1 In the thirty-sixth year of the kingdom (i.e. from the disruption of the kingdom of Judah. This agrees with all the other dates and lengths of reigns) of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, (there had been quiet between the 2 kingdoms as such [14:1; 15:19], though there had been border fighting [1 King 15:16,32) and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. (This shows that there was a tide of population streaming into Judah from Israel. See 1 Kings 12:17)
2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasuries of the house of the Lord and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
3 "Let there be a league between me and you, as there was between my father and your father: behold, I have sent you silver and gold; go, break your league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me."
4 And Benhadad hearkened to king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelmaim, and all the storehouses of the cities of Naphtali.
5 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.
6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.
7 And at that time Hanani (cp. 1 Kings 16:1,7; 19:2; 20:34) the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him, "Because you hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord your God, (cp. similar protests against resting on foreign alliances [Isa. 30:1; 31:1]) therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of your hand.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because you did rely on the Lord, he delivered them into your hand.
9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is whole (as in Deut. 27:6) toward Him. (cp. Prov. 15:3. Job 34:21. Ps. 139:2. Jer. 16:17. Zech. 4:10) Herein You have done foolishly: therefore from henceforth you shall have wars."
10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, (1 of 11 rulers offended with God's servants. See Ex. 10:28) and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, (contrast Hezekiah [2 Kings 20:2. Isa. 38:2,3]) but to the healers. (1st occurrence of mention of them among the Hebrews. These belonged to the priestly tribe, with traditional knowledge, more or less superstitious. Cp. Job 13:4. In N.T. we have Luke, a true physician [Col. 4:14])
13 And Asa slept with his fathers, (see Deut. 31:16) and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
14 And they buried him in his own great sepulcher, which he had made for himself (not frequently done. Cp. Matt. 27:60. John 19:38-42) in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odors and divers kinds (emphasizing the many kinds of odors) prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him. (i.e. of the odors previously mentioned, but not of incense, or of the sin offering. Cp. 21:19)