Asa in Chronicles (2 Chr 13:23-16:14) and Kings (1 Kgs 15:8-23a)

A Synopsis by Ralph W. Klein

© 2004 by Ralph W. Klein


2 Chronicles

1 Kings

Vannutelli 143 continued

13:23 [14:1] Asa succeeds Abijah; the land had rest in his days for ten years

15:8 Abijam succeeded by his son Asa


Vannutelli 144

15:9-10 Asa began to reign in the 20th year of Jeroboam; reigned 41 years in Jerusalem. Asa's mother’s name was Maacah the  daughter of Absalom

(Maacah is also identified as the mother of Asa's father Abijam in 1 Kgs 15:2. Were Abijam and Asa actually brothers? 2 Chr 13:2 identifies Micaiah the daughter of Uriel as Abijah’s mother).

Vannutelli 144
14:1-2 [2-3] Asa did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh his God; got rid of foreign altars and high places.  Cf. 2 Chr 15:17 the high places were not taken out of Israel [= Northern Kingdom].

15:11-12 Similar. Asa did what was right in eyes of Yahweh like David his father. Also removed "male temple prostitutes" and idols.

14:3-7 [4-8] Asa commanded Judah to seek Yahweh. Removed the high places and incense altars from Judah. Built fortified cities in Judah and the land had rest. No war in those years. Asa: "The land is ours because we sought Yahweh." 300,000 in the army from Judah and 280,000 from Benjamin.


14:8-14 [9-15] Zerah the Cushite attacked Israel with one  million men and 300 chariots at Mareshah (a city fortified by Rehoboam 2 Chr 11:8; MR 140111). In answer to Asa’s prayer (Help us, Yahweh, for we rely on you"; cf. 2 Chr 13:18; 16:7-8), Yahweh routed the Cushites—no one remained alive. Judean troops seized much booty near Gerar (MR 112087) and then returned to Jerusalem (MR 172131).  2 Chr 21:16-17 mentions an invasion by the Philistines and the Arabs who are near "the Cushites" in the reign of Jehoram.

Kitchen:  Zerah is a Nubian (Cushite) general of Osorkon I.
Albright:  Shishak established a buffer state around Gerar, peopled by Nubian mercenaries, who eventually attacked Judah.
Hidal; Williamson; Japhet:  Cush might be the name of an ethnic group living in the vicinity of Judah (bedouin group--note cattle, sheep, goats, camels [2 Chr 9:1]).  Cf. Cushan/Midian in Hab 3:7 and "Cushite" in Num 12:1 = wife of Moses; Zipporah is a Midianite in Exod 2:15-22). 
Welten; Knauf: a  fabrication. First four kings of south presented in a favorable light.  This account reflects a minor skirmish in post-exilic period. 

Click here for bigger picture of map

Noth:  The exact details about the places involved make it a likely assumption that the Chronicler was making use of source material.  It is possible that battles of the author's own time have been projected onto the past.  But there is no obvious reason why it is specifically the insignificant kings Abijah and Asa who are singled out for description as leaders of later battles. 

Vannutelli 145

15:1-7 Inspired sermon by Azariah the son of Oded affirms the doctrine of retribution (in Chronicles the spirit also comes on Amasai [1 Chr 12:18], Jahaziel [2 Chr 20:14], and Zechariah [2 Chr 24:20]).   Israel long lacked true God, teaching priest, and torah, and it had social unrest [in the period of the judges?]. Azariah urged Asa and Judah-Benjamin (v. 2) to show courage in finishing their work.


15:8-15 Asa hearkened to these words of Azariah and he put away idols in Judah, Benjamin, and the towns he (Asa, not Abijam) had captured in Ephraim, repaired the altar in front of the vestibule, and he gathered Judah and Benjamin, as well as many refugees from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon in the third month of his 15th year (near the time of the feast of weeks). 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep sacrificed from the war booty. They entered into a unilateral covenant to seek the God of their ancestors; violators—regardless of age or gender--liable to capital punishment. All Judah sought Yahweh with all their heart and desire. Yahweh was found by them (v. 15; cf. vv. 2, 4) and Yahweh gave them rest.


15:16-18 Asa removed his mother Maacah because she made an image for Asherah. Asa burned it in the Wadi Kidron. High places not removed from Israel (cf. 14:2, 4 [14:3, 5] he did remove high places from the cities of Judah). The heart of Asa was true "all his days." He brought votive gifts to temple.

15:13-15 Similar. The high places were not removed.

15:19 And there was no war until the 35th year of Asa [= new stage in his reign].  Thiele = the 15th year of reign and this year is the 35th year since the schism between north and south.

15:16 (cf. 15:32) War between Asa and Baasha all their days (for Baasha see 15:33-16:7).

Vannutelli 146

16:1-6 In 36th (LXX 38th) year of Asa, Baasha attacked Judah and he built Ramah (MR 172140), thus reversing the gains of Abijah. Asa bribed Ben-hadad I of Damascus in order to make an alliance like their fathers had had and to break off the alliance of Ben-hadad with Baasha (according to 1 Kgs 16:6, 8, Baasha died already in Asa’s 26th year). Asa did not call upon Yahweh = sin 1.  Ben-hadad attacked Israel and captured Ijon (MR 205308), Dan (MR 211294), Abel-maim, and all the store-cities of Naphtali.

 Baasha abandoned Ramah (MR 172140), and Asa used its materials to build Geba (MR 175140) and Mizpah (MR 170143).

15:17-22 Similar. No mention of 36th year.  Ben-Hadad is son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion.



Ben-Hadad captured Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah and all Chinneroth.


Baasha abandoned Ramah and lived in Tirzah (MR 182188).

Asa made a proclamation for all Judah to build Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah.

Vannutelli 147

16:7-10 Hanani the seer (he was the father of the prophet Jehu in 1 Kgs 16:1, 7 who prophesied in the northern kingdom against Baasha; 2 Chr 19:2 Jehu son of Hanani prophesied to Jehoshaphat; in 2 Chr 20:34 there is a source reference for the reign of Jehoshaphat to the annals of Jehu the son of Hanani).  Hanani rebuked Asa for relying on Ben-hadad. The result:  the army of Aram had escaped.  God previously had helped Asa defeat the Cushites and Libyans. "For the eyes of Yahweh range throughout the entire earth" (2 Chr 16:9 = quotation from Zech 4:10).

From now on Asa is to have wars.

Asa put Hanani in stocks (cf. Jer. 20:2-3) and treated the people cruelly = sin 2.


Vannutelli 148

16:11 Deeds of Asa recorded in Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel (hence not a prophetic source as in many source references in Chronicles).

15:23a . . . in the Book of the Chronicles  of the Kings of Judah

16:12-14 In his 39th year Asa was diseased in his feet (gangrene? venereal disease?). He did not seek Yahweh, but sought physicians = sin 3. Asa died in 41st year of his reign. They buried him in tomb he had carved in the city of David. Many spices of the perfumer’s art.  Great fire in his honor.

15:23b-24a In his old age Asa was diseased in his feet. Asa died and was buried in city of his father David.


for 15:24b (Jehoshaphat succeeds Asa) see 2 Chr 17:1


15:25-31 Nadab's reign in north; Baasha kills him
15:32 war between Baasha and Asa all their days
15:33 In the third year of Asa, Baasha began to rule over Israel and he reigned for 24 years.
16:1 Jehu son of Hanani prophesies against Baasha.