Asa’s Religious Reforms
1Now Azariah the son of Oded—the Spirit of God came upon him. 2And he went out before Asa and said to him, “Hear me, O Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin! Yahweh is with you while you are with him. And if you will seek him he will be found by you. But if you forsake him he will forsake you. 3Now Israel has been without the true God many days, and without a teaching priest, and without law, 4but at its trouble he returned to Yahweh, the God of Israel. They sought him, and he was found by them. 5And in those times there was no peace for the one going out and the one coming in, for great tumults were upon all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation, and city was against city, for God threw them into confusion by all sorts of trouble. 7But as for you, be strong and let not your hands be weak, for there is reward for your labor.”
8And when Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage and removed the vile idols from all the lands of Judah and Benjamin, and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of Yahweh that was in front of the portico of Yahweh.
9And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those sojourning with them, from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, for many had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that Yahweh his God was with him. 10And they were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11And they sacrificed to Yahweh on that day from the war booty they brought back: seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep. 12And they entered into a covenant to seek Yahweh, the God of their ancestors,#Or “fathers” with all their heart and with all their inmost being,#Or “soul” 13but all who will not seek Yahweh the God of Israel should be killed, from young to old, from men to women. 14And they took an oath to Yahweh with a great voice, with shouting, with trumpets, and with horns. 15And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they swore with all their heart. And they sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and Yahweh gave rest to them all around.
16And also Maacah, the mother of Asa, the king removed her from being queen, because she had made a repulsive image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her repulsive image, and he crushed and burned it at the Wadi#Or “valley”; a wadi is a valley that is dry most of the year, but contains a stream during the rainy season Kidron. 17But the high places were not removed from Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was fully devoted all his days. 18And he brought the holy objects of his father and his own holy objects into the house of God—silver and gold and vessels. 19And there was no war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.