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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

1 Kings 15

Verses 1-8

Abijam King Over Judah

Rehoboam is succeeded by his son Abijam. The name of the mother of Abijam is mentioned. She is a daughter of Abishalom. The mention of the mother’s name is more common in the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings. It is not so much the fathers, but especially the mothers who have a great influence on the development of the child in the upbringing. It is about the orientation of life, on which it focuses, which is given as a goal for life.

Abijam is a boy who follows the example of his father. Where the mother tries to teach the child the values of life – which can happen both positively and negatively – the father often provides an example in the way life is filled in. “Like father, like son” is the saying. Abijam walks in the sins his father committed before him.

However, any wrong upbringing methods and wrong examples do not change our own responsibility. Abijam walks in sin because his heart is not completely devoted to the LORD. For us as parents it is important that we raise well and set a good example. However, the child must learn to finally do the Lord’s will and cannot hide behind a defective upbringing or a bad example.

For David’s sake the LORD will not put an end to his house. In Jerusalem he holds a lamp for David. This means that the light does not go out. The LORD is holding a testimony for Himself, according to the word that the prophet Ahijah has spoken (1Kgs 11:36). Fortunately, God also has someone in our days for the sake of Whom He does not definitively settle with the church. He maintains a ‘Philadelphia’, a remnant that remains faithful to Him and His Word and that does not deny His Name (Rev 3:8).

Like Rehoboam, Abijam is someone who has not completely rejected the LORD. That is clear from what is written about him in 2 Chronicles 13 (2Chr 13:4-19). But he does not follow Him completely either. He has reserved only a small part of his heart for the LORD, and the rest is for himself and his sins. It is not just about whether our heart is for the Lord, but whether our whole heart is undivided for Him.

The battle that there was between his father Rehoboam and Jeroboam (1Kgs 15:6), continues between Abijam and Jeroboam, until Abijam dies. Abijam is succeeded by his son Asa.

Verses 9-15

Asa King Over Judah

Asa becomes king of Judah in the twentieth year of Jeroboam. He reigns for a long time. In 2 Chronicles three chapters are devoted to his history (2 Chronicles 14-16). The name of his mother is also mentioned. It is the same name as that of the mother of his father Abijam. It will be so that Maacah is his grandmother by whom he is raised (1Kgs 15:13).

Then we see here a happy exception, as we see more in the books 1 Kings and 2 Kings. Asa escapes from the influence of his educator and has his own relationship with God. He does what is right in the sight of the LORD, as did his father David. He does not follow the bad example of his father Abijam, but the good example of David. So it can be.

He puts away people who focus on prostitution. That’s something else than the tolerance and even legalization of all kinds of fornication by today’s rulers. He even removes his grandmother. She is someone with greater influence than just on her family, but Asa loves God more than his closest family. He dedicates his possessions to the LORD.

Verses 16-22

War Between Asa and Baasha

There is war between Asa and Baasha. This leads Baasha to turn Ramah into a fortress that must form a blockade between the two empires, so that his subjects cannot go to Judah. He does so in Ramah, on the border between Judah and Israel, about six and a half kilometers north of Jerusalem.

What is the building of Rama all about? To take away the freedom to worship in Jerusalem. This freedom is also at stake in Christianity today. The question is how we react when Christians, fellow believers, want to prevent us from worshipping in the way God has shown in His Word. These hindrances may lie in the insistence on an unbiblical expansion – the admission of methods or persons who are excluded from worship by God’s Word – or the insistence on unbiblical restriction – the hindrances of methods and persons who according to God’s Word should participate in worship.

Then comes the trial. Baasha, the king of Israel, threatens him. Asa’s reaction is unfortunately not a sign of faith. He seeks support from the king of Syria and buys that support with the remaining treasures of the temple. He also appeals to a treaty made between their ancestors. Ben-hadad is bribed. However, he not only breaks his treaty with Baasha, but also deprives him of a number of cities. The consequence of the bribery of Asa is loss of God’s land.

Asa succeeds in his aim. Baasha gives up his plan and withdraws. What Asa continues to do does not seem right either. He takes the things Baasha has used and with them he will strengthen some cities of his own realm. In the application we can ask ourselves whether God would want us to take means by which the enemy strengthens himself and attacks us, and use them to strengthen ourselves through them. When Jericho was conquered, the people were not allowed to take anything of it, but had to ban everything (Jos 6:16-18). It is possible to use things we have conquered from the world for the Lord. But then it must first be dedicated to Him.

Verses 23-24

The Death of Asa

The only thing left of Asa seems to confirm the idea that he did not handle Baasha’s material in the right way. He is diseased in his feet. That means, as applied, that his walk with God becomes flawed. With Asa we see what we see with many kings: they start well, but at the end they become unfaithful.

Here stops in 1 Kings for a longer time the description of the history of the kings of Judah. From now on, it is mainly about the kings of Israel.

Verses 25-32

Nadab King Over Israel

For the continuation of the histories of the kings of Israel, the historian goes back to the second year of Asa’s reign over Judah. Asa has successively experienced six kings over Israel: Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri and Ahab, kings about whom we read in the following chapters. In the second year of Asa Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, comes to power in Israel. He reigns briefly, only two years. However, it is long enough to characterize him as a king who does what is evil in the sight of the LORD. He walks in the way of his father Jeroboam.

Baasha has probably been commander of the army, which gives him the opportunity to forge a conspiracy against Nadab. Baasha kills Nadab in Gibbethon, a city of the Levites (Jos 21:23). He does so, while Nadab is busy regaining possession of this city, which apparently ended up in Philistine hands. Possibly the city has become an easy prey for the Philistines because the Levites had left it when Jeroboam himself appointed priests (1Kgs 12:31; 2Chr 11:13-15).

Baasha then fulfills the prophecy Ahijah spoke (1Kgs 14:14). Not that Baasha does it because of that. He acts purely in his own interest. Yet as an instrument of God, he carried out God’s judgment on the house of Jeroboam. By the way, Baasha does more than is predicted over Jeroboam’s house. God has judged everything male, but Baasha destroys any persons alive. This is also one of the reasons why he himself receives God’s judgment over himself (1Kgs 16:7).

The fraternal twist between the two realms is also continued by Baasha and Asa.

Verses 33-34

Baasha King Over Israel

Baasha chooses Tirzah as his residence. He murdered Jeroboam and his house, but not the spirit of idolatry that characterized Jeroboam. He upholds the idolatry of Jeroboam and thereby does what is evil in the sight of the LORD.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Kings 15". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.