Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
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.Ch. 2 Chronicles 16:1-6 (= 1 Kings 15:17-22). Asa asks help of Ben-hadad
1. the six and thirtieth year] According to 1 Kings 16:8 Baasha was succeeded by his son Elah in the six-and-twentieth year of Asa. The number thirty-six is probably therefore wrong. It should be noticed however that the thirty-sixth year of the separate kingdom of Judah corresponds with the sixteenth year of Asa, so that possibly two different reckonings are here confused, and so we should read, In the six-and-thirtieth year, that is, in the sixteenth year of Asa. So in 2 Chronicles 15:19 we should read, in the five-and-thirtieth, that is, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
Ramah] The modern er-Râm, situated on a commanding hill about two hours north of Jerusalem. Bädeker, p. 212.
that he might let none go out] R.V. that he might not suffer any to go out (as in 1 Kin.).
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. silver and gold] In 1 Kin., “all the silver and the gold that were left.”
Ben-hadad] At least three kings of Syria bore this name, the two others being severally (1) a contemporary of Ahab (1 Kings 20:1 ff.), (2) a contemporary of Jehoash the grandson of Jehu, 2 Kings 13:25.
that dwelt at Damascus] The epithet distinguishes the king of Damascus from other kings of Syria, e.g. from the king of Hamath.
Damascus] Heb. “Darmesek”; see note on 1 Chronicles 18:5.
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.
And Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.4. and they smote] The places smitten were all in the extreme north of Israel.
Ijon] The city cannot be identified, but the name is preserved in Merj ‘Iyûn, a table-land north of the Jordan valley. Bädeker, pp. 296, 7.
Abel-maim] In 1 Kin., “Abel-beth-maacah”; cp. 2 Samuel 20:14-15. No doubt the two names designate one place.
all the store cities] In 1 Kin., “all Cinneroth” (i.e. the district west of the Sea of Galilee). As this was a very fruitful district, the “store cities,” of the Chronicler may be only another name for it.
And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.5. and let his work cease] In 1 Kin. and dwelt in Tirzah (Heb.), and returned to Tirzah (LXX.). Baasha (like Jeroboam; 1 Kings 14:17) fixed his seat of government at Tirzah in the centre of the Northern Kingdom in order to be able to watch Syria as well as Judah. The Chronicler takes no interest in the home of Baasha.
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.6. took all Judah] In 1 Kin. summoned all Judah (so translate); none was exempted.
was a building] R.V. had builded.
Geba and Mizpah] The names signify, “the hill and the watch-tower.” The two cities were on the northern border of Benjamin. For Mizpah see Jeremiah 41:1-9.
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.7. Hanani the seer] Hanani as a seer is known to us from this passage only; in 2 Chronicles 19:2 and 2 Chronicles 20:34 (also 1 Kings 16:1) however Jehu the prophet is called son of Hanani.
therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped] The prophet declares that if Asa had not detached Syria by his presents, he might have smitten Israel and Syria combined.
7–10 (not in 1 Kin.). The Intervention of Hanani
The Chronicler stands alone both in recording the condemnation of Asa in this passage and in himself condemning him in 2 Chronicles 16:12. In 1 Kin. no blame is passed on Asa.
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.8. and the Lubims] The Lubim are not mentioned in 2 Chronicles 14:9-13, but as they were auxiliaries of the Egyptians (2 Chronicles 12:3) it is quite probable that they represent the help given by Egypt to the Cushites as they passed the Egyptian border on their way to invade Judah. Cp. note on 2 Chronicles 14:9 (three hundred chariots).
with very many etc.] R.V. with chariots and horsemen exceeding many. See note on 2 Chronicles 14:9.
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.9. run to and fro] Zechariah 4:10.
therefore from henceforth] R.V. for from henceforth.
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.10. in a prison house] Render, in the stocks (lit. in the house of the stocks). Jeremiah 20:2; Jeremiah 29:26 (R.V.).
oppressed] Lit. brake in pieces, an expression which when applied to things would mean, made spoil of, when applied to persons treated outrageously, tortured, ἐλυμήνατο LXX.
And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.11–14 (= 1 Kings 15:23-24). The Epilogue of Asa’s Reign
11. of Judah and Israel] In 1 Kin. the appeal is to “the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah.”
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.12. until his disease was exceeding great] R.V. his disease was exceeding great.
he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians] Physicians (Heb. rôph’îm) are condemned by implication here, no doubt as using incantations and adjurations. Contrast Ecclus. (Ben Sira) Sir 38:9-15, especially Sir 38:15 (Heb. text). He that sinneth against his Maker, will behave himself proudly against a physician.
And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.13. in the one and fortieth year] Cp. 1 Kings 15:10.
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.14. in his own sepulchres] In 1 Kin. with his fathers.
which he had made for himself] R.V. which he had hewn out for himself. This clause is absent from 1 Kin.
divers kinds of spices] Mark 16:1; John 12:3; John 12:7; John 19:39-40.
a very great burning] Cp. 2 Chronicles 21:19. What is here meant is not cremation of the body, but only a burning of spices; Jeremiah 34:5.