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16 In the thirty-sixth year of King Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel declared war on him and built the fortress[a] of Ramah in order to control the road to Judah. Asa’s response was to take the silver and gold from the Temple and from the palace, and to send it to King Ben-hadad of Syria at Damascus with this message:

“Let us renew the mutual security pact that there was between your father and my father. See, here is silver and gold to induce you to break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he will leave me alone.”

Ben-hadad agreed to King Asa’s request and mobilized his armies to attack Israel. They destroyed the cities of Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim and all of the supply centers in Naphtali. As soon as King Baasha of Israel heard what was happening, he discontinued building Ramah and gave up his plan to attack Judah. Then King Asa and the people of Judah went out to Ramah and carried away the building stones and timbers and used them to build Geba and Mizpah instead.

About that time the prophet Hanani came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Syria instead of in the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped from you. Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and cavalrymen? But you relied then on the Lord, and he delivered them all into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord search back and forth across the whole earth, looking for people whose hearts are perfect toward him, so that he can show his great power in helping them. What a fool you have been! From now on you shall have wars.”

10 Asa was so angry with the prophet for saying this that he threw him into jail. And Asa oppressed all the people at that time.

11 The rest of the biography of Asa is written in The Annals of the Kings of Israel and Judah. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became seriously diseased in his feet, but he didn’t go to the Lord with the problem but to the doctors. 13-14 So he died in the forty-first year of his reign and was buried in his own vault that he had hewn out for himself in Jerusalem. He was laid on a bed perfumed with sweet spices and ointments, and his people made a very great burning of incense for him at his funeral.


  1. 2 Chronicles 16:1 the fortress, literally, “the high places.”

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