Matthew Poole's Commentary
And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:Asa, with Judah and many of Israel, moved by Azariah the prophet, renew a solemn covenant with God, 2 Chronicles 15:1-15. He removeth Maachah his mother for her idolatry; bringeth the hallowed things again into the temple; and enjoyeth a long peace, 2 Chronicles 15:16-19.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.The Lord is with you, to defend you against all your enemies, as now you have seen, and you may hereafter expect, if you persist in that good course into which you are entered.
If ye forsake him, he will forsake you: but let not this victory make you presumptuous or self-confident, for you are upon your good behaviour; and if you leave God, he will leave and destroy you after he hath done you good.
Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.Heb. For many days have been to Israel
without the true God, & c, i.e. they have long lived without the sound knowledge and worship of the true God. The prophet confirms his foregoing exhortation, and the threatening annexed to it, that if they forsook God, he would forsake them, from the usual manner of God’s dealing with Israel formerly, and therefore in the same case they may expect the same usage. Israel, here mentioned and propounded as an example, is here understood, either,
1. Specially of the ten tribes, distinguished by that name from the kingdom of Judah; whose condition had been, since Jeroboam’s revolt, and now was such in some measure, as is here described, they having been, and still being, without God and his true worship, and therefore exposed to many vexations, and wars, and miseries. But these had not as yet turned unto God, or sought him, nor was God yet found of them, as is said of this Israel, 2 Chronicles 15:4. Nor had they as yet been exercised with those grievous and continual vexations, and wars, and mutual destructions of which he here speaks, 2 Chronicles 15:5,6, and which in succeeding times they felt; for except that one blow which they had from Abijah, 2 Chronicles 13, we read of none other great mischiefs which befell them. Or rather,
2. Generally of the whole nation of Israel in former times, and especially in the times of the judges; to which all that follows suits very well; for then many times they were, though not wholly and universally, yet in a very great measure, and for the generality of them, without God, and his law, and teaching priests, as plainly appears from divers passages in the Book of the Judges; and then indeed they were brought to all the exigencies and calamities here following; then they had grievous wars, both foreign and domestic; and then they did sometimes turn to the Lord and sought him, and he was found of them, and did raise up judges and saviours to them; of which see Judges 2 at large, and Judges 3:9, Judges 3:15 10:10, &c.
But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.When they did turn, i.e. Israel, mentioned 2 Chronicles 15:3.
And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.In those times; when Israel lived in the gross neglect and contempt of God, and his law and worship.
No peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in; men could not go abroad about their private occasions without great danger; as it was in the days of Shamgar, Judges 5:6, which is a good comment upon this text.
Of the countries, Heb. of these countries, i.e. the divers parts of the land of Israel, both within and without Jordan.
And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.Nation was destroyed of nation, i.e. one part of the people of Israel destroyed the other by civil wars; of which see instances, Judges 9:23, &c.; Judges 12:1, &c. As all the people of Israel are called a nation, so the several tribes and families of them are sometimes called nations, as Genesis 17:4 Ezekiel 2:3 Acts 4:27, compared with Psalm 2:1.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.Be ye strong therefore; go on therefore courageously and resolutely to maintain God’s worship, and to root out idolatry, as you have begun to do; for this is the only right method of preserving yourselves from such calamities as your predecessors have felt.
Let not your hands be weak; be not discouraged with the opposition which you may possibly meet with.
Your work shall be rewarded; what you do for God and for his honour and service shall not go unrequited.
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.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.
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.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.
So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.In the third month, to wit, of the sacred year, in which the feast of weeks or of pentecost fell; of which see Exodus 23:16 Deu 16:9.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. Asa had peace but ten years, 2 Chronicles 14:1; after which probably there were some bickerings and skirmishes, which seem to have been composed; and after that Zerah comes against him, and is discomfited. Upon this great success many of the Israelites fall to him, and in his fifteenth year he calls this assembly.
And they offered unto the LORD the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.Taken from Zerah and his accomplices, 2 Chronicles 14:13, &c.
And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;They entered into a covenant; they engaged themselves by a serious and solemn covenant before the Lord and this great assembly.
That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.Whosoever should obstinately refuse to pay unto God that solemn worship which he required at his temple in Jerusalem, or should disown God, or serve other gods,
should be put to death, by virtue of all those laws which command that such persons should be cut off, and in pursuance of that law, Deu 17:2. Compare Hebrews 10:28.
And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.No text from Poole on this verse.
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.All Judah rejoiced, i.e. a great number of the people, as such general expressions are frequently understood; for none doubt but there were many dissemblers and ungodly men at this time among them.
And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.Of this and the following verses, See Poole "1 Kings 15:2", See Poole "1 Kings 15:10", See Poole "1 Kings 15:14", See Poole "1 Kings 15:15".
But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.No text from Poole on this verse.
And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.For though there were continual skirmishes between Asa and Baasha and their people all their days, 1 Kings 15:16, yet it did not break forth into an open war till Asa’s thirty-fifth year, i.e. till that was ended. But how this thirty-fifth year is to be computed, See Poole "2 Chronicles 16:1".