2 Chronicles 14-16
New English Translation
Asa’s Religious and Military Accomplishments
2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved.[e] 3 He removed the pagan altars[f] and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles.[g] 4 He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors[h] and to observe his law and commands.[i] 5 He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the towns of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule.[j]
6 He built fortified cities throughout Judah, for the land was at rest and there was no war during those years; the Lord gave him peace. 7 He said to the people of Judah:[k] “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates.[l] The land remains ours because we have followed[m] the Lord our God; we have followed him, and he has made us secure on all sides.”[n] So they built the cities[o] and prospered.
8 Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who carried small shields and were adept archers; they were all skilled warriors. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000 men[p] and 300 chariots . He arrived at Mareshah, 10 and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Asa prayed[q] to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered.[r] Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army.[s] O Lord, you are our God; don’t let men prevail against you!”[t] 12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out;[u] they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah[v] carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14 They defeated all the towns surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic.[w] The men of Judah[x] looted all the towns, for they contained a huge amount of goods.[y] 15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock.[z] They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem.
15 God’s Spirit came upon Azariah son of Oded. 2 He met[aa] Asa and told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are loyal to him.[ab] If you seek him, he will respond to you,[ac] but if you reject him, he will reject you. 3 For a long time[ad] Israel had not sought the one true God, or a priest to instruct them, or the law. 4 Because of their distress, they turned back to the Lord God of Israel. They sought him and he responded to them.[ae] 5 In those days[af] no one could travel safely,[ag] for total chaos had overtaken all the people of the surrounding lands.[ah] 6 One nation was crushed by another, and one city by another, for God caused them to be in great turmoil.[ai] 7 But as for you, be strong and don’t get discouraged,[aj] for your work will be rewarded.”[ak]
8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he was encouraged.[al] He removed the detestable idols from the entire land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had seized in the Ephraimite hill country. He repaired the altar of the Lord in front of the porch of the Lord’s temple.[am]
9 He assembled all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the settlers[an] from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had come to live with them. Many people from Israel had come there to live[ao] when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11 At that time[ap] they sacrificed to the Lord some of the plunder they had brought back, including 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep.[aq] 12 They solemnly agreed[ar] to seek the Lord God of their ancestors[as] with their whole heart and being. 13 Anyone who would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be executed, whether they were young or old,[at] male or female. 14 They swore their allegiance to the Lord, shouting their approval loudly and sounding trumpets and horns.[au] 15 All Judah was happy about the oath, because they made the vow with their whole heart. They willingly sought the Lord and he responded to them.[av] He made them secure on every side.[aw]
16 King Asa also removed Maacah his grandmother[ax] from her position as queen mother[ay] because she had made a loathsome Asherah pole. Asa cut down her loathsome pole and crushed and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 17 The high places were not eliminated from Israel, yet Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord throughout his lifetime.[az] 18 He brought the holy items that his father and he had made into God’s temple, including the silver, gold, and other articles.[ba]
19 There was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign. 16 1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel attacked Judah, and he established Ramah as a military outpost to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the land of King Asa of Judah.[bb] 2 Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace and sent it to King Ben Hadad of Syria, ruler in Damascus, along with this message: 3 “I want to make a treaty with you, like the one our fathers made.[bc] See, I have sent you silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel, so he will retreat from my land.”[bd] 4 Ben Hadad accepted King Asa’s offer and ordered his army commanders to attack the cities of Israel.[be] They conquered[bf] Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim,[bg] and all the storage cities of Naphtali. 5 When Baasha heard the news, he stopped fortifying[bh] Ramah and abandoned the project.[bi] 6 King Asa ordered all the men of Judah to carry away the stones and wood that Baasha had used to build Ramah.[bj] He used the materials to build up[bk] Geba and Mizpah.
7 At that time Hanani the prophet[bl] visited King Asa of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Syria and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. 8 Did not the Cushites and Libyans have a huge army with chariots and a very large number of horsemen? But when you relied on the Lord, he handed them over to you! 9 Certainly[bm] the Lord watches the whole earth carefully[bn] and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to him.[bo] You have acted foolishly in this matter; from now on you will have war.” 10 Asa was so angry at the prophet, he put him in jail.[bp] Asa also oppressed some of the people at that time.
Asa’s Reign Ends
11 The events of Asa’s reign, from start to finish, are recorded in the Scroll of the Kings of Judah and Israel.[bq] 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a foot disease and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease, he did not seek the Lord, but only the doctors. 13 Asa passed away[br] in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 He was buried in the tomb he had carved out in the City of David.[bs] They laid him to rest on a platform[bt] covered with spices and assorted mixtures of ointments. They made a huge bonfire to honor him.[bu]
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 sn Beginning with 14:1, the verse numbers through 14:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 14:1 ET = 13:23 HT, 14:2 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:3 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:15 ET = 14:14 HT. Beginning with 15:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 2 Chronicles 14:1 tn Heb “in his days.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:2 tn Heb “and Asa did the good and the right in the eyes of the Lord his God.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:3 tn Heb “the altars of the foreigner.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:3 sn Asherah poles. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [ʾasherim], as here). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).
- 2 Chronicles 14:4 tn Heb “fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:4 tn Heb “the law and the command.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:5 tn Heb “before him.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah.
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “and we will surround [them] with wall[s] and towers, doors, and bars.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “sought.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn Heb “we sought him, and he has given us rest all around.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:7 tn The words “the cities” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
- 2 Chronicles 14:9 tn Heb “a thousand thousands.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “called out.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “there is not except you to help between many with regard to [the one] without strength.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “and in your name we have come against this multitude.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:11 tn Heb “let not man retain [strength] with you.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:13 tn Heb “and there fell from the Cushites so that there was not to them preservation of life.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:13 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “for the terror of the Lord was upon them.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 2 Chronicles 14:14 tn Heb “for great plunder was in them.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:15 tn Heb “and also they struck down the tents of the livestock.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “went out before.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “when you are with him.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:2 tn Heb “he will allow himself to be found by you.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:3 tn Heb “Many days.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:4 tn Heb “and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “times.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “there was no peace for the one going out or the one coming in.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:5 tn Heb “for great confusion was upon all the inhabitants of the lands.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:6 tn Heb “threw them into confusion with all distress.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:7 tn Heb “and let not your hands drop.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:7 tn Heb “for there is payment for your work.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:8 tn Heb “strengthened himself.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:8 tn Heb “the porch of the Lord.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:9 tn Or “foreign residents.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:9 tn Heb “had fallen upon him.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:11 tn Or “In that day.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:11 tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (tsoʾn) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but their is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other.
- 2 Chronicles 15:12 tn Heb “entered into a covenant.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:12 tn Heb “fathers.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:13 tn Heb “whether small or great.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:14 tn Heb “with a loud voice and with a shout of joy and with trumpets and with horns.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:15 tn Heb “and with all their desire they sought him and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:15 tn Heb “and the Lord gave them rest all around.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:16 tn Heb “mother,” but Hebrew often uses “father” and “mother” for grandparents and even more remote ancestors.
- 2 Chronicles 15:16 tn The Hebrew term גְּבִירָה (gevirah) can denote “queen” or “queen mother” depending on the context. Here the latter is indicated, since Maacah was the wife of Rehoboam and mother of Abijah.
- 2 Chronicles 15:17 tn Heb “yet the heart of Asa was complete all his days.”
- 2 Chronicles 15:18 tn Heb “and he brought the holy things of his father and his holy things [into] the house of God, silver, gold, and items.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:1 tn Heb “and he built up Ramah so as to not permit going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:3 tn Heb “[May there be] a covenant between me and you [as there was] between my father and your father.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:3 tn Heb “so he will go up from upon me.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 tn Heb “and Ben Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of the armies which belonged to him against the cities of Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 tn Heb “They struck down.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:4 sn In the parallel passage in 1 Kgs 15:20, this city’s name appears as Abel Beth Maacah. These appear to be variant names for the same place.
- 2 Chronicles 16:5 tn Heb “building.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:5 tn Heb “and he caused his work to cease.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:6 tn Heb “and King Asa took all Judah and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its wood which Baasha had built.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:6 tn Heb “and he built with them.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:7 tn Heb “the seer.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Or “for.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Heb “the eyes of the Lord move quickly through all the earth.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:9 tn Heb “to strengthen himself with their heart, [the one] complete toward him.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:10 tn Heb “and Asa was angry at the seer, and he put him [in] the house of stocks, because of his rage with him over this.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:11 tn Heb “Look, the events of Asa, the former and the latter, look, they are written on the scroll of the kings of Judah and Israel.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:13 tn Heb “lay down with his fathers, and he died.”
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7.
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 tn The Hebrew term מִשְׁכָּב (mishkav) most often refers to a bed. In this setting it was most likely a raised platform within the tomb where the body was laid to rest, technically similar to a bier.
- 2 Chronicles 16:14 tn Heb “and they burned for him a large fire, very great.”