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ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Asa, we find, employed the peace with which he was blessed in reforming many abuses, and made great advances towards extirpating idolatry, and for this purpose he destroyed all the high places in which there were any altars erected to strange gods *, but he did not venture to take away those where the LORD God alone was wor. shipped, because they were at that time regarded as sacred, on account of the former appearance of the LORD or some other miraculous event.
Maachah, the mother of Asa, is supposed to have been not only an idolatress, but a priestess to one of the idols : the king's behaviour to her was therefore perfectly con. sistent with his duty to God.
It seems that Abijah in his reign had set aside accord. ing to usual custom, some of the spoil to be dedicated to the Lord: but his piety did not continue long enough for him to complete his purpose.
Zerah, the king who invaded Jerusalem, is supposed to have come from Arabia : notwithstanding he brought such an astonishing army, his attempt was fruitless ; for as Israel consided in the LORD, the rock of their salvation, it was in vain for human power to strive against them,
Though God did not in those days honour his people with a visible token of His immediate Presence in the Tabernacle, He still gave repeated proofs that He was near at hand, to hear their prayers, and lend them assistance, if they would but seek Him with a willing heart. His servants, the prophets, were occasionally sent to admonish and encourage them, that they might not forget
* This explanation accounts for the seeming disagreement between ch, xiv. ver. 3. of the 2d of Chron. and ch. xv. ver. 12, of the 1st of Kings. See Patrick's Comment.
the promises made to their forefathers, nor fall into de. spair from the apprehension that God had utterly forsaken them.
As long as Asa continued to rely on the Lord, he was blessed with prosperity; but we find his zeal abated, and instead of applying to God, as on a former occasion, he engaged the aid of the king of Syria, by means of some of the treasures of the House of God. In this Asa committed a great sin; for though, in cases of extreme necessity, the people of God were allowed to make use of things sacred for the defence of their country, they had RO such pretence here. God had wonderfully protected them against the Ethiopian king, why, therefore, should Asa doubt the efficacy of the Divine power to overcome Baasha? Besides, it was an act unworthy of a king of Judah to bribe any one to break a league or covenant ; and we learn that if he had not taken this step, the Lord would have delivered the Syrians into his hand : for in respect to the rise and fall of kingdoms, nothing happens by chance; the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the WHOLE EARTH, to show himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect towards him.
The prophet Hanani was sent to reprove Asa: the king did not receive this prophet with thankfulness, as he ought to have done ; but affronted the honour of the LORD, by behaving with cruelty to his servant, and proceeded to the oppression of his subjects also. Asa was, it seems, afflicted with a disease in his feet supposed to 'have been the gout; this made him fretful and impatient ; but no excuse can be made for his distrusting God, and depending entirely on the physicians, because medicines can only prove efficacious through God's blessing: if we pray for that, we may hope for relief by the means God has graciously appointed, to ease our pains, and restore health to the body. VOL. III. M
In one part of this section it is said, that Asa's heart was perfect all his days. We are not to understand from this, that he made no deviations from his duty: on the contrary, we find he committed great offences : this expression means only, that he never discovered any inclination to forsake the worship of the LORD,
but continued, to the end of his life, to discountenance -idolatry.
We are told that a great burning was made for Asa ; by which is supposed to be meant, that he ordered his body to be burnt with spices and perfumes, and his bones and ashes to be collected and deposited in a sepulchre which he had provided, instead of being wrapped in grave clothes and buried entire, as the custom of the Jews then was.
THE REIGNS OF ELAH, ZIMRI, OMRI, AND TIBNI.
From 1 Kings, Chap. xvi.
In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah, began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah.
And his servant Zimri (captain of half his chariots) conspired against him as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.
And Zimri went and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.
Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
And it came to pass when Zimri began to reign, ás soon as he sat on the throne, he slew all the men of the house of Baasha, he left him not one either of his kinsfolk or of his friends,
ishes Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet ; For all the sins of Baasha, and the sips of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they mađe i Israel to sin, ia provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah : and the people were encanped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.
And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king 2 wherefore all Israel made Omri the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.
And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
And it came to pass when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died, for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did to make Israel sin.
Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts : half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri, prevailed against
the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath : 56 Tibni died, and Omri reigned.
In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel twelve years
years reigned he in Tirzah. ..And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer, for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill Samaria.
But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him : . For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities. į So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria, and Ahab' his son reigned in his stead.
We here read that the threatening which the LORD had denounced by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani, against the family of Baasha, that they should be cut off like the house of Jeroboam, was soon exactly fulfilled; but Zimri, who destroyed them, imitated wicked Jeroboam in his idolatrous practices, for which his life and reign were shortened, " Though' he died by his own hand, he might still be said to be cut off by the LORD, because he would have been preserved from despair, if he had not given himself up to incorrigible wickedness.
It is said of Omni, that he did worse than all who were before him : from whence we may conjecture, that he introduced more abominable idolatries than even Jeroboam had done, and that by severe laws (called in