|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-14 Asa seeks the aid of the Syrians, His death. - A plain and faithful reproof was given to Asa by a prophet of the Lord, for making a league with Syria. God is displeased when he is distrusted, and when an arm of flesh is relied on, more than his power and goodness. It is foolish to lean on a broken reed, when we have the Rock of ages to rely upon. To convince Asa of his folly, the prophet shows that he, of all men, had no reason to distrust God, who had found him such a powerful Helper. The many experiences we have had of the goodness of God to us, aggravate our distrust of him. But see how deceitful our hearts are! we trust in God when we have nothing else to trust to, when need drives us to him; but when we have other things to stay on, we are apt to depend too much on them. Observe Asa's displeasure at this reproof. What is man, when God leaves him to himself! He that abused his power for persecuting God's prophet, was left to himself, to abuse it further for crushing his own subjects. Two years before he died, Asa was diseased in his feet. Making use of physicians was his duty; but trusting to them, and expecting that from them which was to be had from God only, were his sin and folly. In all conflicts and sufferings we need especially to look to our own hearts, that they may be perfect towards God, by faith, patience, and obedience.
Verse 12. - His disease was exceeding great Perhaps a somewhat more literal rendering will more correctly express the emphasis of the original, e.g. his disease was great even to excess. For yet, read emphatically, and also; the historian purposing to say that as, in his fear of Baasha, he had not sought the Lord, but Benhadad, so, in his excessive illness also, he had not sought the Lord, but the physicians!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Asa in the thirty ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet,.... This was about two years before his death, and his disease is generally thought to be the gout in his feet, and a just retaliation for putting the prophet's feet into the stocks:
until his disease was exceeding great; it increased upon him, and became very severe and intolerable, and the fits were frequent, as well as the pain sharper; though the sense of the Hebrew (m) phrase may be, that his disease got upwards, into a superior part of his body, head, or stomach, which, when the gout does, it is dangerous. A very learned physician (n) is of opinion, that not the gout, but what he calls an "aedematous" swelling of the feet, is meant, which insensibly gets up into the bowels, and is successively attended with greater inconveniences; a tension of the abdomen, difficulty of breathing, very troublesome to the patient, and issues in a dropsy, and death itself:
yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord; his seeking to physicians for help in his disease, perhaps, would not have been observed to his reproach, had he also sought unto the Lord, whom he ought to have sought in the first place; and when he applied to the physicians, he should have implored the blessing of God on their prescriptions; but he so much forgot himself as to forget the Lord: this is the first time we read of physicians among the Jews, and some think these were Heathens, and a sort of enchanters: the Jews entertained a very ill opinion of physicians; the best of them, they say (o), deserve hell, and they advise (p) men not to live in a city where the chief man is a physician; but the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus gives a great encomium of them, and exhorts to honour and esteem them,"1 Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him. 2 For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king. 3 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration. 4 The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them. 5 Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known? 6 And he hath given men skill, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works. 7 With such doth he heal men, and taketh away their pains. 8 Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth,'' (Sirach 38)Julian (q) the emperor greatly honoured them, and observes, that it is justly said by the philosophers, that the art of medicine fell from heaven.
(m) "usque ad supra", Montanus; "usque ad summum", Vatablus; "usque ad sursum", Piscator. (n) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 645. (o) T. Bab. Kiddashin, fol. 32. 1. Gloss. in ib. (p) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 113. 1.((q) Opera, par. 2. p. 154.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. Asa … was diseased in his feet—probably the gout.
yet his disease was exceeding great—better, "moved upwards" in his body, which proves the violent and dangerous type of the malady.
yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians—most probably Egyptian physicians, who were anciently in high repute at foreign courts, and who pretended to expel diseases by charms, incantations, and mystic arts. Asa's fault consisted in his trusting to such physicians, while he neglected to supplicate the aid and blessing of God. The best and holiest men have been betrayed for a time into sins, but through repentance have risen again; and as Asa is pronounced a good man (2Ch 15:17), it may be presumed that he also was restored to a better state of mind.
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