Abijah followed in the ways of his father Rehoboam when he became king. Even though the people of Israel had not completely abandoned worshipping God, they continued to worship false gods that were permitted into the land by Rehoboam. He appears on the Biblical Timeline starting in 972 BC. Abijam knew that these practices probably weren’t any good for the nation, but he grew up in a climate where this religion was well entrenched in the minds of his people.
Abijah was Rehoboam’s son and his mother’s name was Maacah. He was raised as a child in Israel during the initial years that the kingdom split. These events undoubtedly influenced his perspective on his rule. He also closely watched his father King Rehoboam as he governed the land of Judah. Abijah was more than likely advised to rule the kingdom in the same manner as his father. Abijah is also referred to Abijam and his name means “father of the sea” or “my father is the sea”. He was the fifth ruler of Israel.
Like Father Like Son
When Abijah became king he continued the war and battles that his father fought with Jeroboam. One battle, in particular, took place between the two kings is found in 2 Chronicles 13. Abijah told Jeroboam that he was going to defeat him in battle because of his sins. Apparently, God was using Abijah to punish Jeroboam. Abijah told him that his rebellion was prompted by worthless scoundrels and he explained to them how wrong it was for them to remove God’s priests and place pagan in their place. He then told Jeroboam that he should walk away from the battle because God was on Judah’s side. Jeroboam didn’t listen and he went to war with Abijah anyway. He ended up losing the battle and lost some important key cities in the process.
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Apparently, Abijah army had caused over a half of million of King Jeroboam’s troops to either be killed or injured. Abijah started off with four hundred thousand troops and Jeroboam had eight hundred thousand. Having the Lord on their side made a difference for Abijah’s armies. Once he routed Jeroboam’s forces he then began to chase after King Jeroboam. He chased him into his territory and took back some of the areas that were previously lost when the kingdom split. King Jeroboam was utterly helpless against him. After King Jeroboam lost this battle the Lord never allowed him to regain power and God didn’t let Abijah reunite the kingdom either.
Last Days as King
Abijah ruled Judah for only three years before he died. During the later years of his reign, he had 14 wives, 22 sons and 16 daughters. He also grew in power and strength among his people. The kingdom enjoyed relative peace toward the end of his reign. This helped to set the stage for his successor Asa when he came to the throne.
- 1 Kings 15: 1-8 Abijah ascends the throne and God claims that he was a wicked man.
- 1 Chronicles 13 Abijah defeats Jeroboam in battle.
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