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relief by the means God has graciously appointed, to ease our pains, and restore health to the body.
In one part of this section it is said, that Asa's heart was perfect all his days. We are not to understand from this, that he made no deviations from his duty: on the contrary, we find he committed great offences : this expression means only, that he never discovered any inclination to forsake the worship of the LORD, but continued, to the end of his life, to discountenance idolatry.
We are told that a great burning was made for Asa; by which is supposed to be meant, that he ordered his body to be burnt with spices and perfumes, and his bones and ashes to be collected and deposited in a sepulchre which he had provided, instead of being wraped in grave clothes and buried entire, as the custom of the Jews then was.
THE REIGNS OF ELAH, ZIMRI, OMRI, AND TIBNI.
From 1 Kings, Chap. xvi.
In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah, began Elah the son of Baasha to reign over Israel in Tirzah.
And his servant Zimri (captain of half his chariots) conspired against him as he was in Tirzah, drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah.
And Zimri went and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead.
Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel
And it came to pass when Zimri began to reign, as soon as he sat on the throne, he slew all the men of the house of Baasha,' he left him not one either of his kinsfolk or of his friends.
Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake against Baasha by Jehu the prophet; for all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah: and the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines.
And the people that were encamped heard say, Zimri hath conspired, and hath alsó slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp.
And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah.
And it came to pass when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died, for his sing which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did to make Israel sin.
Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel ?
Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri, prevailed against
the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.
In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah.
And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer, for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill Samaria.
But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the Lord, and did worse than all that were before him :
For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.
So Omri slept with his fathers, and was buried in Samaria, and Ahab his son reigned in his stead.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
We here read that the threatening which the LORD had denounced by the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani, against the family of Baasha, that they should be cut off like the house of Jeroboam, was soon exactly fulfilled; but Zimri, who destroyed them, imitated wicked Jeroboam in his idolatrous practices, for which his life and reign were shortened. Though he died by his own hand, he might still be said to be cut off by the LORD, because he would have been preserved from despair, if he had not given himself up to incorrigible wickedness.
It is said of Omri, that he did worse than all who were before bim: from whence we may conjecture, that he introduced more abominable idolatries than even Jeroboam had done, and that by severe laws (called in another part of Scripture the statutes of Omri) restrained the Israelites from going to Jerusalem to 'worship, and compelled them to worship the calves at Bethel and Dan, and perhaps other abominable idols also.
All the kings who had reigned over Israel, from the time of the division of the kingdom, were remarkable for their impiety.
Fronz 2 Chronicles, Chap. xvii. AND Jehoshaphat the son of Asa reigned in the stead of his father, and strengthened himself against Israel.
And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in all the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim which Asa his father had taken.
And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father Asa, and souglit not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father David, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel.
Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents: and he had riches and honour in abundance.
And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover, he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
And Jehoshaphat waxed strong exceedingly: and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store.
And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
ANNOTA ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Jehoshaphat seems to have been educated with great care, and to have received from his father, who at that time walked in the way of David, early impressions of piety. Jehoshaphat began his reign with that dis. position of mind which his station required, and endeavoured to bring about a thorough reformation in Judah. He not only took away the high places, but sent to his princes to teach in the cities of Judah, and with them he sent priests and Leviles, who had the book of the law with them.
It is supposed that the princes admonished the peo. ple, and required them to observe the Law which the priests and Levites came to explain ; obliging them to treat those who were sent by the king's command on so important an errand with respect, and hear them with attention. In those days there was, what is properly called by nne of the prophets, a spiritual famine*. There were then no public synagogues, nor public teachers, as there were afterwards; and the people were fallen into such a state of general ignorance, that there was scarcely a copy of the law to be found in the whole country; for which reason it was thought advisable and necessary, for the priests and Levites to carry one with them.
We read, that Jehoshaphat's subjects amounted to an astonishing numbers his valiant men are computed at 1,100,000. His dominions included not only Judah and Benjamin (which were incorporated so as to become one tribe), but reached into the tribes of Dan, Ephraim, and Simeon, into Arabia, and the country of the Phi. * Amos, chap. viii. 11.