Bible Book List
Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 1–6
Verses 1–6

How to reconcile the date of this event with the history of the kings I am quite at a loss. Baasha died in the twenty-sixth year of Asa, 1 Kgs. 16:8. How then could this be done in his thirty-sixth year, when Baasha’s family was quite cut off, and Omri was upon the throne? It is generally said to be meant of the thirty-sixth year of the kingdom of Asa, namely, that of Judah, beginning from the first of Rehoboam, and so it coincides with the sixteenth of Asa’s reign; but then (2 Chron. 15:19 must be so understood; and how could it be spoken of as a great thing that there was no more war till the fifteenth year of Asa, when that passage immediately before was in his fifteenth year? (2 Chron. 15:10), and after this miscarriage of his, here recorded, he had wars, 2 Chron. 16:9. Josephus places it in his twenty-sixth year, and then we must suppose a mistake in the transcriber here and (2 Chron. 15:19; the admission of which renders the computation easy. This passage we had before (1 Kgs. 15:17-24) and Asa was in several ways faulty in it. 1. He did not do well to make a league with Benhadad, a heathen king, and to value himself so much upon it as he seems to have done, 2 Chron. 16:3. Had he relied more upon his covenant, and his father’s, with God, he would not have boasted so much of his league, and his father’s, with the royal family of Syria. 2. If he had had a due regard to the honour of Israel in general, he would have found some other expedient to give Baasha a diversion than by calling in a foreign force, and inviting into the country a common enemy, who, in process of time, might be a plague to Judah too. 3. It was doubtless a sin in Benhadad to break his league with Baasha upon no provocation, but merely through the influence of a bribe; and, if so, certainly it was a sin in Asa to move him to it, especially to hire him to do it. The public faith of kings and kingdoms must not be made so cheap a thing. 4. To take silver and gold out of the house of the Lord for this purpose was a great aggravation of the sin, 2 Chron. 16:2. Must the temple be plundered to serve his carnal politics? He had better have brought gifts and offerings with prayers and supplications, to the house of the Lord, that he might have engaged God on his side and made him his friend; then he would not have needed to be at this expense to make Benhadad his friend. 5. It was well if Asa had not to answer for all the mischief that the army of Benhadad did unjustly to the cities of Israel, all the blood they shed and all the spoil they made, 2 Chron. 16:4. Perhaps Asa intended not that they should carry the matter so far. But those that draw others to sin know not what they do, nor where it will end. The beginning of sin is as the letting forth of water. However the project succeeded. Benhadad gave Baasha a powerful diversion, obliged him to leave off building Ramah and betake himself to the defence of his own country northward, which gave Asa an opportunity, not only to demolish his fortifications, but to seize the materials and convert them to his own use.