Skeptics Annotated Bible A Response

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#32 - Did Asa remove the high places?

Response by Dave Marr

The skeptic's perplexity:

Asa removed the high places.
"Also he [Asa] took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places." 2 Chronicles 14:3-5

Asa did not remove the high places.
"But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." 1 Kings 15:14
"But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days." 2 Chronicles 15:17

One historical fact that needs to be understood is that Israel was divided into two kingdoms when Asa began to reign: the House of David reigned over Judah and Benjamin, and the rest of Israel was under the House of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. However, Abijah (Asa’s father) had conquered much of Israel.

Asa was a good king whose “heart was perfect all his days”. The key point is that he removed the high places from Judah and apparently Benjamin as well. We see a continuation later of Abijah’s conquest, by Asa:
“And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him. So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.” 2 Chronicles 15:9-10
Other tribes, that were under the House of Jeroboam before, now joined themselves to the House of Judah temporarily, for Asa’s reign. Therefore, if we look at 1 Kings 15:14 and 2 Chronicles 15:17 again, we can undoubtedly conclude that the high places were removed from Judah and Benjamin, but not from “Israel”(the designation, at that time in history, given to any tribe in Israel other than Judah and Benjamin).