Abijam Reigns in Judah
15 Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Now there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life. The rest of the acts of Abijam and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. And Abijam slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place.
Asa Reigns in Judah
In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah, and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron. But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days. And he brought into the house of the LORD the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels.
And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king’s house and gave them into the hands of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, “Let there be a covenant between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you a present of silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.” And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and he lived in Tirzah. Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah, none was exempt, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. And Asa slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father, and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place.
Nadab Reigns in Israel
Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.
Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him. And Baasha struck him down at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines, for Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon. So Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah and reigned in his place. And as soon as he was king, he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He left to the house of Jeroboam not one that breathed, until he had destroyed it, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. It was for the sins of Jeroboam that he sinned and that he made Israel to sin, and because of the anger to which he provoked the LORD, the God of Israel.
Now the rest of the acts of Nadab and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
Baasha Reigns in Israel
In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha the son of Ahijah began to reign over all Israel at Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel to sin.
1 Kings 15 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The next two chapters tell of the legacies of several kings who rose and led both Israel and Judah. For the most part, we read of men bent on their own sinfulness whose leadership oozed selfish gain. They led the people further into darkness.
There is one though who was a good king – Asa who ruled over Judah. It tells us he did what was right in the eyes of God and followed to some degree, David. The great grandson of Solomon took the throne of Judah after a brief reign of his father Jeroboam.
He came to leadership and made tremendous reforms spiritually. He removed the people so perverted in the land and their idols. He went as far as removing even his grandmother, the Queen Mother at one point who had set an obscene god that people had turned to. This is astounding on so many fronts that even within his own family he ‘cleaned house’. All that said, it seemed as his heart was loyal to God he failed to remove the high places of worship of these false gods, which would be an ongoing theme. People were still flocking to these places and worshiping in their tradition that was an abomination to God.
There is a story though recounted in 2 Chronicles where he used the treasuries in the House of the Lord to buy favor with a king of Syria. God was not pleased and sent the prophet Hanani to confront him. Although Asa had been loyal to God, when this confrontation went down – he did not respond well, throwing the prophet in prison for speaking against his actions. On some levels, this would be chink in his armor of continuing to do as the Lord wanted.
The confrontation of things in our lives is never easy to hear. This is particularly true when it comes to our own spiritual life. For that is what is affected when God raises up someone to challenge us on our decisions that affect the future not of only of ourselves but the people entrusted to us. This story shows the absolute tragedy of a man who ruled and sought God for many years but when challenged on a matter of faith he refused God’s correction.
God’s goal in confrontation is for our own betterment. It’s for restoration to the things that matter. Although we may not throw the individual who challenges us through God into prison, many times we do relegate them far away from ourselves; having nothing to do with them again. The greatness of any leadership is humility.
And that humility is what sets the standard for how we follow when challenged. It is that moment for each of us where we will either humbly come before God with what we have been challenged on or sadly will harden our hearts. Many a person who has started off so well in their spiritual life find such a benchmark of straying from the God who saved them because they refused to listen and humbly submit to the challenge.
When the ‘blurb’ of our life is written one day, much like this chapter of the incoming and outgoing kings, what will be said of us?
1 Kings 15 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
If you are like me, you’ve read the last few chapters and been a little confused by all the names. We have two different Abijah’s and also the prophet Ahijah in chapter 14. The chapters jump around and backtrack a few times to describe the simultaneous events going on in Judah and Israel.
The quick summary is that both Rehoboam and Jeroboam have failed as leaders. They started a civil war between the tribes that would continue long after their reign. Ultimately, this was the beginning of the end for both kingdoms. The prophets who reigned during this time fought great battles with trying to restore the people back to God. It would not have been a comfortable time to be a prophet. It many ways, it reminds me of our world today.
I do get the impression that when reading the past two chapters, Israel seemed to be worse off than Judah. Don’t get me wrong, they were both sinful. However, when King Asa stepped in as the leader for Judah, he quickly took action in trying to restore the kingdom back to God. He destroyed the pagan idol worship, removed his grandmother as “queen mother” because of her corruption, and burned her fertility idol to the ground. He wasn’t perfect, as he did make some errors later in his reign, but he was the first of the “good” kings who reigned over Israel and Judah during this time.
In fact, Judah would inherit good kings at almost a 50% clip during their history as a nation. Israel, on the other hand, would suffer under evil kings for over 200 years!