Abijah (Abiah and Abijam) was the son of King Rehoboam. And Maachah, his mother (1 Kings 15:2), was the daughter of “Uriel of Gibeah” (2 Chronicles 13:2). His son was Asa. Of the “eighteen wives, and threescore concubines” of Rehoboam, Maachah was the favorite, and her son Abijah was selected by Rehoboam from his 28 sons for the kingship (2 Chronicles 11:21, 22). Maachah was called “queen” (1 Kings 15:13), indicating that she held the honored position as queen mother during King Abijah’s reign and her grandson King Asa.
The War With Jeroboam
Abijah ruled for three years (913–911 BC) in Judah before he died. He was a wicked king: “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been” (1 Kings 15:13). He tried take back the northern ten tribes of Israel as part of his kingdom, and so there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. He won the war even though he had only 400,000 soldiers and Jeroboam had 800,000 soldiers. An account of that war is found in 2 Chronicles 13:3–20.
At that time, this king talked to the people of Israel about God’s covenant with David and Jeroboam’s apostasy from God. He said, “God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed” (2 Chronicles 13:12).
And the soldiers of Judah prayed to the Lord for deliverance and the Lord heard their cry. And “at the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah” (2 Chronicles 13:15). Consequently, this king captured Bethel, Jeshanah, Ephron, and the villages around them. And “Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died” (2 Chronicles 13:20–21).
Abijah grew stronger. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters (2 Chronicles 13:21). At the end of his life, he rested with his fathers, and they buried him in the City of David. In spite of the victory that the Lord gave Abijah, his reign was stained by doing evil in the eyes of the Lord as he followed in the path of his father, Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:14; 1 Kings 15:3).
Asa the Son of Abijah
After the death of this king, Asa his son reigned in his place (2 Chronicles 14:1). And there was peace between Israel and Judah for ten years (2 Chronicles 14:1). King Asa, made great reforms throughout Judah. So, he removed Maachah, his grandmother, from being a queen mother, because she had made an obscene image for Asherah. And he cut down her image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. But he didn’t remove the high places (1 Kings 15:13,14). King Asa made a sincere effort to remove “the altars of the strange gods” and to rid the land of the corrupting shrines of idols (2 Chronicles 14:3–5), but his attempt was not complete in God’s eyes.
In the 15th year of his reign, he gained a great victory over the invading armies of Zerah the Ethiopian (2 Chronicles 14:9–15; 2 Chronicles 15:10). It was probably after that, that hostilities broke out with Baasha of Israel.
Nevertheless, Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. He also brought into the house of the Lord the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils (1 Kings 15:15). Both Abijah and Asa tried to replace the Temple treasures that had been taken away by Shishak during the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:26).
In His service,