2 Chronicles 16 – “Asa Hires the Arameans; Asa’s Death”

making-the-business-dealHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
When the Israelite king advances against Judah, Asa hires Aramean mercenaries to attack. Although the Israelites are stayed, Asa is rebuked for putting his trust in Aramean soldiers instead of God. The chapter ends with Asa’s death.

II. Photo
Asa hires mercenaries from the king of Aram: “There is a pact between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. I herewith send you silver and gold; go and break your pact with King Baasha of Israel so that he may withdraw from me.” (v. 3)

III. Important Verses
vv. 7-9: At that time, Hanani the seer came to King Asa of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Aram and did not rely on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has slipped out of your hands. The Cushites and Lybians were a mighty army with chariots and horsemen in very great numbers, yet because you relied on the LORD He delivered them into your hands. For the eyes of the LORD range over the entire earth, to give support to those who are wholeheartedly with Him. You have acted foolishly in this matter, and henceforth you will be beset by wars.”
v. 12: In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa suffered from an acute foot ailment; but ill as he was, he still did not turn to the LORD but to physicians.

IV. Outline
1. King Baasha of Israel advances against Judah
2-6. Asa hires the Arameans to attack Baasha
7-9. Hanani rebukes Asa for turning to the Arameans instead of God
10. Asa imprisons Hanani
11. Summary statement
12. Asa suffers from a foot ailment, but turns to the doctors instead of God
13-14. Asa’s death

V. Comment
Chapter 16 is more critical of Asa than the two that preceded it. Asa is blamed for trusting in the Arameans instead of God, imprisoning a prophet, and trusting in doctors instead of God. Dillard makes an important point about the “theology of immediate retribution” that is pervasive in the books of Chronicles: “Though the history of research in Chronicles has been characterized by vigorous debate surrounding the author’s theology, date, and purpose, on one theme of his historiography there is a near consensus. The Chronicler’s adherence to a ‘theology of immediate retribution’ provides his dominant compositional technique, particularly formative in his approach to the history of Judah after the schism. ‘Retribution theology’ refers to the author’s apparent conviction that reward and punishment are not deferred, but rather follow immediately on the heels of the precipitating events. For the Chronicler sin always brings judgment and disaster, while obedience and righteousness yield the fruit of peace and prosperity. Even a cursory reading of the text reveals the contours of the writer’s convictions; they are both (1) specifically articulated and (2) demonstrated in his reshaping of narratives.” (76) The “theology of retribution” can be seen in the speech of Hanani the prophet (vv. 7-9): “At that time, Hanani the seer came to King Asa of Judah and said to him, ‘Because you relied on the king of Aram and did not rely on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has slipped out of your hands. The Cushites and Lybians were a mighty army with chariots and horsemen in very great numbers, yet because you relied on the LORD He delivered them into your hands.For the eyes of the LORD range over the entire earth, to give support to those who are wholeheartedly with Him. You have acted foolishly in this matter, and henceforth you will be beset by wars.’”

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Dillard, Raymond B. “2 Chronicles” (Waco Texas: Word Books, 1988).
Photo taken from http://www.candidity.org/images/making-the-business-deal.jpg

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