Now that Abijah was king of Judah, there came to be a war between him and Jeroboam, the king of Israel. The text give some hint that Jeroboam may have instigated the was, seeking to re-unite the divided kingdom (under his ruler-ship of course. Abijah had troops with him of 400,000 in number, while Jeroboam had 800,000 “mighty warriors.” Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and addressed the Israelites.
He reminded them of God’s promise to David, which meant that Jeroboam must not be their king. He also pointed to the golden calves, and the fact that the priest, Levites, and sons of Aaron had been driven out, and that they had unlawfully made priests of people who were not eligible. Their kingdom, their king, and even their service to God was all a lie, and they knew in their hearts it was so.
But while he spoke, Jeroboam sent troops to ambush Abijah and his men from the rear. Verses 16-20 state clearly that God defeated Jeroboam and his troops, and gave them into the hands of Abijah and his men, who took cities from Jeroboam’s kingdom. Verse 17 says that a half million Israelite were killed in this battle. A true blood bath, and Jeroboam never recovered his power against Abijah. And according to verse 21, Abijah grew mighty.
Abijah’s speech in this chapter was impressive and seemed to foreshadow a great time of Godly leadership for the kingdom of Judah. But alas, we will see that such did not prove to be the case after this victory.
(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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