🔼The name Asa: Summary
- Man Of Sorrows, Healer
- From the verb אסה ('as), to suffer harm.
🔼The name Asa in the Bible
There are two men named Asa in the Bible; the least known of which is a son of a man named Elkanah (1 Chronicles 9:16).
The more famous Asa is the son and successor of king Abijam of Judah, which makes Asa the third king of the separated Judah; Rehoboam, son of Solomon, being the first (1 Kings 15:8). Asa's parents made a mess of things and Asa inherits a kingdom of follies. But his heart is in the right place, and that his devotion attracts the attentions of the Lord is made clear when Asa is forced to meet Zerah the Cushite and his army of a million (!) soldiers in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah (2 Chronicles 14:10). The Lord makes the Cushites flee before Asa, and his men slaughter so many of them that Zerah's army cannot recover.
Enthused by the words of Azariah, son of Oded, Asa cleans up all idols and centers of cult prostitution and removes his mother Maacah, daughter of Abishalom, from power because she has erected an Asherah. That particular idol he burns at the brook named Kidron (1 Kings 15:13).
Asa remains "wholly devoted to YHWH all his days" (1 Kings 15:14) but when king Baasha of Israel moves in on his territory, he establishes a treaty with Ben-hadad, king of Aram, by handing over all the treasures of the Lord's Temple (1 Kings 15:18). Subsequently, Hanani the seer comes over and informs the king that federating with an earthly king instead of with God is not smart and will surely lead to war (2 Chronicles 16:7). King Asa angrily responds by throwing Hanani in the stockades and leaning on certain people who probably had done nothing wrong (1 Chronicles 16:10).
Nevertheless, Asa is remembered as a good and righteous king. When Asa dies he is succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 15:24).
🔼Etymology of the name Asa
The name Asa appears to come from the root group אסה (asa):
The unused verb אסה ('asa) correlates to a cognate verb meaning to heal. But an identical root correlates to a cognate verb that means to suffer harm or mischief. A noun that does occur in the Bible is אסון ('ason), mischief or harm. Perhaps they meet in the obvious fact that a doctor is a "man of sorrows."
For a meaning of the name Asa, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Physician. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names too says Physician, and specifies this with Who Will Heal. BDB Theological Dictionary timidly suggests: "perhaps" Healer.