2 Chronicles 15:9
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
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(9) The strangersi.e., the non-Judæans; members of the northern kingdom. A similar accession to the southern kingdom had taken place under Rehoboam (2Chronicles 11:16); and another yet is related in the reign of Hezekiah (2Chronicles 30:11; 2Chronicles 30:18).

And out of Simeon.—This tribe is again mentioned along with Ephraim and Manasseh in 2Chronicles 34:6, although its territory lay “within the inheritance of the children of Judah” (Joshua 19:1). Perhaps a portion of the tribe had migrated northward (comp. Judges 18), and some of these now settled again in Judah. Genesis 49:7 speaks of Simeon as “divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel.”

Another solution is, that although politically one with Judah, the tribe of Simeon was religiously isolated by its illegal worship established at Beersheba, similar to that at Bethel and Dan (Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5; Amos 8:14). But this hardly agrees with the next clause: “They fell to him out of Israel.”

They fell to him.—(1Chronicles 12:19; 2Kings 7:4.)

When they saw that the Lord.—They had heard of his great deliverance from Zerah.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.—This seems to indicate that the Cushite invasion took place not long before, perhaps in the spring of the same year (see Note on 1Chronicles 20:1).

2 Chronicles 15:9. And out of Simeon — For the generality of this tribe, though they had their inheritance out of the portion of Judah, revolted to Jeroboam with the other tribes, as appears from many passages of Scripture. This they might conveniently do, because, as their portion bordered, on one side, on the tribe of Judah, so, on the other, it touched on that of Dan, and therefore could easily join with the one or the other. For they fell to him out of Israel in abundance — Namely, from the king of Israel.15:1-19 The people make a solemn covenant with God. - The work of complete reformation appeared so difficult, that Asa had not courage to attempt it, till assured of Divine assistance and acceptance. He and his people offered sacrifices to God; thanksgiving for the favours they had received, and supplication for further favours. Prayers and praises are now our spiritual sacrifices. The people, of their own will, covenanted to seek the Lord, each for himself, with earnestness. What is religion but seeking God, inquiring after him, applying to him upon all occasions? We make nothing of our religion, if we do not make heart-work of it; God will have all the heart, or none. Our devotedness to God our Saviour, should be avowed and shown in the most solemn and public manner. What is done in hypocrisy is a mere drudgery.Strangers ... - i. e. "Israelites of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh." The separation of the two kingdoms had made their Israelite brethren "strangers," or "foreigners," to Judah. 9-15. he gathered all Judah and Benjamin—Not satisfied with these minor measures of purification and improvement, Asa meditated a grand scheme which was to pledge his whole kingdom to complete the work of reformation, and with this in view he waited for a general assembly of the people.

and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh—The population of Asa's kingdom had been vastly increased by the continued influx of strangers, who, prompted by motives either of interest or of piety, sought in his dominions that security and freedom which they could not enjoy amid the complicated troubles which distracted Israel.

and out of Simeon—Although a portion of that tribe, located within the territory of Judah, were already subjects of the southern kingdom, the general body of the Simeonites had joined in forming the northern kingdom of Israel. But many of them now returned of their own accord.

Out of Simeon; which tribe, though they had their inheritance out of the portion of Judah, did for the generality of them revolt to Jeroboam with the other tribes, as appears from many passages of Scripture; which they might conveniently do, because their portion bordered, as on one side upon that of Judah, so on the other side upon that of Dan; and therefore might indifferently join with the one or other, as they saw fit.

They fell to him, to wit, from the king of Israel. And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them,.... The proselytes of the gate:

out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: out of all the places in those tribes that had come off to him, or had been taken by him; for otherwise these belonged to the ten tribes under the government of Jeroboam, and his successors, and the next clause explains it:

for they fell to him out of Israel abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him; as was clear by the victory he gave him over the Ethiopians; after that time many in the above tribes came over to him; the Targum is,"when they saw the Word of the Lord his God was his help.''

And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
9. the strangers with them] R.V. them that sojourned with them; cp. 2 Chronicles 10:17; 2 Chronicles 11:16-17; 2 Chronicles 16:1.

Simeon] The territory of this tribe lay in the South and it is natural to think that at the disruption Simeon followed Judah in allegiance to the house of David. It may be however that Simeon at first held aloof.Verse 9. - He gathered. As the following verses go on to show, Ass wisely gathered all beneath his sway, with a view to sacrifice and to record anew hallowed resolve as a nation. The strangers. It is a significant comment on the estranging effect of religious schism (for the schism was religious even beyond what it was national) that so comparatively soon these of the tribes of Israel should have become called "strangers" by the side of Judah and Benjamin. They fell to him... in abundance. Another significant comment on the sameness of human nature in all time; the weak and the multitude will see, learn, do duty, less under pure conviction of right, than under the strong commanding influence of observation of where and with whom success goes, even if that success necessitate the owning of the Divine blessing as its cause (2 Chronicles 11:16 and 1 Chronicles 12:19). It should be noted, not for the sake of satire of human nature, but for the inculcation of the infinite importance of godly influence and example. Out of Simeon (see also 2 Chronicles 34:6). The "lines" of the Simeonites fell to them originally (Joshua 19:1) within Judah. The difficulty suggested by their being called, apparently, "strangers," and being certainly classed with the comers from "Ephraim and Manasseh," may be variously overcome, either by supposing that they had become more estranged from Judah in religious position than it was possible to them to have become in merely geographical; or that they had in some degree outgrown their own proper habitat, and had to some extent colonized a more northerly region (Genesis 49:7); or that, though, indeed, our compiler's composition undoubtedly places the Simeonites summoned, among the strangers, through mentioning them after Ephraim and Manasseh, yet this location of their name be held accidental, rather than due to special design. The prophet Azariah's exhortation to faithful cleaving to the Lord, and the solemn renewal of the covenant. - 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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