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2 Chronicles 15


(LXX versing)
The Prophet Azariah Warns Asa The Reform of Asa Asa's Reform Asa's Reform Azariah's Sermon and the Reform
15:1-7 15:1-7 15:1-7 15:1-7 15:1-7
Asa's Reforms Asa's Religious Reforms
15:8-15 15:8-9 15:8-15 15:8 15:8-15
15:16-19 15:16-17 15:16-19 15:16-19 15:16-18

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, 2and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. 4But in their distress they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and they sought Him, and He let them find Him. 5In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. 7But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work."

15:1 "the Spirit of God" This is an OT idiom of YHWH's empowering a person to do His will.

  1. the artistic work of the tabernacle ‒ Exod. 28:3; 31:3; 35:31
  2. 70 elders to help Moses ‒ Num. 11:16,17,25,26,29
  3. prophets
    1. Balaam ‒ Num. 24:2
    2. Azariah ‒ 2 Chr. 15:1
    3. Jahaziel ‒ 2 Chr. 20:14
    4. Zechariah ‒ 2 Chr. 24:20
    5. Ezekiel ‒ Ezek. 11:5
  4. judges ‒ Jdgs. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14,19
  5. leaders
    1. Joshua ‒ Deut. 34:9
    2. Saul ‒ 1 Sam. 10:6,10; 11:6
    3. David ‒ 1 Sam. 16:13
    4. Cyrus ‒ 2 Chr. 36:22
    5. Zerubbbel and Joshua ‒ Haggai 1:14
  6. servants
    1. Saul's messengers ‒ 1 Sam. 19:20,23
    2. David's men ‒ 1 Chr. 12:18
  7. Suffering Servant Songs (i.e., Messianic) ‒ Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 59:21; 61:1

15:2 Notice the reciprocal, conditional covenant. In this context it is the Judean king who is called on to seek YHWH and then YHWH will allow Himself to be found.

There is no greater blessing than the presence of YHWH! This presence involves both human and divine will/volition. See full note at 2 Chr. 7:14 and Deut. 4:29.

15:3 This verse calls Judah, "Israel." For the Chronicler the only true "Israel" was the Davidic seed and the temple in Jerusalem.

The covenant people had fallen into a period of spiritual malaise.

  1. without the true God (some rabbis see Elohim here as government leaders)
  2. without a teaching priest
  3. without the Law

What a sorry spiritual condition for the unique covenant people!

I have one pause about my previous comments in v. 7, "But you" seems to be a textual marker that vv. 3-7 are about the northern tribes' rebellious state and not Judah's.

Josephus, Antiq. 8.12.2., sees this as a future warning to Judah based on their obedience or disobedience to the covenant.

The Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 487, and Barne's Notes On the Whole Bible, p. 391, assert that this paragraph refers to the period of the Judges, therefore, is a flashback.

Obviously, no one knows!

15:4 This is the outworking of the promise of 2 Chr. 15:2. They recognized their need and turned to the only source of help.

15:5 This described the danger of traveling in a country full of lawlessness.

15:7 These are the same words

  1. Moses spoke to Joshua ‒ Deut. 31:7,8,23
  2. YHWH spoke to Joshua ‒ Josh. 1:6,7,9,18
  3. Joshua spoke to the people ‒ Josh. 10:25

They are a theological wordview! YHWH is with them and for them, who can be successful against them!

8Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the Lord which was in front of the porch of the Lord. 9He gathered all Judah and Benjamin and those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who resided with them, for many defected to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10So they assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign. 11They sacrificed to the Lord that day 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep from the spoil they had brought. 12They entered into the covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul; 13and whoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. 14Moreover, they made an oath to the Lord with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with horns. 15All Judah rejoiced concerning the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and had sought Him earnestly, and He let them find Him. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.

15:8-15 Asa acted to fix the spiritual malaise (this material is paralleled in 1 Kgs. 15:9-15).

  1. he removed the idols from the land, 2 Chr. 15:8 (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:12)
  2. he restored the sacrificial altar of the temple, 2 Chr. 15:8
  3. he gathered all the faithful of both kingdoms to Jerusalem, 2 Chr. 15:9-10
  4. they renewed their covenant with YHWH (i.e., an oath, 2 Chr. 15:12,14,15)
  5. took action against all who would not follow Him, 2 Chr. 15:13 (i.e., Exod. 22:20; Deut. 13:6-9; 17:2-7; one person's sin affects the whole, cf. Joshua 7; Rom. 5:12-21)
  6. he initiated a major worship event, 2 Chr. 15:14
  7. YHWH responded with peace and security for him, 2 Chr. 15:15
  8. he restored the dedicated things to the temple, 2 Chr. 15:18 (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:15)

These reforms are very similar to those enacted by Hezekiah (cf. 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 30). These verses show a terrible pattern of idolatry when compared to 2 Chr. 14:2-4. This idolatry was recurrent!

15:8 The UBS Text Project, p. 461, suggests that this may refer to another written prophetic source.

NASB, NRSV, TEV ‒  "Azariah the son of Oded the prophet"
NKJV, JPSOA, REB, Vul. ‒  "the prophecy of Oded the prophet"
NJB ‒  "the words of the prophecy"
LXX ‒  "the prophecy of Adad the prophet"
Peshitta ‒  "words of Azariah the son of Azor the prophet"

The MT has "and the prophecy, Oded the prophet." The UBS Text Project gives this a "B" rating (some doubt).

The NASB goes back to 2 Chr. 15:1, while the MT seems to refer to a prophet Oded (or a family of prophets) mentioned in 2 Chr. 28:9.

"and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim" We know nothing about this incident. The Chronicler often combines prophetic written sources that mention things/events that are not elaborated on. The Chronicler is both an author and a complier.

15:9 "those from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon" This is surprising! Simeon was incorporated into Judah very early and had no independent existence. Why it is included with a group from the northern tribes is uncertain.

15:10 "assembled at Jerusalem" This is a covenant renewal ceremony (the original affirmation is in Exod. 24:1-3) like

  1. Moses held in Deut. 29:1
  2. Joshua held in Josh. 8:30-35; 24:25
  3. Samuel held in 1 Sam. 11:14
  4. David held in 1 Chr. 13:2-5; 28; 29
  5. Same as 4.
  6. Jehoiada held in 2 Chr. 23:16
  7. Hezekiah held in 2 Chr. 29:10
  8. Josiah held in 2 Chr. 34:31
  9. Ezra held in Nehemiah 8

"the third month" This would be harvest time. It could relate to (1) the first giving of the Law (cf. Exodus 19-20) or (2) the Feast of Booths (cf. Lev. 23:15-16). This may be where later Judaism associated the Week of Booths with commemorating the giving of the Law.


15:11 "from the spoil they had brought" This refers to 2 Chr. 14:14-15. This spoil was from the crushing defeat of the invading army (i.e., 2 Chr. 14:9-15).

15:14 "with a loud voice, with shouting, with trumpets and with horns" These actions could refer to worship or war (cf. 2 Chr. 13:15). The shout would be an affirmation of faith (i.e., 2 Chr. 12:6).

This sounds like the OT precedent to 1 Thess. 4:16.


16He also removed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from the position of queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah, and Asa cut down her horrid image, crushed it and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17But the high places were not removed from Israel; nevertheless Asa's heart was blameless all his days. 18He brought into the house of God the dedicated things of his father and his own dedicated things: silver and gold and utensils. 19And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa's reign.

15:16 Fertility worship had even spread into the royal family but Asa acted and removed the Asherah (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:13).

"Maacah" This was the wife of Rehoboam and mother of Abijah (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:2; 2 Chr. 11:20,21,22). Apparently Asa's mother had the same name (different father, cf. 1 Kgs. 15:10,13; 2 Chr. 15:16). These common names cause great confusion for historians and Bible interpreters. This could be Asa's grandmother.

15:17 The local "high places" were not removed (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:14). Probably because of local resistence. Religious traditions are hard to eradicate! Abijah removed them in 2 Chr. 14:3, but they must have been rebuilt and used again by Asa's day.

"Asa's heart was blameless all his days" What a wonderful affirmation (cf. 1 Kgs. 15:11,14).

However, 2 Chronicles 16 shows that this was an overstatement (cf. 2 Chr. 15:10). Like so many Israelite kings, he started well but finished poorly.


15:19 This seems to be a clear statement but it is hard to reconcile with 1 Kgs. 15:16 and 2 Chronicles 16. There have been several proposed solutions.

  1. It refers to the splitting of the kingdom (see Edwin Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, pp. 82-84, 198, 209).
  2. It was a theological way to assert YHWH's blessing.
  3. The NIV Study Bible suggests a change from 35th year to 25th year, and therefore, refers to the conflict with Baasha, King of Israel.

For an attempt to reconcile these dates in Kings vs. Chronicles, see Gleason Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pp. 225-226.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

  1. What does it mean that "the Spirit of God came on"?
  2. Explain in your own words how 2 Chr. 15:2 reveals the crucial aspect of human choice in OT faith?
  3. Who is 2 Chr. 15:3-7 talking about?
  4. Why is Asa encouraged to be strong?
  5. How does one seek the Lord with all heart and soul?
  6. Why is the date in 2 Chr. 15:19 a problem?

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