And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And he placed forces.—Comp. 2Chronicles 11:12.
The fenced cities.—‘Arê ha-bĕtsûrôth. (Comp. 2Chronicles 11:5 sqq., 2Chronicles 14:6-7.)
The cities of Ephraim . . . had taken.—See on 2Chronicles 15:8.2 Chronicles 17:2. And set garrisons in the cities which Asa had taken — We do not read of any cities which Asa took; but Abijah his father possessed himself of several, which Asa kept and took for his own, 2 Chronicles 13:19. And, it appears, Jehoshaphat put such forces in them as might secure them to himself.1 Kings 22:41, probably after that monarch had contracted his alliance with the royal family of Sidon, and before he was engaged in war with Syria. It was thus not unnatural that Jehoshaphat should begin his reign by strengthening himself against a possible attack on the part of his northern neighbor.
2Ch 17:1-6. Jehoshaphat Reigns Well and Prospers.
1. Jehoshaphat … strengthened himself against Israel—The temper and proceedings of the kings of Israel rendered it necessary for him to prepare vigorous measures of defense on the northern frontier of his kingdom. These consisted in filling all the fortresses with their full complement of troops and establishing military stations in various parts of the country, as well as in the cities of Mount Ephraim, which belonged to Jehoshaphat (2Ch 15:8).
and set garrisons in the land of Judah: on the frontiers and borders of it, to protect it:
and in the cities of Ephraim; soldiers to keep garrison there:
which Asa his father had taken; see 2 Chronicles 15:8.And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. the cities of Ephraim] Cp. 2 Chronicles 15:8.Verse 2. - He placed forces; literally, he gave (Genesis 1:17) forces, or a force, or host, or army: חַיִל (Exodus 14:28; 2 Samuel 24:2). And set garrisons; again literally, he gave garrisons (נְאִיבִים); i.e. either the persons "set over," prefects or officers (1 Kings 4:19), or the military garrison itself "stationed" (1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 13:3). A village in Judah also had the name Nezeb (Joshua 15:45). In the cities of Ephraim (see 2 Chronicles 15:8). Jeremiah 20:2; Jeremiah 29:26; and Acts 16:24, ἔβαλεν εἰς τὴν φυλακὴ̀ν καὶ τοὺς πόδας ἠσφαλίσατο αὐτῶν εἰς τὸ ξύλον. "For in wrath against him (scil. he did it) because of this thing, and Asa crushed some of the people at this time." Clearly Hanani's speech, and still more Asa's harsh treatment of the seer, caused great discontent among the people, at least in the upper classes, so that the king felt himself compelled to use force against them. רצץ, to break or crush, is frequently used along with עשׁק (Deuteronomy 28:33; 1 Samuel 12:3, etc.), and signifies to suppress with violence. Asa had indeed well deserved the censure, Thou hast dealt foolishly. His folly consisted in this, that in order to get help against Baasha's attack, he had had recourse to a means which must become dangerous to him and to his kingdom; for it was not difficult to foresee that the Syrian king Benhadad would turn the superiority to Israel which he had gained against Judah itself. But in order to estimate rightly Asa's conduct, we must consider that it was perhaps an easier thing, in human estimation, to conquer the innumerable multitudes of the Ethiopian hordes than the united forces of the kings of Israel and Syria; and that, notwithstanding the victory over the Ethiopians, yet Asa's army may have been very considerably weakened by that war. But these circumstances are not sufficient to justify Asa. Since he had so manifestly had the help of the Lord in the war against the Cushites, it was at bottom mainly weakness of faith, or want of full trust in the omnipotence of the Lord, which caused him to seek the help of the enemy of God's people, the king of Syria, instead of that of the Almighty God, and to make flesh his arm; and for this he was justly censured by the prophet.
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