14:2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved. 1 14:3 He removed the pagan altars 2 and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. 3 14:4 He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors 4 and to observe his law and commands. 5 14:5 He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule. 6
14:6 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. 14:7 He said to the people of Judah: 7 “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates. 8 The land remains ours because we have followed 9 the Lord our God and he has made us secure on all sides.” 10 So they built the cities 11 and prospered.
14:8 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. 14:9 Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000 12 men and 300 chariots. He arrived at Mareshah, 14:10 and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
14:11 Asa prayed 13 to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered. 14 Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army. 15 O Lord our God, don’t let men prevail against you!” 16 14:12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 14:13 and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out; 17 they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah 18 carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14:14 They defeated all the cities surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic. 19 The men of Judah 20 looted all the cities, for they contained a huge amount of goods. 21 14:15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock. 22 They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem. 23
15:1 God’s Spirit came upon Azariah son of Oded. 15:2 He met 24 Asa and told him, “Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you when you are loyal to him. 25 If you seek him, he will respond to you, 26 but if you reject him, he will reject you. 15:3 For a long time 27 Israel had no true God, or priest to instruct them, or law. 15:4 Because of their distress, they turned back to the Lord God of Israel. They sought him and he responded to them. 28 15:5 In those days 29 no one could travel safely, 30 for total chaos had overtaken all the people of the surrounding lands. 31 15:6 One nation was crushed by another, and one city by another, for God caused them to be in great turmoil. 32 15:7 But as for you, be strong and don’t get discouraged, 33 for your work will be rewarded.” 34
15:8 When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he was encouraged. 35 He removed the detestable idols from the entire land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had seized in the Ephraimite hill country. He repaired the altar of the Lord in front of the porch of the Lord’s temple. 36
15:9 He assembled all Judah and Benjamin, as well as the settlers 37 from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who had come to live with them. Many people from Israel had come there to live 38 when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 15:10 They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. 15:11 At that time 39 they sacrificed to the Lord some of the plunder they had brought back, including 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep. 40 15:12 They solemnly agreed 41 to seek the Lord God of their ancestors 42 with their whole heart and being. 15:13 Anyone who would not seek the Lord God of Israel would be executed, whether they were young or old, 43 male or female. 15:14 They swore their allegiance to the Lord, shouting their approval loudly and sounding trumpets and horns. 44 15:15 All Judah was happy about the oath, because they made the vow with their whole heart. They willingly sought the Lord and he responded to them. 45 He made them secure on every side. 46
15:16 King Asa also removed Maacah his grandmother 47 from her position as queen mother 48 because she had made a loathsome Asherah pole. Asa cut down her Asherah pole and crushed and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 15:17 The high places were not eliminated from Israel, yet Asa was wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord throughout his lifetime. 49 15:18 He brought the holy items that his father and he had made into God’s temple, including the silver, gold, and other articles. 50
1 tn Heb “and Asa did the good and the right in the eyes of the
2 tn Heb “the altars of the foreigner.”
3 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 tn Heb “fathers.”
5 tn Heb “the law and the command.”
6 tn Heb “before him.”
7 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.
8 tn Heb “and we will surround [them] with wall[s] and towers, doors, and bars.”
9 tn Heb “sought.”
10 tn Heb “and he has given us rest all around.”
11 tn The words “the cities” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons.
12 tn Heb “a thousand thousands.”
13 tn Heb “called out.”
14 tn Heb “there is not with you to help between many with regard to [the one] without strength.”
15 tn Heb “and in your name we have come against this multitude.”
16 tn Heb “let not man retain [strength] with you.”
17 tn Heb “and there fell from the Cushites so that there was not to them preservation of life.”
18 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
19 tn Heb “for the terror of the
20 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
21 tn Heb “for great plunder was in them.”
22 tn Heb “and also they struck down the tents of the livestock.”
24 tn Heb “went out before.”
25 tn Heb “when you are with him.”
26 tn Heb “he will allow himself to be found by you.”
27 tn Heb “Many days.”
28 tn Heb “and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
29 tn Heb “times.”
30 tn Heb “there was peace for the one going out or the one coming in.”
31 tn Heb “for great confusion was upon all the inhabitants of the lands.”
32 tn Heb “threw them into confusion with all distress.”
33 tn Heb “and let not your hands drop.”
34 tn Heb “for there is payment for your work.”
35 tn Heb “strengthened himself.”
36 tn Heb “the porch of the
37 tn Or “resident aliens.”
38 tn Heb “had fallen upon him.”
39 tn Or “In that day.”
40 tn The Hebrew term צֹאן (tso’n) denotes smaller livestock in general; depending on context it can refer to sheep only or goats only, but their is nothing in the immediate context here to specify one or the other.
41 tn Heb “entered into a covenant.”
42 tn Heb “fathers.”
43 tn Heb “whether small or great.”
44 tn Heb “with a loud voice and with a shout and with trumpets and with horns.”
45 tn Heb “and with all their desire they sought him and he allowed himself to be found by them.”
46 tn Heb “and the
47 tn Heb “mother,” but Hebrew often uses “father” and “mother” for grandparents and even more remote ancestors.
48 tn The Hebrew term גְּבִירָה (gÿvirah) can denote “queen” or “queen mother” depending on the context. Here the latter is indicated, since Maacah was the wife of Rehoboam and mother of Abijah.
49 tn Heb “yet the heart of Asa was complete all his days.”
50 tn Heb “and he brought the holy things of his father and his holy things [into] the house of God, silver, gold, and items.”