2 Chronicles Chapter Fourteen
New King James Version (NKJV)
INTRODUCTION TO 2 CHRONICLES 14
This chapter relates the death of Abijah, and the succession of Asa in his stead, 2 Chronicles 14:1, gives a good character of the latter for his reformation in religion, and for the care he took for the safety and protection of his subjects, 2 Chronicles 14:2, and an account is given of a large army of Ethiopians that came against him, over whom he crying to the Lord, and trusting in him, by his help obtained a complete victory, 2 Chronicles 14:9.
2 Chronicles 14:1 So Abijah rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. Then Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land was quiet for ten years.
YLT 1And Abijah lieth with his fathers, and they bury him in the city of David, and reign doth Asa his son in his stead: in his days was the land quiet ten years.
So Abijah slept with his fathers, 1 Kings 15:8.
and Asa his son reigned in his stead; in his days the land was quiet ten years; the Targum is, the land of Israel; but much better the Septuagint, the land of Judah; these ten years, in which it had rest from war, were the first three years of Asa's reign, and the first seven of Baasha's, according to Jarchi, and which seems right; after which there was war between them all their days, see 1 Kings 15:32.
2 Chronicles 14:2 2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God,
YLT 2And Asa doth that which is good, and that which is right, in the eyes of Jehovah his God,
And Asa did that which was good and right,.... See 1 Kings 15:11.
2 Chronicles 14:3 3 for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images.
YLT 3and turneth aside the altars of the stranger, and the high places, and breaketh the standing-pillars, and cutteth down the shrines,
For he took away the altars of the strange gods,.... Or of a strange people, of the Zidonians, Ammonites, and Moabites, which had remained from the times of Solomon, and which he built for his wives, 1 Kings 11:7.
and the high places; built for idols; for as for those on which the true God was worshipped, they were not removed in his days, 1 Kings 15:14.
and brake down the images: or statues, or pillars, erected to the honour of idols, and on which the images of them were placed:
and cut down the groves; in the midst of which they stood.
2 Chronicles 14:4 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment.
YLT 4and saith to Judah to seek Jehovah, God of their fathers, and to do the law and the command;
And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers,.... To pray to him, and him only, and attend his worship and service; this he did by a public edict:
and to do the law and the commandment: to observe all the laws of God, moral, ceremonial, and civil.
2 Chronicles 14:5 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him.
YLT 5and he turneth aside out of all cities of Judah the high places and the images, and the kingdom is quiet before him.
Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images,.... Perhaps the high places in 2 Chronicles 14:3 design only the high places and altars in Jerusalem, and near it; these in all the rest of the cities of the land; the "images were", as the word signifies, "sun images", either made in the form of the sun, or dedicated to it, or temples for it; See Gill on Leviticus 26:30,
and the kingdom was quiet before him; he had no foreign enemy to molest him, and so took that opportunity to reform divine worship, and in that he met with no opposition from his people.
2 Chronicles 14:6 6 And he built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest.
YLT 6And he buildeth cities of bulwarks in Judah, for the land hath quiet, and there is no war with him in these years, because Jehovah hath given rest to him.
And he built fenced cities in Judah,.... For his defence against the kingdom of Israel and other nations, as Rehoboam had done before him; and which might have been demolished by Shishak king of Egypt, when he took them, 2 Chronicles 11:5.
for the land had rest; according to the Targum, the land of Israel rested, and gave no disturbance to the kingdom of Judah, not having recovered the blow given them by Abijah; but it is rather to be understood of the land of Judah, which, as it did not attempt the reduction of the ten tribes, so it was neither attacked by them, nor any other enemy: and he had no war in those years; in the ten years mentioned, 2 Chronicles 14:1, neither with Israel nor any other nation: because the Lord had given him rest; that he might be at leisure to do the above things; all rest is from the Lord, civil, spiritual, and eternal.
2 Chronicles 14:7 7 Therefore he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and make walls around them, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us, because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered.
YLT 7And he saith to Judah, `Let us build these cities, and compass [them] with wall, and towers, two-leaved doors, and bars, while the land [is] before us, because we have sought Jehovah our God, we have sought, and He giveth rest to us round about;' and they build and prosper.
Therefore he said unto Judah,.... To the nobles and principal men of the kingdom:
let us build these cities; which he, no doubt, particularly mentioned by name, and pointed at; that is, repair and fortify them, and put them into a better condition of defence:
and make about them walls and towers, gates and bars; which are always made to fortified places, to protect the inhabitants, and keep out an enemy:
while the land is yet before us; in our power, no enemy in it, nor any to hinder or molest:
because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side; had set up his pure worship, reformed abuses in it, and removed idolatry from it, and closely attended to the service of the sanctuary, which was well pleasing to God; the happy effect of which they experienced, rest from all their enemies round about them:
so that they built, and prospered; they began, and went on, and finished, there being nothing to hinder them.
2 Chronicles 14:8 8 And Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah who carried shields and spears, and from Benjamin two hundred and eighty thousand men who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty men of valor.
YLT 8And there is to Asa a force bearing target and spear, out of Judah three hundred thousand, and out of Benjamin, bearing shield and treading bow, two hundred and eighty thousand: all these [are] mighty of valour.
And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand,.... These were armed with a large sort of shield, to protect them, and with spears, to push at an enemy when they came near them, and to close quarters with them:
and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand; these had also a lesser sort of shields, to defend their bodies, and bows and arrows, to annoy an enemy at a distance:
all these were mighty men of valour; able bodied men, valiant and courageous; perhaps Asa gathered these together, on hearing that the Ethiopians were preparing to attack him, as follows.
2 Chronicles 14:9 9 Then Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and he came to Mareshah.
YLT 9And come out unto them doth Zerah the Cushite with a force of a thousand thousand, and chariots three hundred, and he cometh in unto Mareshah,
And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian, with an host of thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots,.... According to JosephusF2Antiqu. l. 8. c. 12. sect. 1. , this army consisted of 900,000 foot, and 100,000 horsemen, and certain it is there were horsemen among them, 2 Chronicles 16:8 some say these were not the Ethiopians in Africa, beyond Egypt, being, as is said, too far off for such an army to travel, and it would be hard to say what should induce them to it; and besides it is urged, the king of Egypt would never have suffered them to pass through his dominions, as they must to come to Judea; but that they were the Cushite Arabs, that inhabited Midian, part of Arabia Petraea, and Arabia Felix, near Judaea; see Gill on Numbers 12:1, but since this great host consisted of Lubim or Libyans, inhabitants of Africa, as well as of Ethiopians, 2 Chronicles 16:8, these Ethiopians seem to be rather those in Africa, who were masters of Egypt and Libya, as well as Ethiopia, quickly after the death of Shishak, or Sesostris, see 2 Chronicles 12:2, which accounts for the size of this army, and their passage through Egypt: that there were two sorts of Ethiopians, the western and eastern ones, the one that dwelt in Africa, the other in Asia, appears clearly from HomerF3Odyss. 1. ver. 23, 24. , HerodotusF4Polymnia, sive, l. 7. c. 69, 70. , and HeliodorusF5Ethiopic. l. 9. c. 6. , the former of which seem here meant; nor need this army be thought incredible, especially since they were joined by the Lubim or Libyans, and assisted by the Philistines, as appears by what follows; besides, the two armies of Israel and Judah we read of in the preceding chapter, when put together, exceed this; see also 2 Chronicles 17:14, so the armies of Tamerlane and Bajazet, that of the former being 1,600,000, and that of the latter 1,400,000F6Laonic. Chalcocond. de rebus Turc. l. 3. p. 98, 102. :
and came unto Mareshah; a city in the tribe of Judah, on the borders of it, 2 Chronicles 11:8.
2 Chronicles 14:10 10 So Asa went out against him, and they set the troops in battle array in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
YLT 10and Asa goeth out before him, and they set battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
Then Asa went out against him,.... Notwithstanding he brought so great an army with him:
and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah; where the Ethiopians were; he did not stay till they got further into his country, but marched against them when on the frontiers of it, and chose the valley to pitch in, as being more to the advantage of his smaller army; see Judges 1:17.
2 Chronicles 14:11 11 And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”
YLT 11And Asa calleth unto Jehovah his God, and saith, `Jehovah! it is nothing with Thee to help, between the mighty and those who have no power; help us, O Jehovah, our God, for on Thee we have leant, and in Thy name we have come against this multitude; O Jehovah, our God thou [art]; let him not prevail with Thee -- mortal man!
And Asa cried unto the Lord his God,.... Or prayed, as the Targum, with vehemence, being in distress; this he did before the battle began, at the head of his army, and for the encouragement of it:
and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help; nothing can hinder from helping, his power being superior to all others, and even infinite, and none besides him could:
whether with many, or with them that have no power; numbers make no difference with him, nor the condition they are in; whether numerous and mighty, or few and feeble; he can as easily help the one as the other, see 1 Samuel 14:6,
help us, O Lord our God; who are few and weak in comparison of the enemy:
for we rest on thee; trust in thee, and rely upon thee for help; the Targum is,"on thy Word we lean:"
and in thy name we go against this multitude; expressing faith in him, expecting help from him, encouraging and strengthening themselves in him, going forth not in their own name and strength, but in his; the Targum is,"in the name of the Word of the Lord:"
O Lord, thou art our God: and thou only we know, and serve no other, and we are thy people, called by thy name:
let not man prevail against thee; for should this enemy prevail against them, it would be interpreted prevailing against their God.
2 Chronicles 14:12 12 So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.
YLT 12And Jehovah smiteth the Cushim before Asa, and before Judah, and the Cushim flee,
So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah,.... With consternation and terror; they were thrown into a panic:
and the Ethiopians fled; before them, just as Jeroboam and Israel had, as related in the preceding chapter, 2 Chronicles 13:15.
2 Chronicles 14:13 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the Lord and His army. And they carried away very much spoil.
YLT 13and Asa and the people who [are] with him pursue them even to Gerar, and there fall of the Cushim, for they have no preserving, because they have been broken before Jehovah, and before His camp; and they bear away very much spoil,
And Asa, and the people that were with him, pursued them unto Gerar,.... A city of the Philistines, Genesis 20:1,
and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; they were thrown into such a fright, and into so much confusion, that they could not put themselves in order, and rally again; or there fell such a vast number of them, that there were scarce any remaining alive, which seems to be the sense of the words used:
for they were destroyed before the Lord, and before his host; the army of Israel, which the Lord was, as it were, the Commander of, fought for, and led them in the pursuit, and gave them victory; or it may mean an host of angels, employed in destroying this great army; and so the Syriac and Arabic versions of 2 Chronicles 14:12 read,"the angel of the Lord smote the Ethiopians:"
and they carried away very much spoil; which they found in their camp, and with their slain; even much gold and silver, as JosephusF7Ut supra, (Antiq. l. 8. c. 12.) sect. 2. says.
2 Chronicles 14:14 14 Then they defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord came upon them; and they plundered all the cities, for there was exceedingly much spoil in them.
YLT 14and smite all the cities round about Gerar, for a fear of Jehovah hath been upon them, and they spoil all the cities, for abundant spoil hath been in them;
And they smote all the cities round about Gerar,.... The cities of the Philistines, who were auxiliaries and confederates with these Ethiopians, and colonies from them, according to Theodoret, and who says, about Eleutheropolis was a place, called, in his time, Geraron Saton:
for the fear of the Lord came upon them; so that they had no power to defend themselves, and oppose the men of Judah:
and they spoiled all the cities; of the goods and substance that were in them:
for there was exceeding much spoil in them; great wealth and riches of one kind or another.
2 Chronicles 14:15 15 They also attacked the livestock enclosures, and carried off sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.
YLT 15and also tents of cattle they have smitten, and they capture sheep in abundance, and camels, and turn back to Jerusalem.
They smote also the tents of cattle,.... The people that dwelt in tents for the sake of the pasturage of their cattle; the Scenite Arabs, so called from dwelling in tents:
and carried away sheep; which those Arabs were feeding in Palestine, and which this great army brought with them for their support:
and camels in abundance; which is another circumstance proving them to be Arabs, who abounded with camels:
and returned to Jerusalem; with their spoil, and with great joy.
──《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible》