Matthew Poole's Commentary
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.Asa maketh a league with the Syrians against the king of Israel, 2 Chronicles 16:1-6; for which the prophet reproving him, he putteth him into prison, 2 Chronicles 16:7-10. He is sick, and seeketh to the physicians, and not to God: his death and burial, 2 Chronicles 16:11-14.
Of the reign of Asa; or, of the kingdom of Asa, i.e. of the kingdom of Judah, which was now Asa’s kingdom; or from the time of the division of the two kingdoms. Rehoboam reigned seventeen years, 2 Chronicles 12:13; Abijah three years, 2 Chronicles 13:2; Asa had now reigned fifteen years, 2 Chronicles 15:10; all which, put together, make up the thirty-five years mentioned 2 Chronicles 15:19. And in the next year Baasha wars against him; and the ground of war was the defection of many of his subjects to Asa, 2 Chronicles 15:9, whom Asa endeavours to engage, together with his own subjects, by an oath and a covenant, to be true and faithful to God, and consequently to himself; which was done in his fifteenth year, 2 Chronicles 15:9,10; and therefore in his sixteenth year, called here the thirty-sixth year of his kingdom, he commenceth an open war against him. If it be objected, That the reign or kingdom of Asa is otherwise understood of the time of Asa’s personal reign, (as I may call it,) 2 Chronicles 15:10; the answer is obvious, That there are many instances in Scripture (some of which have been formerly given, and others will be given in their proper places) where the same word or phrase is taken differently, and that in the very same chapter and history. And particularly this variety is elsewhere used, both by sacred and profane writers, in the computation of the years of princes, which are sometimes reckoned from the beginning of their reign, and sometimes from other remarkable times and occurrences. Titus Nebuchadnezzar’s years are sometimes computed from the beginning of his reign, as 2 Kings 25:8 Jeremiah 52:12,29,30, and sometimes from his complete conquest of Syria and Egypt, &c., as that passage, Daniel 2:1, In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar, is by the general stream of interpreters understood. Thus Ahaziah’s years, which doubtless were usually computed from the time of his birth, are computed from another head, 2 Chronicles 22:2, See Poole "2 Chronicles 22:2". And the like differences are observed in computing the years of some of the Syrian monarchs and Roman emperors; and particularly of Augustus, the years of whose reign are variously accounted by the Roman historians; sometimes from his first consulship, sometimes from the time of the triumvirate, and sometimes from that famous victory at Actium, where he utterly overthrew his competitor, and made himself sole and unquestionable emperor. And therefore it is not strange if it be so here. And that it must necessarily be thus understood, appears from hence, that it cannot be the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa in his own person, because Baasha began to reign in Asa’s third year, 1 Kings 15:28, and reigned only twenty-four years, and consequently died in Asa’s twenty-sixth or twenty-seventh year, as it is said he did, 1 Kings 15:8. That he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah; that he might keep his subjects from revolting to Asa, as he perceived they began to do, 2 Chronicles 15:9, and keep Asa’s subjects from coming into his dominions to seduce his people from their obedience to him.
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,This verse, and 2 Chronicles 16:3-6, are explained 1 Kings 15:18, &c.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.And so reserved to be a scourge to thy kingdom and posterity hereafter; whereas if he had joined with Baasha against thee, thou shouldst have overthrown them both, and prevented all that mischief which that monarch will do one day to thy family.
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.The Lubims; either the Libyans in Africa; or another people, possibly descended from them, but now seated in some part of Arabia.
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.Whose heart is perfect, i.e. upright and sincere, as thine is not.
Object. The heart of Asa is said to be perfect all his days, 2 Chronicles 15:17.
Answ. He was perfect and sincere in the things there spoken of, in the establishment of the outward worship of God; but not in the inward worship of God, trusting, and fearing, and loving him with all his heart, of which he here speaks. Or thus, He was perfect or sincere in the general course of his life, though in some particulars, whereof this is one, his heart did not perfectly cleave to God, as it should have done.
Thou shalt have wars with Baasha, 2 Chronicles 16:4.
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.In a prison-house, or, in the house of the stocks; in which the feet, or, as some of the Hebrews say, the necks of the prisoners were locked up. See Jeremiah 20:2 29:26.
And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.He did not humble himself before God, nor earnestly desire his help, but put all his confidence in the skill and faithfulness of his physicians, of whom, it seems, he had great experience.
And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours, as the manner of those nations was. See Genesis 50:2 2 Chronicles 21:19.
They made a very great burning, to wit, of precious spices; thereby testifying their thankfulness for many benefits which they enjoyed under his government, and their respect to him notwithstanding his miscarriages.