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Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.
No JFB commentary on this verse.
He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
His mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. The same as Maachah (see the note at 1 Kings 15:2). She was "the daughter" - i:e., grand-daughter of Absalom (1 Kings 15:2: cf. 2 Samuel 14:1-33), mother of Abijah, and "mother" - i:e., grandmother (1 Kings 15:10, margin) - of Asa. "Of Gibeah" probably implies that Uriel was connected with the house of Saul.
There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. The occasion of this war is not recorded (see 1 Kings 15:6-7); but it may be inferred from the tenor Abijah's address, that it arose from Jeroboam's design to wrest from his youthful neighbour the full dominion of the whole country. No prophet now forbade a war with Israel (2 Chronicles 11:23), because Jeroboam had forfeited all claim to protection.
And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.
Abijah set the battle in array - i:e., took the field and opened the campaign.
With ... four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam ... with eight hundred thousand. These are doubtless large numbers, considering the smallness of the two kingdoms. It must be borne in mind however, that Oriental armies are mere mobs-vast numbers accompanying the camp in hope of plunder; so that the gross numbers described as going upon the Asiatic expedition are often far from denoting the exact number of fighting men. But in accounting for the large number of soldiers enlisted in the respective armies of Abijah and Jeroboam, there is no need of resorting to this mode of explanation; because we know by the census of David the immense amount of the population that was capable of bearing arms (1 Chronicles 21:5: cf. 2 Chronicles 14:8; 2 Chronicles 17:14).
And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel;
Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim. He had entered the enemy's territory and was encamped on an eminence near Beth-el (Joshua 18:22). Jeroboam's army lay at the foot of the hill, and as a pitched battle was expected, Abijah, according to the singular usage of ancient times, harangued the enemy. The speakers in such circumstances, while always extolling their own merits, poured out torrents of invective and virulent abuse upon the adversary. So did Abijah. He dwelt on the divine right of the house of David to the throne of Israel-established by [bªriyt melaach] "a covenant of salt" (see the note at Numbers 18:10), i:e., a, covenant inviolable, indissoluble; and sinking all reference to the heaven-condemned offenses of Solomon and the divine appointment of Jeroboam, as well as the divine sanction of the separation, he rebuked Jeroboam as a usurper, and his subjects as rebels, who took advantage of the youth and inexperience of Rehoboam. Then contrasting the religious agate of the two kingdoms he drew a black picture of the impious innovations and gross idolatry introduced by Jeroboam, with big expulsion and impoverishment (2 Chronicles 11:14) of the Levites; dwelt with reasonable pride on the pure and regular observance of the ancient institutions of Moses in his own dominions; and concluded with this emphatic appeal: 'O children of Israel fight ye not against Yahweh, the God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper.'
Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
No JFB commentary on these verses.
But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them.
But Jeroboam caused an ambushment. The oration of Abijah, however animating an effect it might have produced on his own troops, was unheeded by the party to whom it was addressed; because while he was wasting time in useless words, Jeroboam had ordered a detachment of his own to move quietly round the base of the hill, so that when Abijah stopped speaking, he and his followers found themselves surprised in the rear, while the main body of the Israelite forces remained in front. A panic might have ensued had not the leaders "cried unto the Lord," and the priests "sounded with the trumpets" - the pledge of victory (Numbers 10:9; Numbers 31:6); and, reassured by the well-known signal, the men of Judah responded with war-shout, which, echoed by the whole army, was followed by an impetuous rush against the foe. The shock was resistless. The ranks of the Israelites were broken, because "God smote Jeroboam and all Israel." They took to flight, and the merciless slaughter that ensued can be accounted for only by tracing it to the rancorous passions enkindled by a civil war.
And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.
No JFB commentary on these verses.
And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof. Abijah pursued after Jeroboam. This sanguinary action widened the breach between the people of the two kingdoms. Abijah abandoned his original design of attempting the subjugation of the ten tribes, contenting himself with the recovery of a few border towns, which, though lying within Judah or Benjamin, had been alienated to the new or northern kingdom. Among these was Beth-el, which with its sacred associations, he might be strongly desirous to wrest from profanation.
Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died.
Neither did Jeroboam recover strength. The disastrous action at Zemaraim, which caused the loss of the entire flower and chivalry of his army, broke his spirits and crippled his power.
The Lord struck him, and he died - i:e., Jeroboam. He lived, indeed, two years after the death of Abijah (1 Kings 14:20; 1 Kings 15:9). But he had been threatened with great calamities upon himself and his house; and it is apparently to the execution of these threatenings, which issued in his death, an anticipatory reference is here made.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/
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