1 (13:23)#sn Beginning with 14:1, the verse numbers through 14:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 14:1 ET = 13:23 HT, 14:2 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:3 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:15 ET = 14:14 HT. Beginning with 15:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same. Abijah passed away#tn Heb “lay down with his fathers.” and was buried in the City of David.#sn The phrase the City of David refers here to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem, not to Bethlehem. See 2 Sam 5:7. His son Asa replaced him as king. During his reign#tn Heb “in his days.” the land had rest for ten years.
Asa’s Religious and Military Accomplishments
2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved.#tn Heb “and Asa did the good and the right in the eyes of the Lord his God.” 3 He removed the pagan altars#tn Heb “the altars of the foreigner.” and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles.#sn Asherah poles. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [’asherim], as here). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4). 4 He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors#tn Heb “fathers.” and to observe his law and commands.#tn Heb “the law and the command.” 5 He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule.#tn Heb “before him.”
6 He built fortified cities throughout Judah, for the land was at rest and there was no war during those years; the Lord gave him peace. 7 He said to the people of Judah:#tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text uses the name “Judah” by metonymy for the people of Judah. “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates.#tn Heb “and we will surround [them] with wall[s] and towers, doors, and bars.” The land remains ours because we have followed#tn Heb “sought.” the Lord our God and he has made us secure on all sides.”#tn Heb “and he has given us rest all around.” So they built the cities#tn The words “the cities” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. and prospered.
8 Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who carried small shields and were adept archers; they were all skilled warriors. 9 Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000#tn Heb “a thousand thousands.” men and 300 chariots. He arrived at Mareshah, 10 and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
11 Asa prayed#tn Heb “called out.” to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered.#tn Heb “there is not with you to help between many with regard to [the one] without strength.” Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army.#tn Heb “and in your name we have come against this multitude.” O Lord our God, don’t let men prevail against you!”#tn Heb “let not man retain [strength] with you.” 12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 13 and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out;#tn Heb “and there fell from the Cushites so that there was not to them preservation of life.” they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah#tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14 They defeated all the cities surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic.#tn Heb “for the terror of the Lord was upon them.” The men of Judah#tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. looted all the cities, for they contained a huge amount of goods.#tn Heb “for great plunder was in them.” 15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock.#tn Heb “and also they struck down the tents of the livestock.” They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4.