Abijam's Wicked Reign over Judah.
1. Abijam—His name was at first Abijah
12:16); "Jah," the name of
God, according to an ancient fashion, being conjoined with it. But
afterwards, when he was found "walking in all the sins of his father"
15:3], that honorable
addition was withdrawn, and his name in sacred history changed into
2. Three years reigned he—(compare 1Ki 15:1 with
1Ki 15:9). Parts of years are
often counted in Scripture as whole years. The reign began in
Jeroboam's eighteenth year, continued till the nineteenth, and ended in
the course of the twentieth.
his mother's name was Maachah—or
Michaiah (2Ch 13:2),
probably altered from the one to the other on her becoming queen, as
was very common under a change of circumstances. She is called the
daughter of Abishalom, or Absalom (2Ch 11:21), of Uriel (2Ch 13:2). Hence, it has been thought probable
that Tamar, the daughter of Absalom (2Sa 14:27; 18:18), had been married to Uriel, and that
Maachah was their daughter.
3. his heart was not perfect with the Lord …
, as the heart of David his father—(Compare 1Ki 11:4;
14:22). He was not positively
bad at first, for it appears that he had done something to restore the
pillaged treasures of the temple (1Ki 15:15). This phrase contains a comparative
reference to David's heart. His doing that which was right in the eyes
of the Lord (1Ki 15:5) is
frequently used in speaking of the kings of Judah, and means only that
they did or did not do that which, in the general course and tendency
of their government, was acceptable to God. It furnishes no evidence as
to the lawfulness or piety of one specific act.
4. for David's sake did the Lord his God give him
a lamp—"A lamp" in one's house is an Oriental phrase for
continuance of family name and prosperity. Abijam was not rejected only
in consequence of the divine promise to David (see on 1Ki 11:13-36).
1Ki 15:9-22. Asa's Good
10-13. his mother's name was Maachah—She
was properly his grandmother, and she is here called "the king's
mother," from the post of dignity which at the beginning of his reign
she possessed. Asa, as a constitutional monarch, acted like the pious
David, laboring to abolish the traces and polluting practices of
idolatry, and in pursuance of his impartial conduct, he did not spare
delinquents even of the highest rank.
13. also Maachah his mother, even her he removed
from being queen—The sultana, or queen dowager, was not
necessarily the king's natural mother (see 1Ki 2:19), nor was Maachah. Her title, and the
privileges connected with that honor and dignity which gave her
precedency among the ladies of the royal family, and great influence in
the kingdom, were taken away. She was degraded for her idolatry.
because she had made an idol in a
grove—A very obscene figure, and the grove was devoted to the
grossest licentiousness. His plans of religious reformation, however,
were not completely carried through, "the high places were not removed"
3:2). The suppression of this
private worship on natural or artificial hills, though a forbidden
service after the temple had been declared the exclusive place of
worship, the most pious king's laws were not able to accomplish.
15. he brought in the things which his father had
dedicated—Probably the spoils which Abijam had taken from the
vanquished army of Jeroboam (see 2Ch 13:16).
and the things which himself had
dedicated—after his own victory over the Cushites (2Ch 14:12).
16, 17. there was war between Asa and Baasha king
of Israel all their days—Asa enjoyed a ten years' peace after
Jeroboam's defeat by Abijam, and this interval was wisely and
energetically spent in making internal reforms, as well as increasing
the means of national defense (2Ch 14:1-7). In the fifteenth year of his reign,
however, the king of Israel commenced hostilities against him, and,
invading his kingdom, erected a strong fortress at Ramah, which was
near Gibeah, and only six Roman miles from Jerusalem. Afraid lest his
subjects might quit his kingdom and return to the worship of their
fathers, he wished to cut off all intercourse between the two nations.
Ramah stood on an eminence overhanging a narrow ravine which separated
Israel from Judah, and therefore he took up a hostile position in that
18-20. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold
that were left in the … house of the Lord—Asa's
religious character is now seen to decline. He trusted not in the Lord
16:7). In this emergency Asa
solicited the powerful aid of the king of Damascene-Syria; and to bribe
him to break off his alliance with Baasha, he transmitted to him the
treasure lying in the temple and palace. The Syrian mercenaries were
gained. Instances are to be found, both in the ancient and modern
history of the East, of the violation of treaties equally sudden and
unscrupulous, through the presentation of some tempting bribe.
Ben-hadad poured an army into the northern provinces of Israel, and
having captured some cities in Galilee, on the borders of Syria,
compelled Baasha to withdraw from Ramah back within his own
Ben-hadad—(See on 1Ki 11:14).
22. Then king Asa made a
proclamation—The fortifications which Baasha had erected at
Ramah were demolished, and with the materials were built other
defenses, where Asa thought they were needed—at Geba (now Jeba)
and Mizpeh (now Neby Samuil), about two hours' travelling north of
23. in the time of his old age he was diseased in
his feet—(See on 2Ch 16:12, where an
additional proof is given of his religious degeneracy.)
1Ki 15:25-34. Nadab's Wicked
25. Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to
reign—No record is given of him, except his close adherence
to the bad policy of his father.
27. Baasha smote him at Gibbethon—This
town, within the tribe of Dan, was given to the Levites (Jos 19:44). It lay on the Philistine borders, and
having been seized by that people, Nadab laid siege to recover it.
29. when he reigned, he smote all the house of
Jeroboam—It was according to a barbarous practice too common
in the East, for a usurper to extirpate all rival candidates for the
throne; but it was an accomplishment of Ahijah's prophecy concerning
Jeroboam (1Ki 14:10, 11).