King Abijah of Judah
(1 Kings 15.1-8)
1Abijah became king of Judah in Jeroboam's eighteenth year as king of Israel, 2and he ruled from Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Micaiah the daughter of Uriel from Gibeah.
Some time later, Abijah and King Jeroboam of Israel went to war against each other. 3Abijah's army had 400,000 troops, and Jeroboam met him in battle with 800,000 troops.
4Abijah went to the top of Mount Zemaraim in the hills of Ephraim and shouted:
Listen, Jeroboam and all you Israelites! 5The Lord God of Israel has made a solemn promise that every king of Israel will be from David's family. 6But Jeroboam, you were King Solomon's official, and you rebelled. 7Then right after Rehoboam became king, you and your bunch of worthless followers challenged Rehoboam, who was too young to know how to stop you.
8Now you and your powerful army think you can stand up to the kingdom that the Lord has given to David's descendants. The only gods you have are those gold statues of calves that Jeroboam made for you. 9You don't even have descendants of Aaron on your side, because you forced out the Lord's priests and Levites. In their place, you appoint ordinary people to be priests, just as the foreign nations do. In fact, anyone who brings a bull and seven rams to the altar can become a priest of your so-called gods.
10But we have not turned our backs on the Lord God! Aaron's own descendants serve as our priests, and the Levites are their assistants. 11Two times every day they offer sacrifices and burn incense to the Lord. They set out the sacred loaves of bread on a table that has been purified, and they light the lamps in the gold lampstand every day at sunset. We follow the commands of the Lord our God—you have rejected him! 12That's why God is on our side and will lead us into battle when the priests sound the signal on the trumpets. It's no use, Israelites. You might as well give up. There's no way you can defeat the Lord, the God your ancestors worshiped.
13But while Abijah was talking, Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to attack Judah's army from behind, while the rest attacked from the front. 14Judah's army realized they were trapped, and so they prayed to the Lord. The priests blew the signal on the trumpet, 15and the troops let out a battle cry. Then with Abijah leading them into battle, God defeated Jeroboam and Israel's army. 16The Israelites ran away, and God helped Judah's soldiers slaughter 17500,000 enemy troops. 18Judah's army won because they had trusted the Lord God of their ancestors.
19Abijah kept up his attack on Jeroboam's army and captured the Israelite towns of Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, as well as the villages around them.
20Jeroboam never regained his power during the rest of Abijah's rule. The Lord punished Jeroboam, and he died, but Abijah became more powerful.
21Abijah had a total of 14 wives, 22 sons, and 16 daughters. 22Everything Abijah said and did while he was king is written in the records of Iddo the prophet.