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AND the spirit of God came upon Azarias the son of Oded,

Ver. 1.  Azarias is called Oded in Heb. v. 8.  C.

 

--- But he was his son.  H.

 

--- There was a high priest of the name of Azarias, about the same time.  M.


2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: Hear ye me, Asa, and all Juda and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, because you have been with him. If you seek him, you shall find: but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

Ver. 2.  With him.  He will continue thus to protect you, if you prove faithful.  The Pelagians hence inferred, that man was to prepare his own heart for the reception of grace.  But the text only speaks of external aid; and though it were understood of internal grace, (C.) we may merit an increase of grace, by a faithful co-operation (W.) with that which God has presented us.  E.  C.



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3 And many days shall pass in Israel without the true God, and without a priest a teacher, and without the law.

Ver. 3.  Shall pass, is not found in Heb. &c. and many supply, "had been."  D.

 

--- The Jews, and some  interpreters, would explain all this of what had passed already; (C.) and this is the idea of the Prot. "Now, for a long season, Israel hath been without," &c.  H.

 

--- But the conclusion convinces us that this is a prediction; (v. 7) take courage.  You shall not  be involved in these miseries.  Some explain the whole of the kingdom of Israel, which, from its commencement till after its final ruin, persevered in its rebellion against the true God.  Sanctius.

 

--- Others think the kingdom of Juda was also concerned, and its state of captivity at Babylon foretold.  Lyran.

 

--- But its full completion includes the latter ages, particularly after the murder of the Messias, (T.) and seems of the same nature as the prophecy of Osee, (iii. 4.) as our Saviour himself insinuates.  Mat. xxiv. 6. 9. 13.  C.


4 And when in their distress they shall return to the Lord the God of Israel, and shall seek him, they shall find him.

Ver. 4.  And when.  Sept. "and he shall convert them to the Lord,...and shall be found by them."  H.

 

--- This will be verified in the last days.  Rom. xi. 26.  M.


5 At that time there shall be no peace to him that goeth out and cometh in, but terrors on every side among all the inhabitants of the earth.

Ver. 5.  Cometh in, in public or private transactions.  See Lev. xxvi. 36.

6 For nation shall fight against nation, and city against city, for the Lord will trouble them with all distress.

Ver. 6.  Nation, both in the times of Baasa, who fought against Asa, and afterwards.  For the same prophecy may be literally explained of more thing than one.  M.

 

--- Distress.  Our Saviour says, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, &c.  But he that shall persevere to the end, shall be saved.


7 Do you therefore take courage, and let not your hands he weakened: for there shall be a reward for your work. 8 And when Asa had heard the words, and the prophecy of Azarias the son of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and took away the idols out of all the land of Juda, and out of Benjamin, and out of the cities of mount Ephraim, which he had taken, and he dedicated the altar of the Lord, which was before the porch of the Lord.

Ver. 8.  Azarias, the son, is omitted in Heb. and the Vat. Sept. which reads Adad, (H.) but it is supplied in the other editions, and in the Syriac, (C.) as v. 1.  H.

 

--- Taken: we do not read on what occasion.  C. xvii. 2.  His father had seized upon Bethel, &c.  C. xiii. 19.  C.

 

--- Yet Asa waged war himself with the king of Israel.

 

--- Dedicated.  Sept. "renewed," as the altar had been neglected, or injured by the continual fire; (M.) or this was the extraordinary (H.) altar, which Solomon had used at the dedication of the temple.  The multitude of Asa's victims required more than one, v. 11.  It is not probable that God's worship had been neglected till the 15th year of this pious king, (v. 9) since even his wicked father was punctual in this respect.  C. xiii. 11.  Before, at the higher end of the priests' court, to the east of the altar of holocausts.  C.




9 And he gathered together all Juda and Benjamin, and the strangers with them of Ephraim, and Manasses, and Simeon: for many were come over to him out of Israel, seeing that the Lord his God was with him.

Ver. 9.  Simeon.  This tribe was intimately connected with that of Juda, though many had revolted.  Some afterwards returned, as they did from other parts, actuated either by  motives of interest or of religion.  C. xxxiv. 6.  3 K. xi. 13.  C.




10 And when they were come to Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa,

Ver. 10.  Month, Sivan, or May, when the feast of Pentecost occurs.  M.




11 They sacrificed to the Lord in that day of the spoils, and of the prey, that they had brought, seven hundred oxen, and seven thousand rams.

Ver. 11.  Spoils, which they had sold, and now testified their gratitude.  T.

 

--- Rams.  Prot. "sheep."


12 And he went in to confirm as usual the covenant, that they should seek the Lord the God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul.

Ver. 12.  He went.  Heb. and Sept. "They proceeded, according to the covenant, to seek."  H.

 

--- They swore upon the altar, or passed between the divided victims.  Gen. xv. 9. 17.  C.

 

--- This solemn act was usual, and more necessary in times of trouble.  M.


13 And if any one, said he, seek not the Lord the God of Israel, let him die, whether little or great, man or woman.

Ver. 13.  Said he, is not in Heb. &c.  H.

 

--- Die, according to Deut. xvii. 7.


14 And they swore to the Lord with a loud voice with joyful shouting, and with sound of trumpet, and sound of comets, 15 All that mere in Juda with a curse: for with all their heart they swore, and with all their will they sought him, and they found him, and the Lord gave them rest round about.

Ver. 15.  Curse.  Heb. "oath."  M.

 

--- Sept. "all Juda rejoiced on account of the oath."  H.




16 Moreover Maacha the mother of king Asa he deposed from the royal authority, because she had made in a grove an idol of Priapus: and he entirely destroyed it, and breaking it into pieces, burnt it at the torrent Cedron.

Ver. 16.  Mother, or grandmother.  C.

 

--- There were perhaps two of the name, and Abia had married one as well as Roboam.  M.

 

--- Deposed, &c.  Heb. "from being queen."  Sept. "he removed Maacha,...that she should not minister to Astarte; and he cut the idol in pieces, and burnt it," &c.  H.

 

--- Syr. "because she had celebrated a feast to idols."  But it seems she had set up a stone, which Asa burnt.  See 3 K. xv. 13.  C.

 

--- Priapus is added by the Vulg. to explain Heb. "the idol of, or in the grove," (H.) Asera or Astarte.  C.



Cedron

Cedron. Heb. nachal Kidron, may signify, "the shady torrent," or "vale," as it is styled by Josephus. It does not take its name from cedars. It is dry in summer, and when filled with water, in only three steps across. Doubdan xxvii. --- Cedron, to the east and south of Jerusalem, where Topheth and the sepulchres of the poor, and all unclean things, were placed. Here the pagans burnt their children in honour of Moloch. See 3 K. xv. 13. 2 Par. xxix. 16. and xxx. 14.

Brook of Cedron

[Hebrew Náhál Qidhrôn, "Wâdi Qidron"; only once "fields of Qidron"; John 18:1, ho cheimarros ho Kedron; in R.V., Kidron]. The name designates in Holy Writ the ravine on the east of Jerusalem, between the Holy City and the Mount of Olives. The word Cedron is usually connected with the root Qadár, "to be dark", and taken to refer to the colour of the stream or ravine; but its exact origin and precise meaning are really unknown. The Valley of Cedron begins with a slight depression near the Tombs of the Judges, a mile and a quarter north-west of Jerusalem. It runs first south towards the Holy city, and then turns nearly east, passing to the north of the tombs of the Kings. Next, it bends to the right towards the south, deepening as it follows this general direction between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives. Opposite St. Stephen's gate, it is fully 100 feet deep and about 400 feet broad; its bed is shaded by venerable olive-trees and crossed by an old bridge. Below the bridge, the valley presents the first traces of a torrent bed. It narrows gradually and sinks more rapidly leaving to the east the church of the tomb of the Blessed Virgin, and next, Gethsemani. A thousand feet from the old bridge, the valley is merely a deep gulley across which another bridge is thrown, and on the banks of which are, to the right, Mohammedan tombs, and to the left, the sepulchres of Josaphat, Absalom, St. James, and the Jewish cemetery. About a thousand feet farther, there is in a cave, on the right bank, the Fountain of the Virgin, and higher up, on the left, the village of Siloe. Somewhat farther down, the Tyropoeon valley falls from the right into the Cedron, which now expands down to the Valley of Hinnom. Here, the Cedron is about 200 yards wide, and has on its left the Mount of Offence. Shortly after the junction of the Valley of Hinom with the Cedron, there is Job's well, to the south of which Sir C. Warren found, in 1868-69, the shaft of a great rock-cut aqueduct. On leaving the Holy City, the Valley of the Cedron runs its winding and gradually precipitous course through the Wilderness of Judea to the north-western shore of the Dead Sea. The Cedron is perfectly dry during the summer and most of the winter. North of Jerusalem, it bears the name of Wâdi al-Jos (Valley of Nuts); between the city and the Mount of Olives, it is known as Wâdi Sitti Mariam (Valley of St. Mary), or again as the Valley of Josaphat (cf. Joel, iii, 2, 12); after leaving Jerusalem, it is called Wâdi en-Nâr (Valley of Fire), and also Wâdi er-Rahib (Valley of the Monks). Its whole length is some 20 miles in a straight line, and its descent nearly 4000 feet. Its bed east of Jerusalem is now about 40 feet higher than in ancient times. The Cedron is first mentioned in Holy Scripture in connection with David's flight from Absalom, during which he crossed it [2 Samuel 15:23]; and next, in connection with the prohibition to Semei against his ever crossing it [1 Kings 2:37]. It was at the torrent Cedron that King Asa burnt the filthy idol of his mother [1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16]. It was into it that Ezechias and Josias cast all the impurities which had polluted the House of the Lord (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:16; 30:14; 2 Kings 23:4, 6, 12). The torrent Cedron is last mentioned in the O.T. in Jeremiah 31:40, apparently as part of the common cemetery of Jerusalem. In the New Testament it is spoken of only once, in connection with Christ's going forth over it to Gethsemani (John 18:1). In the present day it is the desired resting-place of both Jews and Mussulmans, and the supposed scene of Last Judgment.

17 But high places were left in Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

Ver. 17.  Israel, to the honour only of the true God.  C. xiv. 2. and 3 K. xv. 14.  H.

 

--- Perfect, with respect to the external worship, (T.) or hitherto, (H.) though he offended afterwards.  C. xvi. 7. 12.  T.

 

--- Other altars, besides that at Jerusalem, might be dispensed with, (W.) by God's authority.  H.


18 And the things which his father had vowed, and he himself had vowed, he brought into the house of the Lord, gold and silver, and vessels of divers uses.

Ver. 18.  Vowed, in the wars against Jeroboam and Zara.  See 1 Par. xxvi. 27.


19 And there was no war unto the five and thirtieth year of the kingdom of Asa.

Ver. 19.  Year.  Usher dates from the separation of the two kingdoms; and this year corresponds with the 15th of Asa, v. 10.  See 3 K. xv. 16.  C.  Torniel, A. 3094.


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