Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelled at Damascus, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Sent them to Ben-hadad.—This shows that Syria, recovering its independence at the fall of Solomon’s empire, was already attaining the formidable power, which so soon threatened to destroy Israel altogether. The Ben-hadad of the text is the grandson of Hezion, who must be the Rezon of 1Kings 11:23. Already, as we gather from the next verse, there had been leagues between Syria and Judah in the preceding reign. Now it is clear that Baasha had attempted to supersede these by a closer league—possibly, like Pekah in later times (2Kings 16:5-6), desiring to strengthen and secure himself against invasion by the subjugation of Judah. Asa naturally resolved to bribe Ben-hadad by presents to prefer the old tie to the new; but he went beyond this, and proposed a combined attack on Israel, for the first time calling in a heathen power against his “brethren, the children of Israel.” It was an expedient which, though it succeeded for its immediate purpose, yet both as a desperate policy and an unfaithfulness to the brotherhood, which, in spite of separation and corruption, still bound the two kingdoms in the covenant of God with Abraham, deserved and received prophetic rebuke. (See 2Chronicles 16:7-9.) Just so Isaiah, in the days of Ahaz and Hezekiah, denounced the vain trust in confederacies with the neighbouring nations and alliance with Egypt (Isaiah 30:1-17).1 Kings 15:18. Asa took all the silver and gold that were left — Which either Shishak had left, or Abijam or Asa or others, of both Israel or Judah, had dedicated; which probably was not inconsiderable, because Asa had got great spoils from Zarah, (2 Chronicles 14.) and he, and his numerous and prosperous people, did at this time express a great zeal for the house and worship of God. Sent them — Wherein he committed three great faults, among many others; 1st, He alienated things consecrated to God, without necessity. 2d, He did this out of distrust of that God whose power and goodness he had lately experienced. 3d, He did this for an ill intent, to hire him to the breach of his league and covenant with Baasha, (1 Kings 15:19,) and to take away part of that land which by right, and the special gift of God, belonged to the Israelites.1 Kings 15:15. Compare 2 Chronicles 15:18.
Asa's conduct in calling Benhadad to his aid, condemned by the seer Hanani 2 Chronicles 16:7, cannot, of course, be justified; but there was much to excuse it. An alliance, it appears, had existed between Abijam and Tabrimon, Benhadad's father 1 Kings 15:19 - an alliance which may have helped Abijam to gain his great victory over Jeroboam and achieve his subsequent conquests 2 Chronicles 13:17-20. This had been brought to an end by Baasha, who had succeeded in inducing Benhadad to enter into a league with him. It was only natural that Asa should endeavor to break up this league; and, politically speaking, he had a full right to go further, and obtain, if he could, the support of the Syrian troops for himself. The Israelites had set the example of calling in a foreign power, when Jeroboam obtained the aid of Shishak.
Ben-hadad—(See on 1Ki 11:14).All the silver and the gold that were left; these poor remainders, which either Shishak had left at that time, 1 Kings 14:26, or Abijam, or Asa, or others, both of Israel and Judah, had dedicated; which probably was not inconsiderable, because Asa had got great spoils from Zerah, 2Ch 14, and he and his numerous and prosperous people did at this time express a great zeal for the house and worship of God.
Asa sent them to Ben-hadad; wherein he committed three great faults, amongst many others. First, He alienated things consecrated to God without necessity. Secondly, He did this out of carnal fear and distrust of that God whose power and goodness he had lately experienced. Thirdly, He did this for an ill intent, to hire him to the breach of his league and covenant with Baasha, 1 Kings 15:19, and to take away part of that land which by right, and the special gift of God, belonged to the Israelites. 1 Kings 14:26, or what he had put there dedicated by his father and himself, 1 Kings 15:15 and be they either, they were not to be taken, especially the treasures of the house of the Lord, and put to profane use, and particularly to such bad purposes as these were:
and delivered them into the hands of his servants: to be disposed of as next directed:
and King Asa sent them to Benhadad the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus; according to some chronologers (w), Hezion, the grandfather of this Benhadad, is the same with Rezon the first king of Damascus, 1 Kings 11:23, who was succeeded by Tabrimon, and he by Benhadad:
saying: as follows.Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon [R.V. Tabrimmon] the son of Hezion, king of Syria] This is the earliest of the three kings of this name mentioned in the Old Testament. ‘Hezion’ is probably the same person as the ‘Rezon,’ king of Damascus mentioned in 1 Kings 11:23, and Ben-hadad 1. was apparently his grandson. We cannot always determine whether the names of these kings are merely significant titles, or true names. ‘Hadad’ was a Syrian god, perhaps the sun-god, and Ben-hadad, ‘son of Hadad’ may mean one devoted to Hadad’s worship. So ‘Tab-rimmon’ signifies ‘good is Rimmon’; Rimmon being another Syrian divinity (see 2 Kings 5:18). This is much more likely to be a personal name than Ben-hadad. The war which Ben-hadad now began against Israel appears to have been continued in the days of Ahab. See below 1 Kings 20:1. In the LXX. this king is called υἱὸς Ἄδερ.Verse 18. - Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left [LXX. τὸ σὑρεθὲν, which Rawlinson thinks points to a corruption of our text. He says, "The Jewish treasuries should now have been tolerably full," because
(1) of the long peace (2 Chronicles 14:1-6), and
(2) the "very much spoil" they had taken from the Ethiopians (ib., ver. 13). Compare ver. 15 above. But the historian has in mind the depletion of the treasury by Shishak (1 Kings 14:26). It is true there was nothing "left" on that occasion, but the treasures since accumulated are referred to under this term. It may be the phrase is not strictly accurate, but the LXX. reading looks suspiciously like an emendation] in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them [cf. 2 Kings 16:8. For this act of faithlessness he was reproved by Hanani the seer (2 Chronicles 16:7): "O Asa, where was thy piety, while thou robbedst God to corrupt an infidel for the slaughter of the Israelites?" (Hall)] to Ben-hadad ["the son of the sun" (see note on 1 Kings 11:23). Three kings of Damascus at least bore this name, viz., this king, his son (1 Kings 20:1), and the son of Hazael (2 Kings . 24)], the son of Tabrimon [the name means, Good is Rimmon, as to which deity see note on 2 Kings 5:18], the son of Hezion [by some identified with Rezin (1 Kings 11:23), but on insufficient grounds] king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus ["The centre of the Aramaean power west of the Euphrates" (Ewald)], saying, 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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