2 Chronicles 13:13
But Jeroboam caused an ambush to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambush was behind them.
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(13) But Jeroboam caused . . .—Now Jeroboam had brought the ambush round, in order to attack (literally, approach) them in the rear (literally, from behind them; so they (Jeroboam and his main body) were in front of Judah, and the ambush was in their rear.

The ambush.—The troops which Jeroboam had detached for that service.

2 Chronicles 13:13. But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come behind — While Abijah was discoursing, he took the advantage thus afforded him of sending a party of soldiers privately to lie in ambush, and attack Abijah’s army behind, while he continued to face them with his main body. It does not appear that he made any answer to Abijah’s speech. The longest sword, he thinks, must determine the matter, not the better cause.13:1-22 Abijah overcomes Jeroboam. - Jeroboam and his people, by apostacy and idolatry, merited the severe punishment Abijah was permitted to execute upon them. It appears from the character of Abijah, 1Ki 15:3, that he was not himself truly religious, yet he encouraged himself from the religion of his people. It is common for those that deny the power of godliness, to boast of the form of it. Many that have little religion themselves, value it in others. But it was true that there were numbers of pious worshippers in Judah, and that theirs was the more righteous cause. In their distress, when danger was on every side, which way should they look for deliverance unless upward? It is an unspeakable comfort, that our way thither is always open. They cried unto the Lord. Earnest prayer is crying. To the cry of prayer they added the shout of faith, and became more than conquerors. Jeroboam escaped the sword of Abijah, but God struck him; there is no escaping his sword.Seven rams - "A bullock and two rams" was the offering which God had required at the original consecration of the sons of Aaron Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 8:2. Jeroboam, for reasons of his own, enlarged the sacrifice, and required it at the consecration of every priest. 13-17. But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them—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; for while he was wasting time in useless words, Jeroboam had ordered a detachment of his men 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 Israelitish 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 (Nu 10:9; 31:6). Reassured by the well-known signal, the men of Judah responded with a 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, for "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. Whilst Abijah was discoursing, Jeroboam takes the advantage of it to lay an ambush. But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them,.... While Abijah was making his oration, he detached a party from his army, which got about, and lay in ambush, behind the army of Abijah:

so they were before Judah; Jeroboam and the greater part of his army:

and the ambushment was behind them; which Jeroboam had sent thither.

But Jeroboam caused an ambushment {m} to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them.

(m) Contemning the good counsel which came from the Spirit of God, he thought to have overcome by deceit.

13. Jeroboam caused an ambushment] While Abijah was endeavouring to shake the fidelity of the Northern army, the Northern leader was not idle.Verses 13-16. - These verses purport to tell how Jeroboam, with all his vastly preponderating numbers (ver. 3), left nothing undone to secure the victory, and resorted even to the ambushment described; how, on the other hand, Abijah and his people honoured God by their cry and confident shout, and were delivered because they trusted in him (1 Samuel 17:45-47), and as follows, ver. 18, "relied upon the Lord God of their fathers." "Is it not to you to know?" i.e., can it be unknown to you? מלח בּרית, accus. of nearer definition: after the fashion of a covenant of salt, i.e., of an irrevocable covenant; cf. on Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19. "And Jeroboam, the servant of Solomon the son of David (cf. 1 Kings 11:11), rebelled against his lord," with the help of frivolous, worthless men (רקים as in Judges 9:4; Judges 11:3; בליּעל בּני as in 1 Kings 21:10, 1 Kings 21:13 -not recurring elsewhere in the Chronicle), who gathered around him, and rose against Rehoboam with power. על התאמּץ, to show oneself powerful, to show power against any one. Against this rising Rehoboam showed himself not strong enough, because he was an inexperienced man and soft of heart. נער denotes not "a boy," for Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he entered upon his reign, but "an inexperienced young man," as in 1 Chronicles 29:1. לבב רך, soft of heart, i.e., faint-hearted, inclined to give way, without energy to make a stand against those rising insolently against him. lp' התחזק ולא, and showed himself not strong before them, proved to be too weak in opposition to them. This representation does not conform to the state of the case as narrated in 2 Chronicles 10. Rehoboam did not appear soft-hearted and compliant in the negotiation with the rebellious tribes at Sichem; on the contrary, he was hard and defiant, and showed himself youthfully inconsiderate only in throwing to the winds the wise advice of the older men, and in pursuance of the rash counsel of the young men who had grown up with him, brought about the rupture by his domineering manner. But Abijah wishes to justify his father as much as possible in his speech, and shifts all the guilt of the rebellion of the ten tribes from the house of David on to Jeroboam and his worthless following.
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