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2Ch 15:1-15. JUDAH MAKES A SOLEMN COVENANT WITH GOD.
1. Azariah the son of Oded--This prophet, who is mentioned nowhere else, appears at this stage of the sacred story in the discharge of an interesting mission. He went to meet Asa, as he was returning from his victorious pursuit of the Ethiopians, and the congratulatory address here recorded was publicly made to the king in presence of his army.
2. The Lord is with you, while ye be with him--You have had, in your recent signal success, a remarkable proof that God's blessing is upon you; your victory has been the reward of your faith and piety. If you steadfastly adhere to the cause of God, you may expect a continuance of His favor; but if you abandon it, you will soon reap the bitter fruits of apostasy.
3-6. Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, &c.--Some think that Azariah was referring to the sad and disastrous condition to which superstition and idolatry had brought the neighboring kingdom of Israel. His words should rather be taken in a wider sense, for it seems manifest that the prophet had his eye upon many periods in the national history, when the people were in the state described--a state of spiritual destitution and ignorance--and exhibited its natural result as widespread anarchy, mutual dissension among the tribes, and general suffering (Jud 9:23; 12:4; 20:21; 2Ch 13:17). These calamities God permitted to befall them as the punishment of their apostasy. Azariah's object in these remarks was to establish the truth of his counsel (2Ch 15:2), threatening, in case of neglecting it by describing the uniform course of the divine procedure towards Israel, as shown in all periods of their history. Then after this appeal to national experience, he concluded with an earnest exhortation to the king to prosecute the work of reformation so well begun [2Ch 15:7].
7. Be ye strong--Great resolution and indomitable energy would be
required to persevere in the face of the opposition your reforming
measures will encounter.
8. when Asa heard . . . the prophecy of Oded the prophet--The insertion
of these words, "of Oded the prophet," is generally regarded as a
corruption of the text. "The sole remedy is to erase them. They are,
probably, the remains of a note, which crept in from the margin into
the text" [BERTHEAU].
9-15. he gathered all Judah and Benjamin--Not satisfied with these
minor measures of purification and improvement, Asa meditated a grand
scheme which was to pledge his whole kingdom to complete the work of
reformation, and with this in view he waited for a general assembly of
10-14. the third month--when was held the feast of pentecost. On this occasion, it was celebrated at Jerusalem by an extraordinary sacrifice of seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep, the spoil of the Ethiopians being offered. The assembled worshippers entered with great and holy enthusiasm into a national covenant "to seek the Lord their God . . . with all their heart and with all their soul;" and, at the same time, to execute with rigor the laws which made idolatry punishable with death (2Ch 15:13; De 17:2-5; Heb 10:28). The people testified unbounded satisfaction with this important religious movement, and its moral influence was seen in the promotion of piety, order, and tranquillity throughout the land.
18. the things that his father had dedicated--probably part of the
booty obtained by his signal victory over Jeroboam, but which, though
dedicated, had hitherto been unrepresented.