And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)b) THE REFORM OF WORSHIP, AND PUBLIC RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT
(8) And the prophecy of Oded the prophet.—Heb., And the prophecy Oded the prophet; without any connection. This is suspicious, and suggests the idea that “Oded the prophet” is a marginal gloss, which has crept into the text; especially as, according to 2Chronicles 15:1, not Oded, but Azariah son of Oded, was the author of the prophecy. Possibly there is a lacuna, and the original text ran: “And the prophecy which Azariah son of Oded, the prophet, spake.” There is no variation in Heb. MSS., and the readings of the versions only show that the difficulty is ancient. (LXX., Vatic., “the prophecy of Adad the prophet; “but in 2Chronicles 15:1 : “Azarias son of Oded;” Alex., “Azarias son of Adad the prophet;” Syr., “Azariah son of Azur;” Vulg., “Azariah son of Oded the prophet.”) these words and the prophecy, i.e., these words, even (or, that is) the prophecy. Epexegetical use of the conjunction.
And put away.—Removed (1Kings 15:12).
The cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim.—The hill-country of Ephraim. In 2Chronicles 17:2 we read again: “the cities of Ephraim, which Asa had taken.” It is generally assumed that in both passages there is a somewhat inaccurate reference to the conquests of Abijah recorded in 2Chronicles 13:19; for hitherto Asa had had no wars with the northern kingdom (2Chronicles 14:1; 2Chronicles 14:6; 2Chronicles 15:19). But Asa may have annexed some of the towns on his northern border without resistance, after his victory over Zerah. (Comp. the voluntary immigration into Judah described in 2Chronicles 15:9.) Thenius, who fixes the date of Baasha’s attempt before the Cushite invasion, says that Asa seems to have assumed the offensive after Baasha’s retreat from Ramah.
And renewed the altar.—The context seems to imply that this “renewal” consisted in reconsecration, the altar having been defiled by an illegal cultus. So the LXX. and Vulg., ἐνκάινισε, dedicavit. The word, however, may only mean repaired, restored. The altar had now stood sixty years. (Comp. 2Chronicles 24:4.)2 Chronicles 15:8. When Asa heard these words of Oded the prophet — Of Azariah, the son of Oded, who was also called by his father’s name; he took courage — For it required great courage to put away all the idols, to which so great a number of his people were still attached, and among others Maachah, the queen, his mother, whom, for this reason, he deposed, 1 Kings 15:13. And out of the cities which he had taken — Or, which had been taken, namely, by Abijah his father. And renewed the altar of the Lord — Which had been either decayed by time and long use of it, or broken by his idolatrous mother’s means. Or the expression may signify, He consecrated, or dedicated, the altar, &c., which, possibly, had been polluted by idolaters, and now needed some purification.
he took courage—Animated by the seasonable and pious address of Azariah, Asa became a more zealous reformer than ever, employing all his royal authority and influence to extirpate every vestige of idolatry from the land.
and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim—He may have acquired cities of Ephraim, the conquest of which is not recorded (2Ch 17:2); but it has been commonly supposed that the reference is to cities which his father Abijah had taken in that quarter (2Ch 13:19).
renewed the altar of the Lord … before the porch—that is, the altar of burnt offering. As this was done on or about the fifteenth year of the reign of this pious king, the renewal must have consisted in some splendid repairs or embellishments, which made it look like a new dedication, or in a reconstruction of a temporary altar, like that of Solomon (2Ch 7:7), for extraordinary sacrifices to be offered on an approaching occasion.Of Oded the prophet, to wit, of Azariah, 2 Chronicles 15:1, who was also called by his father’s name Oded. Or Oded may be here put patronymically for the son of Oded; as David is put for Christ the Son of David, Jeremiah 30:9, and elsewhere; and Moses for the sons of Moses, Psalm 90:1. Or here is an ellipsis of the relative word, of which there are many instances both in sacred and profane authors; as 2 Samuel 21:19, the brother of Goliath; Matthew 4:21, James the son of Zebedee; Luke 24:10, Mary the mother of James, by comparing Mark 15:40 John 19:25, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and many other places. And so this place may be thus read,
when Asa heard these words, even the prophecy of the son of Oded the prophet. And this ellipsis is the more easy and tolerable, because this defect might be well enough understood and supplied out of 2 Chronicles 15:1. Though some understand this to be another prophecy of Oded the father, which is not here expressed, which Azariah his son repeated to them for the confirmation of his own prophecy.
He took courage; for it required great courage to put away all the idols, to which so great a number of his people were to this day addicted, and, among others, Maachah the queen, his mother, whom for this reason he deposed, 1 Kings 15:13.
The cities which he had taken, to wit, Abijah his father; which was easily understood from 2 Chronicles 13:19. Or, which had been taken; the active word being oft so used impersonally for the passive, as Hebricians know.
Renewed the altar of the Lord; which had been either decayed through age and long use of it, or broken by his idolatrous mother’s means. Or, he consecrated or dedicated the altar, &c.; which possibly had been polluted by idolaters, and now needed some purification.
he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin; which were abominable to God, and all good men; besides the images and statues he had broken before, he removed other idols that remained, being animated and emboldened by the speech of the prophet:
and out of the cities which he had taken from Mount Ephraim: the same which his father Abijah had taken from Jeroboam, 2 Chronicles 13:19 and which perhaps, upon the approach of the Ethiopians, revolted from Asa, or were restored by them to Jeroboam, and Which Asa retook upon his conquest of them:
and renewed the altar of the Lord before the porch of the Lord; the altar of burnt offering, which had never been repaired since it was made by Solomon; perhaps he anew overlaid it with brass that being worn out, or become very thin in some places.And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. and the prophecy of Oded the prophet] Some words have fallen out of the text. Read, Even the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded prophesied.
the abominable idols] R.V. the abominations; cp. 1 Kings 14:23-24; 1 Kings 15:12-13.
mount Ephraim] R.V. the hill country of Ephraim. The term describes the hilly country between the plain of Esdrelon and the territory of Benjamin.
that was before the porch] Cp. 2 Chronicles 7:7; 2 Chronicles 8:12.Verse 8. - These words and the prophecy. In addition to what is said under ver. 1 on the question of the occurrence here of the name Oded, where we should have looked for the name Azariah, it may be noted that it is open to possibility that "these words" certainly referring to the language of Azariah, the "prophecy" may have in view some quotation more or less well known from Oded, satisfied by the latter part of ver. 2 or By ver. 7. This is not very likely; still, the conjunction "and" would thereby better account for itself. Nevertheless, it would still remain that the word "prophecy" is not in construct but absolute state, and we cannot count the difficulty removed, comparatively unimportant as it may be. He took courage, and put away, etc. These words may express either Asa's accomplishing of the reforms spoken of in the former chapter (vers. 3-5), or quite as probably his perseverance and renewed diligence and vigour in the same; the language, "he took courage," favours this latter view. The cities which he had taken from, etc. Some say that the reference here and in 2 Chronicles 17:2 also must be understood to be to Abijah's victory and spoils (2 Chronicles 13:19), and that these two places must accordingly be in slight error. If this passage had stood alone, this view might have been more easy to accept, but the words in 2 Chronicles 17:2 explicitly state that Asa had taken such cities, and the mere fact that the history does not record when, nor even show any very convenient gap into which Asa's taking of such cities after conflict with Israel might well fit in, can scarcely be allowed to override the direct assertion of 2 Chronicles 17:2 (comp. 2 Chronicles 16:11). At the same time, the work that would devolve on Asa in holding the cities his father Abijah had first taken, may easily account for all, and have been accounted Asa's taking, in the sense of taking to them, or retaking them. Renewed the altar. The altar, the place of which was before the porch, was the altar of burnt offering. The Hebrew for "renewed" is חִדֵּשׁ. The Vulgate translates insufficiently dedicavit. Bertheau thinks the renewal designs simply the purification of it from idolatrous defilements, although he admits that this is to assume that it had been defiled by idolatrous priests. Keil says the altar might well need genuine repair after the lapse of sixty years from the building of the temple. Of the nine occurrences of the word. five are metaphorical(as e.g. Psalm 51:10), but of the remaining four distinctly literal uses, including the present, three must mean just strictly "repair" (2 Chronicles 24:4, 12; Isaiah 61:4), and the probability may therefore be that such is the meaning now. Many, however, prefer the other view. The work of Ass, as described in 2 Chronicles 14:3-5, was one of taking away, breaking down, and cutting down; but this item shows it now, in his fifteenth year, become also one of renewing. and repairing. The porch of (so 2 Chronicles 29:17; 1 Kings 7:6, 7, 12; Ezekiel 40:7); איּלָם, though in construct state, the kametz impure. 2 Chronicles 15:1-7. The prophet's speech. The prophet Azariah, the son of Oded, is mentioned only here. The conjecture of some of the older theologians, that עודד was the same person as עדּו (2 Chronicles 12:15; 2 Chronicles 9:29), has no tenable foundation. Azariah went to meet the king and people returning from the war (לפני יצא, he went forth in the presence of Asa, i.e., coming before him; cf. 2 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Chronicles 12:17; 1 Chronicles 14:8). "Jahve was with you (has given you the victory), because ye were with Him (held to Him)." Hence the general lesson is drawn: If ye seek Him, He will be found of you (cf. Jeremiah 29:13); and if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:20; 2 Chronicles 12:5). To impress the people deeply with this truth, Azariah draws a powerful picture of the times when a people is forsaken by God, when peace and security in social intercourse disappear, and the terrors of civil war prevail. Opinions as to the reference intended in this portrayal of the dreadful results of defection from God have been from antiquity very much divided. Tremell. and Grot., following the Targ., take the words to refer to the condition of the kingdom of the ten tribes at that time; others think they refer to the past, either to the immediately preceding period of the kingdom of Judah, to the times of the defection under Rehoboam and Abijah, before Asa had suppressed idolatry (Syr., Arab., Raschi), or to the more distant past, the anarchic period of the judges, from Joshua's death, and that of the high priest Phinehas, until Eli and Samuel's reformation (so especially Vitringa, de synag. vet. p. 335ff.). Finally, still others (Luther, Clericus, Budd., etc.) interpret the words as prophetic, as descriptive of the future, and make them refer either to the unquiet times under the later idolatrous kings, to the times of the Assyrian or Chaldean exile (Kimchi), or to the condition of the Jews since the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans up till the present day. Of these three views, the first, that which takes the reference to be to the present, i.e., the state of the kingdom of the ten tribes at that time, is decidedly erroneous; for during the first thirty years of the existence of that kingdom no such anarchic state of things existed as is portrayed in vv. 5 and 6, and still less could a return of the ten tribes to the Lord at that time be spoken of (2 Chronicles 15:4). It is more difficult to decide between the two other main views. The grounds which Vitr., Ramb., Berth. adduce in support of the reference to the times of the judges are not convincing; for the contents and form (2 Chronicles 15:4) do not prove that here something is asserted which has been confirmed by history, and still less is it manifest (2 Chronicles 15:5) that past times are pointed to. Whether the statement about the return to Jahve in the times of trouble (2 Chronicles 15:4) refers to the past or to the future, depends upon whether the past or future is spoken of in 2 Chronicles 15:3. But the unquiet condition of things portrayed in 2 Chronicles 15:5 corresponds partly to various times in the period of the judges; and if, with Vitr., we compare the general characteristics of the religious condition of the times of the judges (Judges 2:10.), we might certainly say that Israel in those times was without אמת אלהי, as it again and again forsook Jahve and served the Baals. And moreover, several examples of the oppression of Israel portrayed in 2 Chronicles 15:5 and 2 Chronicles 15:6 may be adduced from the time of the judges. Yet the words in 2 Chronicles 15:6, even when their rhetorical character is taken into account, are too strong for the anarchic state of things during the period of the judges, and the internal struggles of that time (Judges 12:1-6 and 2 Chronicles 20). And consequently, although Vitr. and Ramb. think that a reference to experiences already past, and oppressions already lived through, would have made a much deeper impression than pointing forward to future periods of oppression, yet Ramb. himself remarks, nihilominus tamen in saeculis Asae imperium antegressis vix ullum tempus post ingressum in terram Canaan et constitutam rempubl. Israel. posse ostendi, cui omnia criteria hujus orationis propheticae omni ex parte et secundum omnia pondera verbis insita conveniant. But, without doubt, the omission of any definite statement of the time in 2 Chronicles 15:3 is decisive against the exclusive reference of this speech to the past, and to the period of the judges. The verse contains no verb, so that the words may just as well refer to the past as to the future. The prophet has not stated the time definitely, because he was giving utterance to truths which have force at all times,
(Note: As Ramb. therefore rightly remarks, "Vatem videri consulto abstinuisse a determinatione temporis, ut vela sensui quam amplissime panderentur, verbaque omnibus temporum periodis adplicari possent, in quibus criteria hic recensita adpareant.")
and which Israel had had experience of already in the time of the judges, but would have much deeper experience of in the future.
We must take the words in this general sense, and supply neither a preterite nor a future in 2 Chronicles 15:3, neither fuerant nor erunt, but must express the first clause by the present in English: "Many days are for Israel (i.e., Israel lives many days) without the true God, and without teaching priests, and without law." רבּים ימים is not accus. of time (Berth.), but the subject of the sentence; and אלה ללא is not subject - "during many days there was to the people Israel no true God" (Berth.), - but predicate, while ל expresses the condition into which anything comes, and לא forms part of the following noun: Days for Israel for having not a true God. ללא differs from בּלא, "without," just as ל differs from בּ; the latter expressing the being in a condition, the former the coming into it. On אמת אלהי, cf. Jeremiah 10:10. אמת כּהן is not to be limited to the high priest, for it refers to the priests in general, whose office it was to teach the people law and justice (Leviticus 10:10; Deuteronomy 33:10). The accent is upon the predicates אמת and אמת. Israel had indeed Elohim, but not the true God, and also priests, but not priests who attended to their office, who watched over the fulfilment of the law; and so they had no תּורה, notwithstanding the book of the law composed by Moses.
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