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Abijah’s Reign
1 In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah. 2 He ruled for three years in Jerusalem.#map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. His mother was Michaiah, the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.#tn The parallel text in 1 Kgs 15:1 identifies his mother as “Maacah, the daughter of Abishalom” [=Absalom, 2 Chr 11:20). Although most English versions identify the mother’s father as Uriel of Gibeah, a number of English versions substitute the name “Maacah” here for the mother (e.g., NIV, NCV, CEV, NLT).
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah launched the attack with 400,000 well-trained warriors,#tn Heb “and Abijah bound [i.e., began] the battle with a force of warriors, four hundred thousand chosen men.” while Jeroboam deployed against him 800,000 well-trained warriors.#tn Heb “and Jeroboam arranged with him [for] battle with eight hundred thousand chosen men, strong warrior[s].”
4 Abijah ascended Mount Zemaraim, in the Ephraimite hill country, and said: “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! 5 Don’t you realize that the Lord God of Israel has given David and his dynasty lasting dominion over Israel by a formal agreement?#tn Heb “Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel has given kingship to David over Israel permanently, to him and to his sons [by] a covenant of salt?”sn For other references to a “covenant of salt,” see Lev 2:13 and Num 18:19. 6 Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his master. 7 Lawless good-for-nothing men#tn Heb “empty men, sons of wickedness.” gathered around him and conspired#tn Heb “strengthened themselves.” against Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was an inexperienced young man#tn Heb “a young man and tender of heart.” and could not resist them. 8 Now you are declaring that you will resist the Lord’s rule through the Davidic dynasty.#tn Heb “the kingdom of the Lord by the hand of the sons of David.” You have a huge army,#tn Or “horde”; or “multitude.” and bring with you the gold calves that Jeroboam made for you as gods. 9 But you banished#tn In the Hebrew text this is phrased as a rhetorical question, “Did you not banish?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course you did,” the force of which is reflected in the translation “But you banished.” the Lord’s priests, Aaron’s descendants, and the Levites, and appointed your own priests just as the surrounding nations do! Anyone who comes to consecrate himself with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of these fake gods!#tn Heb “whoever comes to fill his hand with a bull of a son of cattle, and seven rams, and he is a priest to no-gods.” 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God and we have not rejected him. Aaron’s descendants serve as the Lord’s priests and the Levites assist them with the work.#tn Heb “and priests serving the Lord [are] the sons of Aaron and the Levites in the work.” 11 They offer burnt sacrifices to the Lord every morning and every evening, along with fragrant incense. They arrange the Bread of the Presence on a ritually clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. Certainly#tn Or “for.” we are observing the Lord our God’s regulations, but you have rejected him. 12 Now look, God is with us as our leader. His priests are ready to blow the trumpets to signal the attack against you.#tn Heb “and his priests and the trumpets of the war alarm [are ready] to sound out against you.” You Israelites, don’t fight against the Lord God of your ancestors,#tn Heb “fathers” (also in v. 18). for you will not win!”
13 Now Jeroboam had sent some men to ambush the Judahite army from behind.#tn Heb “and Jeroboam had caused to circle around an ambush to come from behind them.” The main army was in front of the Judahite army;#tn Heb “Judah.” the ambushers were behind it. 14 The men of Judah turned around and realized they were being attacked from the front and the rear.#tn Heb “and Judah turned, and, look, to them [was] the battle in front and behind.” So they cried out for help to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets, 15 and the men of Judah gave#tn Heb “shouted out.” the battle cry. As the men of Judah gave the battle cry, the Lord struck down Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled from before the Judahite army,#tn Heb “Judah.” and God handed them over to the men of Judah.#tn Heb “them”; the referent (the men of Judah) has been specified in the translation for clarity. 17 Abijah and his army thoroughly defeated them;#tn Heb “struck them down with a great striking down.” 500,000 well-trained Israelite men fell dead.#tn Heb “and [the] slain from Israel fell, five hundred thousand chosen men.” 18 That day#tn Heb “at that time.” the Israelites were defeated; the men of Judah prevailed because they relied on the Lord God of their ancestors.
19 Abijah chased Jeroboam; he seized from him these cities: Bethel#map For location see Map4-G4; Map5-C1; Map6-E3; Map7-D1; Map8-G3. and its surrounding towns, Jeshanah and its surrounding towns, and Ephron and its surrounding towns. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during the reign of Abijah.#tn Heb “and the strength of Jeroboam was not retained again in the days of Abijah.” The Lord struck him down and he died. 21 Abijah’s power grew; he had#tn Heb “lifted up for himself.” fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
22 The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his deeds and sayings,#tn Heb “and his ways and his words.” are recorded in the writings of the prophet Iddo.