Ver. 2. Years, wanting some months. Maacha. She is called elsewhere, Michaia, daughter of Uriel; but is was a common thing, in those days, for a person to have two names. Ch.
--- Abessalom and Absalom, the son of David are the same. 2 Par. xi. 21. C.
--- S. Jerom (Trad.) is of a different opinion. M.
--- Josephus (viii. 10.) intimates that Maacha was the daughter of Thamar. The eldest daughter, in the kingdom of Gessur, seems to have been usually styled Maacha, v. 10. T.
Ver. 4. Lamp, son; (C. xi. 36.) though he deserved to have his family exterminated. C.
--- He is preserved for his father's sake. W.
Ver. 5. Hethite. This could not be excused. But all his other imperfections might not appear criminal in the eyes of the world, as they had some pretext of virtue; so that God reserves the judgment of them to himself, and to David's conscience, who confessed that he had sinned. 2 K. xxiv. 10. T.
--- Except David, Ezechias, and Josias, all the kings of Juda committed sin; (Eccli. xlix. 5. C.) and not one of those who ruled over Israel, gave an example of virtue. H.
--- David soon entered into himself, with respect to his other failings. But he continued for a long time involved in the guilt of adultery and murder. Sanchez.
Ver. 6. Roboam. This had been remarked, C. xiv. 30. H.
--- There was a domestic quarrel between the two families. C.
--- Some suspect that Roboam is placed to designate his successors, or that we ought to read, Abia. Sanchez.
--- Castalion rashly ventures to alter the text. C.
--- Abiam gained a decisive victory over Jeroboam, v. 7. 2 Par. xiii. 3.
Ver. 9. Year complete, when the 21st was running on. Usher.
--- Sept. "the 24th." C.
--- But Grabe's edition agrees with the Heb. H.
Ver. 10. His mother's, &c. That is, his grandmother; unless we suppose, which is not improbable, that the Maacha here named is different from the Maacha mentioned v. 2. Ch.
--- She was probably another grand-daughter of David's son, (C.) as such are frequently styled simply daughters. So David is called the father of Asa, (v. 11. H.) though he was really his great-grandfather. M.
Ver. 12. Effeminate. See C. xiv. 24. Yet his zeal could not entirely eradicate this evil. There was room for the exertions of his son Josaphat. C. xxii. 47. C.
--- The king punished with death such as he could discover. H.
Ver. 13. Priapus. He would not spare such abominations in his own family. M. He took from his mother the direction of the palace, (Vatab.) and her guards. Grot.
--- Heb. "even her he removed from being queen, because she had made a Miphlatstah." H.
--- Sept. render this term a synod, "meeting," or something shameful; also a cavern, or den; and in Par. the "idol" Astarte. S. Jerom also gives different meanings; so that the precise import is not well known. Most people translate, "a scarecrow;" (C.) terriculum. In the gardens of Greece and or Rome, the figure of Priapus was set up (D.) to frighten thieves and birds away.
Inde ego furum aviumque
Maxima formido. Hor. Sat. l. 8.
Others understand that Pan, another frightening idol, is here meant; (Castalion) or the abominations of Phallus and Ithyphallus, derived from the same Heb. word. Seldon. --- As the goddess Astarte, or Asera, "the grove," here the object of adoration, was the wife of Adonis, it is probable, that the same obscenities were carried in triumph, as Herodotus (ii. 28. and 49.) specifies in the description of the festival of Bacchus, celebrated by the Egyptians.
--- To him. Prot. "She had made an idol in the grove." Heb. also, "to Asera; and Asa destroyed her idol, (miphlatstah) and burnt it." H.
CedronCedron. 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.
Ver. 14. The high places. There were excelsa, or high places, of two different kinds. Some were set up and dedicated to the worship of idols, or strange gods: and these Asa removed. 2 Par. xiv. 2. Others were only altars of the true God, but were erected contrary to the law, which allowed of no sacrifices but in the temple; and these were not removed by Asa. Ch.
--- They had been built before the temple, and tolerated by the prophets; (C.) and, though they were now improper for sacrifices, (H.) Asa thought it would be imprudent to molest them, (C.) as perhaps he could not take them away. D.
--- He left also the ruins of (H.) the temples built by Solomon, (W.) on Mount Olivet, (4 K. xxiii. M.) as no longer dangerous. Salien.
--- Lord. Asa had his faults; but never forsook the worship of the Lord. Ch.
--- In the same sense, David is so often praised as a just prince. Asa threw a prophet into prison, and placed his trust as much in physicians, &c. 2 Par. xvi. 10, 12. But he did penance, and deserves to be ranked (C.) among the few just kings of Juda. H.
Ver. 15. Vowed. Heb. "which he himself had dedicated," or vowed. 2 Par. xv. 18. H.
--- Asa made liberal presents to the Lord, and gave what his father had promised, (M.) probably during the famous battle against Jeroboam. 2 Par. xiii. 5. Abulens. q. 17.
--- Abiam was a wicked prince, and had neglected this duty, though he reigned three years. Hence he was slain by God, ib. v. 20. It seems that heirs were bound to execute the vows of their parents, though Moses does not express it. C.
Ver. 16. Their days: not that they were always fighting. H.
--- Open war was declared only in the 35th year of Asa, (2 Par. xv. 19.) which must be dated from the schism, and not from the commencement of his reign; since his rival, Baasa, enjoyed the sovereignty only 24 years, and died in the 26th of Asa, which was the 36th from the division of the two kingdoms. Thus Hardouin observes that the years of Commodus, in some ancient Egyptians medals, are dated from the reign of M. Aurelius, chief of that family; so that the first of Commodus is inscribed the twenty-first of Aurelius. Asa defeated Zara in the fifteenth, and attacked Israel in the sixteen year of his reign. Usher. T. C.
--- Others would substitute 25 for 35, (Grot. Capel.) though contrary to the text, and to all the versions. C.
Ver. 17. Rama, fortifying it with a wall all round. 2 Paral. xvi. H.
--- Rama signifies, "a height." This fort commanded a narrow pass, between the two kingdoms, (C.) and cut off all communication; which Baasa dreaded, lest his subjects should return to the service of the true God, and of Juda. H.
--- Josue (xviii. 25.) mentions Rama, near Gaboan, (C.) about five miles north of Jerusalem. S. Jerom.
--- There was another towards the south. M.
--- But there the king of Israel would have no power. H.
Ver. 18. House. Sesac had not carried off all the treasures, (C.) and the losses had been since in a great measure repaired, v. 15. H.
--- Asa thought himself justified in employing these treasures in such a pressing necessity, (C.) perhaps (H.) without reason, as the danger was not so great; and he might have gained the victory without having recourse to an infidel, if he had placed more confidence in God. 2 Par. xvi. 7, 9. M.
--- He had already discomfited Zara, king of Ethiopia, and had an army of 580,000 men. C. 2 Par. xiv. 8.
--- Tabremon, "Good Remmon," idol of Damascus. H.
--- Hezion, the same with Razon. C. xi. 23. M.
Ver. 19. League. The infidel is ready to take part with the best bidder. H.
--- Benadad gains a double reward, as he plunders the conquered. M.
Ver. 20. Ahion, or Ain, remote in the north, whence Theglathphalasar took away captives, (4 K. xv. 29.) is perhaps the Enan of Ezec. xlviii. 1. Num. xxxiv. 9.
--- Maacha. In Paral. Abel-maim, "Abela of the waters." 2 K. xx. 14.
--- Ceneroth, near the sea of Tiberias. Jos. xi. 2. Benadad kept possession of some of these places, and even built streets in Samaria. C. xx. 34.
AhionAhion (1Ki 15:20, etc.), also Aion (2Ki 15:29): the name seems to be preserved in Merj 'Ayûn, between the valley of the Leontes and that of the upper Jordan. The site was possibly Tell-Dibbîn, or Khiam, a near-by place. --- Ahion, or Ain, remote in the north, whence Theglathphalasar took away captives, (4 K. xv. 29.) is perhaps the Enan of Ezec. xlviii. 1. Num. xxxiv. 9.
Ver. 21. Returned. So the Sept. Heb. "dwelt." C.
--- He returned to protect his own dominions, (M.) and shut himself up in his capital. C.
Ver. 22. Excused. "When the country is to be defended, all exemptions cease." Leg. ult. C.
--- Sept. seem to preserve the terms of the original untranslated, "Asa called all....to Annacim." Heb. en naki, (H.) means, "no one exempt." C.
--- Rama belonged to the enemy; and, as it appears from this passage, was in the vicinity of Maspha. H.
--- Gabaa, the city of Saul, (M.) adding fresh fortifications, as this and Maspha were frontier towns, against the inroads of Israel. H.
Ver. 23. Strength. Sept. "dynasty," or power, whether of his dominions or of his person. C.
--- Feet, with the gout, (M.) three years before his death. He did not confide in the Lord sufficiently. 2 Par. xvi. 12. His body was embalmed or burnt, unless aromatic spices evaporated with it was laid on a bed of state, before it was consigned to the tomb, which Asa had prepared for himself in the city of David. Ibid.
Ver. 25. Two years, incomplete; since he commenced his reign in the second, and died in the third year of Asa, v. 28. C.
--- Petau only allows him, "a few months;" and supposes, that he had been associated on the throne with Jeroboam. But this is unnecessary. Houbigant
--- Nadab was the first king of Israel, who fell a pray to the fury of his subjects. Salien, A.C. 971.
Ver. 27. Gebbethon, of the tribe of Dan, occupied by the Philistines. It was often attacked. C. xvi. 15. C.
--- The occasion of this war is not known. M.
Ver. 29. Jeroboam. The author of schism is punished in his posterity. W.
--- The body of Nadab was left unburied. C. xiv. 11. M.