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
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.
your work shall be rewarded—What you
do in the cause and for the glory of God will assuredly be followed by
the happiest results both to yourself and your subjects.
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].
he took courage—Animated by the
seasonable and pious address of Azariah, Asa became a more zealous
reformer than ever, employing all his royal authority and influence to
extirpate every vestige of idolatry from the land.
and out of the cities which he had taken from
mount Ephraim—He may have acquired cities of Ephraim, the
conquest of which is not recorded (2Ch 17:2); but it has been commonly supposed that
the reference is to cities which his father Abijah had taken in that
quarter (2Ch 13:19).
renewed the altar of the Lord … before the
porch—that is, the altar of burnt offering. As this was done
on or about the fifteenth year of the reign of this pious king, the
renewal must have consisted in some splendid repairs or embellishments,
which made it look like a new dedication, or in a reconstruction of a
temporary altar, like that of Solomon (2Ch 7:7), for extraordinary sacrifices to be
offered on an approaching occasion.
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 the people.
and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and
Manasseh—The population of Asa's kingdom had been vastly
increased by the continued influx of strangers, who, prompted by
motives either of interest or of piety, sought in his dominions that
security and freedom which they could not enjoy amid the complicated
troubles which distracted Israel.
and out of Simeon—Although a portion
of that tribe, located within the territory of Judah, were already
subjects of the southern kingdom, the general body of the Simeonites
had joined in forming the northern kingdom of Israel. But many of them
now returned of their own accord.
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
and that he himself had dedicated—of
the booty taken from the Ethiopians. Both of these were now deposited
in the temple as votive offerings to Him whose right hand and holy arm
had given them the victory.