This chapter relates to us the history of Abijah, the son of Rehoboam. And here we have the melancholy account of the wars between Judah and Israel. This brings us to the close of Abijah's history.
The Reader will do well to consult the parallel history, 1Ki 15 though it is more fully related here concerning the reign of Abijah than in that sacred record. But the subject is truly interesting; and the Reader will, I hope, not fail to regard it. The name of Abijah is striking; Abba, Father; Jab, Jehovah; meaning, the Lord is my Father.
His army was greatly inferior. But this he regards not. He pleads right, as descended from David; whereas Jeroboam is an usurper. The covenant of salt should seem to imply a covenant with sacrifice. For every sacrifice is salted with salt. David, with an eye to Christ, had so expressed himself, Psalms 50:5. It is precious to see so much of Jesus in the general circumstances of the people in those remote ages. By Abijah standing upon mount Ephraim, it is clear that he had penetrated pretty far into the heart of Jeroboam's dominions.
This speech of Abijah is very animated and powerful. He points out the iniquity of Jeroboam, who as a servant had stood up in open rebellion against his Lord. He bids the people take notice what vain, light, and trifling men were his supporters. He next adverts to the awful state in which he and his army stood, in respect to religion. He had thrown off the true religion of the God of Israel, and had set up calves for gods, and consecrated unhallowed men for his priests. As if he had said, Is it possible that any among you can conceive that such a cause can prosper?
Abijah, having in the former part of his speech pointed out the badness of the cause of his enemies, in those verses calls upon the people to judge of the goodness of his cause from the Lord. He strongly represents that his priests are the descendants of Aaron, and dwells more particularly, (and I wish the Reader not to overlook this part of his address) on that distinguishing character of the true religion, the observance of the burnt sacrifice in the morning and evening of every day. Reader! was not this evidently with an eye to Christ? Sweet thought! If Jesus be for us who can be against us!
It should seem that while Abijah was addressing the armies Jeroboam artfully sent off a party to surround him.
This is a beautiful testimony of piety; this cry unto the Lord.
And this is as sweet a testimony of the Lord's hearing and answering prayer. - It was not Abijah's sword, not Abijah's speech, but it was the Lord that smote Jeroboam and Israel with him.
The event was truly awful. This slaughter is the greatest that we ever read of in sacred history.
What a short but awful account doth the Holy Ghost give of this man! think only what a terror this wretch had been to multitudes. Like another Herod, the Lord smites him, and he dies. Oh! did but such characters consider what feeble creatures they are in the midst of all their boasting, what a check might it give to the vanity of their mind! See Acts 12:23.
There appears to have been no grace in Abijah's heart; though the Lord was pleased to make him an instrument in his hand for the destruction of Jeroboam. Reader! is not this the case in the present hour?
IT is hardly possible to read the history of war and bloodshed without having our minds led out to the serious consequences of sin, which hath introduced death with all its trains of evil. Behold, Reader, in the example before us, how the descendants of Jacob, in the different tribes and families, have lost sight of their original stock, and are employed in destroying one another. Oh! the wretched consequences of a fallen state! precious Jesus! here again, as in a thousand other instances, let me pause to praise thee for thy gracious interposition in the redemption of our fallen nature!
Lord! I beseech thee that in all the conflicts and warfares in which my soul may be engaged, give me to see, like Abijah, that the Lord is on my side, then need I not fear what men can do unto me. And oh, Lord! let my cause be on the same side as his was, with the house of David. Jesus is my lawful sovereign: by heirship; for the Father hath made him heir of all things; and by purchase and by conquest, for he hath purchased my redemption with his blood; and by the victory of his grace over my heart, he hath a rightful claim to my obedience and my love. Lord, grant that I may never be found lifting up the heel of disobedience against thee, lest like Jeroboam the Lord smite me, and I never after recover strength to lift up my head. But make me the willing subject of thy grace, that my knee may bow before thee, and with all the redeemed joyfully confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. - Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany