Who was King Abijah in the Bible?

King Abijah, son of King Rehoboam, was a king who did wicked in God's eyes: "And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father" (1 Kings 15:3). His short reign of only three years (913—911 BC) was filled with war between Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel, because Abijah, like his father Rehoboam, was trying to reclaim Israel's northern ten tribes to be a part of his kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 15:6). King Abijah is sometimes referred to as King Abiah or King Abijam.

Not all of Abijah's battles were losses. In 2 Chronicles 13, King Abijah and his 400,000 men had a victory in battle over Jeroboam and his army of 800,000 men. During this battle, Abijah stood up to Jeroboam saying how his kingdom of Judah was upholding God's covenant with Israel while the ten northern tribes had not. Jeroboam had gotten rid of the Levites and allowed people to become priests of false gods, if they wanted to. This is one time that King Abijah truly honored the Lord by standing up for righteousness. He said to Jeroboam: "Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests with their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed" (2 Chronicles 13:12). In this battle, the men from Judah called out to the Lord for help, the priests who were with them in battle blew their trumpets, and God gave them the victory (2 Chronicles 13:14–15). After this victory for Abijah, King Jeroboam did not have the same level of strength as before: "Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down, and he died. But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters" (2 Chronicles 13:20–21)." After Abijah died, Judah and Israel experienced a season of peace for ten years (2 Chronicles 14:1).

Maacah, or Micaiah, was Abijah's mother and she seemingly held authority during his reign and into the reign of his son, Asa. King Asa "did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God" (2 Chronicles 14:2) and brought righteous renewal and reforms to Judah. As a part of this process, he demoted his grandmother Maacah, because she advocated for the worship of the false god, Asherah (1 Kings 15:13).

God mercifully granted King Abijah victory over Israel, but overall, Abijah had the unfortunate legacy of doing evil in God's sight. Just like his father Rehoboam, Abijah was not fully committed to the Lord in his heart or actions (2 Chronicles 12:13–14; 1 Kings 15:1–3).

Related Truth:

Who was King Joash in the Bible?

What can we learn from the life of King Hezekiah?

Who was King Manasseh in the Bible?

Why is knowing about the various characters in the Bible important?

What is the Story of Kings and Chronicles?

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