3 Kings xv.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Years, wanting some months. Maacha. She is called elsewhere, Michaia, daughter of Uriel; but is was a common thing, in those days, for a person to have two names. (Challoner) — Abessalom and Absalom, the son of David are the same, 2 Paralipomenon xi. 21. (Calmet) — St. Jerome (Trad.) is of a different opinion. (Menochius) — Josephus ([Antiquities?] viii. 10.) intimates that Maacha was the daughter of Thamar. The eldest daughter, in the kingdom of Gessur, seems to have been usually styled Maacha, ver. 10. (Tirinus)
Ver. 4. Lamp, son; (chap. xi. 36.) though he deserved to have his family exterminated. (Calmet) — He is preserved for his father’s sake. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Hethite. This could not be excused. But all his other imperfections might not appear criminal in the eyes of the world, as they had some pretext of virtue; so that God reserves the judgment of them to himself, and to David’s conscience, who confessed that he had sinned, 2 Kings xxiv. 10. (Tirinus) — Except David, Ezechias, and Josias, all the kings of Juda committed sin; (Ecclesiasticus xlix. 5.; Calmet) and not one of those who ruled over Israel, gave an example of virtue. (Haydock) — David soon entered into himself, with respect to his other failings. But he continued for a long time involved in the guilt of adultery and murder. (Sanchez)
Ver. 6. Roboam. This had been remarked, chap. xiv. 30. (Haydock) — There was a domestic quarrel between the two families. (Calmet) — Some suspect that Roboam is placed to designate his successors, or that we ought to read, Abia. (Sanchez) — Castalion rashly ventures to alter the text. (Calmet) — Abiam gained a decisive victory over Jeroboam, ver. 7., and 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 3.
Ver. 9. Year complete, when the 21st was running on. (Usher) — Septuagint, “the 24th.” (Calmet) — But Grabe’s edition agrees with the Hebrew. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. His mother’s, &c. That is, his grandmother; unless we suppose, which is not improbable, that the Maacha here named is different from the Maacha mentioned [in] ver. 2. (Challoner) — She was probably another grand-daughter of David’s son, (Calmet) as such are frequently styled simply daughters. So David is called the father of Asa, (ver. 11.; Haydock) though he was really his great-grandfather. (Menochius)
Ver. 12. Effeminate. See chap. xiv. 24. Yet his zeal could not entirely eradicate this evil. There was room for the exertions of his son Josaphat, chap. xxii. 47. (Calmet) — The king punished with death such as he could discover. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Priapus. He would not spare such abominations in his own family. (Menochius) He took from his mother the direction of the palace, (Vatable) and her guards. (Grotius) — Hebrew, “even her he removed from being queen, because she had made a Miphlatstah.” (Haydock) — Septuagint render this term a synod, “meeting,” or something shameful; also a cavern, or den; and in Paralipomenon, the “idol” Astarte. St. Jerome also gives different meanings; so that the precise import is not well known. Most people translate, “a scarecrow;” (Calmet) terriculum. In the gardens of Greece and of Rome, the figure of Priapus was set up (Du Hamel) to frighten thieves and birds away.
Inde ego furum aviumque
Maxima formido. (Horace, Sat. 1. 8.)
Others understand that Pan, another frightening idol, is here meant; (Castalion) or the abominations of Phallus and Ithyphallus, derived from the same Hebrew word. (Seldon) — As the goddess Astarte, or Asera, “the grove,” here the object of adoration, was the wife of Adonis, it is probable, that the same obscenities were carried in triumph, as Herodotus (ii. 28., and 49.) specifies in the description of the festival of Bacchus, celebrated by the Egyptians. — To him. Protestants, “She had made an idol in the grove.” Hebrew also, “to Asera; and Asa destroyed her idol, (miphlatstah) and burnt it.” (Haydock)
Ver. 14. The high places. There were excelsa, or high places, of two different kinds. Some were set up and dedicated to the worship of idols, or strange gods: and these Asa removed, 2 Paralipomenon xiv. 2. Others were only altars of the true God, but were erected contrary to the law, which allowed of no sacrifices but in the temple; and these were not removed by Asa. (Challoner) — They had been built before the temple, and tolerated by the prophets; (Calmet) and, though they were now improper for sacrifices, (Haydock) Asa thought it would be imprudent to molest them, (Calmet) as perhaps he could not take them away. (Du Hamel) — He left also the ruins of (Haydock) the temples built by Solomon, (Worthington) on Mount Olivet, (4 Kings xxiii.; Menochius) as no longer dangerous. (Salien) — Lord. Asa had his faults; but never forsook the worship of the Lord. (Challoner) — In the same sense, David is so often praised as a just prince. Asa threw a prophet into prison, and placed his trust as much in physicians, &c., 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 10, 12. But he did penance, and deserves to be ranked (Calmet) among the few just kings of Juda. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Vowed. Hebrew, “which he himself had dedicated,” or vowed, 2 Paralipomenon xv. 18. (Haydock) — Asa made liberal presents to the Lord, and gave what his father had promised, (Menochius) probably during the famous battle against Jeroboam, 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 5. (Abulensis, q. 17.) Abiam was a wicked prince, and had neglected this duty, that heirs were bound to execute the vows of their parents, though Moses does not express it. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Their days: not that they were always fighting. (Haydock) — Open war was declared only in the 35th year of Asa, (2 Paralipomenon xv. 19.) which must be dated from the schism, and not from the commencement of his reign; since his rival, Baasa, enjoyed the sovereignty only 24 years, and died in the 26th of Asa, which was the 36th from the division of the two kingdoms. Thus Hardouin observes that the years of Commodus, in some ancient Egyptians medals, are dated from the reign of M. Aurelius, chief of that family; so that the first of Commodus is inscribed the twenty-first of Aurelius. Asa defeated Zara in the fifteenth, and attacked Israel in the sixteen year of his reign. (Usher) (Tirinus) (Calmet) — Others would substitute 25 for 35, (Grotius; Capel.) though contrary to the text, and to all the versions. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Rama, fortifying it with a wall all round, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. (Haydock) — Rama signifies, “a height.” This fort commanded a narrow pass, between the two kingdoms, (Calmet) and cut off all communication; which Baasa dreaded, lest his subjects should return to the service of the true God, and of Juda. (Haydock) — Josue (xviii. 25.) mentions Rama, near Gaboan, (Calmet) about five miles north of Jerusalem. (St. Jerome) — There was another towards the south. (Menochius) — But there the king of Israel would have no power. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. House. Sesac had not carried off all the treasures, (Calmet) and the losses had been since in a great measure repaired, ver. 15. (Haydock) — Asa thought himself justified in employing these treasures in such a pressing necessity, (Calmet) perhaps (Haydock) without reason, as the danger was not so great; and he might have gained the victory without having recourse to an infidel, if he had placed more confidence in God, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 7, 9. (Menochius) — He had already discomfited Zara, king of Ethiopia, and had an army of 580,000 men. (Calmet) (2 Paralipomenon xiv. 8.) — Tabremon, “Good Remmon,” idol of Damascus. (Haydock) — Hezion, the same with Razon, chap. xi. 23. (Menochius)
Ver. 19. League. The infidel is ready to take part with the best bidder. (Haydock) — Benadad gains a double reward, as he plunders the conquered. (Menochius)
Ver. 20. Ahion, or Ain, remote in the north, whence Theglathphalasar took away captives, (4 Kings xv. 29.) is perhaps the Enan of Ezechiel xlviii. 1., and Numbers xxxiv. 9. — Maacha. In Paralipomenon, Abel-maim, “Abela of the waters,” 2 Kings xx. 14. — Ceneroth, near the sea of Tiberias, Josue xi. 2. Benadad kept possession of some of these places, and even built streets in Samaria, chap. xx. 34.
Ver. 21. Returned. So the Septuagint. Hebrew, “dwelt.” (Calmet) — He returned to protect his own dominions, (Menochius) and shut himself up in his capital. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Excused. “When the country is to be defended, all exemptions cease.” (Leg. ult.) (Calmet) — Septuagint seem to preserve the terms of the original untranslated, “Asa called all….to Annacim.” Hebrew en naki, (Haydock) means, “no one exempt.” (Calmet) — Rama belonged to the enemy; and, as it appears from this passage, was in the vicinity of Maspha. (Haydock) — Gabaa, the city of Saul, (Menochius) adding fresh fortifications, as this and Maspha were frontier towns, against the inroads of Israel. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Strength. Septuagint, “dynasty,” or power, whether of his dominions or of his person. (Calmet) — Feet, with the gout, (Menochius) three years before his death. He did not confide in the Lord sufficiently, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 12. His body was embalmed or burnt, unless aromatic spices evaporated while it was laid on a bed of state, before it was consigned to the tomb, which Asa had prepared for himself in the city of David, 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 14.
Ver. 25. Two years, incomplete; since he commenced his reign in the second, and died in the third year of Asa, ver. 28. (Calmet) — Petau only allows him, “a few months;” and supposes, that he had been associated on the throne with Jeroboam. But this is unnecessary. (Houbigant) — Nadab was the first king of Israel, who fell a prey to the fury of his subjects. (Salien, the year before Christ 971.)
Ver. 27. Gebbethon, of the tribe of Dan, occupied by the Philistines. It was often attacked, chap. xvi. 15. (Calmet) — The occasion of this war is not known. (Menochius)
Ver. 29. Jeroboam. The author of schism is punished in his posterity. (Worthington) — The body of Nadab was left unburied, chap. xiv. 11. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The acts of Abiam, and of Asa, kings of Juda. And of Nadab, and Baasa, kings of Israel.
1 Now *in the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, Abiam reigned over Juda.
2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem: *the name of his mother was Maacha, the daughter of Abessalom.
3 And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David, his father.
4 But for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
5 Because David had done that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and had not turned aside from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life, *except the matter of Urias, the Hethite.
6 But there was war between Roboam and Jeroboam all the time of his life.
7 And the rest of the words of Abiam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda?* And there was war between Abiam and Jeroboam.
8 And Abiam slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David, *and Asa, his son, reigned in his stead.
9 So in the *twentieth year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, reigned Asa, king of Juda,
10 And he reigned one and forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacha, the daughter of Abessalom.
11 And Asa did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, as did David, his father:
12 And he took away the effeminate out of the land, and he removed all the filth of the idols, which his fathers had made.
13 Moreover, he also removed his mother, Maacha, from being the princess in the sacrifices of Priapus, and in the grove which she had consecrated to him: and he destroyed her den, and broke in pieces the filthy idol, and burnt it by the torrent Cedron:
14 But the high places he did not take away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was perfect with the Lord all his days:
15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and he had vowed, into the house of the Lord, silver and gold, and vessels.
16 And there was war between Asa, and Baasa, king of Israel, all their days.
17 *And Baasa, king of Israel, went up against Juda, and built Rama, that no man might go out or come in of the side of Asa, king of Juda.
18 Then Asa took all the silver and gold that remained in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and delivered it into the hands of his servants: and sent them to Benadad, son of Tabremon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who dwelt in Damascus, saying:
19 There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: therefore I have sent thee presents of silver and gold: and I desire thee to come, and break thy league with Baasa, king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
20 Benadad, hearkening to king Asa, sent the captains of his army against the cities of Israel, and they smote Ahion, and Dan, and Abel-bethmaacha, and all Ceneroth; that is, all the land of Nephthali.
21 And when Baasa had heard this, he left off building Rama, and returned into Thersa.
22 But king Asa sent word into all Juda, saying: Let no man be excused: and they took away the stones from Rama, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasa had been building, and with them Asa built Gabaa of Benjamin, and Maspha.
23 But the rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his strength, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Juda? But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
24 And he slept with his fathers, and was buried with them in the city of David, his father.* And Josaphat, his son, reigned in his place.
25 But Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, reigned over Israel the second year *of Asa, king of Juda: and he reigned over Israel two years.
26 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father, and in his sins, wherewith he made Israel to sin.
27 And Baasa, the son of Ahias, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him, and slew him in Gebbethon, which is a city of the Philistines: for Nadab and all Israel besieged Gebbethon.
28 So Baasa slew him in the third year *of Asa, king of Juda, and reigned in his place.
29 *And when he was king, he cut off all the house of Jeroboam: he left not so much as one soul of his seed, till he had utterly destroyed him, according to the word of the Lord, **which he had spoken in the hand of Ahias, the Silonite:
30 Because of the sin of Jeroboam, which he had sinned, and wherewith he had made Israel to sin, and for the offence wherewith he provoked the Lord, the God of Israel.
31 But the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the words of the days of the kings of Israel?
32 And there was war between Asa and Baasa, the king of Israel, all their days.
33 In the third year *of Asa, king of Juda, Baasa, the son of Ahias, reigned over all Israel, in Thersa, four and twenty years.
34 And he did evil before the Lord, and walked in the ways of Jeroboam, and in his sins, wherewith he made Israel to sin.
1: Year of the World 3046, Year before Christ 958.
2: 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 2.
5: 2 Kings xi. 14.
7: 2 Paralipomenon xiii. 3.
8: 2 Paralipomenon xiv. 1.
9: Year of the World 3049, Year before Christ 955.
17: 2 Paralipomenon xvi. 1.; Year of the World 3051, Year before Christ 953.
24: 2 Paralipomenon xvii. 1.
25: Year of the World 3050, Year before Christ 954.
28: Year of the World 3051.
29: 3 Kings xxi. 22. — ** 3 Kings xiv. 10.
33: Year of the World 3051.