14:2 (14:1) Asa did what the Lord his God desired and approved. 5 14:3 He removed the pagan altars 6 and the high places, smashed the sacred pillars, and cut down the Asherah poles. 7 14:4 He ordered Judah to seek the Lord God of their ancestors 8 and to observe his law and commands. 9 14:5 He removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah. The kingdom had rest under his rule. 10
14:6 He built fortified cities throughout Judah, for the land was at rest and there was no war during those years; the Lord gave him peace. 14:7 He said to the people of Judah: 11 “Let’s build these cities and fortify them with walls, towers, and barred gates. 12 The land remains ours because we have followed 13 the Lord our God and he has made us secure on all sides.” 14 So they built the cities 15 and prospered.
14:8 Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, equipped with large shields and spears. He also had 280,000 men from Benjamin who carried small shields and were adept archers; they were all skilled warriors. 14:9 Zerah the Cushite marched against them with an army of 1,000,000 16 men and 300 chariots. He arrived at Mareshah, 14:10 and Asa went out to oppose him. They deployed for battle in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
14:11 Asa prayed 17 to the Lord his God: “O Lord, there is no one but you who can help the weak when they are vastly outnumbered. 18 Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you and have marched on your behalf against this huge army. 19 O Lord our God, don’t let men prevail against you!” 20 14:12 The Lord struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled, 14:13 and Asa and his army chased them as far as Gerar. The Cushites were wiped out; 21 they were shattered before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah 22 carried off a huge amount of plunder. 14:14 They defeated all the cities surrounding Gerar, for the Lord caused them to panic. 23 The men of Judah 24 looted all the cities, for they contained a huge amount of goods. 25 14:15 They also attacked the tents of the herdsmen in charge of the livestock. 26 They carried off many sheep and camels and then returned to Jerusalem. 27
[14:1] 1 sn Beginning with 14:1, the verse numbers through 14:15 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 14:1 ET = 13:23 HT, 14:2 ET = 14:1 HT, 14:3 ET = 14:2 HT, etc., through 14:15 ET = 14:14 HT. Beginning with 15:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
[14:3] 7 sn Asherah poles. A leading deity of the Canaanite pantheon was Asherah, wife/sister of El and goddess of fertility. She was commonly worshiped at shrines in or near groves of evergreen trees, or, failing that, at places marked by wooden poles (Hebrew אֲשֵׁרִים [’asherim], as here). They were to be burned or cut down (Deut 7:5; 12:3; 16:21; Judg 6:25, 28, 30; 2 Kgs 18:4).