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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

2 Chronicles 16

 

 

Verse 1

CONTENTS

This chapter closeth the history of Asa. After a long reign, and long prosperity, in consequence of new troubles arising, Asa sends to the king of Syria for aid. Being reproved for it by the prophet, Asa manifests great displeasure. He is diseased; seeks not to God, but to the physicians, for help. He dies, and is buried with great pomp.


Verses 1-3

Here is a melancholy account of Asa after such an illustrious relation as we have had of him before. Is it possible that the man who had been so highly favored of the Lord; had entered into covenant with God; and enjoyed the sweets of it for so many years, should be alarmed at the approach of a power like that of Syria? We have the account of this transaction, 1Ki 15. There is, however, some difference, in the chronology of the account, between what is here related and in the book of the Kings; to which I refer the Reader. His alliance with Benhadad, an heathen, is singular in a man of Asa's piety. Alas! what a proneness there is in our corrupt nature, to keep fair with the carnal and ungodly world. But Reader! depend upon it, every backsliding of this kind shall bring its own scourge.


Verses 4-6

The Syrian gladly availed himself to punish Israel. Herod and Pilate shall be good friends when joining against Jesus. But were it not for this, they would be sworn foes.


Verses 7-9

What a precious thing it is in all masters, could they but be truly sensible of it, to have faithful servants. In the church of God how highly essential it is that the preachers should be so! What a lovely account of the divine prescience and knowledge is here given of our God. His eyes, not barely looking on, but running through the earth. And this, not to inform himself, but to convince his people, how near at hand he is to their deliverance. Blessed Jesus! grant that I may never lose sight of this precious truth. Surely, dear Lord, if thou art looking on, well may I be confident in thee and in thy strength. But what a melancholy thought it is when past experiences of the Lord's goodness are not found sufficient with our unbelieving hearts to beget an hearty, firm, and unshaken reliance. What a beautiful contrast to this conduct of Asa was that of Samuel between Mizpeh and Shem, when he set up his Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto the Lord hath helped us. 1 Samuel 7:12. And cannot you and I, Reader, set up our hitherto. And if our present Ebenezer depend upon it we shall never, except from the unbelief of our hearts, say with truth, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Isaiah 49:14.


Verse 10

Alas! what an awful picture is this of Asa. Oh! how evident it is when men grow cool towards God that they grow impatient of reproof; and how unbounded is the rage of the human mind! Not only the preacher, but the hearers, if they look as though they countenanced the sermon, will come in for a portion in the angry man's resentment.


Verses 11-14

The disease of Asa seems to have been remarkable, as if it was peculiarly sent of the Lord, that it is so described, - Perhaps a lameness. He had confined the prophet, and now the Lord confines him. But the prophet's prison was converted into a palace, for the Lord was with him: Asa's palace into a dungeon, for he had not the light of the divine countenance. He sought aid from the physician. He forgot that it is the Lord's province to kill and to make alive, to bring down to the grave and to bring up. Oh! what miserable comforters are all men. Physicians are of no value except the Lord commissions them, either to the body or the soul. His death was awful. Of his burial we read, indeed, that it was attended with great pomp. But oh! how far preferable is one whisper of grace from the Lord, in a dying hour, than all the shouts of men without it over the unconscious ashes. Oh! for that voice to be heard and felt, both by Reader and Writer in the last hour, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord! Yes! blessed Jesus! let it be my portion to live to thee, and to die in thee; and then death will be as precious as spices, and lying down with Christ the sweetest odours. Revelation 14:13.


Verse 14

REFLECTIONS

IT is impossible to close our view of the life of Asa without having the mind exercised with solemn thoughts concerning an history so very mysterious and extraordinary. The Holy Ghost hath twice caused it to be recorded in his history, that though the high places were not removed; nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. Though his latter end therefore differed so materially from the beginning, yet are we led to hope that a work of grace had passed upon his soul; and though for his rebellion and departure, like a stubborn child, under correction, he was put to bed in the dark; yet a child still, and mercifully considered so by his gracious God and Father in Christ.

But Reader! leaving the history of Asa, let you and I endeavour to make the suitable and becoming improvements from it, which a case so solemn and striking is highly calculated to propose. When we see as in his instance, and in the instance of others, such as the apostle Paul speaks of, in whose hearts a work of grace hath been manifested, that they still carry about with them a body of sin, oh! let it serve to teach us with what wariness and caution believers in Jesus should have their conversation in the world. If Paul himself groaned in consequence of this, and years after his regeneration declared that he was carnal, sold under sin; that the good he would he did not; but that the evil which he would not that he did. Oh! think, my brother, what a mass of sin this unrenewed part of our nature the body is, and with what holy jealousy should we watch over it, lest it drag clown the soul! How oft doth Satan, joining with the remaining corrupt lusts of our nature, intice us from Jesus; and in what numberless instances do we find our hearts wandering from all that is truly precious, from Jesus, from our happiness, from his word, from his people!

Oh! thou Holy One of Israel! the Lord our righteousness! how endeared art thou to my soul in this among a thousand other views in which I see and feel my daily need of thee. Who shall deliver me from this body of death? None but Jesus can accomplish this mighty work, for all the angels of heaven are incompetent to such a service. And blessed, forever blessed be thy dear name, thou art truly called Jesus, because thou wilt save thy people from their sins. Thou hast redeemed them by thy blood from all the powers of hell and darkness; and thou hast, and wilt save them from themselves and their own corrupt nature. Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, (saith God by his servant the prophet) or shall the lawful captive be delivered. And Reader! recollect every sinner is a lawful captive, who by sin hath given himself to the service of Satan. But thus, saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty, shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered. For I will contend with them that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. Isaiah 49:24-25. Oh! precious, precious promise of a covenant God in Christ, made to the person of our dear Immanuel; and in him confirmed sure to all his seed.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 16:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/2-chronicles-16.html. 1828.

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