Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 15

Baasha, Asa’s enemy, builds strong defences at Ramah

1 Kings 15:16-17

Abijah, the father of King Asa, had defeated Jeroboam in battle. So, at the start of Asa’s rule, an important part of central Israel was under the control of Asa, as Judah’s king. The towns that Judah controlled included Bethel, 12 miles (20 kilometres) north of Jerusalem, and Jesharah, 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 13:19).

Baasha became the king of northern and central Israel in the third year of Asa’s rule as king of Judah. Baasha ruled for 24 years, and Asa and Baasha were enemies. However, the battles between their armies were not continuous. In fact, Judah was peaceful for much of Asa’s rule.

When Baasha did attack Judah, he acted slowly and carefully. He first persuaded the powerful king of Aram (also called Syria) to support him. Previously, Aram’s king had supported Judah’s king; he was a friend of Asa’s father (15:19).

Then, Baasha began to regain the towns that Asa’s father had taken in battle. Baasha did not stop at the old border. He crossed it to take control of Ramah, a town in Benjamin that had previously belonged to Judah.

Baasha then started to build strong walls round Ramah, with good defences. That gave him control over the surrounding region, including the road north from Jerusalem. Ramah was only 6 miles (10 kilometres) from Jerusalem, which was Judah’s capital city.

Next part: Asa pays for the support of Aram's army (1 Kings 15:18-19)


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