And Asa had an army of men that bore targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Targets and spears.—Shield (or buckler) and lance. The large shield is meant (see 2Chronicles 9:15). The same phrase is used to describe the warriors of Judah. (1Chronicles 12:24.)
That bare shields—i.e., the short or round shield (2Chronicles 9:16).
Three hundred thousand . . . two hundred and fourscore thousand.—A total of 580,000, warriors. (Comp. Abijah’s 400,000, 2Chronicles 13:3.) The entire male population capable of bearing arms must be included in these high figures. Of course, such a thing as a standing army of this strength is not to be thought of.
(b) INVASION OF THE CUSHITE ZERAH, AND HIS SIGNAL OVERTHROW (2Chronicles 14:9-15)—This Section has no Parallel in Kings.2 Chronicles 13:3. As the boundaries of Judah had been enlarged 2 Chronicles 13:19, and as for ten years at least there had been no war 2 Chronicles 14:1, the effective force had naturally increased. It was 400, 000; it is now 580, 000. Asa had an army; which, as it seems, he had now gathered together upon the information of Zerah’s design against him.
and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand; these had also a lesser sort of shields, to defend their bodies, and bows and arrows, to annoy an enemy at a distance:And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valor.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. that bare targets and spears … that bare shields and drew bows] LXX., δύναμις ὁπλοφόρων (= ὁπλιτῶν) αἰρόντων θυρεοὺς καὶ δόρατα … πελτασταὶ καὶ τοξόται. The Chronicler divides Asa’s army into the heavy-armed men belonging to Judah and the light-armed bowmen belonging to Benjamin. Asa apparently had no chariots, “targets” and “shields” should be transposed as in 2 Chronicles 9:15.
of Judah three hundred thousand … of Benjamin … two hundred and fourscore thousand] The total is 580,000. Under Asa’s successor, Jehoshaphat, the numbers are (2 Chronicles 17:14-18), Judah 780,000, Benjamin 380,000, making a total of 1,160,000, i.e. the double of the total given above. Whether the Chronicler drew these numbers from any ancient document is not known, but his main point seems to be that Judah was strong in the early days of Asa, while Asa shewed faith in God, and that Judah became still stronger under his really religious successor, Jehoshaphat. It is to be noted that it is not said that Asa brought these 580,000 men into the field against the Ethiopians; cp. note on 2 Chronicles 13:3.Verse 8. - The "ten years' quiet" (ver. 1) begins to see its end. Targets (2 Chronicles 9:15); spears (2 Chronicles 11:12); for both, see 1 Chronicles 12:24. Out of Benjamin... shields and... bows. The minuter coincidences of the history are very observable and very interesting; for see 1 Chronicles 8:40; 1 Chronicles 12:2; and much earlier, Genesis 49:27; Judges 20:16, 17. 2 Chronicles 14:1-4. The good and right in God's eyes which Asa did is further defined in 2 Chronicles 14:2-4. He abolished all the objects of the idolatrous worship. The "altars of the strangers" are altars consecrated to foreign gods; from them the בּמות, high places, are distinguished-these latter being illegal places of sacrifice connected with the worship of Jahve (see on 1 Kings 15:14). The מצּבוה are the statues or monumental columns consecrated to Baal, and אשׁרים the wooden idols, tree-trunks, or trees, which were consecrated to Astarte (see on 1 Kings 14:23 and Deuteronomy 16:21). Asa at the same time commanded the people to worship Jahve, the God of the fathers, and to follow the law.
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