Scriptures

2 Chronicles 16

Introduction

‘In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. Asa then took the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.” Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim and all the store cities of Naphtali. When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and abandoned his work. Then King Asa brought all the men of Judah, and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using. With them he built up Geba and Mizpah. At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. Were not the Cushites and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.’ 2 Chronicles 16:1-10

Asa’s Last Years

The United Kingdom Of Israel has truly become the Divided Kingdoms of Israel. Here we read about the continued hostility between the two kingdoms, 2 Chronicles 14:2-3 /  2 Chronicles 15:16-16:6. The only person that could unite them again was God, but sadly that wasn’t going to happen until after the captivity.

Ramah wasn’t very far very far from Jerusalem and in the heart of Benjamin. This shows us just how aggressive Baasha was. He wanted to trap Asa and take the southern kingdom Judah.

When the Cushites had invaded Judah, Asa asked God for help and guidance, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15, but now, he asked for help from the king of Syria in Damascus.

The prophet Hanani condemned Asa for this lack of faith in God and severely rebuked him and Asa responded by placing the prophet in prison, 1 Kings 15:16-24 / Hebrews 11:32-40.

Ben-Hadad was the son of Hezion, or Rezon, who was an enemy of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:23-25. In order to break the treaty between Baasha and Syria, Asa sacrificed the remainder of the riches of the temple in order to establish an alliance with Ben-Hadad of Syria. Ben Hadad accepted the payment and then broke his alliance with Israel, 2 Chronicles 13:17-20.

Because the alliance with Israel was now broken, Baasha focused on defending his northern borders, which actually brought about some relief from the aggression of the northern kingdom.

It’s at this point that Asa tears down Ramah and used the materials to construct other cities. Asa’s big mistake in all of this, was he didn’t put his faith in God to help him, he put his faith in a foreign king.

We don’t know much about Hanani the seer, except what he says here to Asa and that his was also a prophet who spoke to Baasha the king of Israel, 1 Kings 16:1 /1 Kings 16:7, and to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, 2 Chronicles 19:2.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The rebuke of Hanani and his imprisonment by Asa, omitted by the writer of Kings, are among the most important of the additions to Asa’s history for which we are indebted to the author of Chronicles.’

Notice that Asa not only went against Hanani, but also against others who were committed to God and could see the king was going wrong.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘One thing that the Chronicler most certainly had in mind here was to show the colossal failure of the whole institution of the monarchy. Even a good king like Asa could not remain uncorrupted while wielding the scepter of unchallenged power. The constant pressure of the flattering sycophants that surround every ruler, and the constantly nourished and promoted conceit of any natural man have the power eventually to break down the strongest heart.’

‘The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians. Then in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died and rested with his ancestors. They buried him in the tomb that he had cut out for himself in the City of David. They laid him on a bier covered with spices and various blended perfumes, and they made a huge fire in his honour.’ 2 Chronicles 16:11-14

Asa’s reign lasted longer than the reign of Nadab, who was the king of Israel, the northern kingdom, 2 Chronicles 16:11-17:1. In his old age Asa had some kind of foot disease, which actually begun in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, 1 Kings 15:23-24. Whilst he had this foot disease, he once again didn’t ask God for help, but asked the local doctors to help him.

Asa did nothing wrong in seeking to be healed by the physicians, Colossians 4:14 / Acts 28:9 / James 5:14-15 / 1 Timothy 5:23, however, when healing power was available from God, he should have sought God’s healing before consulting the physicians.

Asa had in his later years turned from the zeal that he had for the Lord in his early days when he led a reformation in Judah. Nevertheless, the good of his reign was greater than his shortcomings. When he died, great honour was given to him.

The huge fire was the burning of many fragrant spices in honour of the king, Jeremiah 34:5 / 2 Chronicles 21:19.

Go To 2 Chronicles 17

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

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