1 Kings 15:19
There is a league between me and you, and between my father and your father: behold, I have sent to you a present of silver and gold; come and break your league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Kings 15:19. There is a league between me and thee — In the latter end of Solomon’s reign, the Syrians were enemies to him, 1 Kings 11:24-25 : but when he was dead, and the kingdom was divided, both Judah and Israel made peace with the Syrians; having enough to do to settle themselves in their own dominions. Behold, I have sent thee a present, come, break thy league with Baasha — It is strange that Asa’s conscience would suffer him, or that he, a professor of the true religion, was not ashamed to be guilty of such a wicked piece of policy as to tempt with money even a heathen to break his word, or league rather, which, no doubt, he had sworn to observe. This certainly was not the way to recommend the worship and service of Jehovah to the heathen nations around.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.Rather, "Let there be a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father." 18-20. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the … house of the Lord—Asa's religious character is now seen to decline. He trusted not in the Lord (2Ch 16:7). In this emergency Asa solicited the powerful aid of the king of Damascene-Syria; and to bribe him to break off his alliance with Baasha, he transmitted to him the treasure lying in the temple and palace. The Syrian mercenaries were gained. Instances are to be found, both in the ancient and modern history of the East, of the violation of treaties equally sudden and unscrupulous, through the presentation of some tempting bribe. Ben-hadad poured an army into the northern provinces of Israel, and having captured some cities in Galilee, on the borders of Syria, compelled Baasha to withdraw from Ramah back within his own territories.

Ben-hadad—(See on [315]1Ki 11:14).

There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father; whereby it appears, that albeit he was an adversary to Israel all Solomon’s days, 1 Kings 11:25, yet after the division of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah he was in league with both of them; either because his designs lay upon the enlargement of his empire other ways; or rather, because he thought it his wisdom and interest to leave them to themselves, to undo one another by their intestine wars, and so to prepare the way to his conquest of both; whereas his invading of either of them might have made up the breach, and forced them to unite against their common enemy. And therefore as soon as he was free from this fear, and one of them needed and earnestly desired his help against the other, he gladly embraced the opportunity.

That he may depart from me; that being called to defend himself, he may be forced to depart from my territories. There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father,.... For though Hezion, if he is the same with Rezon, was an adversary to Israel in the days of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:25, yet it seems his son was not, but was a confederate with the kings of Israel and Judah:

behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; taken out of the treasury of the temple and his own treasury:

come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me; it was sinful in him to take the money out of the temple, to which it was dedicated; it was more so to make use of it to bribe an Heathen to break his covenant and alliance with another, in order to serve him; in which he betrayed great distrust of the Lord, and of his power to help him; which was the more aggravated, when he had had such a wonderful appearance of God for him against the Ethiopians, see 2 Chronicles 16:7.

There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may {g} depart from me.

(g) And vex me no longer.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. There is a league] There is, as the italics of A. V. shew, no verb expressed in the original. The LXX. supplies the imperative διάθου = make. This the R.V. represents on the margin by ‘Let there be.’ But the concluding words of the clause seem to point to the indicative as the more suitable insertion. What Asa desires to claim is a sort of hereditary alliance, which he would best do by treating the friendship as existing and of long standing. As there was no war between Asa and Ben-hadad, the one might very naturally write to the other in brotherly language, according to the custom of monarchs.

come [R.V. go] and break thy league with Baasha] The R.V. more strictly represents the Hebrew by omitting the italic ‘and,’ and brings the verse into agreement with 2 Chronicles 16:3 where the same words stand in the original. As Israel lay nearer to Damascus than did Judah, any places won from the northern kingdom would be easily included in the Syrian kingdom. Hence beside the costly presents, Benhadad might see other gain in forming an alliance with Asa against Israel.

that he may depart from me] As he would naturally do to repel an invasion on the northern frontier.Verse 19. - There is a league [Rawlinson would render, "Let there be a league... as there was," but the A.V. is equally good. Asa claims that a league does exist, and, in fact, has never been broken] between me and thee, and between my father and thy father [Syria would seem to have been the first of the possessions of Solomon to regain its independence (1 Kings 11:24). Its friendship would naturally be sought by Judah, as a counterpoise, perhaps, to the alliance between Israel and Egypt (Ewald)]: behold, I have sent unto thee a present [elsewhere a bribe. Psalm 15:5; Psalm 26:10; 1 Samuel 8:3] of silver and gold; come and break [Heb. come, break now, עַל cohortative] thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me. [Heb. go up from upon me.] As 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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