("father of Jehovah," i.e. one whose will is that of God), or ABIJAM 1 Kings 15:1; 2 Chronicles 13:1 (called Abijah in Chronicles, not in Kings, because in the former his character is not represented as contrary to Jah's will, as it is in the latter; Abia in Matthew 1:7).
1. Son and successor of Rehoboam, king of Judah (Clinton, 959 s.c.; Hales, 973); in the 18th year of Jeroboam I of Israel (1 Kings 14:31; 2 Chronicles 12:16). He endeavored to recover the ten tribes to Judah, and made war on Jeroboam. His speech on mount Zemaraim in mount Ephraim, before the battle, urged on Jeroboam the justice of his cause, that God had given the kingdom to David and his sons forever "by a covenant of salt," and that Judah had the regular temple service and priesthood, whereas Israel had made golden calves their idols, and had cast out the priests; therefore "fight not ye against the Lord God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper" (2 Chronicles 13).
Judah's appeal to God, in a crisis of the battle, when the enemy by an ambushment was both before and behind them, brought victory to their side; they took also Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephraim. 400,000 men are assigned to Abijah's army, 800,000 to Jeroboam's, of whom 500,000 fell. Kennicott thinks the numbers an error of transcribers for 40,000, 80,000, 50,000; and so Abarbanel. Elated by success, he multiplied his wives, like Solomon, and by his 14 wives had 22 sons and 16 daughters. Prosperity tempted him into the wickedness which is attributed to him in Kings; men may boast of temple privileges, yet love carnal practices (Jeremiah 7:4-5). His reign lasted three years. His mother was Maachah (1 Kings 15:2), or Michaiah (2 Chronicles 13:2), doubtless named from her grandmother, Absalom's mother (2 Samuel 3:3). She was daughter of Uriel, of Gibeah, and granddaughter of Abishalom, or Absalom (1 Chronicles 11:20). "Daughter" in Scripture often means granddaughter, a generation being skipped. Abijah thus was descended from David on both father's and mother's side. Uriel had married Tamar, Absalom's beautiful daughter (2 Samuel 14:27).
2. Son of Jeroboam I, "in whom alone of Jeroboam's house some good thing was found toward the Lord God of Israel" (1 Kings 14:13); therefore, he alone was permitted to go down to the grave in peace. Jeroboam had sent his wife in disguise with a present to the prophet (See AHIJAH (see). Blind with age, he yet knew her and announced the tidings, sad to her but honoring to her son. So Abijah died, and "all Israel mourned for him."
3. 1 Chronicles 24:10. Only four returned of the 24 courses of the priesthood, of which Abijah's course was not one (Ezra 2:36-39; Nehemiah 7:39-42; Nehemiah 12:1). But the four were divided into the original 24, with the original names. Hence, Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, is described as "of the course of Abia" (Luke 1:5).
4. Wife of Ahaz, and mother of good Hezekiah; perhaps a descendant of the Zechariah slain between the temple and the altar (2 Chronicles 24:21; 2 Chronicles 26:5; 2 Chronicles 29:1); certainly daughter of Zechariah, probably the one through whom Uzziah sought God.
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