Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2 Chronicles 13

Introduction

ABIJAH’S REIGN, 2 Chronicles 13:1-22.

Comp. 1 Kings 15:1-8, notes. The chronicler adds greatly to our knowledge of Abijah’s reign by giving an extended account of the war between him and Jeroboam.

Verse 2

2. Michaiah Probably a copyist’s error for Maachah.

Daughter of Uriel And granddaughter of Absalom. 1 Kings 15:2, note.

Verse 3

3. Set the battle in array Literally, joined the battle; that is, opened the war; began the fight.

Jeroboam also set the battle in array The verb here is different from that translated by the same words above. Abijah began the war in order to punish Jeroboam and Israel for rebellion, and Jeroboam ordered out his army for defense. The numbers 800,000 and 400,000 seem incredibly large; but perhaps the author only meant to designate the forces which each kingdom could command, not to say that all these 1,200,000 were engaged in any one battle. Compare the number of fighting men in David’s time. 2 Samuel 24:9.

Verse 4

4. Stood up upon mount Zemaraim A general standing upon an eminence, could, like Jotham on Mount Gerizim, speak so as to be heard by a vast audience below. See note on Judges 9:7. The locality of Mount Zemaraim is uncertain. Some have thought to connect it with the Benjamite town of the same name mentioned in Joshua 18:22. But that was in the Jordan valley, this in Mount Ephraim. It was probably an eminence near the border of the two kingdoms, perhaps not far from Beth-el, near which the great battle was fought.

Hear me, thou Jeroboam Abijah vainly thinks to make his enemies see the sin and folly of their separating from the kingdom of David. His speech was one sided, for he failed to observe that the permanency and integrity of David’s kingdom were conditioned upon obedience.

Verse 5

5. A covenant of salt The meat-offering was a standing memorial of God’s covenant with man, and could never be lawfully offered without salt.

Leviticus 2:13. Salt, the symbol of perpetuity and incorruptibility, became therefore proverbially associated with the Israelitish notion of a sacred and inviolable covenant. Hence “a covenant of salt” is equivalent to “a holy and inviolable covenant.” Compare Numbers 18:19.

Verse 12

12. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers Abijah’s speech, throughout, rings with the true theocratic spirit, but, as mentioned above, it fails to note all the facts involved in the division of the empire of David and Solomon. Its earnest and solemn appeals, however, may have had much to do with the defeat of Israel, for God may have caused it to terrify multitudes of Jeroboam’s warriors.

Verse 17

17. There fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men These many slain ( חללים , pierced, wounded) probably include both killed and wounded during the whole war; not those who fell in any one engagement.

Verse 18

18. Israel were brought under Rather, were humbled. Jehovah saw fit to humble and defeat their pride, and he did so by means of Abijah and his army.

Verse 19

19. Beth-el with the towns thereof It must have been a great humiliation to Jeroboam to lose this ancient city, the principal seat of his calf worship. It was subsequently recovered by the northern kingdom, but when and by whom is not recorded. The sites of Jeshanah… and Ephraim are now unknown.

Verse 20

20. The Lord struck him, and he died We have elsewhere no intimation that Jeroboam died suddenly or by any special stroke of Divine judgment. He outlived Abijah some two years. But probably the stroke here referred to, and that which hastened Jeroboam’s death, was the fearful prophecy of Ahijah, which foretold the utter extermination of Jeroboam’s house. Comp. 1 Kings 14:7-16.

Verse 22

22. The story of the prophet Iddo Rather, the midrash, or commentary of the prophet Iddo. A work apparently different from that “against Jeroboam,” (2 Chronicles 9:29,) and that “concerning genealogies,” (2 Chronicles 14:15,) by the same prophet. The name would seem to show that it was a prophetical work consisting of comments and moral reflections on the ways and acts of the king. See Introduction.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/2-chronicles-13.html. 1874-1909.