rm (see at Joshua 18:25), which was only two hours and a quarter from Jerusalem, and fortifying it. The occupation of Ramah is not expressly mentioned indeed, but it is implied in יהוּדה על ויּעל על יה, which affirms the hostile invasion of Judah. For Ramah, from its very situation in the heart of the tribe of Benjamin and the immediate neighbourhood of Jerusalem, can neither have been a border city nor have belonged to the kingdom of Israel. The intention of Baasha, therefore, in fortifying Ramah cannot have been merely to restrain his own subjects from passing over into the kingdom of Judah, but was evidently to cut off from the kingdom of Judah all free communication with the north. וגו תּת לבלתּי, "that they might not give one going out or one coming in to Asa;" i.e., to cut off from the others all connection with Asa, and at the same time to cut off from those with Asa all connection with this side. The main road from Jerusalem to the north passed by Ramah, so that by shutting up this road the line of communication of the kingdom of Judah was of necessity greatly disturbed. Moreover, the fortification of Ramah by Baasha presupposes the reconquest of the cities which Abijam had taken from the kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 13:19), and which, according to 2 Chronicles 13:19, were still in the possession of Asa.
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