Asa Reigns in Judah
1Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim 4and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace. 7And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8And Asa had an army of 300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.
9Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. 10And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. 11And Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah1 carried away very much spoil. 14And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
- 1 14:13 Hebrew They
Asa's Religious Reforms
1The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, 2and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
8As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.1 9And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11They sacrificed to the Lord on that day from the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. 15And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around.
16Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17But the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days. 18And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.
- 1 15:8 Hebrew the vestibule of the Lord
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.