II Chronicles – Chapter 16

At Least He Didn’t Shoot the Messenger

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

In the thirty-sixth year of his reign, Asa went to war against Basha, then ruler of the Ten Tribes. Basha built a tower outside Jerusalem to restrict access to the city. Asa took silver and gold from the Temple treasury and sent them to Ben-Hadad, king of Aram, with a request for aid. Ben-Hadad sent forces against Basha, who had to cease work on his tower. Asa took the stones and lumber abandoned by Basha and used them in his own construction projects.

The prophet Chanani came to Asa and told him that since he had turned to Aram rather than to G-d, he would lose that alliance with Aram that he so treasured. Didn’t G-d help Asa defeat the superior forces of Kush? Since Asa looked for human rather than Divine aid, the rest of his reign would be plagued by war.

Asa didn’t like hearing this and, while he didn’t shoot the messenger, he did throw him in prison. He also took his anger out on his subjects. As a result of his sin, Asa suffered in his legs, with a malady that crept upwards towards his head. Apparently, he had not learned his lesson, since he turned to his physicians for a cure, but not to G-d. Despite this indiscretion, when Asa died, he was buried with great honors.

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