Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Abijam.—The form of the name given in 2 Chronicles 13, “Abijah,” is probably correct, as having a more distinct significance. The variation here, if not (as some think) a mere false reading, may have been made for the sake of distinction from the son of Jeroboam.1 Kings 15:1-2. Reigned Abijam over Judah — So his reign began with Jeroboam’s eighteenth year, continued his whole nineteenth year, and ended within his twentieth year, in which also Asa’s reign began; and thus one and the same year may be attributed to two several persons. Three years reigned he, &c. — That is, part of three years. The daughter of Abishalom — Or, of Absalom, as he is called 2 Chronicles 11:21; and because he is here mentioned as a known person, without any addition of his kindred or quality, some conceive that this was Absalom’s daughter, called properly Tamar, (2 Samuel 14:27,) and from her royal grandmother, (2 Samuel 3:3,) Maacah.1 Kings 11:43. The expression is a sort of formula, and is used with respect to all the kings of Judah, except two or three. The writer probably regards the fact, which he records so carefully, as a continuation of God's mercy to David.
His mother's name ... - The mention of the queen-mother so regularly in the account of the kings of Judah is thought to indicate that she had an important position in the state. There are, however, only two instances where such a person seems to have exercised any power 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Kings 11:1-20.
Abijam - Abijah (see the marginal reference) was probably his real name, while Abijam is a form due to the religious feeling of the Jews, who would not allow the word JAH to be retained as an element in the name of so bad a king. Instances of a similar feeling are the change of Bethel" into Beth-aven in Hosea 1 Kings Hosea 4:15, and perhaps of Jehoahaz into Ahaz (2 Kings 15:38 note).
1Ki 15:1-8. Abijam's Wicked Reign over Judah.
1. Abijam—His name was at first Abijah (2Ch 12:16); "Jah," the name of God, according to an ancient fashion, being conjoined with it. But afterwards, when he was found "walking in all the sins of his father" [1Ki 15:3], that honorable addition was withdrawn, and his name in sacred history changed into Abijam [Lightfoot].Abijam followeth his father’s sins; God however keepeth promise: he dieth, and Asa his son succeedeth him, 1 Kings 15:1-8. His good reign, 1 Kings 15:9-15. Baasha wareth against him: he maketh a league with Ben-hadad, 1 Kings 15:16-22. He dieth, and Jehoshaphat succeedeth him, 1 Kings 15:23,24. Nadab’s wicked reign: Baasha slayeth him; destroyeth his father’s house, and succeeds him: his wicked reign, 1 Kings 15:25-34.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Kings 15:1-8. Abijam, king of Judah (2 Chronicles 13:1-2)
1. reigned Abijam over Judah] Better, with R.V. began Abijam to reign. This is the sense of the verb here, though in the next verse it must be simply ‘reigned.’ The A.V. renders it ‘began to reign’ in 1 Kings 15:25 of this chapter, and elsewhere.
Abijam] The LXX. adds ‘son of Rehoboam.’ The name is Abijah in 2 Chron., and, comparing with other names of like formation, that appears the more correct.Verse 1. - Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, reigned Abijam [see note on 1 Kings 14:31. It is implied in 2 Chronicles 11:20-22 that he was not the firstborn among Rehoboam's twenty-eight sons, but the eldest son of the favourite wife. As he left behind him thirty-eight children (2 Chronicles 13:21) at his decease, some three years later, he must have been of considerable age at his accession. This consideration rather favours the idea that Rehoboam was "forty and one years old when he began to reign" (2 Chronicles 12:13)] over Judah. 2 Chronicles 12:2-9. Shishak (שׁישׁק) was the first king of the twenty-second (or Bubastitic) dynasty, called Sesonchis in Jul. Afric., Sesonchosis in Eusebius, and upon the monuments on which Champollion first deciphered his name, Sheshonk or Sheshenk. Shishak has celebrated his expedition against Judah by a bas-relief on the outer wall of the pillar-hall erected by him in the first palace at Karnak, in which more than 130 figures are led in cords by Ammon and the goddess Muth with their hands bound upon their backs. The lower portion of the figures of this long row of prisoners is covered by escutcheons, the border of which being provided with battlements, shows that the prisoners are symbols of conquered cities. About a hundred of these escutcheons are still legible, and in the names upon them a large number of the names of cities in the kingdom of Judah have been deciphered with tolerable certainty.
(Note: Compare Max Duncker, Gesch. des Alterthums, Bd. i. p. 909, ed. 3, and for the different copies of this bas-relief in the more recent works upon Egypt, Reutschi in Herzog's Cycl. (art. Rehoboam). The latest attempts at deciphering are those by Brugsch, Geogr. Inschriften in den gypt. Denkmltern, ii. p. 56ff., and O. Blau, Sisaqs Zug gegen Juda aus dem Denkmale bei Karnak erlutert, in the Deutsch. morgenl. Ztschr. xv. p. 233ff. Champollion's interpretation of one of these escutcheons, in his Prcis du systme hierogl. p. 204, viz., Juda hammalek, "the king of Judah," has been rejected by Lepsius and Brugsch as philologically inadmissible. Brugsch writes the name thus: Judh malk or Joud-hamalok, and identifies Judh with Jehudijeh, which Robinson (Pal. iii. p. 45) supposes to be the ancient Jehud (Joshua 19:45). This Jehud in the tribe of Dan, Blau (p. 238) therefore also finds in the name; and it will not mislead any one that this city is reckoned as belonging to the tribe of Dan, since in the very same chapter (Joshua 19:42) Ajalon is assigned to Dan, though it was nevertheless a fortress of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:10). But Blau has not given any explanation of the addition malk or malok, whereas Gust. Roesch takes it to be מלך, and supposes it to mean "Jehud of the king, namely, of Rehoboam or of Judah, on account of its being situated in Dan, which belonged to the northern kingdom." But this is certainly incorrect. For where could the Egyptians have obtained this exact knowledge of the relation in which the tribes of the nation of Israel stood to one another?)
Shishak was probably bent chiefly upon the conquest and plundering of the cities. But from Jerusalem, beside other treasures of the temple and palace, he also carried off the golden shields that had been made by Solomon (1 Kings 10:16), in the place of which Rehoboam had copper ones made for his body-guard. The guard, רצים, runners, are still further described as המּלך בּית פּתח בּית ה השּׁמרים, "who kept the door of the king's house," i.e., supplied the sentinels for the gate of the royal palace.
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