Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 15

Asa pays for the support of Aram’s army

1 Kings 15:18-19

In a previous war, a vast army from Cush had attacked Judah. Then, King Asa of Judah trusted God, and God gave him success (2 Chronicles 14:9-15).

However, when Baasha, the king of northern Israel, sent his army to Ramah, Asa became very afraid. Baasha’s army made Ramah, which was just 6 miles (10 kilometres) from Jerusalem, into a strong city. It was clear that Baasha was preparing to attack Jerusalem.

Asa’s plan shows how desperate he was. Until now, the king of Aram, on the north side of Israel, had supported Baasha. Asa proposed to pay the king of Aram to oppose Baasha. If Aram’s army attacked northern Israel then Baasha’s army would have to leave Ramah, to defend their own nation.

The price to gain Aram’s support was extremely expensive. Asa took all the gold and silver from the stores of his own palace and the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem. Asa had given that to God (15:15); he should not have tried to reclaim it. Even something that we promise to God, already belongs absolutely to him (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6).

It was also extremely difficult and dangerous to take that silver and gold to Damascus. Asa’s officials probably needed several hundred donkeys (animals like a small horse) to carry it. They could not go by the usual route, through the centre of Israel (15:17). Probably, they went along the valley of the river Jordan, and they pretended to be traders. If Baasha had known the real purpose of their journey, he would have sent his army to attack them.

Next part: The king of Aram attacks northern Israel (1 Kings 15:20-21)


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