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2Ch 16:1-14. ASA, BY A LEAGUE WITH THE SYRIANS, DIVERTS BAASHA FROM BUILDING RAMAH.
1-6. In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha
. . . came up against Judah--Baasha had died several
years before this date
and the best biblical critics are agreed in considering this date to be
calculated from the separation of the kingdoms, and coincident with the
sixteenth year of Asa's reign. This mode of reckoning was, in all
likelihood, generally followed in the book of the kings of Judah and
Israel, the public annals of the time
the source from which the inspired historian drew his account.
4. Ben-hadad . . . sent the captains of his armies . . . and they smote . . . Abelmaim--"The meadow of waters," supposed to have been situated on the marshy plain near the uppermost lake of the Jordan. The other two towns were also in the northern district of Palestine. These unexpected hostilities of his Syrian ally interrupted Baasha's fortifications at Ramah, and his death, happening soon after, prevented his resuming them.
7-10. Hanani the seer came to Asa . . . and said--His object was to show the king his error in forming his recent league with Ben-hadad. The prophet represented the appropriation of the temple treasures to purchase the services of the Syrian mercenaries, as indicating a distrust in God most blameable with the king's experience. He added, that in consequence of this want of faith, Asa had lost the opportunity of gaining a victory over the united forces of Baasha and Ben-hadad, more splendid than that obtained over the Ethiopians. Such a victory, by destroying their armies, would have deprived them of all power to molest him in the future; whereas by his foolish and worldly policy, so unworthy of God's vicegerent, to misapply the temple treasures and corrupt the fidelity of an ally of the king of Israel, he had tempted the cupidity of the one, and increased the hostility of the other, and rendered himself liable to renewed troubles (1Ki 15:32). This rebuke was pungent and, from its truth and justness, ought to have penetrated and afflicted the heart of such a man as Asa. But his pride was offended at the freedom taken by the honest reprover of royalty, and in a burst of passionate resentment, he ordered Hanani to be thrown into prison.
10. Asa oppressed some of the people the same time--The form or degree of this oppression is not recorded. The cause of his oppressing them was probably due to the same offense as that of Hanani--a strong expression of their dissatisfaction with his conduct in leaguing with Ben-hadad, or it may have been his maltreatment of the Lord's servant.
12. Asa . . . was diseased in his feet--probably the gout.
14. they buried him in his own sepulchres--The tombs in the
neighborhood of Jerusalem were excavated in the side of a rock. One
cave contained several tombs or sepulchres.