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him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and withouta teaching priest, and without law,

But when they in their trouble did tura unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.

And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon

all the inhabitants of the countries. And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity,

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak : for

your

work shall be rewarded. And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD that was before the porch of the LORD.

And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon : for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.

So they gathered themselves together in Jerusalem in the third month, and in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.

And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen, and seven thousand sheep.

And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul : that whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel, should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

And they sware nnto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, with trumpets, and with corpets.

And all Judah rejoiced at the oath : for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them : and the Lord gave them rest round about.

And also concerning Maachah, the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.

But the high places were not taken away out of Israel : nevertheless, the heart of Asa was perfect all

his days.

And there was no more war unto the five and thir. tieth

year of the reign of Asa. In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD, and of the king's house, and sent to Ben-hadad, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father:

Behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go break thy league with Baasha, king of Israel, that he may depart from me.

And Ben-hadad hearkencd unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel: and they smote Ijon and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Napthtali.

And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease. Then Asa the king took all Judab; and they carried

Away

away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built there. with Geba and Mizpah.

And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand,

Were not the Ethiopians and Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen ? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.

For the eyes of the Lord run too and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars. Then Asa was wroth with the

seer,
and
put

him in a prison-house: for he was in a rage with hiin because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.

And Așa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.

And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and di. vers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him.

ANNOTA.

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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 worshipped, because they were at that time regarded as sacred, on account of the former appear. ance 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 consistent with his duty to God.

It seems that Abijah in his reign had set aside according 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 confided 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 cho xiv. ver. 3. of the 2d of Chron, and ch, xv. ver. 12. of the 1st of Kings. See Patrick's Conment.

the

the promises made to their forefathers, nor fall into despair from the apprehension that God had utterly forsaken them.,

As long as Asa continued to rely on the LORD, ho was blessed with prosperity; but we find his zeal abate ed, and instead of applying to God, as on a former oco casion, 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 no 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 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 Syriaps 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 shew 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 pro. ceeded 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 impa. tient; but no excuse can be made for his distrusting God, and depending entirely on the physicians, bio cause medicines can only prove efficacious through God's blessing: if we pray for that, we may hope for

M

relief

VOL. III.

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