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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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2 Chronicles 14

Asa’s piety, He strengthens his kingdom.

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Asa’s piety, He strengthens his kingdom

1 So Abijah 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 right in the eyes of the LORD his God:

3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:

4 And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.

5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.

6 And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.

7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, 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 hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.

8 And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.

9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.

10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let no man prevail against thee.

12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.

13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the LORD, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.

14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the LORD came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.

15 They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible 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. C. xv. 10. C.

Ver. 2. God, with respect to the external worship of the true God, (H.) though he had some faults. 3 K. xv. 14. — Places, while he tolerated those which were intended for the service of the Lord, (C.) though illegally; and he even left the buildings erected by Solomon standing, (4 K. xxiii. 13. T.) 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. Eccli. xlix. 5. T. — It was the king’s duty to destroy the exterior practices of idolatry, while the priests and prophets were to instruct. W.

Ver. 5. Altars. Heb. “high places, and the Chamanim,” or temple of the sun. Lev. xxvi. 30. C. — Prot. “images.” H. — Asa was encouraged to perfect the work which he had begun, by the exhortation of Azarias. C. xv. 8. C.

Ver. 6. Time, as yet. T. — Admirable lesson for all to prepare for war in time of quite! H.

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. T. — It would be difficult for a foreign king to traverse Egypt with so large an army, (C.) unless he had conquered or intimidated the king of the country. H. — Hence some believe that the Ethiopia here in question, was a part of Arabia. C. Torniel. — But it is more probable that it lay south of Egypt, as the troops of Zara are joined with the Lybians. C. xvi. 8. Salien, A. 3094. T. — A king of Arabia would hardly have had so many subjects. C. — Three. Some would read thirteen, as Anai takes notice of the great number of chariots. C. xvi. 8. Jun. Malvenda. C. — 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! H.

Ver. 10. Meet him, fearing lest he should lay waste his dominions, as Sesac had done. M. — Sephata, or Sephala, a great valley to the west of Maresa, (C.) which is a city of Juda. M. — Sept. have, “in the vale north of Maresa.” H.

Ver. 11. Help. Heb. “to help; whether with many, or with those who have no power.” The same sentiment was expressed by Jonathas. 1 K. xiv. 6. Those who have God with them are secure of victory. C. — If God be with us, who is against us?

Ver. 12. Terrified. Heb. and Sept. “struck,” as he had done Jeroboam. C. xiii. 15. H.

Ver. 13. Gerara was on the southern borders, twenty-three miles from Maresa. Eus. C. — The Ethiopians were pursued perhaps for many days. T. — Destruction. Prot. “they they could not recover themselves.” Heb. “there was no quarter given;” or, “so that none were left alive.” C. — If this were the case, the number of the slain far exceeded that the Jeroboam’s army. C. xiii. H.

Ver. 14. Gerara. The adjacent territory is now uncultivated. Jos. xiii. 3. — Great. Heb. “a fear of the Lord;” (v. 12) an extraordinary (C.) panic. H. — The Philistines had assisted the enemy, and therefore their cities were invaded; (M.) or these belonged to Zara. C.

Ver. 15. Destroyed. Heb. “smote also the tents of cattle.” Sept. “they cut in pieces the tents of cattle, the Amazons;” or, according to the Vat. copy, (H.) “the Alimazonians,” as they seem to have read aeli m├ínim, which may be well rendered, “the tents of the Mineans,” a people of Arabia. C. xx. 1. and xxvi. 7. and Judg. x. 11. C. — If these nations came to punish Asa, for banishing their foreign worship, (v. 12) as the Sieur de Folard thinks the sacred penman insinuates, (v. 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, v. 12. 13. H. — We read of no cavalry here, though it is mentioned, C. 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.