Search Bible Outlines and commentaries




We are now immersed into the evaluations of the various kings who governed over the southern and northern kingdoms. God constantly monitors our degree of faithfulness and obedience. We know that the Lord’s evaluation of Israel will be that they continually practiced wickedness and idolatry. Down south in Judah there will be occasional kings who demonstrated some measure of spiritual reform and faithfulness to the Lord. Asa is the first of those. But even Asa fell away in his later years. We see the impact of the previous generation on their children as well as the personal responsibility of each king to choose for himself to obey the covenant requirements. It is so important not just to start with fervor and commitment, but to persevere in faith and obedience and end well.

Iain Provan: We remain for the moment in Judah, with Rehoboam’s immediate successors. Abijam is the characteristically bad Judean king, indulging in the idolatry of Solomon’s later years and of Rehoboam. Asa is the characteristically good Judean king, behaving relatively faithfully like David and the younger Solomon. These two between them set the pattern for all subsequent Judean kings, who are measured in terms of whether they have been “like David” or not.

Thomas Swope: There now follows information concerning the reigns of seven kings, each of which is dealt with briefly. The first two kings were kings of Judah. The first, Abiyam, shared the condemnation of Rehoboam. He was a warning against compromise and half-heartedness. The second, Asa, turned out truly to be a lamp for he did what was right in the eyes of YHWH, and his heart was right towards YHWH. Nevertheless, due to his failing to fully trust YHWH he lost the treasures that he had built up and ended up diseased in his feet. He was a warning against the danger of not fully trusting with all his heart.

Due to Asa’s long reign the next five kings were kings of Israel. The picture in that case was one of continual decline as things got worse and worse. It began with Nadab who followed in the way of his father, and was assassinated as a result of God’s judgment on Jeroboam, continued with Baasha who not only continued in the way of Jeroboam but also sought to prevent Israelites from entering Judah in order to worship YHWH, and was continually hostile towards Judah, with the result that his son, who followed in his ways, was also assassinated for the same reason. The man who carried out the assassination was Zimri, a chariot commander, who lasted only seven days, and after a period of civil war he was followed by Omri, Israel’s commander-in-chief who not only walked in the way of Jeroboam but also began to lay a greater emphasis on the open worship of Baal. The sad state displayed that no king of Israel concerned himself with purifying the worship of YHWH, but instead contributed to the continuing deterioration. Had it not been for the rise of Elijah faith in YHWH in Israel may well have died out. . .

We see that the kings of Judah were compared to David and his love for Yahweh. With the kings of Israel we see that they are compared to Jeroboam and all the sin he committed.


A. (:1-2) Selected Touchpoints of Abijam’s Reign

1. When Did He Become King?

“Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, the son of Nebat,”

2. Which Kingdom Did He Govern?

“Abijam became king over Judah.”

Peter Pett: We are never told the age of Abi-yam, but the Chronicler tells us that he had fourteen wives, twenty two sons and sixteen daughters (2 Chronicles 13:21), so that he was well matured when he began to reign, possibly approaching forty.

Jerry Thrower: After the death of Rehoboam, Abijam ascended to the throne in Judah. Abijam was not Rehoboam’s oldest son. He was the son of his favorite wife Maachah.

3. How Long Did He Reign?

“He reigned three years in Jerusalem;”

4. Who Was His Mother?

“and his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.”

B. (:3) Summary Evaluation of Abijam’s Reign

“And he walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, like the heart of his father David.”

Sins of his father Rehoboam and grandfather Solomon

Donald Wiseman: Abijah (‘My father is Yah-[weh]’) continued the war with his contemporary Jeroboam of Israel. He is here censured for his religious corruption and divided loyalty to the Lord God yet, for David’s sake and in response to his faith, he was allowed a spectacular victory over the encircling Israelites whom he had challenged, for being even more apostate than he (2 Chr. 13:3–20). His position and power was increased in Jerusalem (v. 4), and by the annexation of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephraim (Ophrah) and their environs in the hill-country, he pushed the boundary northwards. This is an instance of God blessing the unworthy for the sake of the worthy.

John Whitcomb: Abijam was capable, like his father (cf. II Chron. 11:4, 17; 12:6, 12) of occasional acts of faith in a life of general disobedience to the revealed will of God.

C. (:4-5) Grace Shown Abijam for Sake of David

“But for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to raise up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem; 5 because David did what was right in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”

Dale Ralph Davis: One wonders whether ‘on account of David’ (v. 4a; or, ‘for the sake of David’) means ‘on account of David’s fidelity’ (as v. 5 may suggest) or whether it means ‘on account of Yahweh’s promise to David’ (2 Sam. 7:12–16). I think 2 Kings 8:19 (cf. also 1 Kings 11:13, 32, 34) favors the latter option. Hence there may be a double rationale for the kingdom’s continued existence: Yahweh’s covenant commitment (v. 4) and David’s covenant consistency (v. 5). The latter was not perfect (note the ‘except’—clause) but typical. If Jeroboam was poison and death to his kingdom (14:15–16), David was blessing and life to his. . .

Asa’s reign, therefore, was one of Yahweh’s mercies; he raised up one who—despite his faults—nevertheless slowed the slide to infidelity. Here is an argument against a fatalism that despairs over the alarming and increasingly unfaithful condition of the church. There are times, says our text, when Yahweh intervenes to reform, renew, and restore. What else would we expect from One who has decreed always to keep a lamp in Jerusalem?

Iain Provan: Because of the special place held by David and Jerusalem in God’s affections, however (11:11–13, 31–39; 14:21), the idolatry of Solomon and Rehoboam had not brought upon them the judgment of God that had been expected. It is no different with Abijam.… This dynasty, unlike Jeroboam’s, is secure; sin cannot affect its fortunes in any ultimate sense.

Jerry Thrower: God could have ended the Davidic line, but He promised David He would not end it. And God keeps His promises! God promised to give David a lamp which is a reference or term for “descendant.” To have one’s lamp put out meant the removal of a family line.

Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Proverbs 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

God allowed Abijam to rule because of the merits of David.

D. (:6-9) Overall Summary of Abijam’s Reign

1. (:6) War Between Rehoboam and Jeroboam

“And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam

all the days of his life.”

2. (:7a) Recorded Deeds of Abijam

“Now the rest of the acts of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?”

3. (:7b) War Between Abijam and Jeroboam

“And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.”

4. (:8a) Death and Burial of Abijam

“And Abijam slept with his fathers

and they buried him in the city of David;”

5. (:8b) Succession

“and Asa his son became king in his place.”


A. (:9-10)

1. When Did He Become King?

“So in the twentieth year of Jeroboam the king of Israel,”

2. Which Kingdom Did He Govern?

“Asa began to reign as king of Judah.”

3. How Long Did He Reign?

“And he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem;”

4. Who Was His Mother?

“and his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom.”

Wiersbe: There were three major divisions to Asa’s life and reign.

(1) Peace and victory (1 Kings 15:9-11; 2 Chron. 14:1 – 15:7).

(2) Reformation and renewal (1 Kings 15:12-15; 2 Chron. 15:8-19).

(3) Relapse and discipline (1 Kings 15:16-24; 2 Chron. 16:1-14).

B. (:11) Summary Evaluation of Asa’s Reign

“And Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father.”

William Barnes: In sum, Asa was a godly king who pleased his Lord. He significantly cleansed the land of idolatry, and he acted decisively to protect his capital city. Such protection was costly, but apparently necessary and apparently in God’s will. Even his foot disease did not disqualify him from being reckoned positively as only 8 out of 19 southern kings (and no northern kings) would be. God does work in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.

Jerry Thrower: Why do kids reject the teachings of Believing parents? Why does one child turn from God while another follows the Lord?” Only God knows the heart and the reasons. Whether kids have godly parenting or ungodly parenting, they still have the responsibility to choose for themselves! God holds the parent responsible for the testimony presented and children responsible for the choices they make! Asa rejected the instructions of his mother/grandmother for he knew idolatry was wrong and wickedness was wrong.

C. (:12-15) Specific Reformations Accomplished by Asa

1. (:12a) Removed Immoral Religious Rites

“He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land,”

2. (:12b) Removed Idols

“and removed all the idols which his fathers had made.”

3. (:13) Removed the Queen Along with Her Asherah Image

“And he also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron.”

MacArthur: “horrid image” – This term is derived from the verb “to shudder” (Job 9:6). “Horrible, repulsive thing” suggests a shocking, perhaps even a sexually explicit, idol. [phallic symbol]

Thomas Constable: “Asa” (“Healer”?) came to power close to the end of Jeroboam’s reign over Israel in 910 B.C. Asa reigned from 911-870 B.C., 41 years, an unusually long reign that probably began when he was quite young (cf. 15:2). It was his grandmother (NIV), not his mother (NASB), who bore the name Maacah (cf. 15:2). The queen mother (dowager), not the king’s wife, was the first lady in the kingdom. Maacah was “a sort of Jezebel of Judah” who “made a horrid image as an Asherah,” which Asa “cut down” and “burned… at the brook Kidron” (v. 13).

4. (:14) Caveat

“But the high places were not taken away; nevertheless the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the LORD all his days.”

Dale Ralph Davis: Granted, there were limitations to his reform (v. 14a), but there was no doubt about the sincerity of Asa’s heart-orientation (v. 14b—in contrast to his father in v. 3).

John Schultz: One thing lacking in Asa’s understanding of God’s will was the fact that he did not consider the place of worship of God to be the important issue. Although he removed the symbols of idolatry, he did not regard the temple in Jerusalem as the only place where God ought to be worshipped as He had indicated. As far as that was concerned he did not have David’s vision.

5. (:15) Protected the Dedicated Vessels

“And he brought into the house of the LORD the dedicated things of his father and his own dedicated things: silver and gold and utensils.”

Peter Pett: Since the removal by Shishak of Egypt of the treasures from the Temple and the king’s house in the days of Rehoboam more treasures had been accumulated by raiding spoils, by tolls from trading and by ‘taxation’, and these had presumably been stored in the House of the Forest of Lebanon as dedicated to YHWH. Asa now brought them into the Temple, together with what he himself had gathered and dedicated to YHWH. He was concerned lest YHWH think that he was retaining it all for himself. It included silver, and gold (there was no coinage) and vessels. The dedication of such things to the gods was common throughout the Ancient Near East.

C. (:16-22) Political Interaction with Baasha King of Israel

1. (:16) General Climate of Warfare

“Now there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel

all their days.”

2. (:17) Blockade Fortified Against Judah

“And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah.”

Dale Ralph Davis: And Baasha stirred up a political crisis. He came down to Ramah of Benjamin and fortified it (lit., ‘built it,’ v. 17a). Ramah was strategic: it was only five-plus miles north of Asa’s Jerusalem, sat astride the north-south trunk road, and controlled Judah’s best western access to the coastal plain via Beth-horon. Baasha’s design was no secret; it smells like an economic blockade (v. 17b).

Donald Wiseman: This was a reaction to Israel’s blockade of the north route from Jerusalem (cf. 9:17). They had penetrated as far south as Ramah (Er-Ram, nine kilometres north of Jerusalem). Asa counted on his existing treaty-relations (of which Kings gives no detail) and possibly the queen mother’s Aramaean origin to invoke help from Ben(Bar)-Hadad I of Damascus. It is noteworthy that the Chronicler rebukes Asa for trusting in this treaty relationship rather than the Lord and for his suppression of those who opposed his policy (2 Chr. 16:7–10). This is not mentioned here, as the stress is on the good and right Asa did as David’s successor.

John Whitcomb: Baasha’s invasion of Judah and his fortification of Ramah (five miles north of Jerusalem) was his Berlin wall response to the powerful magnet of revival in Jerusalem to the south (cf. II Chron. 15:9). The king of Israel realized full well that it was his most stalwart citizens who were leaving him, the very life blood of the nation, and he took drastic means to stop it.

3. (:18-19) Treaty with Damascus Solicited by Asa

a. (:18a) The Payment

“Then Asa took all the silver and the gold which were left in the treasuries of the house of the LORD and the treasuries of the king’s house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants.”

b. (:18b-19) The Plea for Help

“And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Aram, who lived in Damascus, saying, 19 ‘Let there be a treaty between you and me, as between my father and your father. Behold, I have sent you a present of silver and gold; go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so that he will withdraw from me.’”

Wiseman: Tabrimmon (v. 18) means ‘good is Rimmon’, the Thunderergod, a title of Baal.

4. (:20-21) The Effectiveness of the Alliance in Diverting Baasha’s Forces

a. (:20) Offensive Initiative of Ben-hadad

“So Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth, besides all the land of Naphtali.”

MacArthur: The army of Beh-hadad I invaded Israel and took cities in the land N of the Sea of Galilee, a conquest giving Syria control of the trade routes to the Mediterranean coast, and Israel’s fertile Jezreel Valley, and also making Syria a great military threat to Israel. Baasha gave up fortifying Ramah and went to live in Tirzah, the capital of the northern kingdom.

August Konkel: Ben-Hadad is more than willing to accept money from both Baasha and Asa in their war against each other (15:19–20). The Aramean breaks his treaty and attacks northern Israel, capturing all the land of Naphtali. That means all Galilee is taken, almost all the country north of the Jezreel Valley and east of Lake Kinnereth. Ijon is a large village in the southern Beqaʿ Valley, on the southern border of modern Lebanon. It is usually listed together with Abel Beth Maacah, Dan (Laish), and Hazor in northern Israel. Abel Beth Maacah is located near a major waterfall of the Jordan tributaries, at the juncture of the Huleh Valley and the Beqaʿ Valley in Lebanon. ʿEn Gev on the eastern side of the lake is likely taken by the Arameans as well.

The absence of Hazor from the list of cities taken by Ben-Hadad is remarkable, since it was the major fortified city of the area. Baasha may have been able to resist the Aramean army and retain the territory around Hazor. Ben-Hadad gains control over the corn land of the Hauran and the trade routes, which run to Tyre and Sidon and south to the plain of Jezreel. The northern attack forces Baasha to abandon his southern fortification.

b. (:21) Defensive Posture Forced on Baasha

“And it came about when Baasha heard of it

that he ceased fortifying Ramah, and remained in Tirzah.”

5. (:22) Repurposing Construction Materials to Cities in Judah

“Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah– none was exempt– and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber with which Baasha had built. And King Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.”

Thomas Constable: Asa’s plan to divert Baasha’s attention to Ben-Hadad (ca. 900-860 B.C.) worked. His treaty evidenced some lack of trust in Yahweh (2 Chron. 16:7-9). Asa’s strategy was one that God blessed, however, and it enabled him to break down Baasha’s fortifications and use their materials to rebuild two towns on Judah’s side of the border (v. 22).

Wiersbe: Everyone was happy with the results of the treaty except the Lord. He sent the prophet Hanani to rebuke the king and give him the Word of the Lord. . . The prophet’s message was clear: if Asa had relied on the Lord, the army of Judah would have defeated both Israel and Syria. Instead, Judah merely gained a few towns, the Lord’s treasury was robbed and the king was now in a sinful alliance with the Syrians.

D. (:23-24) Overall Summary of Asa’s Reign

1. (:23a) Recorded Deeds of Asa

“Now the rest of all the acts of Asa and all his might and all that he did and the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?”

2. (:23b) Infirmity in His Old Age

“But in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.”

David Guzik: All in all, Asa was a good man who did not finish well. The last years of his life were marked by unbelief, hardness against God, oppression against his people, and disease. Age and time do not necessarily make us better; they only do if we continue to follow God in faith.

R. D. Patterson: The parting notices concerning Asa deal with the loathsome disease in his feet (v. 23) that served only to harden his heart. For his funerary observance Asa had the air filled with sweet spices (2 Chron 16:12-14); but no amount of manmade perfume can hide the noxious stench of the life of a believer alienated from God! How far he had fallen and from what great spiritual heights! Asa’s life remains as an exemplary admonition to the believer to abide humbly in Christ, lest his life become totally unproductive for God (cf. John 15:5-6; 1 Cor 9:27). . .

Various suggestions have been made as to the nature of Asa’s diseased feet. The Talmud decides for gout, and Montgomery (p. 278) for dropsy. Snaith (p. 136) suggests that “feet” is a euphemism for the reproductive organ; hence Asa had venereal disease.

3. (:24a) Death and Burial of Asa

“And Asa slept with his fathers

and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father;”

Peter Pett: There are numerous lessons from Asa’s long life.

– The first is that we need to walk faithfully in accordance with God’s requirements, with a heart that is right towards God.

– The second is that we need to root out of our lives all our ‘idols’.

– The third is that we need to learn to trust fully in God rather than in men.

– The fourth is that we need to take every opportunity to build up our defences (Ephesians 6:10-18).

4. (:24b) Succession

“and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place.”


A. (:25) Selected Touchpoints of Nadab’s Reign

1. Which Kingdom Did He Govern?

“Now Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel”

2. When Did He Govern?

“in the second year of Asa king of Judah,”

3. How Long Did He Govern?

“and he reigned over Israel two years.”

B. (:26) Summary Evaluation of Nadab’s Reign

“And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made Israel sin.”

C. (:27-28) Nadab Killed by Baasha King of Israel

“Then Baasha the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him, and Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, while Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon. 28 So Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place.”

MacArthur: This city, located about 32 mi. W of Jerusalem, within the territory of Dan, was given to the Levites (Jos 19:44) but controlled by the Philistines, on whose border it lay.

Clarke: Thus God made use of one wicked man to destroy another.

D. (:29-30) Baasha Purges Household of Jeroboam

“And it came about, as soon as he was king, he struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam any persons alive, until he had destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, 30 and because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.”

E. (:31) Overall Summary of Nadab’s Reign – Recorded Deeds

“Now the rest of the acts of Nadab and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?”

Peter Pett: The lessons we may learn from Nadab’s life, are:

1). The brevity life. It is a reminder that in the midst of life we are in death.

2). The certainty of God’s judgment on sin.

3). A recognition of the holiness of a God Who so hates sin that He allowed the wiping out of a family because of its sinfulness.

4). The folly of following in the footsteps of those who have turned against God and His ways. If only he had repented he might have avoided God’s judgment.