Abijah's War with Jeroboam
(1 Kings 15.1-8)
1In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah, 2and he ruled three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah.
War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000.
4The armies met in the hill country of Ephraim. King Abijah went up Mount Zemaraim and called out to Jeroboam and the Israelites: “Listen to me!” he said. 5“Don't you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant with David, giving him and his descendants kingship over Israel forever? 6Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king. 7Later he gathered together a group of worthless scoundrels, and they forced their will on Rehoboam son of Solomon, who was too young and inexperienced to resist them. 8Now you propose to fight against the royal authority that the Lord gave to David's descendants. You have a huge army and have with you the gold bull-calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. 9You drove out the Lord's priests, the descendants of Aaron, and you drove out the Levites. In their place you appointed priests in the same way that other nations do. Anybody who comes along with a bull or seven sheep can get himself consecrated as a priest of those so-called gods of yours.
10“But we still serve the Lord our God and have not abandoned him. Priests descended from Aaron perform their duties, and Levites assist them. 11Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burned whole. They present the offerings of bread on a table that is ritually clean, and every evening they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. We do what the Lord has commanded, but you have abandoned him. 12God himself is our leader and his priests are here with trumpets, ready to blow them and call us to battle against you. People of Israel, don't fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors! You can't win!”
13Meanwhile Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to ambush the Judean army from the rear, while the rest faced them from the front. 14The Judeans looked around and saw that they were surrounded. They cried to the Lord for help, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15The Judeans gave a loud shout, and led by Abijah, they attacked; God defeated Jeroboam and the Israelite army. 16The Israelites fled from the Judeans, and God let the Judeans overpower them. 17Abijah and his army dealt the Israelites a crushing defeat—half a million of Israel's best soldiers were killed. 18And so the people of Judah were victorious over Israel, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
19Abijah pursued Jeroboam's army and occupied some of his cities: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, and the villages near each of these cities. 20Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah's reign. Finally the Lord struck him down, and he died.
21Abijah, however, grew more powerful. He had fourteen wives and fathered twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22The rest of the history of Abijah, what he said and what he did, is written in The History of Iddo the Prophet.