Matthew Poole's Commentary
So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.Asa is made king; he destroyeth idolatry, 2 Chronicles 14:1-5. Having peace, he strengtheneth his kingdom with forts and armies, 2 Chronicles 14:6-8. In a strait, calling on God, he overthroweth Zerah, and spoileth the Ethiopians, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15.
i.e. There was no open war, either by Baasha or others; only there were secret grudges and private hostilities between his and Baasha’s subjects, 1 Kings 15:16.
And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God:Of this and the next verse, See Poole "1 Kings 15:11" See Poole "1 Kings 15:12"
For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:No text from Poole on this verse.
And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.By his royal edicts he required them to worship God, and him only, and to practise all which the laws of Moses required of them.
Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.No text from Poole on this verse.
Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.Yet before us, i.e. in our power, as that phrase is oft used. See Poole "Genesis 13:9".
And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.Asa had an army; which, as it seems, he had now gathered together upon the information of Zerah’s design against him.
And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.The Ethiopian; or, the Arabian, as the Hebrew word Cush is commonly used, as hath been noted before; these being much nearer to Asa than the Ethiopians, who also could not have come to Asa but through Egypt, which probably the king of Egypt would not permit him to do.
Mareshah; a city upon and within the borders of Judah, Joshua 15:44.
Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.It is nothing with thee, i.e. there is no difference, nor no difficulty, with thee. In thy name; by thy commission, in confidence of thy assistance, and for the maintenance of thy honour, and service, and people.
So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.Gerar; a city of the Philistines, who probably were confederate with them in this design.
And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.They smote all the cities round about Gerar; partly because they had joined with Zerah in this war, and partly because the Ethiopians had sheltered a great part of the remains of the army in them.
They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.The tents of cattle, i.e. the dwellers in tents, which were either a part of Zerah’s company, or joined with them, or had come along with them to furnish that great host with necessary provisions, which their custom of dwelling in tents made them more capable of doing.