Abijah’s War with Jeroboam
1Abijah began to rule over Judah in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. 2He reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah,#13:2 As in most Greek manuscripts and Syriac version (see also 2 Chr 11:20-21; 1 Kgs 15:2); Hebrew reads Micaiah, a variant spelling of Maacah. the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.
Then war broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Judah, led by King Abijah, fielded 400,000 select warriors, while Jeroboam mustered 800,000 select troops from Israel.
4When the army of Judah arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and shouted to Jeroboam and all Israel: “Listen to me! 5Don’t you realize that the Lord, the God of Israel, made a lasting covenant#13:5 Hebrew a covenant of salt. with David, giving him and his descendants the throne of Israel forever? 6Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a mere servant of David’s son Solomon, rebelled against his master. 7Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them.
8“Do you really think you can stand against the kingdom of the Lord that is led by the descendants of David? You may have a vast army, and you have those gold calves that Jeroboam made as your gods. 9But you have chased away the priests of the Lord (the descendants of Aaron) and the Levites, and you have appointed your own priests, just like the pagan nations. You let anyone become a priest these days! Whoever comes to be dedicated with a young bull and seven rams can become a priest of these so-called gods of yours!
10“But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. Only the descendants of Aaron serve the Lord as priests, and the Levites alone may help them in their work. 11They present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord every morning and evening. They place the Bread of the Presence on the holy table, and they light the gold lampstand every evening. We are following the instructions of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him. 12So you see, God is with us. He is our leader. His priests blow their trumpets and lead us into battle against you. O people of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed!”
13Meanwhile, Jeroboam had secretly sent part of his army around behind the men of Judah to ambush them. 14When Judah realized that they were being attacked from the front and the rear, they cried out to the Lord for help. Then the priests blew the trumpets, 15and the men of Judah began to shout. At the sound of their battle cry, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel and routed them before Abijah and the army of Judah.
16The Israelite army fled from Judah, and God handed them over to Judah in defeat. 17Abijah and his army inflicted heavy losses on them; 500,000 of Israel’s select troops were killed that day. 18So Judah defeated Israel on that occasion because they trusted in the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 19Abijah and his army pursued Jeroboam’s troops and captured some of his towns, including Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, along with their surrounding villages.
20So Jeroboam of Israel never regained his power during Abijah’s lifetime, and finally the Lord struck him down and he died. 21Meanwhile, Abijah of Judah grew more and more powerful. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
22The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his words and deeds, are recorded in The Commentary of Iddo the Prophet.