INTRODUCTION TO 2 Chronicles 16
Baasha coming up against Judah, and building Ramah, Asa made a league with the king of Syria, and hired him to make a diversion in his favour, and cause Baasha to leave off building, which succeeded, 2 Chronicles 16:1, for which he was reproved by a prophet of the Lord, with whom he was so angry for it as to put him in prison, and oppress others, 2 Chronicles 16:7, and the chapter is closed with an account of his disease and conduct under it, and of his death and burial, 2 Chronicles 16:11.
and said unto him, because thou hast relied on the king of Syria; on the covenant he made with him, on the promises the Syrian king made to him upon receiving his money, and so trusted to an arm of flesh, and even an Heathen king:
and not relied on the Lord thy God; his promises, power, and providence, which he had reason to believe would have been engaged on his behalf, had he placed his confidence in him as he ought to have done: the Targum is,"and not relied on the Word of the Lord thy God:"
therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand; which otherwise would have fallen into it, had he left him to continue in league with the king of Israel, and not solicited him to break it; for then he would have come with him against Asa, and the Lord would have delivered him to him.
yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand; and with equal ease could and would have delivered the Syrian army unto him, had he as then trusted in the Lord.
(l) Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. dyn. 3. p. 57.
to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him; or, as in the margin, "strongly to hold" with such, to be on their side, take their part, strengthen them, support and supply them, and to protect and defend them who are sincere and upright in heart; whose graces are sincere and unfeigned, though not complete, nor they free from sin, and who, with the heart, sincerely believe in God, in which Asa at this time failed, though otherwise his heart is said to be perfect, 1 Kings 15:4, it was so in the general bent of it, and especially with respect to the worship of God, though there was something lacking in his faith at this time, as there often is in the best of men:
herein thou hast done foolishly; to trust in man, and not in the Lord, to part with his money, and lose the opportunity of having the whole Syrian army fall into his hands:
therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars; which, though we read not of, was doubtless his case; some interpret it of his posterity.
and put him in a prison house; in a very strait place, in which he could not turn himself, what we call "little ease"; some say it was the stocks, others a pillory he put him into:
for he was in a rage with him because of this thing; his passion rose very high, and to which he gave way, and was his infirmity:
and Asa oppressed some of the people the same time; by fines and imprisonments, such as perhaps expressed their disapprobation of his league with the king of Syria, and of his ill usage of the prophet.
until his disease was exceeding great; it increased upon him, and became very severe and intolerable, and the fits were frequent, as well as the pain sharper; though the sense of the Hebrew (m) phrase may be, that his disease got upwards, into a superior part of his body, head, or stomach, which, when the gout does, it is dangerous. A very learned physician (n) is of opinion, that not the gout, but what he calls an "aedematous" swelling of the feet, is meant, which insensibly gets up into the bowels, and is successively attended with greater inconveniences; a tension of the abdomen, difficulty of breathing, very troublesome to the patient, and issues in a dropsy, and death itself:
yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord; his seeking to physicians for help in his disease, perhaps, would not have been observed to his reproach, had he also sought unto the Lord, whom he ought to have sought in the first place; and when he applied to the physicians, he should have implored the blessing of God on their prescriptions; but he so much forgot himself as to forget the Lord: this is the first time we read of physicians among the Jews, and some think these were Heathens, and a sort of enchanters: the Jews entertained a very ill opinion of physicians; the best of them, they say (o), deserve hell, and they advise (p) men not to live in a city where the chief man is a physician; but the author of the book of Ecclesiasticus gives a great encomium of them, and exhorts to honour and esteem them,"1 Honour a physician with the honour due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him. 2 For of the most High cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the king. 3 The skill of the physician shall lift up his head: and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration. 4 The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them. 5 Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof might be known? 6 And he hath given men skill, that he might be honoured in his marvellous works. 7 With such doth he heal men, and taketh away their pains. 8 Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth,'' (Sirach 38)Julian (q) the emperor greatly honoured them, and observes, that it is justly said by the philosophers, that the art of medicine fell from heaven.
(m) "usque ad supra", Montanus; "usque ad summum", Vatablus; "usque ad sursum", Piscator. (n) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 645. (o) T. Bab. Kiddashin, fol. 32. 1. Gloss. in ib. (p) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 113. 1.((q) Opera, par. 2. p. 154.