2 Chronicles 16:14
And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him.
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(14) And they buried him.—The particulars of this verse are also added by the chronicler.

In his own sepulchres.—Not therefore in the ordinary tombs of the Kings. The plural sepulchres indicates a family tomb containing many cells.

Which he had made.Digged, or hewn out of the rock. (Comp. Job 3:14; Isaiah 22:16.) Like the Pharaohs, Asa, who was a great and powerful sovereign, prepared his own last resting-place.

Which was filled.—Literally, which one had filled.

Sweet odours.Bĕsamîm, “spices” (2Chronicles 9:1; 2Chronicles 9:9). Kinds. Heb., zènim, an Aramaic word common in the Targums, but in Old Testament Hebrew only found here and in Psalm 144:13.

Prepared by the apothecaries’ art.—Literally, Compounded in a compound of work (art). The participle mĕruqqah only occurs here. The word rendered compound means an ointment or compost of various spices (1Chronicles 9:30). The full phrase “compound of the work of the compounder” occurs Exodus 30:25; Exodus 30:35.

And they made.—Literally, And they burned.

Very.—‘Ad limeôd. Only here, a later equivalent of ‘ad mcud (Genesis 27:33). The burning of aromatic woods and spices was usual at the obsequies of kings (see 2Chronicles 21:19; Jeremiah 34:5, and Note on 1Chronicles 10:12). Asa’s distinction as a wealthy and powerful monarch, and the high esteem with which his subjects regarded him, are indicated by the extraordinary amount of spices burnt in his honour. There is no ground for supposing that the chronicler blames “the exaggerated splendour and lavish excess with which this custom was observed at the burial of Asa, as if it were the burial of an Egyptian Pharaoh” (Zöckler). His account of the splendour of Solomon proves that he delighted to dwell on the glory of the ancient kings of his people.

2 Chronicles 16:14. They buried him in his sepulchre which he had made for himself — As one mindful of his grave. And laid him in the bed with sweet odours, and divers kinds of spices — After the manner of those nations, Genesis 50:2; 2 Chronicles 21:19. And made a very great burning — Of precious spices; thereby testifying their respect to him, notwithstanding his miscarriages. The eminent piety and usefulness of good men ought to be remembered to their praise, though they have had their blemishes. Let their faults be buried in their graves, while their services are remembered over their graves.

16:1-14 Asa seeks the aid of the Syrians, His death. - A plain and faithful reproof was given to Asa by a prophet of the Lord, for making a league with Syria. God is displeased when he is distrusted, and when an arm of flesh is relied on, more than his power and goodness. It is foolish to lean on a broken reed, when we have the Rock of ages to rely upon. To convince Asa of his folly, the prophet shows that he, of all men, had no reason to distrust God, who had found him such a powerful Helper. The many experiences we have had of the goodness of God to us, aggravate our distrust of him. But see how deceitful our hearts are! we trust in God when we have nothing else to trust to, when need drives us to him; but when we have other things to stay on, we are apt to depend too much on them. Observe Asa's displeasure at this reproof. What is man, when God leaves him to himself! He that abused his power for persecuting God's prophet, was left to himself, to abuse it further for crushing his own subjects. Two years before he died, Asa was diseased in his feet. Making use of physicians was his duty; but trusting to them, and expecting that from them which was to be had from God only, were his sin and folly. In all conflicts and sufferings we need especially to look to our own hearts, that they may be perfect towards God, by faith, patience, and obedience.The explanation of the plural - "sepulchres" - will be seen in 1 Kings 13:30 note.

The burning of spices in honor of a king at his funeral was customary (compare the marginal references).

14. they buried him in his own sepulchres—The tombs in the neighborhood of Jerusalem were excavated in the side of a rock. One cave contained several tombs or sepulchres.

laid him in the bed … filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices—It is evident that a sumptuous public funeral was given him as a tribute of respect and gratitude for his pious character and patriotic government. But whether "the bed" means a state couch on which he lay exposed to public view, the odoriferous perfumes being designed to neutralize the offensive smell of the corpse, or whether it refers to an embalmment, in which aromatic spices were always used in great profusion, it is impossible to say.

they made a very great burning for him—according to some, for consuming the spices. According to others, it was a magnificent pile for the cremation of the corpse—a usage which was at that time, and long after, prevalent among the Hebrews, and the omission of which in the case of royal personages was reckoned a great indignity (2Ch 21:19; 1Sa 31:12; Jer 34:5; Am 6:10).

Laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours, as the manner of those nations was. See Genesis 50:2 2 Chronicles 21:19.

They made a very great burning, to wit, of precious spices; thereby testifying their thankfulness for many benefits which they enjoyed under his government, and their respect to him notwithstanding his miscarriages.

And they buried him in his own sepulchres which he had made for himself in the city of David,.... Where was the burying place of the kings of Judah; here Asa had ordered a vault to be made for himself and his family, and therefore called sepulchres, because of the several cells therein to put separate bodies in:

and laid him in the bed; not only laid him out, as we express it, but laid him on a bed of state, where he lay in great pomp; or the funeral bed, which, with other nations (r), used to be strowed with sweet smelling flowers and herbs, as follows:

which was filled with sweet odours, and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries art; or rather confectioner or druggist; for it is a question whether there were then any such we call apothecaries; this bed was strowed with spices, myrrh, aloes, cassia, cinnamon, &c. and which perhaps might be made up into a liquid, which was sprinkled over the bed and shroud in which he lay:

and they made a very great burning for him; not that they made a great fire, and burned his body; for burning was not used with the Jews; but they burnt spices and other things in great quantity, in honour of him: See Gill on Jeremiah 34:5, and this custom continued to the times of Herod, at whose funeral there were five hundred of his domestics and freed men bearing spices (s).

(r) Herodian. Hist. l. 4. c. 3. Vid. Kirchman. de Funer. Roman. l. 1. c. 11. & Alstorph. de Lect. Vet. c. 19. p. 151, 152. (s) Joseph. de Bello Jud. l. 1. c. 33. sect. 9.

And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odorous and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him.
14. in his own sepulchres] In 1 Kin. with his fathers.

which he had made for himself] R.V. which he had hewn out for himself. This clause is absent from 1 Kin.

divers kinds of spices] Mark 16:1; John 12:3; John 12:7; John 19:39-40.

a very great burning] Cp. 2 Chronicles 21:19. What is here meant is not cremation of the body, but only a burning of spices; Jeremiah 34:5.

Verse 14. - In his own sepulchres; Hebrew, קִבְרֹתָין; fem. plur. of קֶבֶר. The plural designates, of course, the range of burial compartments that formed the tomb of one person or family. So Job 17:1, where the masc. plur. is used, קְבָרִים לִי. In the city of David (see note on 2 Chronicles 12:16). In the bed; Hebrew, מִשְׁכָּב. The use or associations of this word (found about fifty times) are almost entirely, if not entirely, those of the bed of nightly rest, even when not at the time speaking of nightly rest; and this is the first and only occasion that it is employed to link the grave in kindly analogy with the couch of bodily repose during lifetime. The fact might have suggested Bishop Ken's lines in the evening hymn -

"Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed."
In the present instance, however, the writer, whoever he was (query, was he the compiler of our Chronicles, or his original?), is doubt-leas led to the analogy by considerations mere earthly than those enshrined in Ken's hymn, viz. by the somewhat "vain show" of attractiveness and fragrance (probably designed partly for preservative purposes) with which the place was filled, and which were among even patriarchal indications of faith in a future state. Sweet odours; Hebrew, כְּשָׂמִים. Of the twenty-nine times that this word occurs in Exodus, Kings, and Chronicles, Esther, Canticles, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, it is rendered in the Authorized Vermon "spices" twenty-four times, "sweet cinnamon" once, "sweet calamus" once, and "sweet odours" or "sweet smell" three times. The chief and determining references are those in Exodus 25:6; Exodus 30:23; Exodus 35:8, 28. And divers kinds; Hebrew, וּזְנִים; plur. of זַן; from the root, זָנַן; unused, but probably one with an Amble root, meaning "to shape;" hence our noun, meaning a kind or species, used here and Psalm 144:13 (where the margin renders literally, "from kind to kind"), and in the Chaldee of Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15. Prepared; Hebrew, מְרֻקָּחִיס; solitary occurrence of pual conjugation of the root רָקַח, "to spice," i.e., to spice, season, or prepare oil for ointment purposes. This root occurs in kal future once (Exodus 30:33); in kal part. poel five times (Exodus 30:25, 35; Exodus 37:29; 1 Chronicles 9:30; Ecclesiastes 10:1); and in hiph. infin. once (Ezekiel 24:10). By the apothecaries' art; Hebrew, בְמִרְקַחַת מַעֲשֲׂה. Translate the clause, and divers kinds compounded by the compounding of art, which means to say spices skilfully treated and wrought into ointments by professional hands. A very great burning; literally, and they burned for him a burning great even to an exceeding extent. The burning is not the burning of 1 Samuel 31:12, 13 (comp. 2 Samuel 21:10-12; 1 Chronicles 10:12), but the burning of spices, indicated by the language of our 2 Chronicles 21:19 and Jeremiah 34:5.

2 Chronicles 16:14The Chronicle gives a more exact account of Asa's burial than 1 Kings 15:24. He was buried in the city of David; not in the general tomb of the kings, however, but in a tomb which he had caused to be prepared for himself in that place. And they laid him upon the bed, which had been filled with spices (בּשׂמים, see Exodus 30:23), and those of various kinds, mixed for an anointing mixture, prepared. זנים from זן, kind, species; וּזנים, et varia quidem. מרקּח in Piel only here, properly spiced, from רקח, to spice, usually to compound an unguent of various spices. מרקחת, the compounding of ointment; so also 1 Chronicles 9:30, where it is usually translated by unguent. מעשׂה, work, manufacture, is a shortened terminus technicus for רוקח מעשׂה, manufacture of the ointment-compounder (cf. Exodus 30:25, Exodus 30:35), and the conjecture that רוקח has been dropped out of the text by mistake is unnecessary. "And they kindled for him a great, very great burning," cf. 2 Chronicles 21:19 and Jeremiah 34:5, whence we gather that the kindling of a burning, i.e., the burning of odorous spices, was customary at the burials of kings. Here it is only remarked that at Asa's funeral an extraordinary quantity of spices was burnt. A burning of the corpse, or of the bed or clothes of the dead, is not to be thought of here: the Israelites were in the habit of burying their dead, not of burning them. That occurred only in extraordinary circumstances-as, for example, in the case of the bodies of Saul and his sons; see on 1 Samuel 31:12. The kindling and burning of spices at the solemn funerals of persons of princely rank, on the other hand, occurred also among other nations, e.g., among the Romans; cf. Plinii hist. nat. xii. 18, and M. Geier, de luctu Hebr. c. 6.
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