Abijah of Judah
|Abijam / Abijah|
|King of Judah|
|Reign||c. 913 - 911 BC|
|Predecessor||Rehoboam, his father|
|Successor||Asa, his son|
|Issue||22 sons and 16 daughters|
|Hebrew name||אבים בן-רחבעם
’Aviyam ben Rehav’am
|House||House of David|
|Mother||Maacah, or Micaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, and granddaughter of Absalom (Abishalom)|
|Rulers of Judah|
Abijam (Hebrew: אֲבִיָּם, Modern Aviyam, Tiberian Æbiyaim; "father of the sea" or "my father is the sea"; Greek: Αβιου, translit. Aviou; Latin: Abiam) was, according to the Hebrew Bible, the fourth king of the House of David and the second of the Kingdom of Judah. He was the son of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon and the grandson of David. The Chronicler refers to him as Abijah (Hebrew: אֲבִיָּה, ʼĂḇiyyāh; "my father is Yah"; Greek: Αβια; Latin: Abia). His mother's name was Maacah or Micaiah, the daughter of Absalom (ie: Uriel of Gibeah). Abijah married fourteen wives, and had 22 sons and 16 daughters.
Abijah in the Hebrew Bible
Reign of Abijah
Following the death of Rehoboam, his son Abijah succeeded the throne as King of Judah. He began his three-year reign (2 Chr. 12:16; 13:1, 2) with a strenuous but unsuccessful effort to bring back the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom of Israel to their allegiance.
Following Abijah's ascension to the throne in the 18th year of King Jeroboam I of Israel, he marched north with the purpose of winning Israel back to the Davidic kingdom. Jeroboam surrounded Abijah's army, engaging in the battle of Mount Zemaraim. Abijiah captured the Israelite cities of Jeshanah, Ephron (et-Taiyibeh) and Bethel.
According to the Deuteronomist, "God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him" (1 Kings 15:4). Thus the unconditional covenant blessing of Yahweh, guaranteed his promise to King David to stabilize the Kingdom of David despite its ruler. The Chronicler also emphasizes Yahweh's promise as seen by Abijah's success against every effort by Jeroboam to defeat him. "Judah prevailed because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers." (2 Chr. 13:18) God gave the Kingdom to David and his descendants (1 Chr. 17:14) by a covenant of salt, meaning, of permanence (cf. Lev. 2:13).
Yahweh decreed that the entire apostate dynasty of King Jeroboam was to be executed. He also ordered that Abijah be given a decent burial because “Something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him” (1 Kin. 14:1, 10-13).
William F. Albright has dated his reign to 915–913 BCE.
E. R. Thiele offers the dates 914/913 – 911/910 BCE. As explained in the Rehoboam article, Thiele's chronology for the first kings of Judah contained an internal inconsistency that later scholars corrected by dating these kings one year earlier, so that Abijah's dates are taken as 915/914 to 912/911 BCE in the present article.
The calendars for reckoning the years of kings in Judah and Israel were offset by six months, that of Judah starting in Tishri (in the fall) and that of Israel in Nisan (in the spring). Cross-synchronizations between the two kingdoms therefore often allow narrowing of the beginning and/or ending dates of a king to within a six-month range. For Abijam, the Scriptural data allow the narrowing of his accession to some time between 1 Nisan 914 BCE and the day before 1 Tishri of that year. For calculation purposes, this should be taken as the Judean year beginning in Tishri of 915/914 BC, or more simply 915 BCE. His death occurred at some time between 1 Tishri 912 BCE and 1 Nisan 911 BCE, i.e. in 912 (912/911) BCE. These dates are one year earlier than those given in the third edition of Thiele's Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, thereby correcting an internal consistency that Thiele never resolved, as explained in the Rehoboam article.
- Easton, Matthew George (1894). Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2nd ed.). London: T. Nelson.
- Eerdmans (2000). Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, Astrid B. Beck ed.). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802824004.
- Merrill, Eugene H. (2008). Kingdom of priests a history of old testament israel. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic. p. 347. ISBN 9781441217073.
- Thiele, Edwin R. (1951). The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (New rev. ed.). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic.
- Tyndale (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary (Walter A. Elwell, Philip Wesley Comfort ed.). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers. p. 5. ISBN 9780842370899.
- Wycliffe (1962). The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Charles F. Pfeiffer, Everett F. Harrison ed.). Moody Publishers. ISBN 9781575677163.
- Lesley, J. P. (1881). "Notes on an Egyptian Element in the Names of the Hebrew Kings". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 19 (108): 412. JSTOR 982265.
Abijah of Judah
|King of Judah
913 BC – 912 BC