2 Paralipomenon xiv.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Years, dating from the fifth; as in the fifteenth year of his reign, Asa offered many victims, which had been taken from the enemy, chap. xv. 10. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. God, with respect to the external worship of the true God, (Haydock) though he had some faults, 3 Kings xv. 14. — Places, while he tolerated those which were intended for the service of the Lord, (Calmet) though illegally; and he even left the buildings erected by Solomon standing, (4 Kings xxiii. 13.; Tirinus) thinking they might be no longer dangerous. (Salien) — Several other pious kings did the like, for which they deserved some reprehension; as they could not be ignorant, that this was considered as wrong by the more enlightened, Ecclesiasticus xlix. 5. (Tirinus) — It was the king’s duty to destroy the exterior practices of idolatry, while the priests and prophets were to instruct. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Altars. Hebrew, “high places, and the Chamanim,” or temples of the sun, Leviticus xxvi. 30. (Calmet) — Protestants, “images.” (Haydock) — Asa was encouraged to perfect the work which he had begun, by the exhortation of Azarias, chap. xv. 8. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Time, as yet. (Tirinus) — Admirable lesson for all to prepare for war in time of quiet! (Haydock)
Ver. 9. Ethiopian. Some think Zara was a successor of Sesac; and the Rabbins say, that he “restored the spoils which the latter had taken.” (Seder. xvi.) — He at least, made the Jews some compensation for that loss. Perhaps he had been present in the expedition of Sesac, and was now animated with the same ambition. (Tirinus) — It would be difficult for a foreign king to traverse Egypt with so large an army, (Calmet) unless he had conquered or intimidated the king of the country. (Haydock) — Hence some believe that the Ethiopia here in question, was a part of Arabia. (Calmet) (Torniel.) — But it is more probable that it lay south of Egypt, as the troops of Zara are joined with the Lybians, chap. xvi. 8. (Salien, the year of the world 3094.) (Tirinus) — A king of Arabia would hardly have had so many subjects. (Calmet) — Three. Some would read thirteen, as Anani takes notice of the great number of chariots, chap. xvi. 8. (Junius) (Malvenda) (Calmet) — But surely the number here specified is sufficient. The minds of men are very different. In the former chapter we find them complaining of the too great numbers! (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Meet him, fearing lest he should lay waste his dominions, as Sesac had done. (Menochius) — Sephata, or Sephala, a great valley to the west of Maresa, (Calmet) which is a city of Juda. (Menochius) — Septuagint have, “in the vale north of Maresa.” (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Help. Hebrew, “to help; whether with many, or with those who have no power.” The same sentiment was expressed by Jonathas, 1 Kings xiv. 6. Those who have God with them are secure of victory. (Calmet) — If God be with us, who is against us?
Ver. 12. Terrified. Hebrew and Septuagint, “struck,” as he had done Jeroboam, chap. xiii. 15. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Gerara was on the southern borders, twenty-three miles from Maresa. (Eusebius) (Calmet) — The Ethiopians were pursued perhaps for many days. (Tirinus) — Destruction. Protestants, “that they could not recover themselves.” Hebrew, “there was no quarter given;” or, “so that none were left alive.” (Calmet) — If this were the case, the number of the slain far exceeded that the Jeroboam’s army, chap. xiii. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Gerara. The adjacent territory is now uncultivated, Josue xiii. 3. — Great. Hebrew, “a fear of the Lord;” (ver. 12) an extraordinary (Calmet) panic. (Haydock) — The Philistines had assisted the enemy, and therefore their cities were invaded; (Menochius) or these belonged to Zara. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Destroyed. Hebrew, “smote also the tents of cattle.” Septuagint, “they cut in pieces the tents of cattle, the Amazons;” or, according to the Vatican copy, (Haydock) “the Alimazonians,” as they seem to have read aeli manim, which may be well rendered, “the tents of the Mineans,” a people of Arabia, chap. xx. 1., and xxvi. 7., and Judges x. 11. (Calmet) — If these nations came to punish Asa, for banishing their foreign worship, (ver. 12) as the Sieur de Folard thinks the sacred penman insinuates, (ver. 5) we need not wonder that they met with such ill success, and that not one of them was spared, as God avenged his own cause, ver. 12, 13. (Haydock) — We read of no cavalry here, though it is mentioned, chap. xvi. 8. It seems not to have been considerable, as the people of Asia, the Greeks and Romans, trusted more to their infantry; and, in effect, no species of warfare is more costly to a state, nor less useful, than a multitude of horses, which were introduced in barbarous times. (De Folard)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The reign of Asa: his victory over the Ethiopians.
1 And *Abia slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa, his son, reigned in his stead; in his days, the land was quiet ten years.
2 And Asa did that which was good and pleasing in the sight of his God, and he destroyed the altars of foreign worship, and the high places;
3 And broke the statues, and cut down the groves.
4 And he commanded Juda to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to do the law, and all the commandments.
5 And he took away out of all the cities of Juda the altars, and temples, and reigned in peace.
6 He built also strong cities in Juda, for he was quiet, and there had no wars risen in his time, the Lord giving peace.
7 And he said to Juda: Let us build these cities, and compass them with walls, and fortify them with towers, and gates, and bars, while all is quiet from wars, because we have sought the Lord, the God of our fathers, and he hath given us peace round about. So they built, and there was no hinderance in building.
8 And Asa had in his army of men that bore shields and spears; of Juda, three hundred thousand; and of Benjamin, that bore shields and drew bows, two hundred and eighty thousand, all these were most valiant men.
9 *And Zara, the Ethiopian, came out against them, with his army of ten hundred thousand men, and with three hundred chariots: and he came as far as Maresa.
10 And Asa went out to meet him, and set his army in array for battle in the vale of Sephata, which is near Maresa:
11 And he called upon the Lord God, and said: *Lord, there is no difference with thee, whether thou help with few, or with many: help us, O Lord, our God: for with confidence in thee, and in thy name, we are come against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God, let not man prevail against thee.
12 And the Lord terrified the Ethiopians before Asa and Juda: and the Ethiopians fled.
13 And Asa, and the people that were with him, pursued them to Gerara: and the Ethiopians fell even to utter destruction; for the Lord slew them, and his army fought against them, and they were destroyed. And they took abundance of spoils,
14 And they took all the cities round about Gerara: for a great fear was come upon all men: and they pillaged the cities, and carried off much booty.
15 And they destroyed the sheep-cotes, and took an infinite number of cattle, and of camels: and returned to Jerusalem.
1: Year of the World 3049, Year before Christ 955.; 3 Kings xv. 8.
9: Year of the World 3063, Year before Christ 941.
11: 1 Kings xiv. 6.