Abijah becomes king of Judah.
the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam. In those days, Judah was using a different chronological system than Israel.
Compensating for that, Abijah came to power in 913 BC and reigned until 911 BC.
VERSE 2. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
VERSE 3. Abijah joined battle with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men; and Jeroboam set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, who were mighty men of valor.
eight hundred thousand chosen men. The army of Judah is outnumbered 2-to-1.
VERSE 4. Abijah stood up on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel:
VERSE 5. Ought you not to know that the LORD, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
a covenant of salt. Abijah says the LORD God made a covenant of salt with David. “Salt” suggests durability.
VERSE 6. Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up, and rebelled against his lord.
VERSE 7. Worthless men were gathered to him, wicked fellows who strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tender hearted, and could not withstand them.
Worthless men were gathered to him. Arrogant young Rehoboam surrounded himself with scoundrels. They gave him bad advice. And he was so foolish that he was duped.
VERSE 8. “Now you intend to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David. You are a great multitude, and the golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods are with you.
the kingdom of the LORD. Abijah is with the LORD God.
the golden calves. But Jeroboam leads the nation into idolatry.
VERSE 9. Haven’t you driven out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves according to the ways of the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest of those who are no gods.
VERSE 10. “But as for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests serving the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites in their work.
we have not forsaken him. These are bold words. And they need to be said.
King Rehoboam had abandoned the law of the LORD God and led his nation into idolatry.
VERSE 11. They burn to the LORD every morning and every evening burnt offerings and sweet incense. They also set the show bread in order on the pure table, and care for the gold lamp stand with its lamps, to burn every evening; for we keep the instruction of the LORD our God, but you have forsaken him.
we keep the instruction of the LORD our God. These are bold words. And they need to be said.
you have forsaken him. These too are bold words. And they need to be said.
Those who side with Rehoboam are on the wrong side of history.
VERSE 12. Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with the shofars of alarm to sound an alarm against you. Children of Israel, don’t fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers; for you will not prosper.”
shofars. Or “trumpets.”
Children of Israel, don’t fight against the LORD. Hopelessly outnumbered in military battle, Abijah king of Judah declares that his side will win.
He has this confidence because of many factors:
- They still walk with the LORD God
- They still keep the Covenant
- They still have true priests
- They still have legitimate sacrifices
- They have not fallen into idolatry
VERSE 13. But Jeroboam caused an ambush to come about behind them; so they were before Judah, and the ambush was behind them.
VERSE 14. When Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind them; and they cried to the LORD, and the priests sounded with the shofars.
they cried to the LORD. When the army was about to be annihilated, what was their first impulse?
They cried out to the LORD. And the priests sounded the shofars.
This is the reaction of godly people. They remind us of the words spoken through the prophet Zechariah:
Zechariah 4:6. Then he answered and spoke to me, saying, “This is the LORD’s word to Zerubbabel, saying, ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD of Hosts.
shofars. Or “trumpets.”
VERSE 15. Then the men of Judah gave a shout. As the men of Judah shouted, God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
God struck Jeroboam and all Israel. The LORD God caused victory. It was instant. It was colossal. It was stunning.
Evil king Jeroboam lost half of his army and many of his cities. And soon he will lose his own life.
VERSE 16. The children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand.
VERSE 17. Abijah and his people killed them with a great slaughter, so five hundred thousand chosen men of Israel fell down slain.
five hundred thousand. The 400,000 men of Abijah’s army kill 500,000 men of Jeroboam’s army.
VERSE 18. Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.
VERSE 19. Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages, Jeshanah with its villages, and Ephron with its villages.
VERSE 20. Jeroboam didn’t recover strength again in the days of Abijah. The LORD struck him, and he died.
The LORD struck him, and he died. Arrogant king Jeroboam meets his end.
Few people will mourn his passing.
VERSE 21. But Abijah grew mighty and took for himself fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
VERSE 22. The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways, and his sayings are written in the commentary of the prophet Iddo.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.