Sivut kuvina

not say so, we have the word Sukkiim and its explanation. And as the people of that name in the text are clearly an Ethiopian nation, we cannot be far wrong in supposing thom the same as these shepherds, whether they were the same as the Troglodytæ, or a distinct people, as Bruce supposes.


11 And they burn unto the LORD every | Abijah succeeding maketh war against Jeroboam. morning and every evening burnt sacrifices

4 He declareth the right of his cause. 13 Trust- and sweet incense: the ®shewbread also set ing in God he overcometh Jeroboam. 21 The they in order upon the pure table; and the wives and children of Abijah.

candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, Now 'in the eighteenth year of king Jero- to burn every evening : for we keep the boam began Abijah to reign over Judah. charge of the LORD our God; but ye have

2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. forsaken him. His mother's name also was Michaiah the 12 Ånd, behold, God himself is with us daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was for our captain, and his priests with soundwar between A bijah and Jeroboam.

ing trumpets to cry alarm against you. 3 And Abijah 'set the battle in array with children of Israel, fight ye not against the an army of valiant men of war, even four | Lord God of

of your fathers; for ye shall not hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam prosper. also set the battle in array against him with 13 | But Jeroboam caused an ambushcight hundred thousand chosen men, being ment to come about behind them : so they mighty men of valour.

were before Judah, and the ambushment was And Abijah stood up_upon mount behind them. Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and 14 And when Judah looked back, behold. said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Is- the battle was before and behind : and they rael;

cried unto the Lord, and the priests sounded 5 Ought ye not to know that the Lord with the trumpets. God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel 15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout: to David for ever, even to him and to his and as the men of Judah shouted, it came sons by a covenant of salt ?

to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all 6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the Israel before Abijah and Judah. servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen 16 And the children of Israel fled before up, and hath 'rebelled against his lord. Judah: and God delivered them into their

7 And there are gathered unto him vain hand. men, the children of Belial, and have 17 And Abijah and his people slew them strengthened themselves against Rehoboam with a great slaughter: so there fell down the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.

18 Thus the children of Israel were 8 And now ye think to withstand the brought under at that time, and the chilkingdom of the Lord in the hand of the dren of Judah prevailed, because they resons of David ; and ye be a great multitude, lied upon the Lord God of their fathers. and there are with you golden calves, which 19 And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, Jeroboam ‘made you for gods.

and took cities from him, Beth-el with 9 "Have ye not cast out the priests of the the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, towns thereof, and Ephraim with the towns and have made you priests after the manner thereof. of the nations of other lands? so that who- 20 Neither did Jeroboam recover strength soever cometh ®to consecrate himself with a again in the days of Abijah: and the Lord young bullock and seven rams, the same may struck him, and he died. be a priest of them that are no gods.

21 But Abijah waxed mighty, and mar, 10*But as for us, the Lord is our God, ried fourteen wives, and begat twenty and and we have not forsaken him; and the two sons, and sixteen daughters. priests, which minister unto the LORD, are 22 And the rest of the acts of Abijah, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait and his ways, and his sayings, are written in upon their business:


the 'story of the propheť Iddo. 11 Kings 13, 1. &a 2 Heb. bound together,

5 Chap.11. 14.

6 Heb, to fill his hardo Chay, 2, 4

Or, commentary, 10 Chap 12, 15.

31 Kings 11. 26. Levit. 24. 6.

1 Kings 12. 28.

Verse 9. " Have ye no! cast out the priests of the Lord...and the Levites.”—It appears every way probable that the Levitical tribe was deprived of all the cities which it held in the territories of the ten tribes, and that the general body then settled in the kingdom of Judah. At the first view it might seem that the “casting out” referred to the ejectment of the sacred tribe from the exercise of its priestly functions. But it is to be recollected that they had no such functions to exercise any where but at Jerusalem, to which place they resorted when their term of service was approaching. Jeroboam therefore could not interfere with the exercise of their sacerdotal duties, unless by prohibiting them to leave his dominions, and this is far from being implied in the idea of “casting out." We must therefore conclude that he deprived them of the civil privileges and powers which they enjoyed, dismissed them from the offices which they had filled under David and Solomon, refused them the dues to which they were entitled by the law of Moses, took away their towns and lands, and perhaps cast them out from the country-in which indeed they had no inducement to stay. This seems confirmed by the fact, that in all the history of the kingdom of Israel we do not ever find the presence of Aaronite priests and Levites indicated, whereas they often appear in the history of Judah. It is necessary to understand this

, in order to estimate at their due magnitude the changes which the revolt of the ten tribes involved. " Whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams."-Abijah probably refers to this as a circunstance by which the heathen priests were distinguished from those of the family of Aaron, since the latter were only required to offer at their consecration one bullock and two rams.


bare shields and drew bows, two hundred 1 Asa succeeding destroyeth idolatry. 6 Having and fourscore thousand : all these were peace, he strengtheneih his kingdom with forts mighty men of valour. und armies. 9 Calling on God, he overthrow- ğ q‘And there came out against them Zeeth Zerah, and spoileth the Ethiopians.

rah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they thousand, and three hundred chariots; and buried him in the city of David : and 'Asa came unto Mareshah. his son reigned in his stead. In his days 10 Then Asa went out against him, and the land was quiet ten years.

they set the battle in array in the valley of 2 And Asa did that which was good and Zephathah at Mareshan. right in the eyes of the Lord his God: il And Asa cried unto the Lord his God,

3 For he took away the altars of the and said, LORD, it is 'nothing with thee to strange gods, and the high places, and brake help, whether with many, or with them that down the images, and cut down the groves : have no power: help us, O LORD our God;

4 And commanded Judah to seek the for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go LORD God of their fathers, and to do the against this multitude. O LORD, thou art law and the commandment.

our God; let not oman prevail against thee. 5 Also he took away out of all the cities 12 So the Lord smote the Ethiopians of Judah the high places and the 'images: before Asa, and before Judah; and the and the kingdom was quiet before him. Ethiopians fled.

6 And he built fenced cities in Judah: 13 And Asa and the people that were for the land had rest, and he had no war in with him pursued them unto Gerar : and the those years; because the Lord had given Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could

not recover themselves; for they were "de7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us stroyed before the LORD, and before his build these cities, and make about them walls, host; and they carried away very much and towers, gates, and bars, while the land spoil. is yet before us; because we have sought 14 And they smote all the cities round the LORD our God, we have sought him, and about Gerar; for the fear of the Lord came he hath given us rest on every side. So upon them : and they spoiled all the cities; they built and prospered.

for there was exceeding much spoil in them. 8 And Asa had an army of men that bare 15 They smote also the tents of cattle, targets and spears, out of Judah three hun- and carried away sheep and camels in abundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that I dance, and returned to Jerusalem. "1 Kings 15. 8, &c.

8 Heb, sun images. • Chap 16. 8. Verse 9. “Zerah the Ethiopian.”—It appears from chap. xvi. 8, that he was assisted by the Libyans, which seems sufficiently to indicate that these Ethiopians were those of Africa. If it were not for the presence of the Libyans, who were in Africa the neighbours of the African Ethiopians, it would be quite as probable to suppose that the Arabian Cushites are intended; but the association seems decisive, particularly as in chap. xii. we have seen the same people acting together with the Egyptians and Sukkiims. It is not impossible that the Ethiopians and Libyans, who appear on this occasion, came at first into the country among “the people without number," which the king of Egypt had brought against Rehoboam ; and that they did not all of them return, but remained in nomade occupation of the country between Palestine and Egypt, spreading also perhaps into Arabia Petræa, and holding occupation of some towns (as Gerar, &c.) on the northern border of this territory towards the Hebrew dominions.

him rest.

Heb. statues.

5 1 Sam. 14.6.

6 Or, mortal man.

7 Heb. broken.

As to the numbers of Zerah's host, it is suspected that the number has been corrupted in some such way as the addition of a cypher would make in our way of stating numbers ; or perhaps a large indefinite number is expressed by a larger definite one. However, as the Libyans were certainly nomades, and the “ Ethiopians” appear to have been Cushite pastors, wherever they came from, it may not be amiss to intimate the peculiar facilities which such people possess for raising, in a very short time, a large body of men. Bruce has a particular hypothesis with respect to this army, in which we do not clearly see how to concur; but his concluding statement is more applicable than perhaps he knew, to any explanation which leaves these “ Ethiopians” a pastoral people. He says, “ Twenty camels, employed to carry couriers upon them, might have procured that number of men to meet in a short space of time; and, as Zerah was the aggressor, he had time to choose when he should attack his enemy: every one of these shepherds, carrying with them their provision of flour and water, as is their invariable custom, might have fought with Asa in Gerar, without eating a loaf of Zerah's bread, or drinking a pint of his water."



Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon:

for they fell to him out of Israel in abun1 Asa with Judah and many of Israel, moved by the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, make a so

dance, when they saw that the Lord his lemn covenant with God. 16 He putteth down God was with him Maachah his mother for her idolatry. 18 He

10 So they gathered themselves together bringeth dedicate things into the house of God, at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifand enjoyeth a long peuce.

teenth year of the reign of Asa. . And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah 11 And they offered unto the Lord 'the the son of Oded :

same time, of the spoil which they had 2 And he went out 'to meet Asa, and said brought, seven hundred oxen and seven unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah thousand sheep. and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while 12 And they entered into a covenant to ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will seek the LORD God of their fathers with all be found of you; but if ye

forsake him, he their heart and with all their soul; will forsake you.

13 That whosoever would not seek the 3 Now for a long season Israel hath been Lord God of Israel 'should be put to death, without the true God, and without a teach- whether small or great, whether man or ing priest, and without law.

4 But when they in their trouble did turn 14 And they sware unto the Lord with unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought a loud voice, and with shouting, and with him, he was found of them.

trumpets, and with cornets. 5 And in those times there was no peace 15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: to him that went out, nor to him that came for they had sworn with all their heart, and in, but great vexations were upon all the in- sought him with their whole desire; and he habitants of the countries.

was found of them : and the LORD gave 6 And nation was 'destroyed of nation, them rest round about. and city of city: for God did vex them with 16 | And also concerning "Maachah the all adversity

mother of Asa the king, he removed her 7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your | from being queen, because she had made an hands be weak: for your work shall be re- idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, warded.

and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook 8 And when Asa heard these words, and Kidron. the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took 17 But the high places were not taken courage, and put away the 'abominable idols away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, of Asa was perfect all his days. and out of the cities which he had taken 18 ( And he brought into the house of from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar God the things that his father had dediof the Lord, that was before the porch of cated, and that he himself had dedicated, the LORD.

silver, and gold, and vessels. 9 And he gathered all Judah and Ben- 19 And there was no more war unto the jamin, and the strangers with them out of five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa. 1 Heb. before Asa. - Heb. beaten in pieces. 8 Heb. abominations. 4 Heb, in that day.

6 1 Kings 15. 13.

5 Deut. 13. 9.

7 Heb. horror.

Verse 16. “ She had made an idol in a grove.”—The original word, rendered “idol," is nyban, miphletzeth, « fear or dread," put for the object of fear or reverence (as in Gen. xxxi. 42—but not the same word). The Septuagint cousiders this grove-idol to denote the Astarte, or Ashtaroth, so often mentioned in Scripture. This is very probable; and makes the present a proper place for introducing a short account of that notorious idol.

This goddess was undoubtedly the moon. Under her namo of Ashtaroth, she is particularly mentioned as “the abomination of the Sidonians:'' the Phænicians were in fact particularly addicted to her worship, which was not, however, peculiar to them. The moon was every where worshipped; but it is only of her exhibition as Ashtaroth that we have at present to speak. In this personation she was also idolized among the Philistines ; for we read that the armour of Saul was put “in the house of Ashtaroth” (1 Sam. xxxi. 10). She was also venerated by the Syrians under the name of Astarte, which the Septuagint gives as equivalent to the Hebrew “Ashtaroth.” She answered very nearly to the Isis of the Egyptians, the two being merely different versions of the same original. But the Greeks identified her with their Juno, Diana, or Venus; and they were right, as she did not answer to any one of these, singly taken: for the Orientals, whose theology was infinitely less subdivided than that of the Greeks and Romans, united in their Astarte the attributes which the latter divided among the three goddesses we have named. Thus Astarte was not only the moon, but, as such, “ the queen of heaven,” by which title she is mentioned in Scripture (Jer, Fü. 18, and xliv, 17, 18); whereas, among the Greeks, Diana was the moon, but Juno was the queen of heaven. So also, the Orientals made their Baal not only the sun, but, in that character, the king of heaven ; whilst the Greeks made two gods out of him-Jupiter being the king of heaven, and Apollo the sun. This explains the apparent confusion of the Greeks when speaking of Oriental deities, in sometimes identifying an Asiatic idol with three or four of their own. In a previous note (2 Kings xxiii. 7) we have intimated the probability that the female deity in question is denoted sometimes under the word Asherah or Ásherim, rendered “grove," or " groves;" and accordingly the Septuagint, in the present and other places, gives the proper name “Astarte” as an equivalent. But still the original idea is in some degree included, since Astarte was properly a grove-idol, and the sacred plantation, which subdued the blaze of day to the mildness of lunar light, was her proper sanctuary. But the obscurity of these woods concealed deeds of sanctified abomination which we dare not describe. Yet her rites were not bloody. For while to her associate Baal (the sun), with whom she is so often mentioned in Scripture, bloody, and (except as represented by Melkart of Tyre) even human sacrifices were offered-only bread, liquors, and perfumes were presented to Astarte. Hence the apostate Hebrews are reproached with the idolatrous act of making cakes for the queen of heaven.” (Jer. vii. 18.) She of course had temples, but not always, and when she had, a grove was usually planted around it. Often also her wood was planted near the temples of the sun, the two chief idols being much associated in their worship, though we do not believe them to have been so inseparable as Calmet supposes.

As to the figure under which Astarte was represented, it is difficult to say any thing definite, as almost every town cxhibited her under a varied form. Some authors (as Porphyry) say that she was sometimes represented with a cow's head, the horns of which served at the same time as the usual symbol of sovereign power, and as a representation of the crescent moon. This would serve as well for a description of Isis. We are not, however, aware of any of her medals which thus represent her. But the heads are frequently surmounted by a crescent, or surrounded by rays. Tho full length figures usually represent a robed female, standing, or throned, in a commanding attitude, with a baton in her right hand. The robing varies greatly. Our cuts, from Phænician medals, exhibit some of the diversified forms in which she is represented. (See Calmet's Dissertation sur les Divinités Phéniciennes ;' Banier's Mythology;' Jahn’s • Archæologia.')

Phænician silyer coins of Astarte, one third larger than real size,

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out of the treasures of the house of the LORD

and of the king's house, and sent to Ben| Asa, by the aid of the Syrians, diverteth Buasha from building of Ramah. 7 Being reproved hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at 'Damasthereof by Hanani, he putteth him in prison. 11 cus, saying, Among his other acts in his disease he seeketh 3 There is a league between me and thee, not to God, but to the physicians. 13 His death

as there was between my father and thy and burial.

father: behold, I have sent thee silver and In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of gold; go, break thy league with Baasha Asa 'Baasha king of Israel came up against king of Israel, that he may depart from Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa 4 And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king king of Judah.

Asa, and sent the captains of his armies ? Then Asa brought out silver and gold against the cities of Israel; and they smote * 1 Kings 15. 17. 9 Heb. Darmosek.


3 Heb, which were his

- Heb, in abundance.

7 Heb. crushed.

Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the hast done foolishly: therefore from hencestore cities of Naphtali.

forth thou shalt have wars. 5 And it came to pass, when Baasha 10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and put him in a prison house ; for he was and let his work cease.

in a rage with him because of this thing. 6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and And Asa 'oppressed some of the people the they carried away the stones of Ramah, and

same time. the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was 11 9 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first building; and he built therewith Geba and and last, lo, they are written in the book of Mizpah.

the kings of Judah and Israel. 7 | And at that time Hanani the seer

r 12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto of his reign was diseased in his feet, until him, Because thou hast relied on the king his disease was exceeding great: yet in his of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy disease he sought not to the LORD, but to God, therefore is the host of the king of the physicians. Syria escaped out of thine hand.

13 s And Asa slept with his fathers, and 8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lu- died in the one and fortieth year of his bims 'a huge host, with very many chariots reign. and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely 14 And they buried him in his own seon the Lord, he delivered them into thine pulchres, which he had made for himself in hand.

the city of David, and laid him in the bed 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and which was filled with sweet odours and fro throughout the whole earth, "to shew divers kinds of spices prepared by the apohimself strong in the behalf of them whose thecaries' art and they made a very great heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou

Herein thou burning for him.
Clap. 14. 9.
Or, strongly to hold with them, &c.

8 Heb, diggedi Verse 1. “ In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.”_Compare 1 Kings xv. 33, and xvi.; from which we learn that Baasha began to reign in the third year of Asa, that he reigned twenty-four years, and that his son succeeded in the twenty-sixth year of Asa's reign. It is therefore probable that the present text is corrupted, being contradictory to three other dates, which show that Baasha died ten years before the date here given to his enterprise. Josephus seems accordingly to preserve the true date of this undertaking, which he places in the twenty-sixth year of Asa—the year in which Baasha died—which agrees with what he says, that Baasha was prevented by death from resuming his enterprise, which the Syrians had interrupted. The Jewish chronology, followed by many modern chronologers, explain the present text to be correct, by supposing that, instead of “reign,” we should read “ kingdom;" and, consequently, that the date is not from the beginning of Asa's reign, but from that of the separate existence of the kingdom of Judah, commencing with Rehoboam. Thirty-six years from that event bring us only to the sixteenth year of Asa ; in which date there is certainiy no historical or chronological impropriety, although it may be difficult to explain how so peculiar a mode of computation should in this particular instance be adopted, and which seems less likely than the easy alteration of “twenty-six” into “thirty-six.” Whatever explanation be chosen must also be extended to the last verse of the preceding chapter.

12. Diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great.”—It was a disease which began in the feet, and gradually mounted upward to the superior parts of the body, for the last clause might more properly be rendered to convey this meaning, as, “his disease moved upward.” Some medical inquirers into the diseases of Scripture think it was the gout, which, as is well known, is dangerous when it reaches upward to the superior parts of the person. It was probably something of the sort.

" He the physicians.”—This is the first time we read of physicians among the Hebrews, as a distinct class of persons. Whatever has a medical appearance in the books of the Law, we find associated with the priests (see the note

on Lev. xiii. 2), and subsequently we find diseased or injured persons resorting to gods and prophets (1 Kings xiv. ; 2 Kings i. and viii.) chiefly, it would seem, for the purpose of learning whether or not they should recover. It appears to have been the general feeling, that, in diseases, medical and human agencies were of no avail, and that a cure was to be looked for to the immediate exercise of the Divine power. This feeling is still very general in the East. Therefore priests and prophets were resorted to in most nations, for the purpose, as it were, of drawing, the attention of the god to the case, and of propitiating his favour. Hence arose a class of pretenders, who professed by means of certain secret charms, incantations, and powerful rites or applications, to draw down and fix, if we may so express it, the healing power of the god. From the manner in which Asa's application to the physicians

is mentioned

, it is fair to presume that they were of this class, still so common in Asia and Africa, and not yet extirpated from Europe-who, on the one hand, were ignorant of any useful science, and, on the other, by their unlawful pretensions, drew away the mind from its true confidence in God, and fixed it on their puerile spells and amulets. Indeed, as the earliest physicians in most countries were foreigners, it is not unlikely that those to whom Asa resorted, professed to work cures through the power of the heavenly bodies, or of some famous foreign idol

. Even when some useful applications and medicines crept into the practice of“ physicians,” it remained mixed up with so much mystery, idolatry, and superstition that, even at a period much later than the present, the stricter Jews were disposed to look upon the whole art as an abominable thing. Gill quotes the Rabbins as entertaining a very ill opinion of physicians, saying that the very best of them deserved heli

, and as advising faithful Jews not to live in a city where the chief man was a physician. Even when medicine had attained the rank of a science, founded, as all true science must

be, on experience and observation and spells and charms were in a great degree banished;

astrology was still considered by the most famous ancient phy

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