The Bible – Old Testament
Upon Azariah, son of Oded, came the spirit of God.
He went forth to meet Asa and said to him: “Hear me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin! The LORD is with you when you are with him, and if you seek him he will be present to you; but if you abandon him, he will abandon you.
For a long time Israel had no true God, no priest-teacher and no law,
but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was present to them.
In that former time there was no peace for anyone to go or come, but there were many terrors upon the inhabitants of the lands.
Nation crushed nation and city crushed city, for God destroyed them by every kind of adversity.
But as for you, be strong and do not relax, for your work shall be rewarded.”
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy (Oded the prophet), he was encouraged to remove the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities he had taken in the highlands of Ephraim, and to restore the altar of the LORD which was before the vestibule of the LORD.
Then he convened all Judah and Benjamin, together with those of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who sojourned with them; for many had fled to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD, his God, was with him.
1 They gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign,
and sacrificed to the LORD at that time seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep of the booty they had brought.
They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul;
and everyone who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
They swore to the LORD with a loud voice, with shouting and with trumpets and horns.
All Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with their whole heart and sought him with complete desire, so that he was present to them. And the LORD gave them rest on every side.
Maacah, the mother of King Asa, he deposed as queen mother because she had made an outrageous object for Asherah; Asa cut this down, smashed it, and burnt it in the Kidron Valley.
Although the high places did not disappear from Israel, yet Asa’s heart was undivided as long as he lived.
He brought into the house of God his father’s votive offerings and his own: silver, gold, and various utensils.
There was no war until the thirty-fifth year of Asa’s reign.
1 [10-12] With this description of a covenant ceremony in the third month of a year beginning in the spring, the Chronicler lays a foundation for celebrating the ancient feast of Pentecost (Weeks) as the time for a solemn renewal of the people’s covenant with God on Mount Sinai; see ⇒ Exodus 19:1-3; ⇒ Lev 23:16 and the note there. This is also the background for Pentecost as the “birthday of the Church.”