1 Kings 15:13
And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
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(13) An idol in a grove.—The original word for “idol”—peculiar to this passage and its parallel (2Chronicles 15:16)—appears to signify a “horrible abomination” of some monstrous kind; and instead of “in a grove,” we should read “for an asherah,” the wooden emblem of the Canaanitish deity (on which see 1Kings 14:22). There seems little doubt that some obscene emblem is meant, of the kind so often connected with worship of the productive powers of nature in ancient religions, substituted as a still greater abomination for the ordinary asherah. Clearly the act of Maachah was one of so flagrant a kind, that Asa took the unusual step, on which the historian here lays great stress, of degrading her in her old age from her high dignity, besides hewing down her idol, and burning it publicly under the walls of Jerusalem.

1 Kings 15:13. Her he removed from being queen — He took from her either the name and authority of queen regent, which she, having been Rehoboam’s wife, and Abijam’s mother, took to herself during Asa’s minority, or the dignity of the queen-mother, and those guards, or instruments of power, which she had enjoyed and misemployed. She had made an idol — Hebrew, a terror, or horror, that is, a horrible idol; which, it may be, is so called, because it was of a more terrible shape than ordinary, and not to be seen without horror. Kidron — That when it was burned to powder, it might be thrown into the water, and be unfit for any use.

15:9-24 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. That is right indeed which is so in God's eyes. Asa's times were times of reformation. He removed that which was evil; there reformation begins, and a great deal he found to do. When Asa found idolatry in the court, he rooted it out thence. Reformation must begin at home. Asa honours and respects his mother; he loves her well, but he loves God better. Those that have power are happy when thus they have hearts to use it well. We must not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well; not only cast away the idols of our iniquity, but dedicate ourselves and our all to God's honour and glory. Asa was cordially devoted to the service of God, his sins not arising from presumption. But his league with Benhadad arose from unbelief. Even true believers find it hard, in times of urgent danger, to trust in the Lord with all their heart. Unbelief makes way for carnal policy, and thus for one sin after another. Unbelief has often led Christians to call in the help of the Lord's enemies in their contests with their brethren; and some who once shone brightly, have thus been covered with a dark cloud towards the end of their days.Asa degraded Maachah from the rank and state of queen-mother.

The word translated "idol" both here and in the parallel passage (marginal reference), does not occur elsewhere in Scripture. It is derived from a root signifying "fear" or "trembling," and may perhaps best be understood as "a fright, a horror." Such a name would seem best to apply to a grotesque and hideous image like the Phthah of the Egyptians. She made it to serve in lieu of the ordinary "grove" - asherah, or idolatrous emblem of Astarte (Exodus 34:13 note). Asa cut it down, for like the usual "asherah," Maachah's "horror" was fixed in the ground.

And burnt it at the brook Kidron - Similarly Josiah, when he removed Manasseh's "grove" - asherah - from the house of the Lord, brought it out to the brook Kidron, and burned it there. The object probably was to prevent the pollution of the holy city by even the ashes from the burning.

13. also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen—The sultana, or queen dowager, was not necessarily the king's natural mother (see 1Ki 2:19), nor was Maachah. Her title, and the privileges connected with that honor and dignity which gave her precedency among the ladies of the royal family, and great influence in the kingdom, were taken away. She was degraded for her idolatry.

because she had made an idol in a grove—A very obscene figure, and the grove was devoted to the grossest licentiousness. His plans of religious reformation, however, were not completely carried through, "the high places were not removed" (see 1Ki 3:2). The suppression of this private worship on natural or artificial hills, though a forbidden service after the temple had been declared the exclusive place of worship, the most pious king's laws were not able to accomplish.

Her he removed from being queen, i.e. he took from her either the name and authority of queen-regent, which she, having been Rehoboam’s wife, and Abijam’s mother, took to herself during Asa’s minority, and abused to the patronage of idolatry; or the dignity of the queen-mother, and those guards, or other ensigns of honour, or instruments of power, which, as such, she had enjoyed and misemployed. Otherwise,

he removed her from the queen, i.e. from his wife, that she might not be infected by her, and afterwards infect his children; which was a prudent and necessary care, for the prevention of so great and public a mischief.

An idol, Heb. a terror, or horror, i.e. a horrible idol; which it may be so called, either because all idols, though for a season they please, yet in the end will bring dreadful effects upon their worshippers; or because this was an idol of a more horrible or terrible shape, more abominable than ordinary, and not to be seen without horror; whether it was that filthy idol, called Priapus, which was commonly placed in groves or gardens; or Pan, or some other heathen god, to whose service she in a special manner devoted herself.

Burnt it by the brook Kidron; that when it was burnt to powder, it might be thrown into the water, and be unfit for any use. See Exodus 32:20 Deu 12:3.

And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen,.... From the kingdom, as the Targum; from having any share in the government, as she might have had during his minority, his mother being dead, as some conjecture; and not only took away her power and authority, but all the ensigns of it, and perhaps forbid her the court: or he removed her from the queen, his own wife, that she might not be corrupted by her; or rather it was from presiding over the rites of the idol next mentioned, and the worshipping of it:

because she had made an idol in a grove; which had its name from horror and trembling; either because it was of a terrible aspect, or injected horror into its worshippers, or brought terrible calamities and judgments upon them: according to some Jewish writers (r), it was a Priapus, of an obscene figure; and so others (s), who suppose she presided over the sacred rites of this impure deity, the same with Baalpeor; and the Heathens used to place Priapus in their gardens (t), to fright away birds; see Gill on Jeremiah 49:16, others take it to be Pan, from whence the word "Panic", used for any great fright:

and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron: and cast the ashes of it into it, that none might have any profit by it, the gold and silver on it, and in indignation to it, see Exodus 32:20.

(r) T. Bab. Avodah Zarah, fol. 44. 1.((s) Vid. D. Herbert de Cherbury de Relig. Gent. c. 4. p. 34. Lyram in loc. (t) "----custos es pauperis horti", Virgil. Bucol. Ecclesiastes 7. ver. 34. & Georgic. l. 4. ver. 110. "----furum aviumque maxima formido", Horat. Sermon. l. 1. ode 8.

And also Maachah his mother, even her he {d} removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

(d) Neither kindred nor authority should be regarded when they blaspheme God and become idolaters, but must be punished.

13. And also Maachah] Here, as above, the LXX. has Ana.

his mother, even her he removed] The R.V. omits ‘even her’. The Hebrew has this construction, but it is Hebrew, not English, though like several other Hebrew idioms, it has become accepted, through the influence of the A. V.

from being queen] i.e. From the influential position of queen mother. The title is not the usual word for ‘queen’ but one which implies special authority and influence.

she had made an idol in a grove] R.V. ‘had made an abominable image for an Ashêrah.’ The word which the A.V. renders ‘idol’ is one of the numerous terms which the Hebrew language applied to the objects of idolatrous worship. It is cognate with words which signify ‘horror,’ ‘trembling,’ ‘fearfulness,’ and indicates an erection which was likely to excite such feelings. On ‘Ashêrah,’ which is used sometimes for the goddess, sometimes for the idol set up to represent her, see above on 1 Kings 14:15.

and Asa destroyed her idol] R.V. cut down her image. The verb indicates the manner of the destruction, and shews that the image was such that it could be cut down as you would cut down a tree. Hence most likely it was of wood, for in the next clause we find that it was burnt.

by the brook Kidron] This was rather a valley or torrent bed, which became a stream in the time of rain. It was close to Jerusalem, lying between the city and the mount of Olives. The name is connected with several events which mark it as a spot of evil fame. Beside the burning there of these idols, it was at this place that Athaliah was put to death (2 Kings 11:16), and hither in after times many impure objects of worship and abominations were brought to be destroyed (2 Kings 23:4; 2 Kings 23:6; 2 Kings 23:12; 2 Chronicles 29:16; 2 Chronicles 30:14).

Verse 13. - And also Maachah his mother, oven her he removed from being queen [Rather, queen-mother. Gebiruh, as already pointed out on ch. 2:19, answers to the Sultana Valide. The Vulgate reads, Ne esset princeps in sacris Priapi. Wordsworth reminds us of the position which the queen-mother Atossa holds in the Persae (vers. 159-850). A queen consort is hardly possible in a polygamous household; see Kitto, 4:177] because [Heb. which, as in ver. 5] she had made all idol [מִפְלֶצֶת from פָלַץ terruit, signifies an object of fear, formido - not pudendum, a thing of shame, as the Rabbis and others have held, i.e., a phallic image (simulacrum obscoenum, Jerome), but horrendum. The devout Jew could not but regard such objects with horror] in a grove [Heb. for (i.e., to serve as) an Asherah. See note on 1 Kings 14:15, 23. Asherah is not the name of the goddess ( = Astarte), as Wordsworth thinks, but of the image], and Asa destroyed [Marg. cut off, Heb. simply cut, which here must mean cut down. The image was, no doubt, planted erect in the ground] her idol [horror, as above], and burnt it [this shows that it was made of wood] by the brook Kidron. [Cf. Exodus 32:20. Here, as in 1 Kings 17:3 (where see note), our translators have been unable to adhere strictly to the original "in the brook," etc., from not knowing that נַחַל, which primarily means "brook," also means" watercourse," wady. It is probable that the brook was at this time flowing, and that the ashes of the wooden Asherah were cast into it; but the burning also took place in the Wady, or valley. We read of another similar burning in 2 Kings 23:4, 6; but in this case the ashes were either carried to Bethel or cast upon the graves, to defile them. It is a fair inference that on this latter occasion the Kedron was dry. The valley, "the fields of the Kedron" (ver. 4 l.c.), is conveniently placed for such a purpose.] 1 Kings 15:13As ruler Asa walked in the ways of his pious ancestor David: he banished the male prostitutes out of the land, abolished all the abominations of idolatry, which his fathers (Abijam and Rehoboam) had introduced, deposed his grandmother Maacah from the rank of a queen, because she had made herself an idol for the Ashera, and had the idol hewn in pieces and burned in the valley of the Kidron. גּלּלים is a contemptuous epithet applied to idols (Leviticus 26:30); it does not mean stercorei, however, as the Rabbins affirm, but logs, from גּלל, to roll, or masses of stone, after the Chaldee גּלל (Ezra 5:8; Ezra 6:4), generally connected with שׁקּצים. It is so in Deuteronomy 29:16. מפלצת, formido, from פּלץ, terrere, timere, hence an idol as an object of fear, and not pudendum, a shameful image, as Movers (Phniz. i. p. 571), who follows the Rabbins, explains it, understanding thereby a Phallus as a symbol of the generative and fructifying power of nature. With regard to the character of this idol, nothing further can be determined than that it was of wood, and possibly a wooden column like the אשׁרים (see at 1 Kings 14:23). "But the high places departed not," i.e., were not abolished. By the בּמות we are not to understand, according to 1 Kings 15:12, altars of high places dedicated to idols, but unlawful altars to Jehovah. It is so in the other passages in which this formula recurs (1 Kings 22:24; 2 Kings 12:4; 2 Kings 14:4; 2 Kings 15:4; and the parallel passages 2 Chronicles 15:17; 2 Chronicles 20:33). The apparent discrepancy between the last-mentioned passages and 2 Chronicles 14:2, 2 Chronicles 14:4, and 2 Chronicles 17:6, may be solved very simply on the supposition that the kings (Asa and Jehoshaphat) did indeed abolish the altars on the high places, but did not carry their reforms in the nation thoroughly out; and not by distinguishing between the bamoth dedicated to Jehovah and those dedicated to idols, as Thenius, Bertheau, and Caspari, with many of the earlier commentators, suppose. For although 2 Chronicles 14:2 is very favourable to this solution, since both בּמות and הגּכר dna בּמו מזבּחות are mentioned there, it does not accord with 2 Chronicles 17:6, where הבּמות cannot be merely idolatrous altars dedicated to the Canaanitish Baal, but unquestionably refer to the unlawful altars of Jehovah, or at any rate include them. Moreover, the next clause in the passage before us, "nevertheless Asa's heart was wholly given to the Lord," shows that the expression סרוּ לא סרוּ nois does not mean that the king allowed the unlawful Jehovah-bamoth to remain, but simply that, notwithstanding his fidelity to Jehovah, the bamoth did not depart, so that he was unable to carry the abolition of them thoroughly out.
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