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AND Abia 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.

Ver. 1.  Years, dating from the fifth; as in the fifteenth year of his reign, Asa offered many victims, which had been taken from the enemy.  C. xv. 10.  C.



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2 And Asa did that which was good and pleasing in the sight of his God, and he destroyed the altars of foreign worship, and the high places.

Ver. 2.  God, with respect to the external worship of the true God, (H.) though he had some faults.  3 K. xv. 14.

 

--- Places, while he tolerated those which were intended for the service of the Lord, (C.) though illegally; and he even left the buildings erected by Solomon standing, (4 K. xxiii. 13.  T.) thinking they might be no longer dangerous.  Salien.

 

--- Several other pious kings did the like, for which they deserved some reprehension; as they could not be ignorant, that this was considered as wrong by the more enlightened.  Eccli. xlix. 5.  T.

 

--- It was the king's duty to destroy the exterior practices of idolatry, while the priests and prophets were to instruct.  W.


3 And broke the statues, and cut down the groves. 4 And he commanded Juda to seek the Lord the God of their fathers, and to do the law, and all the commandments.


5 And he took away out of all the cities of Juda the altars, and temples, and reigned in peace.

Ver. 5.  Altars.  Heb. "high places, and the Chamanim," or temple of the sun.  Lev. xxvi. 30.  C.

 

--- Prot. "images."  H.

 

--- Asa was encouraged to perfect the work which he had begun, by the exhortation of Azarias.  C. xv. 8.  C.




6 He built also strong cities in Juda, for he was quiet, and there had no wars risen in his time, the Lord giving peace.

Ver. 6.  Time, as yet.  T.

 

--- Admirable lesson for all to prepare for war in time of quite!  H.




7 And he said to Juda: Let us build these cities, and compass them with walls, and fortify them with towers, and gates, and bars, while all is quiet from wars, because we have sought the Lord the God of our fathers, and he hath given us peace round about. So they built, and there was no hinderance in building.


8 And Asa had in his army of men that bore shields and spears of Juda three hundred thousand, and of Benjamin that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred and eighty thousand, all these were most valiant men.


9 And Zara the Ethiopian came out against them with his army of ten hundred thousand men, and with three hundred chariots: and he came as far as Maresa.

Ver. 9.  Ethiopian.  Some think Zara was a successor of Sesac; and the Rabbins say, that he "restored the spoils which the latter had taken."  Seder. xvi.

 

--- He at least, made the Jews some compensation for that loss.  Perhaps he had been present in the expedition of Sesac, and was now animated with the same ambition.  T.

 

--- It would be difficult for a foreign king to traverse Egypt with so large an army, (C.) unless he had conquered or intimidated the king of the country.  H.

 

--- Hence some believe that the Ethiopia here in question, was a part of Arabia.  C.  Torniel.

 

--- But it is more probable that it lay south of Egypt, as the troops of Zara are joined with the Lybians.  C. xvi. 8.  Salien, A. 3094.  T.

 

--- A king of Arabia would hardly have had so many subjects.  C.

 

--- Three.  Some would read thirteen, as Anai takes notice of the great number of chariots.  C. xvi. 8.  Jun.  Malvenda.  C.

 

--- But surely the number here specified is sufficient.  The minds of men are very different.  In the former chapter we find them complaining of the too great numbers!  H.



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10 And Asa went out to meet him, and set his army in array for battle in the vale of Sephata, which is near Maresa:

Ver. 10.  Meet him, fearing lest he should lay waste his dominions, as Sesac had done.  M.

 

--- Sephata, or Sephala, a great valley to the west of Maresa, (C.) which is a city of Juda.  M.

 

--- Sept. have, "in the vale north of Maresa."  H.




11 And he called upon the Lord God, and said: Lord, there is no difference with thee, whether thou help with few, or with many: help us, O Lord our God: for with confidence in thee, and in thy name, we are come against this multitude. O Lord thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee.

Ver. 11.  Help.  Heb. "to help; whether with many, or with those who have no power."  The same sentiment was expressed by Jonathas.  1 K. xiv. 6.  Those who have God with them are secure of victory.  C.

 

--- If God be with us, who is against us?



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12 And the Lord terrified the Ethiopians before Asa and Juda: and the Ethiopians fled.

Ver. 12.  Terrified.  Heb. and Sept. "struck," as he had done Jeroboam.  C. xiii. 15.  H.




13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them to Gerara: and the Ethiopians fell even to utter destruction, for the Lord slew them, and his army fought against them, and they were destroyed. And they took abundance of spoils,

Ver. 13.  Gerara was on the southern borders, twenty-three miles from Maresa.  Eus.  C.

 

--- The Ethiopians were pursued perhaps for many days.  T.

 

--- Destruction.  Prot. "they they could not recover themselves."  Heb. "there was no quarter given;" or, "so that none were left alive."  C.

 

--- If this were the case, the number of the slain far exceeded that the Jeroboam's army.  C. xiii.  H.




14 And they took all the cities round about Gerara: for a great fear was come upon all men: and they pillaged the cities, and carried off much booty.

Ver. 14.  Gerara.  The adjacent territory is now uncultivated.  Jos. xiii. 3.

 

--- Great.  Heb. "a fear of the Lord;" (v. 12) an extraordinary (C.) panic.  H.

 

--- The Philistines had assisted the enemy, and therefore their cities were invaded; (M.) or these belonged to Zara.  C.




15 And they destroyed the sheepcotes, and took an infinite number of cattle, and of camels: and returned to Jerusalem.

Ver. 15.  Destroyed.  Heb. "smote also the tents of cattle."  Sept. "they cut in pieces the tents of cattle, the Amazons;" or, according to the Vat. copy, (H.) "the Alimazonians," as they seem to have read aeli mánim, which may be well rendered, "the tents of the Mineans," a people of Arabia.  C. xx. 1. and xxvi. 7. and Judg. x. 11.  C.

 

--- If these nations came to punish Asa, for banishing their foreign worship, (v. 12) as the Sieur de Folard thinks the sacred penman insinuates, (v. 5) we need not wonder that they met with such ill success, and that not one of them was spared, as God avenged his own cause, v. 12. 13.  H.

 

--- We read of no cavalry here, though it is mentioned, C. xvi. 8.  It seems not to have been considerable, as the people of Asia, the Greeks and Romans, trusted more to their infantry; and, in effect, no species of warfare is more costly to a state, nor less useful, than a multitude of horses, which were introduced in barbarous times.  De Folard.




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