For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein you have done foolishly: therefore from now on you shall have wars.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For the eyes of the Lord.—Literally, For Jehovah, his eyes run, &c. Run to and fro (comp. Job 1:7; Job 2:2). In Zechariah 4:10 we find this very phrase: “The eyes of Jehovah, they run to and fro in all the earth.” (Comp. also Jeremiah 5:1.) The Lord is ceaselessly watchful for occasions of helping the faithful. “He that keepeth Israel neither slumbereth nor sleep-eth.”
In the behalf of.—With, i.e., on the side of. The phrase “to shew oneself strong with,” i.e., strongly to support, occurred in 1Chronicles 11:10. (For the Heb. construction, which omits the relative, see 1Chronicles 15:12). Out of the twenty-seven occurrences of the form hithchazzaq, “to show oneself strong,” fifteen are found in the Chronicle.
Therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.—Instead of peace (2Chronicles 14:6; 2Chronicles 15:15). Liter-ally, For (the proof of thy folly) from henceforth, &c. The sense appears to be that the peace secured by Asa’s worldly policy would not be permanent; a prediction verified over and over again in the after-history of the kingdom of Judah (see 2Chronicles 28:20-21). The record is silent as to any future wars in which Asa himself was involved, simply because the writer, having already fulfilled his didactic purpose so far as concerns this reign, presently draws its history to a close.2 Chronicles 16:9. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth — He governs the world in infinite wisdom, the creatures, and all their actions, are continually under his eye, and he exercises a most watchful providence over all those who sincerely commit themselves to his care, and depend upon him in well-doing, and will not fail to protect them. To show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect, &c. — Upright and sincere; who truly desire and endeavour to know and do his will in all things. Such may he sure of his protection and aid, and have all the reason in the world to depend thereon. A firm and lively faith in this brings us near to God, and unites us to him: but a practical disbelief of it produces the contrary effect, and is at the bottom of all our departures from God, and double dealing with him. Asa could not trust God, and therefore made court to Ben-hadad, in which, as the prophet here tells him, he did foolishly, both acting against his own interest, and incurring God’s displeasure, who pronounced that from henceforth he should have wars, as a chastisement of his folly. It is, indeed, a foolish thing to lean on a broken reed, when we have the Rock of ages to rely on. Here we learn in what sense we are to understand this sacred writer, when he says, (2 Chronicles 15:17,) that the heart of Asa was perfect all his days: he was perfect and sincere in the things there spoken of, in the establishment of the outward worship of God; but not in the inward worship of him, trusting in, fearing, and loving him with all his heart. Or, he was upright and sincere in the general course of his life, though in some particulars, whereof this was one, his heart did not perfectly cleave to God as it should have done.2 Chronicles 14:5; 2 Chronicles 15:5, so his want of faith was now to be punished by a period of war and disturbance.Whose heart is perfect, i.e. upright and sincere, as thine is not.
Object. The heart of Asa is said to be perfect all his days, 2 Chronicles 15:17.
Answ. He was perfect and sincere in the things there spoken of, in the establishment of the outward worship of God; but not in the inward worship of God, trusting, and fearing, and loving him with all his heart, of which he here speaks. Or thus, He was perfect or sincere in the general course of his life, though in some particulars, whereof this is one, his heart did not perfectly cleave to God, as it should have done.
Thou shalt have wars with Baasha, 2 Chronicles 16:4. Zechariah 4:10,
to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him; or, as in the margin, "strongly to hold" with such, to be on their side, take their part, strengthen them, support and supply them, and to protect and defend them who are sincere and upright in heart; whose graces are sincere and unfeigned, though not complete, nor they free from sin, and who, with the heart, sincerely believe in God, in which Asa at this time failed, though otherwise his heart is said to be perfect, 1 Kings 15:4, it was so in the general bent of it, and especially with respect to the worship of God, though there was something lacking in his faith at this time, as there often is in the best of men:
herein thou hast done foolishly; to trust in man, and not in the Lord, to part with his money, and lose the opportunity of having the whole Syrian army fall into his hands:For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. run to and fro] Zechariah 4:10.
therefore from henceforth] R.V. for from henceforth.Verse 9. - Thou shalt have wars. Although this language at first seems to be intended for very specific application to Asa, yet as we do not read of individual wars occurring after this in his own time, it is quite within a just interpretation of it if we read it as referring to the inevitable experience of the kingdom. Its head and king had just thrown away the opportunity of blocking out one ever-threatening enemy. What more natural consequence than that wars should rush in the rather as a flood, in the after-times? 2 Chronicles 16:1-6. Baasha's invasion of Judah, and Asa's prayer for help to the king of Syria. The statement, "In the thirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha the king of Israel came up against Judah," is inaccurate, or rather cannot possibly be correct; for, according to 1 Kings 16:8, 1 Kings 16:10, Baasha died in the twenty-sixth year of Asa's reign, and his successor Elah was murdered by Zimri in the second year of his reign, i.e., in the twenty-seventh year of Asa. The older commentators, for the most part, accepted the conjecture that the thirty-fifth year (in 2 Chronicles 15:19) is to be reckoned from the commencement of the kingdom of Judah; and consequently, since Asa became king in the twentieth year of the kingdom of Judah, that Baasha's invasion occurred in the sixteenth year of his reign, and that the land had enjoyed peace till his fifteenth year; cf. Ramb. ad h. l.; des Vignoles, Chronol. i. p. 299. This is in substance correct; but the statement, "in the thirty-sixth year of Asa's kingship," cannot re reconciled with it. For even if we suppose that the author of the Chronicle derived his information from an authority which reckoned from the rise of the kingdom of Judah, yet it could not have been said on that authority, אסא למלכוּת. This only the author of the Chronicle can have written; but then he cannot also have taken over the statement, "in the thirty-sixth year," unaltered from his authority into his book. There remains therefore no alternative but to regard the text as erroneous - the letters ל (30) and י (10), which are somewhat similar in the ancient Hebrew characters, having been interchanged by a copyist; and hence the Numbers 35 and 36 have arisen out of the original 15 and 16. By this alteration all difficulties are removed, and all the statements of the Chronicle as to Asa's reign are harmonized. During the first ten years there was peace (2 Chronicles 14:1); thereafter, in the eleventh year, the inroad of the Cushites; and after the victory over them there was the continuation of the Cultus reform, and rest until the fifteenth year, in which the renewal of the covenant took place (2 Chronicles 15:19, cf. with 2 Chronicles 15:10); and in the sixteenth year the war with Baasha arose.
(Note: Movers, S. 255ff., and Then. on 1 Kings 15, launch out into arbitrary hypotheses, founded in both cases upon the erroneous presumption that the author of the Chronicle copied our canonical books of Kings - they being his authority-partly misunderstanding and partly altering them.)
The account of this war in 2 Chronicles 16:1-6 agrees with that in 1 Kings 15:17-22 almost literally, and has been commented upon in the remarks on 1 Kings 15. In 2 Chronicles 16:2 the author of the Chronicle has mentioned only the main things. Abel-maim, i.e., Abel in the Water (2 Chronicles 16:4), is only another name for Abel-Beth-Maachah (Kings); see on 2 Samuel 20:14. In the same verse נפתּלי ערי כּל־מסכּנות ואת is surprising, "and all magazines (or stores) of the cities of Naphtali," instead of נפתּלי כּל־ארץ על כּל־כּנּרות את, "all Kinneroth, together with all the land of Naphtali" (Kings). Then. and Berth. think ערי מסכנות has arisen out of ארץ and כנרות by a misconception of the reading; while Gesen., Dietr. in Lex. sub voce כּנּרות, conjecture that in 1 Kings 15:20 מסכּנות should be read instead of כּנּרות. Should the difference actually be the result only of a misconception, then the latter conjecture would have much more in its favour than the first. But it is a more probable solution of the difficulty that the text of the Chronicle is a translation of the unusual and, especially on account of the כּל־ארץ נ על, scarcely intelligible כּל־כּנּרות. כּנּרות is the designation of the very fertile district on the west side of the Sea of Kinnereth, i.e., Gennesaret, after which a city also was called כּנּרת (see on Joshua 19:35), and which, on account of its fertility, might be called the granary of the tribal domain of Naphtali. But the smiting of a district can only be a devastation of it, - a plundering and destruction of its produce, both in stores and elsewhere. With this idea the author of the Chronicle, instead of the district Kinnereth, the name of which had perhaps become obsolete in his time, speaks of the מסכּנות, the magazines or stores, of the cities of Naphtali. In 2 Chronicles 16:5, too, we cannot hold the addition את־מלאכתּו ויּשׁבּת, "he caused his work to rest," as Berth. does, for an interpretation of the original reading, בּתרצה ויּשׁב (Kings), it having become illegible: it is rather a free rendering of the thought that Baasha abandoned his attempt upon Judah.
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