Abijah/Abijam in Chronicles and Kings

A Synopsis by Ralph W. Klein

© 2000, 2003 by Ralph W. Klein

2 Chronicles

1 Kings

Vannutelli 142
13:1-2a Abijah began to reign in the 18th year of Jeroboam. He reigned for three years. His mother’s name was Micaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. 

(In 2 Chr 11:20 Rehoboam took Maacah the [grand?] daughter of Absalom as his wife, and she bore Abijah and 3 others.  1 Kgs 15:10//2 Chr 15:16 = Maacah was [grand?] mother of Asa (were Abijah and Asa brothers?), who removed her from being queen mother and got rid of her Asherah [1 Kgs 15:13]).  Was Uriel, the father of Micaiah, the wife of Tamar the daughter of Absalom (2 Sam 14:27)?  Absalom himself  was the son of David and Maacah (2 Sam 3:3).

15:1-2 Abijam began to reign in the 18th year of Jeroboam. He reigned for three years. His mother’s name was Maacah, daughter of Abishalom.


15:3-5 His heart was not true like the heart of David his father. Nevertheless, God gave him dominion/a lamp in Jerusalem. David did not turn aside from anything that God commanded…except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite (vv. 5b-6 absent in LXX).

13:2b There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

15:6 The war between Rehoboam (some Hebrew mss read Abijam) and Jeroboam continued all the days of his (Abijam's)  life (an intrusion from 14:30).

13:3-12 Abijah’s 400,000 faced Jeroboam’s 800,000. Abijah preached from Mount Zemaraim (MR 170147) in the hill country of Ephraim (2 Chr 15:8; 17:2) to all Israel. David had been given kingship by a covenant of salt (Num 18:19). Jeroboam and other scoundrels defied Rehoboam when he was young. Kingdom of Yahweh was in the hands of the sons of David. Golden calves made by Jeroboam are interpreted as false gods, and people have bought their way into a priesthood dedicated to what are "no gods." The priests in north are not descendants of Aaron or Levites (who have been driven out). Yahweh is our God and we keep his charge, but you (North Israel)  have abandoned him. Our priests descend from Aaron and are served by Levites. God is with us at our head and his priests have battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. Sons of Israel (!), do not fight against Yahweh the God of your fathers for you cannot succeed.   With this speech, cf. 2 Chr 30:6-9, a speech by Hezekiah, also summoning north to return.  Cf. also apostasy of Ahaz in 2 Chronicles 28, who is condemned in terms resembling those used against the north.

13:13-18  The Northern army surrounded army of Judah. When the people of Judah shouted and the priests blew the trumpets, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel. 500,000 from Israel were slain. People of Judah prevailed because they relied (![v) on Yahweh (cf. 2 Chr 14:10; 16:17-18).

bulletJudahites cried to Yahweh
bulletpriests blow the trumpets
bulletJudahites raised battle shout
bulletGod defeated Jeroboam and gave them into their hand.
For other holy wars in Chronicles, see 2 Chr 14:8-14; 20:1-30; 26:6-8; 27:5-6.

13:19-21 Abijah took Bethel (MR 172148), Jeshanah (MR 174156, 17 miles north of Jerusalem), and Ephron (=Ophrah [Josh 18:23; 1 Sam 13:17] MR 178151).
See Ralph W. Klein, "Abijah’s Campaign against the North (II Chr 13)—What Were the Chronicler’s Sources?" ZAW 95 (1993) 210-217.

2 Chr 15:8 refers to towns Asa had taken in Ephraim
2 Chr 17:2 Jehoshaphat put garrisons in towns in Ephraim taken by his father.

Yahweh struck Jeroboam and he died. Abijah grew strong: he had 14 wives and had 22 sons and 16 daughters.

(2 Sam 24:9 David numbered 800,000 in Israel and 500,000 (LXXL 400,000) in Judah).

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Josh 18:21 MT Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel, Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, Chephar-ammoni, Ophni, and Geba--twelve towns with their villages

Jos 18:21 Jericho, Beth-hoglah, Emek-keziz, 22 Beth-arabah, Zemaraim, Bethel [b h s a n a < *B A I J H L K A I I S A N A = Bethel and Jeshanah], Jeshanah, 23 Avvim, Parah, Ophrah, 24 Chephar-ammoni, Ophni [lacking in LXX], and Geba—twelve towns with their villages.

1 Kgs 15:17 Baasha of Israel built Ramah.
1 Kgs 15:22 under Asa, people took stones from Ramah and built Geba and Mizpah.

14:20 Jeroboam slept with his ancestors (= a peaceful death).

Vannutelli 143
13:22 the rest of the acts of Abijah, his behavior and his deeds, are written in the Midrash of the prophet Iddo.

15:7 The rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.

13:23 [14:1] Asa succeeded Abijah; the land had rest for ten years.

15:8 Abijam succeeded by his son Asa.