2 Chronicles 13:8
And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and you be a great multitude, and there are with your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) And now ye think.—Literally, say, i.e., in your hearts (2Chronicles 2:1).

To withstand the kingdom.—Literally, to show yourselves strong before the kingdom, as in last verse.

In (through) the hand of the sons of David.—The meaning is, the kingdom which Jehovah holds by the instrumentality of the house of David, as His earthly representatives. (Comp. Vulg., “regno Domini quod possidet per filios David.” (See 1Chronicles 29:23).

And there are with you golden calves.—And therefore you believe yourselves assured of Divine aid, in addition to the strength of numbers. But your trust is delusive, for Jeroboam made the objects of your fond idolatry (see Isaiah 44:9-17); and you have superseded the only lawful worship of Jehovah (2Chronicles 13:9).

2 Chronicles 13:8. Ye think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord — That kingdom which was not set up by vain men, in pursuance of their own ambition and discontent, as yours was, but ordained and established by God himself in the house of David. And ye be — Or, because ye be, a great multitude — This he mentions, as being both the ground of their confidence, namely, that they had more tribes, and a greater host; and also a presage of their downfall, which their trusting to the arm of flesh was. And there are with you golden calves — Or, But there are, &c. There is that among you which may damp your courage and confidence: you worship those images which God abhors. Which Jeroboam made you for gods — Or, for God, as that plural word is most commonly used: that is, instead of God, to give them the name of God, and that worship which is peculiar to him.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.It has been proposed to change the numbers, here and in 2 Chronicles 13:17, into 40,000, 80,000, and 50,000 respectively - partly because these smaller numbers are found in many early editions of the Vulgate, but mainly because the larger ones are thought to be incredible. The numbers accord well, however, with the census of the people taken in the reign of David 1 Chronicles 21:5, joined to the fact which the writer has related 2 Chronicles 11:13-17, of a considerable subsequent emigration from the northern kingdom into the southern one. The total adult male population at the time of the census was 1,570, 000. The total of the fighting men now is 1,200, 000. This would allow for the aged and infirm 370, 000, or nearly a fourth of the whole. And in 2 Chronicles 13:17, our author may be understood to mean that this was the entire Israelite loss in the course of the war, which probably continued through the whole reign of Abijah. 4-12. Abijah stood up upon Mount Zemaraim—He had entered the enemy's territory and was encamped on an eminence near Beth-el (Jos 18:22). Jeroboam's army lay at the foot of the hill, and as a pitched battle was expected, Abijah, according to the singular usage of ancient times, harangued the enemy. The speakers in such circumstances, while always extolling their own merits, poured out torrents of invective and virulent abuse upon the adversary. So did Abijah. He dwelt on the divine right of the house of David to the throne; and sinking all reference to the heaven-condemned offenses of Solomon and the divine appointment of Jeroboam, as well as the divine sanction of the separation, he upbraided Jeroboam as a usurper, and his subjects as rebels, who took advantage of the youth and inexperience of Rehoboam. Then contrasting the religious state of the two kingdoms, he drew a black picture of the impious innovations and gross idolatry introduced by Jeroboam, with his expulsion and impoverishment (2Ch 11:14) of the Levites. He dwelt with reasonable pride on the pure and regular observance of the ancient institutions of Moses in his own dominion [2Ch 13:11] and concluded with this emphatic appeal: "O children of Israel, fight ye not against Jehovah, the God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper." The kingdom of the Lord in the land of the sons of David; that kingdom which was not set up by vain men in pursuance of their own ambition and discontent, as yours was, but ordained and established by God himself in the house of David.

And ye be a great multitude, or because (that Hebrew particle being oft so used) ye be, &c. This he mentions partly as the ground of their confidence, that they had more tribes and a greater host; and partly as a presage of their downfall, which trusting to the arm of flesh is.

And there are with you golden calves, or, but there are, &c. There is that among you which may damp your courage and confidence: you worship those images which God abhors and severely forbids.

For gods, or for God, as that plural word is most commonly used, i.e. instead of God, to give them the name of God, as Exodus 32:4, and that worship which is peculiar to him. And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David,.... To oppose them, prevail over them, and get it out of their hands, which is delivered to them by the Lord, as the Targum:

and ye be a great multitude; of which they boasted, and in which they trusted, being ten tribes to two, and in this army two to one:

and there are with you golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods; or, "but (r) there are with you", &c. which Abijah suggests would be so far from helping them, that they would be their ruin, they having, by the worship of them, provoked the Lord against them.

(r) So Grotious, Schnidt, and others.

And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with your golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 8, 9. - The five succeeding thrusts of these two verses, prefaced by the somewhat self-conscious but, nevertheless, validly pleaded orthodoxy of his own position, are well delivered by Abijah. Jeroboam is scathed

(1) for his confidence in a great multitude;

(2) for his golden calves for gods;

(3) for what amounted necessarily to the excommunication and repudiation of the priests of the Lord, time- and nation-honoured;

(4) for the mere manufacture of a new-fangled priesthood, and that after the modal of nations foreign and heathen;

(5) for the fact that, when these were made, they that made them, and the gods for whom they were made, were all three "like to" one another - no true people, no true priests, and no gods at all! A young bullock and seven rams The consecration sacrifice for the whole line of priests was "one young bullock and two rams without blemish" (Exodus 29:1, 15, 19; Leviticus 8:2). Of course, Jeroboam felt his own position in the matter so weak, that each false, illegitimate candidate for the priestly service must bring his sacrifice, and that a larger one by five rams than the divinely ordered one of Moses. The commencement and duration of the reign, as in 1 Kings 15:1-2. Abijah's mother is here (2 Chronicles 13:2) called Michaiah instead of Maachah, as in 2 Chronicles 11:20 and 1 Kings 15:2, but it can hardly be a second name which Maachah had received for some unknown reason; probably מיכיהו is a mere orthographical error for מעכה. She is here called, not the daughter equals granddaughter of Abishalom, but after her father, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah; see on 2 Chronicles 11:20.

(Note: Against this Bertheau remarks, after the example of Thenius: "When we consider that the wife of Abijah and mother of Asa was also called Maachah, 1 Kings 15:13; 2 Chronicles 15:16, and that in 1 Kings 15:2 this Maachah is again called the daughter of Abishalom, and that this latter statement is not met with in the Chronicle, we are led to conjecture that Maachah, the mother of Abijah, the daughter of Abishalom, has been confounded with Maachah the mother of Asa, the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah, and that in our passage Asa's mother is erroneously named instead of the mother of Abijah." This conjecture is a strange fabric of perverted facts and inconsequential reasoning. In 1 Kings 15:2 Abijam's mother is called Maachah the daughter of Abishalom, exactly as in 2 Chronicles 11:20 and 2 Chronicles 11:21; and in 1 Kings 15:13, in perfect agreement with 2 Chronicles 15:16, it is stated that Asa removed Maachah from the dignity of Gebira because she had made herself a statute of Asherah. This Maachah, deposed by Asa, is called in 1 Kings 15:10 the daughter of Abishalom, and only this latter remark is omitted from the Chronicle. How from these statements we must conclude that the mother of Abijah, Maachah the daughter of Abishalom, has been confounded with Maachah the mother of Asa, the daughter of Uriel, we cannot see. The author of the book of Kings knows only one Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom, whom in 2 Chronicles 15:2 he calls mother, i.e., גּבירה, i.e., Sultana Walide of Abijah, and in 2 Chronicles 15:10 makes to stand in the same relationship of mother to Asa. From this, however, the only natural and logically sound conclusion which can be drawn is that Abijam's mother, Rehoboam's wife, occupied the position of queen-mother, not merely during the three years' reign of Abijam, but also during the first years of the reign of his son Asa, as his grandmother, until Asa had deprived her of this dignity because of her idolatry. It is nowhere said in Scripture that this woman was Abijam's wife, but that is a conclusion drawn by Thenius and Bertheau only from her being called אמּו, his (Asa's) mother, as if אם could denote merely the actual mother, and not the grandmother. Finally, the omission in the Chronicle of the statement in 1 Kings 15:10, "The name of his mother was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom," does not favour in the very least the conjecture that Asa's mother has been confounded with the mother of Abijah; for it is easily explained by the fact that at the accession of Asa no change was made in reference to the dignity of queen-mother, Abijah's mother still holding that position even under Asa.)

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