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13 1-2 Abijah, the son of Rehoboam and Micaiah[a] (daughter of Uriel of Gibeah), became king over Judah during Jeroboam’s 18th year as king of the Northern Kingdom. He ruled for 3 years from Jerusalem and battled against Jeroboam. Abijah, who initiated the war, had an army of 400,000 heroic men, but he was drastically outnumbered by Jeroboam’s army of 800,000 heroic men. Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the hill country of Ephraim, and addressed Jeroboam and all of the soldiers from the Northern Kingdom.

Abijah: Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel! Do you in the Northern Kingdom not know that the Eternal One, the True God of Israel, gave the rule over all of Israel, both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms, to David and his descendants by a covenant of salt?

Salt in the ancient world not only serves as a preservative, but it also hinders the spread of yeast and reminds those eating a treaty meal of a mutual oath.

Yet Jeroboam, Nebat’s son and the servant of David’s son Solomon, rebelled against his master.

Jeroboam and all of the Israelites from the North follow false gods and rebel against God’s authority. When they deny David’s descendants as the rightful kings, they deny God and His choice.

Abijah: In his rebellion, Jeroboam surrounded himself with worthless men and scoundrels who took advantage of Solomon’s own son, Rehoboam, when he was young and impressionable early in his reign. He had no hope of defending himself and the nation against them.

Not only have you rebelled against the Eternal’s kingdom ruled by the descendants of David, but you have allowed your great numbers to make you arrogant. You have also rebelled against His laws by worshiping and relying on the golden calves which Jeroboam cast as gods for you. You even drove the priests of the Eternal (the sons of Aaron and the Levites) from your midst and replaced them with non-Levite priests from foreigners in the land! Anyone who wants to be a priest of your false gods needs only pay for his commission with the sacrifice of a young bull and seven rams.

10 The Eternal One is our True God, and we have not rebelled against Him in favor of idols and illegitimate priests. The sons of Aaron continue in their divinely appointed duty of serving the Eternal as priests, and the Levites perform their work as well. 11 Every morning and evening they give to the Eternal what He prescribed during the time of Moses: burnt offerings, fragrant incense, unleavened bread on the clean table, and light from the golden lampstand. Unlike you, who have rebelled against Him, we are vigilant in obeying the Eternal One, our True God.

12 Remember, as you prepare to fight against us, that the True God is on our side and is leading us. His priests will blow the signal trumpets to alert Him that you are here to fight us, and He will rescue us from our enemies as He promised.[b] O Israelites, God’s chosen people, do not fight against the Eternal One, the True God of your fathers, because you will not succeed.

13 During Abijah’s appeal to the Northern Israelites, Jeroboam was not paying attention. Instead, he was dividing his forces into two fronts—one to meet Judah in front of them and one to ambush them from the rear.

14-16 When Judah realized what the Northern forces had done, the men shouted to the Eternal and the priests blew their signal trumpets just as Abijah promised. God was faithful to His promise; He crushed Jeroboam and his forces. As they fled, the True God gave the victory over Israel to Abijah and Judah. 17 Abijah and his army slaughtered 500,000 of the Israelite warriors. 18 The Northern Israelites were defeated because the people of Judah trusted in the Eternal One, the True God of their ancestors. 19 Abijah pursued the fleeing Jeroboam and captured several Northern cities and their surrounding towns and regions: Bethel (one of the Northern Kingdom’s shrine cities), Jeshanah, and Ephron.

20 Jeroboam was weakened by his battles with Judah, and he never regained his former strength. The Eternal struck him, and Jeroboam died. 21 But Abijah’s strength increased, and he married 14 wives and fathered 22 sons and 16 daughters. 22 The actions of Abijah, his works and his words, are recorded in the chronicles of Iddo the prophet.


  1. 13:1–2 In 1 Kings 15:2 she is Maacah, daughter of Abishalom.
  2. 13:12 Numbers 10:9

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