Abijam, King of Judah

The Reign of Rehoboam's son, Abijam, AKA Abijah

Rehoboam's son, Abijam (also called Abijah), reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Maachah, the daughter of David's son, Absalom. Abijam continued in the sinful ways of his father, unfaithful to the Lord in his heart. But, because of God's promises to David, that the kingship would not disappear from his descendents (2 Samuel 12:13 and Psalm 89:4), and because David had not sought after idols, God blessed Abijam's reign.

As Jeroboam warred perpetually with Rehoboam, so he warred against Abijam. Abijam brought together an army of four hundred thousand valiant men. Jeroboam had twice as many, mighty men of valor. Abijam stood on Mount Zemaraim, and addressed Jeroboam and his men. “Listen to me! Don't you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant with David, giving him and his descendants the throne of Israel forever?” Abijam went on to denounce Jeroboam and all who joined themselves to him. “Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David?”

Abijam continued with his condemning and intimidating speech by saying that Israel still had the golden calves Jeroboam had made, and had replaced true priests with counterfeit ones, therefore could not have God's blessing, and for that reason could not win in a battle against God's true believers. “But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. So you see, God is with us. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!'” (1 Chronicles 13:5-12 NLT)

But while Abijam was making his speech, Jeroboam had devised a strategy to have an ambush to go around behind Abijam and his men. While Jeroboam and thousands of his soldiers stood in front, thousands were now positioned in back of Abijam. When Judah looked around, they were surprised to be surrounded, and cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew their trumpets. Amazingly, as they shouted, God struck Jeroboam and all of his army. In terror, they ran with the men of Judah pursuing them, killing five hundred thousand of them.

Abijam and his men continued, taking the cities of Bethel, Jeshanah, Ephrain and surrounding villages. Jeroboam never recovered, and soon died. God had honored Abijam's words, and because the men of Judah had relied on God, Abijam was victorious. But Abijam failed to remove the golden calf in Bethel, and the people continued worshipping the calf. It would be 300 years later when Josiah would finally remove it. Abijam grew mighty, married fourteen wives, and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. His son, Asa, became the next king of Judah. (1 Kings 15:1-8; 2 Chronicles 13:1 - 14:1)

Written by: Pete Miller