2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 15
Asa’s Firm Stand against Idolatry.IDOLATRY ERADICATED. — V. l. And the Spirit of God, who is also the Spirit of prophecy, came upon Azariah, the son of Oded, otherwise unknown; v. 2. and he went out to meet Asa, upon the latter’s return from his victorious pursuit of the Ethiopians, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin, the entire army: The Lord is with you while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you, a maxim which is held out at other times too; but if ye forsake Him, he will forsake you, chap. 24, 20. V. 3. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God and without a teaching priest and without Law. The words rather refer to the future, in a prophecy of warning: Many days will be to Israel without the true God, the statement being intended to influence the people to put that time off as far as possible. V. 4. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel and sought Him, He was found of them. This happened time and again in the later history of Judah. The description of the lamentable effects of the future apostasy is now continued. V. 5. And in those times there was, rather, there will be, no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, no free, unhindered, peaceful intercourse within the nation, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries, confusion and conflict upon all the provinces of Israel on account of the attitude of the neighboring hostile nations. V. 6. And nation was destroyed of nation, literally, “nation shall be smitten of nation,” and city of city; for God did vex them, rather, will vex them, with all adversity. These words were fulfilled in a very striking manner at the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and even before, when the Egyptian rulers came up at their pleasure and ravaged the land. V. 7. Be ye strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak, a consecrated perseverance would be necessary in overcoming all the dangers which were held out for the future; for your work shall be rewarded. Hands that become slack in the service of the Lord are useless for the purposes of His kingdom. V. 8. And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded, the prophet, that is, of the son of Oded, v. 1, he took courage, he was filled with a holy zeal and bravery, and put away the abominable idols, the statues and pillars of the heathen gods and goddesses, out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim, for he was probably an officer of his father in the war with Israel, chap. 13, 19, and renewed the altar of the Lord that was before the porch of the Lord, chap. 4, 1; 6, 12, by repairing and embellishing it. V. 9. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, such as had settled in Judah when idolatry was officially introduced in Israel, and out of Simeon, for the members of this tribe had also become addicted to idolatry; for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance when they saw that the Lord, his God, was with him. Note: Even today men and women in all walks of life, seeing how plainly the Lord blesses the pure preaching of the Word, are gained for the truth and openly confess it before men.
THE TRUE WORSHIP RESTORED. — V. 10. So they, all those mentioned as having been gained by Asa’s reformatory measures, gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa, for a great festival of confession and thanksgiving. V. 11. And they offered unto the Lord the same time, in the course of that festival, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep, the thanksgiving festival most likely being combined with the great Feast of Pentecost. V. 12. And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul, to be united with Him in the bonds of the closest love and service and loyalty, v. 13. that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, possessing influence and power or not, whether man or woman, as the Law of the Lord required, Deut. 13, 5. 9. 15. V. 14. And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting, in a solemn chant, and with trumpets and with cornets, instruments used for the Temple music. V. 15. And all Judah, in a solemn enthusiasm amounting almost to ecstasy, rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with all their heart, it was not a mere confession of the lips, and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them. And the Lord gave them rest round about, he rewarded their piety by granting the blessing of peace. V. 16. And also concerning Maachah, the mother, that is, the grandmother, of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, she no longer could hold the position as dowager, because she had made an idol in a grove, erected a statue to the heathen goddess Astarte. And Asa cut down her idol, the wooden post consecrated to the female goddess, and stamped it, or crushed it, probably by cutting it up into little pieces, and burned it at the brook Kidron. V. 17. But the high places were not taken away out of Israel, that is, the buildings which had been erected as houses of worship on the hills; nevertheless, the heart of Asa was perfect all his days, devoted to the Lord in true loyalty. V. 18. And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, set apart as votive gifts, and that he himself had dedicated, silver and gold and vessels, of the booty taken from the Ethiopians. V. 19. And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. The fact that peace in the land is a gift of God’s goodness often is overlooked by men; nevertheless, it is He who alone controls the hearts of men for peace or war.