May 7. Abijam/Abijah Reigns in Judah

I Kin. 15:1-8; II Chron. 13:1-14:1

Abijam, whose name is also called Abijah, began his reign as king of Judah during the eighteenth year of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel. He was a son of Rehoboam and maternal great-great grandson of David. Abijah’s three-year reign continued in the sins of his father. However, he did allow the priests to perform their duties as the people worshipped God.

There had been continual warfare between Jeroboam’s Israel and Judah. In his final battle with Jeroboam, Abijah gathered an army of four hundred thousand valiant warriors against eight hundred thousand choice men of Israel. Prior to the battle Abijah called out to Jeroboam in an attempt to persuade him to return to the true worship of God. He pointed out the importance of maintaining God’s commands. As the king of Judah was attempting to unify the two kingdoms, Jeroboam positioned an ambush in the rear of Judah’s army in addition to his forces to the front.

Even though Abijah had sinned against God, it was His plan to preserve the lineage of Judah for the coming Messiah. Seeing the ambush behind him, Abijah cried out to the Lord and the priests sounded the trumpets. God allowed Judah to slaughter five hundred thousand of Israel’s choice men. Jeroboam was defeated and died soon afterward.

Abijah died and his son, Asa became king of Judah.