Hanani the seer plays a sadly common role for prophets: informing kings when they have strayed from God. King Asa of Judah had ruled for thirty-five good years. Not all of them were peaceful, but he followed God. But then, in the thirty-sixth year, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah. Asa sent treasures from the Temple to King Ben-hadad of Syria as a bribe to break his allegiance to Baasha and join Asa. Ben-hadad agreed, and Baasha retreated.
Hanani came to Asa to remind him that God had previously been faithful in Asa’s wars against Ethiopia and Libya. He prophesied that because Asa depended on Syria instead of God, Asa will be at war “from now on” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Asa, no longer the God-seeking man he had been, threw Hanani into prison. Ignoring God’s prophets is never a good idea; the Chronicler records that “at that time Asa also began to oppress some of his people.” Six years later, Asa died from a fatal foot disease.