1 KINGS CHAPTER 15.
The Reign of Abijam, Asa, Nadab, and Baasha.
THE RULE OF ABIJAM IN JUDAH. ó V. 1. Now, in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, about four years before his death, reigned Abijam (or Abijah) over Judah. V. 2. Three years, a very short period, reigned he in Jerusalem. And his motherís name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom, a granddaughter of Absalom, the son of David, and the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, who had evidently married Tamar, the daughter of Absalom. V. 3. And he, Abijam, walked in all the sins of his father which he had done before him, patterning after the wickedness of Rehoboam; and his heart was not perfect with the Lord, his God, it was not on the side of Jehovah in undivided allegiance, as the heart of David, his father. V. 4. Nevertheless, for Davidís sake did the Lord, his God, give him a lamp in Jerusalem, keeping his descendants on the throne of Judah, to set up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem, chap. 11, 13. 36; v.5. because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, he observed the demands of the covenant relation, and turned not aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. While Davidís fall was very great and grievous, it did not break the covenant of Jehovah with Israel, it did not remove the foundations of Godís relation toward Israel, as the idolatry of later years did. While Abijam outwardly maintained and observed the rites of Jehovah worship, it was not a matter of real belief of the heart with him, but a case of dead orthodoxy, combined with a tolerance of idol worship in his country. V. 6. And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life, this condition continuing under Abijam. V. 7. Now 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. V. 8. And Abijam, after his short reign, slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David; and Asa, his son, reigned in his stead. In this case also it is true that apostasy is often followed by various misfortunes, for God will not be mocked.
THE RULE OF ASA IN JUDAH. ó V. 9. And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, parts of years being counted as full years by the Jewish chroniclers, reigned Asa over Judah. V. 10. And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his motherís name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom. Maachah was really his grandmother, but she retained her position as most influential person, either as mother of the king who had just died and as one possessed of great energy, or because Asaís mother was dead and she took her place in the palace. V. 11. And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David, his father, patterning his life after the example of his illustrious ancestor. V. 12. And he took away the sodomites, the public male prostitutes who had come in under Rehoboam, out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. V. 13. And also Maachah, his mother (grandmother), even her he removed from being queen, from occupying her position of honor and influence at court, because she had made an idol in a grove, erected a monument and a picture to Astarte, the female god of the heathen nations; and Asa destroyed her idol, cutting it down, and burned it by the brook Kidron, the ashes being thrown into the brook, where they were carried away. V. 14. But the high places, some of which at least, although unlawfully, were dedicated to Jehovah, were not removed; Asaís reforms were not quite able to accomplish so much; nevertheless, Asaís heart was perfect with the Lord all his days, he served Jehovah with undivided allegiance. V. 15. And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, presents consecrated to Jehovah, probably the spoil of wars, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the Lord, silver and gold and vessels. Thus the treasure-chambers of the Temple, which had been plundered by Shishak, were again partly filled. V. 16. And there was war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, the insurgent against Nadab, Jeroboamís successor, all their days. V. 17. And Baasha, king of Israel, went up against Judah and built Raniah, in the tribe of Benjamin, some six to eight miles north of Jerusalem, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa, king of Judah. He wanted to cut off traffic, obstruct commerce, and thus practically to. blockade Jerusalem from the north. V. 18. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord, that which had again been deposited there by his father Abijam, and the treasures of the kingís house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants, his representatives in the embassy which he had planned; and King Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, v. 19. There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father; behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha, king of Israel, both divisions of the former large kingdom having sought an alliance with the mighty Syrian ruler, that he may depart from me. V. 20. So Benhadad, convinced, no doubt, by the large sum sent by Asa that he was the richer and mightier ally, hearkened unto King Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, a fortified city in the extreme northern part of Israelís territory, and Dan, also in that region, settled by the Danites, and Abelbeth-maachah, and all Cinneroth, the district west and northwest of Lake Gennesaret, with all the land of Naphtali, for this was the territory of that tribe. V. 21. And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, he thought it best to change his hostile attitude, lest he be crushed between two enemies, and dwelt in Tirzah, which was time royal residence at least during a part of the time. V. 22. Then King Asa, who was now free from the menace which had threatened his country, made a proclamation throughout all Judah, calling upon all able-bodied men to help in this emergency; none was exempted; and they took away the stones of Ramah and the timber thereof wherewith Baasha had builded, the building material which he had gathered there; and King Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah, the former being about two and a quarter and the latter some thirteen miles from Ramah. Thus he fortified this section of his kingdom. V. 23. The rest of all the acts of Asa and all his might, the conspicuous deeds of his bravery and prowess, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Nevertheless, in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet. Cp. 2 Chron. 16, 12. V. 24. And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, his father, all by the promise of God; and Jehoshapliat, his son, reigned in his stead. It seems that Asa, unlike some of the other kings of that age, always repented of his trespasses. God has patience with the weakness of His children and is glad to help them up when they have stumbled.
THE RULE OF NADAD AND BAASHA IN ISRAEL. ó V. 25. And Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa, king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years, it being necessary here once more to regard parts of years as whole ones. V. 26. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, in stubbornness and idolatry, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. V. 27. And Baasha, the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha, who was probably an army chief, smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Phulistines, having been retaken by them when the power of Israel was on the wane; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon, in order to recover possession of it. V. 28. Even in the third year of Asa, king of Judah, did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead, as a usurper of the throne. V. 29. And it came to pass, when he reigned, after he had entered upon his rule, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam, putting to death all the members of his whole race; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the Lord, in order to fulfill the word of the prophecy, which He spake by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite, chap. 14, 9-16, v. 30. because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger. V. 31. 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? V. 32. And there was war between Asa and Baasha, king of Israel, all their days. V. 33. In the third year of Asa, king of Judah, began Eaasha, the son of Ahijah, to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, forcing the people to acknowledge him as king or being proclaimed by his soldiers, twenty and four years. V. 34. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, in rebellion against the Lord, in idolatry. This was an abomination before the Lord. All those who are called to be leaders in the spiritual Israel and shepherds in the Church, but who lead the people of God into false doctrine, make themselves liable to damnation.