And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
Spirit of God — Both to instruct him what to say, and to enable him to say it plainly and boldly.
 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
Now Israel — They have long lived without the found knowledge and worship of the true God. Israel is here understood of the whole nation of Israel in former times, and especially in the times of the judges: for then many times they were in a great measure, without God and his law, and teaching priests, as plainly appears from the book of the Judges; they were brought to all the exigencies and calamities following; and they sometimes turned to the Lord, and he was found of them.
 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.
In those times — When Israel lived in the gross neglect of God and his law.
No peace — Men could not go abroad about their private occasions without great danger; as it was in the days of Shamgar, Judges 5:6.
 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.
And nation, … — One part of the people of Israel destroyed the other by civil wars. As all Israel are called a nation, so the several tribes of them are sometimes called nations.
 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
Be strong — Go on resolutely to maintain God's worship and to root out idolatry, as you have begun to do; for this is the only method of preserving yourselves from such calamities as your predecessors have felt.
 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the LORD, that was before the porch of the LORD.
Of Oded — Of Azariah, verse 1, who was also called by his father's name Oded.
 And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
Into covenant — The matter of this covenant was nothing but what they were before obliged to. And tho' no promise could lay any higher obligation upon them, than they were already under, yet it would help to increase their sense of the obligation, and to arm them against temptations. And by joining all together in this, they strengthened the hands of each other
 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.
Rejoiced at the oath — The times of renewing our covenant with God, should be times of rejoicing. It is an honour and happiness to be in bonds with God. And the closer, the better.