II Chronicles – Chapter 15

Hang in There, Asa!

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

A man named Azaryahu was Divinely inspired to approach Asa with the following message: So long as Asa follows G-d, G-d will make Himself available. But if Asa turns his back on G-d, G-d will do likewise to him. If that happens, the nation will experience a downward spiral into idolatry. When the bad times inevitably come, they will turn back to G-d, Who will allow them to find Him again. Those will be dark times, without peace. So stay true, Azaryahu told Asa, and it will pay off.

Asa took the message to heart and purged the land of idols. He also made necessary repairs to the altar in the Temple. He gathered the people from Judah and Benjamin, as well as the G-d-fearing members of other Tribes who had come to live in Judah. They assembled in Jerusalem and made numerous sacrifices from the animals that they had captured in the war with Kush. They made a pact to seek out G-d, on the pain of death. (The people accepted this condition because the need was so dire.) They loudly swore to G-d, accompanied by trumpet blasts. The people rejoiced because they had taken on this responsibility sincerely. Since they had sought G-d so enthusiastically, He made Himself easy to find and He gave them rest from their enemies.

G-d caused Maacha to lose her position as queen because she had made an image (possibly of a sexual nature) to serve the idolatrous asheira trees. Asa had her image burned up and the ashes scattered. Even though Asa did not remove private altars, he was a righteous king and there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of his reign.

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