The Prophet Azariah Warns Asa
1Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, 2and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him, as your soul’s first necessity], He will let you find Him; but if you abandon (turn away from) Him, He will abandon (turn away from) you. 3Now for a long time Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest, and without [God’s] law. 4But when they were in their trouble and distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and [in desperation earnestly] sought Him, and He let them find Him. 5In those times there was no peace for him who went out or for him who came in, for great suffering came on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. 7But as for you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”
8And when Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the repulsive idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. Then he restored the altar [of burnt offering] of the Lord which was in front of the porch [of the temple] of the Lord. 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin and the strangers who were with them out of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for they came over to Asa from Israel in large numbers when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10So they assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 11They sacrificed to the Lord on that day from the spoil they had brought—700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12They entered into a covenant (solemn agreement) to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul; 13and that whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with [jubilant] shouting, with trumpets, and with horns. 15All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought Him with their whole heart, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.
16He also removed Maacah, King Asa’s mother, from the position of queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for [the goddess] Asherah. Asa cut down her idol, crushed it, and burned it at the Brook Kidron. 17But the high places [of pagan worship] were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was blameless all his days. 18He brought the things that his father [Abijah] had dedicated and those things that he had dedicated into the house of God—silver and gold and utensils. 19And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.