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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

2 Chronicles 14

Verses 1-5

See note on 1 Kings 15:7

Verses 6-15

2 Chronicles 14:6

(The 1st edition Hardbound version of the commentary includes the following comments under 1 Kings 15).

Ethiopians Defeated, 2 Chronicles 14:6-15

Asa used the period of peace and time of God’s blessing to carry out some expedient moves toward national security. He is not to be censured for this, for the Lord expects men to use the abilities with which He has blessed them in a practical manner (cf. De 8:18). It was not that he lacked faith in the Lord to care for Israel’s needs, but he used his God-given ability to prepare for the defense of his county, still relying on the Lord to make it successful. So he fortified his cities, strengthening them with walls, towers, gates, and bars. Asa acknowledged that it was the blessing of God which enabled them to do this, and He blessed them because they had sought Him.

So Asa prospered in his early reign. .He equipped his army with weapons, as targets (small shields), spears, bows, etc. the army consisted of 300,000 men from Judah to wield the weapons, and 240,000 from Benjamin with their shields and bows. They were brave, well-trained, and valorous men.

As the sequel will show it seems that Judah and King Asa may have become too self-confidant in all this. God had blessed Abijah with victory over Israel, and they were enjoying the ensuing peace. It looked like the Lord was on their side, and they began to think it may have been due to the presence of the temple among them, or the good people who dwelt there, or the prophets who preached His message. Too, God had enabled them to raise and equip a formidable army and to greatly strengthen the major cities.

So the Lord sent a trial upon Judah and Asa. A huge army of Ethiopians, out of Africa, under their king, Zerah, invaded the land. It numbered one million men, soldiers and camp followers, and they possessed three hundred of the terrible war chariots which could overrun, maim and kill foot soldiers like the men of Judah. They made their camp at the valley of Zephathah, near Mareshah. This was southwest of Jerusalem, some forty or fifty miles, in the Philistine foothills coming out of Egypt. The Ethiopians set themselves here for a battle, and Asa camped here with his army also.

Asa knew that physical means were inadequate to resist this formidable enemy. so he cried to the Lord. Three points are outstanding in his prayer: 1) Judah was insufficient to meet the enemy alone, but the Lord does not count numbers in His battles; 2) Asa would leave his case, and that of Judah, in the hands of the Lord; 3) if the battle should be won and man’s expectations put to nought, it must be by the power of God.

It was the Lord who smote the Ethiopians; the Scriptures say, "before Asa and Judah," meaning that it was clearly evident that the victory was not wrought by the hand of man. Verse 13 says the Ethiopians were smitten before the Lord and before the host of His heavenly army, who fought that day on the side of Judah. The Ethiopians were routed thoroughly, turning to flee toward their homeland, too diminished to make a stand. The army of Judah pursued them all the way to Gerar, taking much battle spoil. The tribes around Gerar, who had befriended the Ethiopians, were overrun by Asa’s army. All were spoiled, and cattle, sheep, and camels were captured and returned to Jerusalem. The kingdom of Judah was greatly enriched by the outcome.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-chronicles-14.html. 1985.