Asa Destroys Idolatry.
1. In his days the land was quiet ten
years—This long interval of peace was the continued effect of
the great battle of Zemaraim (compare 1Ki 15:11-14).
2. Asa did that which was good and
right—(compare 1Ki 15:14).
Still his character and life were not free from faults (2Ch 16:7, 10,
3. brake down the images—of Baal (see on
2Ch 34:4; Le 26:30).
cut down the groves—rather,
5. he took away … the high
places—that is, those devoted to idolatrous rites.
took away out of all the cities of Judah the
high places and the images—All public objects and relics of
idolatry in Jerusalem and other cities through his kingdom were
destroyed; but those high places where God was worshipped under the
figure of an ox, as at Beth-el, were allowed to remain (1Ki 15:14); so far the reformation was
Having Peace, He Strengthens His Kingdom with
Forts and Armies.
6. he built fenced cities in Judah—(See
on 1Ki 15:22).
7. while the land is yet before us—that
is, while we have free and undisputed progress everywhere; no foe is
near; but, as this happy time of peace may not last always and the
kingdom is but small and weak, let us prepare suitable defenses in case
of need. He had also an army of five hundred eighty thousand men. Judah
furnished the heavily armed soldiers, and Benjamin the archers. This
large number does not mean a body of professional soldiers, but all
capable of bearing arms and liable to be called into service.
2Ch 14:9-15. He Overcomes
Zerah, and Spoils the Ethiopians.
9. there came out against them Zerah the
Ethiopian—This could not have been from Ethiopia south of the
cataracts of the Nile, for in the reign of Osorkon I, successor of
Shishak, no foreign army would have been allowed a free passage through
Egypt. Zerah must, therefore, have been chief of the Cushites, or
Ethiopians of Arabia, as they were evidently a nomad horde who had a
settlement of tents and cattle in the neighborhood of Gerar.
a thousand thousand, and three hundred
chariots—"Twenty camels employed to carry couriers upon them
might have procured that number of men to meet in a short time. As
Zerah was the aggressor, he had time to choose when he would summon
these men and attack the enemy. Every one of these Cushite shepherds,
carrying with them their own provisions of flour and water, as is their
invariable custom, might have fought with Asa without eating a loaf of
Zerah's bread or drinking a pint of his water" [Bruce, Travels].
10. Then Asa went out against him, and they set
the battle in array … at Mareshah—one of the towns
which Rehoboam fortified (2Ch 11:8),
near a great southern pass in the low country of Judah (Jos 15:44). The engagement between the armies took
place in a plain near the town, called "the valley of Zephathah,"
supposed to be the broad way coming down Beit Jibrin towards Tell
11-13. Asa cried unto the Lord his
God—Strong in the confidence that the power of God was able
to give the victory equally with few as with many, the pious king
marched with a comparatively small force to encounter the formidable
host of marauders at his southern frontier. Committing his cause to
God, he engaged in the conflict—completely routed the enemy, and
succeeded in obtaining, as the reward of his victory, a rich booty in
treasure and cattle from the tents of this pastoral horde.