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Icons of the Bible: King Abijam - A Wicked King

Updated: Sep 3

Icons of the Bible: King Abijam - A Wicked King
Icons of the Bible: King Abijam - A Wicked King

Icons of the Bible

Who was King Abijah in the Bible?

"King Abijah, also called King Abiah or King Abijam, was the son of King Rehoboam and father of King Asa. Abijah reigned for only three years (913–911 BC) in Judah before he died. Abijah was a wicked king: “He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been” (1 Kings 15:3). King Abijah attempted to reclaim the northern ten tribes of Israel as part of his kingdom, and so there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime (verse 6).

King Abijah had some victories over Israel to the north. Second Chronicles 13 describes a battle in which Abijah and his 400,000 men triumphed over Jeroboam with his 800,000 men. King Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim and spoke out to Jeroboam and Israel about God’s covenant with David, Jeroboam’s rebellion against Rehoboam, and Jeroboam’s ridding Israel of the Levites and allowing anyone to become a priest of false gods. Abijah concluded, “God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed” (2 Chronicles 13:12). The troops of Israel had come behind those of Judah to ambush them, intending to attack them from both front and rear. But the men from Judah cried out to God, the priests blew their trumpets, and “at the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah” (2 Chronicles 13:15). Abijah also took the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, Ephron, and their surrounding villages from Jeroboam. From that time, King Jeroboam’s strength lessened: “Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died. But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters” (Chronicles 13:20–21).." from the article: Who was King Abijah in the Bible?

Abijah: the Lessons of His Life by W. Clarkson

These concluding verses, which dispose of the latter end of the life of Abijah, may bring before us the lessons which are to be gathered from his career.

I. THE SLIGHTNESS AND VALUELESSNESS OF HUMAN FAME. He was a descendant of David, and a king reigning at Jerusalem, and he gained a somewhat brilliant victory over his rival at Mount Ephraim - "the rest of his acts and his ways and sayings are written in the story of the Prophet Iddo;" but who reads them there, or who can tell us anything of what is there contained? In the Book of the Kings (1 Kings 5:7) we are referred to our text for the details of his career. But how scanty we find them to be! How little do we know of this once proud and "mighty" monarch; and how content we are that we know so little! And of what entire valuelessness to him would any fuller knowledge on our part be! We need not be concerned that our name and fame will traverse so small a part of this globe, and travel so short a space of time; that we shall be so soon forgotten. Kings and statesmen, whose chances of fame were far greater than ours, have found how ephemeral and how worthless a thing is fame. To be loved by those whom we have blessed, to be esteemed by the good and true, to be honoured of God to take some part in the promotion of his glorious kingdom, - that is the heritage to be coveted and to be gained.

II. THE BRITTLENESS OF EARTHLY FORTUNE. When Abijah ascended the throne of Judah, he had, probably, good reason for expecting a long period of honour and enjoyment. But three short years brought his hopes down to the ground. Some disease showed itself in his frame, or some accident befell him, or some treacherous blow struck him, and he went down to the grave with his early hopes unfulfilled. And who shall say that the young man of our acquaintance, of our connection, of our affection, who has such bright prospects before him, will not find, by a sad disillusion, that the term of his happiness and his honour is a very brief one; that a few years, or even months, will bring him to his grave? "Love not the world, neither the things which are in the world The world passeth away... but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

III. THE DANGER OF GREAT SUCCESS. We read in the preceding verse (ver. 20) that Jeroboam never recovered strength again" after his humiliating defeat at Mount Ephraim. We might with equal truth say of Abijah that he never recovered from his success. He was apparently elated by it, and, in the perilous mood of complacency, he gave himself up to culpable domestic licence (ver. 21). His latter days were spent in home luxuries and (it is only too likely) in revelries and follies. His success was too much for him; as, indeed, success very often proves to be. Many men can stand misfortune; comparatively few can stand prosperity. It is a "slippery place," where the unguarded human spirit falls, and is badly bruised, if not broken. If the tide of success should set in, whether of wealth, or honour, or power, or affection, let there be unusual watchfulness and multiplied devotion; for the hour of prosperity is that hour when the archers of the enemy will be busy with their arrows.

IV. THE VALUE OF WHOLE-HEARTEDNESS IN THE SERVICE OF THE SUPREME. Where shall we look to find the fatal flaw that accounts for this royal failure? We find it here (1 Kings 15:3). Abijah's heart was "not perfect with the Lord his God;" that is to say, his heart was "divided," and therefore he was "found faulty" (Hosea 10:2). He did not seek God "with his whole heart." He was willing enough to try and charm with the Divine Name and the Divine will and Law (see vers. 5-10), but he was not prepared to walk uprightly and faithfully, as "the heart of David his father," before the Lord his God. If our devotion be nothing more than a desire to have God on our side in the day of battle, we shall show small consistency of conduct and little excellence of character. The religious character that will stand the test both of sunshine and shadow is that of the man who realizes the supreme claims of God, his Father and his Saviour, and who solemnly and determinately dedicates himself, heart and life, to "the Lord his God." It is only whole-heartedness in the service of Christ that will ensure us against the perils of adversity and prosperity. - C." from the website: Bible Hub


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