1 Kings 15 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of 1 Kings 15)

Verse 1

[1] Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.

Abijam reigned — So his reign began with Jeroboam's eighteenth year, continued his whole nineteenth year, and ended within his twentieth year, in which also Asa's reign began. And thus one and the same year may be attributed to two several persons.

Verse 2

[2] Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

Three years — That is, part of three years.

Abishalom — Or, of Absalom, as he is called 2 Chronicles 11:21. And because he is here mentioned as a known person, without any addition of his kindred or quality, some conceive that this was Absalom's daughter, called properly Tamar, 2 Samuel 14:27, and from her royal grandmother, 2 Samuel 3:3, Maacah.

Verse 4

[4] Nevertheless for David's sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:

A lamp — A son and successor to perpetuate his name and memory, which otherwise had gone into obscurity.

Jerusalem — That he might maintain that city, and temple, and worship, as a witness for God, in the world, against the Israelites and heathen world.

Verse 5

[5] Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

Save only — This and the like phrases are not to be understood as exclusive of every sinful action, hut only of an habitual and continued apostasy from God, as the very phrase of turning aside from God, or from his commands, doth constantly imply. And thus it is most true. For David's other sins were either sudden and transient acts, soon repented of and blotted out, as in the cases of Nabal and Achish; or, mistakes of his judgment, which was not fully convinced of the sinfulness of such actions: whereas that which concerned Uriah's wife was a designed and studied sin, long continued in, defended with a succession of other sins, presumptuous, and scandalous to his government, and to the true religion.

Verse 6

[6] And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.

War between, … — Upon Jeroboam's invading him with a great army: acting then in his own defence, he totally routed Jeroboam, so that he was quiet the rest of his reign.

Verse 10

[10] And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

Mother's — That is, his grandmother's, as appears from verse 2, who is called his mother, as David is called Abijam's father, verse 3. And his grand-mother's name may be here mentioned, rather than his mother's, because his mother was either an obscure person, or was dead, or unwilling to take care of the education of her son, and so he was educated by the grand-mother, who, though she poisoned his father Abijam with her idolatrous principles, verse 12, yet could not infect Asa, nor withhold him from prosecuting his good purposes of reforming religion.

Verse 11

[11] And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.

Right — As to the government of his kingdom, and the reformation, and establishment of God's worship. That is right indeed which is so in God's eyes. Those are approved whom he commendeth.

Verse 12

[12] And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

Sodomites — All whom he could find out; but some escaped his observation, as appears from chap. 22:46.

Idols, … — And if his father had made them, he had the more need to remove them, that he might cut off the entail of the curse.

Verse 13

[13] And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

He removed — He took from her either the name and authority of queen regent, which she, having been Rehoboam's wife, and Abijam's mother, took to herself during Asa's minority; or, the dignity of the queen mother, and those guards, or instruments of power, which she had enjoyed and misemployed.

An Idol — Heb. a terror, or horror, that is, an horrible idol; which it may be so called, because it was of a more terrible shape than ordinary, and not to be seen without horror.

Kidron — That when it was burnt to powder, it might be thrown into the water, and be unfit for any use.

Verse 14

[14] But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.

High places2 Chronicles 14:3. He took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places where they were worshipped: but as for those high places where the true God was worshipped he did not take them away; partly, because he thought there was no great evil in them, which had been used by David and Solomon, and other good men; partly, because he thought the removal of them might do more hurt than their continuance, by occasioning the total neglect of God's worship by many of the people, who either could not, or, through want of faith and zeal, would not go up to Jerusalem to worship, now especially, when the Israelites, formerly their friends, were become their enemies, and watched all opportunities to invade or molest them.

Was perfect — That is, he sincerely and constantly adhered to the worship of God. Though he could not hinder the people from using the high places, yet he entirely devoted himself to the worship of God in the manner and place prescribed by him.

Verse 15

[15] And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels.

His father — Abijam, when he was in distress, and going to fight with Jeroboam, 2 Chronicles 13:1-3, though afterwards he did not perform his vows, nor bring in what he had devoted; probably he was prevented by death.

Verse 17

[17] And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

Built — That is, repaired and fortified.

Verse 18

[18] Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,

Were left — What either Shishak had left, or Abijam, or Asa, or others, both of Israel or Judah had dedicated; which probably was not inconsiderable, because Asa had got great spoils from Zerah, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15, and he and his numerous and prosperous people, did at this time express a great zeal for the house and worship of God.

Sent them — Wherein he committed three great faults, amongst many others, first, he alienated things consecrated to God, without necessity. Secondly, he did this out of distrust of that God whose power and goodness he had lately experienced. Thirdly, he did this for an ill intent, to hire him to the breach of his league and covenant with Baasha, verse 19, and to take away part of that land which by right, and the special gift of God, belonged to the Israelites.

Verse 21

[21] And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.

Tirzah — Now the royal city of Israel. There he abode to defend his own kingdoms, and durst not return to oppose Asa, lest the Syrian king should make a second invasion. So Asa met with success in this ungodly course as good men sometimes meet with disappointment in a good cause and course. So there is no judging of causes by events.

Verse 22

[22] Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.

None, … — All sorts of persons were obliged to come, except those who were disabled by age, or infirmity, or absence, or by the public service of the king and kingdom in other places.

Built — Repaired and strengthened them, for they were built before.

Verse 23

[23] The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.

Nevertheless — Notwithstanding the great things which he had done, and the glory and prosperity which he enjoyed, he felt the effects of human infirmity, and of his own sins.

Verse 25

[25] And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.

Two years — Not compleat, as appears from verse 28,33.

Verse 26

[26] And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

In his sin — In the worship of the calves which his father had made.

Verse 28

[28] Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.

Even, … — It was threatened, chap. 14:15, that Israel should be as a reed shaken in the water. And so they were, when, during the single reign of Asa, their government was in seven or eight different hands. Jeroboam was upon the throne at the beginning of his reign, and Ahab at the end of it: between whom were Nadab, Baashah, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri, undermining and destroying one another. This they got by deserting the house both of God and of David.

Verse 29

[29] And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:

Any — Any of the males of that family.

According, … — So God overruled Baasha's ambition and cruelty, to fulfil his own prediction.

Verse 30

[30] Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.

Because — So that same wicked policy which he used to establish the kingdom in his family, proved his and their ruin: which is very frequently the event of ungodly counsels.