Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
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.CHAPTER 16 Asa’s Relapse and Death
1. War between Asa and Baasha (2Chronicles 16:1-6)
2. Hanani’s rebuke (2Chronicles 16:7-9)
3. Hanani imprisoned (2Chronicles 16:10-11)
4. Asa’s illness and death (2Chronicles 16:12-14)
Much has been made by critics of the supposed wrong date, the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa. Compare 1Kings 15:33 with the first verse of this chapter to see the apparent discrepancy. If the invasion of Judah by Baasha occurred shortly after the events recorded in the previous chapter, it was in the thirty-sixth year after the revolt of the ten tribes. This presents a possible solution. Others think it is the error of a scribe.
As the dates in 2Chronicles 15:19; 2Chronicles 16:1 are incompatible with that of Baasha’s death (1Kings 16:8), and consequently, of course, with that of Baasha’s war against Asa, commentators have tried to obviate the difficulty, either by supposing that the numeral 35 refers, not to the date of Asa’s accession, but to that of the separation of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel, or else by emendating the numeral in the book of the Chronicles. The latter is, evidently, the only satisfactory solution. There is manifestly here a copyist’s mistake, and the numeral which we would substitute for 35 is not 15 but 25--and this for reasons too long to explain (Bible History).
Asa relapsed and failed when Baasha, King of Israel, came against Judah and built Ramah. (See annotations, 1 Kings 15 and 16.) In unbelief Asa made an alliance with the King of Syria. He feared Baasha very much. In Jeremiah 41:9, we read of a pit which he made for fear of Baasha; probably to hide there. “The fear of man bringeth a snare.” How this reveals the weakness of man! After all the evidences of the LORD’s mercy and power Asa could forsake thus the LORD and enter into an unholy alliance with a heathen king. He gained the object he sought and Baasha was forced to abandon his plan. But God had been a witness of it all. He sent through Hanani (graciously given by the Lord the meaning of his name) and rebuked the king for what he had done. The LORD reminds him of the far greater host which threatened him (14:9-15) and the deliverance He had wrought. Beautiful are the final words of Hanani. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.” The Lord looks for faith, for confidence. Our hearts are perfect toward Him when we trust Him and are obedient to His Word. Then all His power is with us and for us.
Wars to the end was the punishment announced upon Asa. And Asa showed his true state of Soul, when, instead of saying, “I have sinned,” he began to rage; when instead of beseeching Hanani to pray for him, he put him in prison. He was away from the LORD and his behavior made it known. Stricken by disease, no doubt to humble him and bring him back to the Lord, he sought not the LORD, but the physicians. These were in all probability magicians; who used enchantments. There was no return unto the LORD; no repentance.