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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 13

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 1

B. Abijah 13:1-14:1

Abijah generally did not please God (1 Kings 15:3). However there was the instance the Chronicler recorded in which he spoke out in favor of the temple, the priests, and the Levites against the apostate Jeroboam I and Israel.

This is the only place in Chronicles where the writer linked the reigns of the southern and northern kings (2 Chronicles 13:1-2). He may have done this to identify the occasion on which Abijah made his speech, since he and Jeroboam were constantly fighting. Abijah took the offensive this time, even though Jeroboam’s army outnumbered his two soldiers to one (2 Chronicles 13:3). Since the town of Zemaraim lay within the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), this battle must have taken place near the border between Ephraim (Israel) and Judah. Abijah charged Israel with fighting against Yahweh, since the Judahites had remained faithful to Him, evidenced by their following the proper worship requirements (2 Chronicles 13:11-12). Judah won because the people relied on Yahweh (2 Chronicles 13:15; 2 Chronicles 13:18).

"It is hard to avoid the thought that, in biblical theology, weakness is a positive advantage, because it is a prerequisite of reliance (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10)." [Note: McConville, p. 165.]

The reference to a "covenant of salt" (2 Chronicles 13:5) suggests the connection between the ratification of a treaty and a meal (Exodus 24:11) at which salt provided the seasoning (cf. Leviticus 2:13). Normally participants sealed covenants by eating a meal together. What is more important, salt as a preservative symbolized the covenant-makers’ hope that their agreement would last a long time (cf. Numbers 18:19). [Note: The New Bible Dictionary, 1962 ed., s.v. "Salt," by R. K. Harrison.]

The real difference between the Southern and Northern Kingdoms was theological. Judah was relying on what God had done, but Israel was trusting in what she could do. The temple site and ritual were God’s provision for His people (cf. Genesis 22:14). Israel had rejected these, and had set up a system of her own devising that she hoped would make her acceptable to God. Israel had rejected God’s grace and had adopted a works system of worship.

This chapter is the only assessment in Chronicles of the Northern Kingdom’s sin. From here on, the writer’s attention focused on Judah primarily.

Other evidences of God’s blessing on Abijah were the cities he was able to take from Israel (2 Chronicles 13:19), the death of his enemy, Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 13:20), his power (2 Chronicles 13:21), and his many children (2 Chronicles 13:21). Though marrying many wives was a sin, fathering many children was an evidence of divine blessing (fruitfulness). The writer’s notation "the treatise of the prophet Iddo" (2 Chronicles 9:29) is literally in Hebrew "the midrash of the prophet Iddo." A midrash is a commentary (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:27).

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/2-chronicles-13.html. 2012.
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