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Asa Of Judah
Asa, from the Hebrew name pronounced aw-saw, was the grandson of King Rehoboam (see Rehoboam Of Israel And Judah) and the son of King Abijah (see Abijah Of Judah). Asa became king of Judah upon the death of his father.
"15:6 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam [see Jeroboam Of Israel] all the days of his life. 15:7 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? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 15:8 And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.
"Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God"
Asa's reign began in a time of peace. He used that opportunity to build his nation, rather than to destroy someone else's nation i.e. "Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God." The LORD blessed his efforts because Asa turned his people back to the LORD; he "commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment."
"14:1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
Asa then began to build a formidable army from his nation of Judah and Benjamin (see Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?). As has often been the case in human history, whenever a nation begins to build a large military, other nations feel threatened by it (if someone in the neighborhood starts walking around heavily armed, the neighbors feel menaced) - and so war begins to neutralize the perceived danger. Asa's time of peace was over.
Asa's first war didn't go well, so "Asa cried unto the LORD his God" for help. Because Asa was still otherwise faithful and obedient, the LORD delivered Judah from the enemies that Judah had created for themselves.
"14:8 And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.
With the military "success" (it was actually a near defeat, but the LORD had prevented it), Asa was warned "The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." Asa then sought again to cleanse his nation of unfaithfulness, and so "there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa."
"15:1 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: 15:2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. 15:3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. 15:4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them. 15:5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries. 15:6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity. 15:7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
Asa's next war came from Israel i.e. the Northern Kingdom of Israel attacked Asa's Southern Kingdom of Judah (and Benjamin; and Levi - see No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?). By that time, Asa had become a typical "politician" - he began to reject the warnings of the prophets of the LORD ("Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house") and he also became tyrannical toward his own people ("Asa oppressed some of the people the same time") - all in order to keep control of his unraveling reign.
"16:1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 16:2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king's house, and sent to Benhadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, 16:3 There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
Ironically, a form of Asa's name means physician. Asa died while trusting only in physicians, rather than also in the LORD.
"16:11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 16:12 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, but to the physicians. 16:13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. 16:14 And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in The City of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him." (2 Chronicles 16:11-14 KJV)
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