Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.
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 But afterwards, when he was found "walking in all the sins of his father" [1Ki 15:3], that honorable addition was withdrawn, and his name in sacred history changed into Abijam [Lightfoot].
Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
2. Three years reigned he—(compare 1Ki 15:1 with 1Ki 15:9). Parts of years are often counted in Scripture as whole years. The reign began in Jeroboam's eighteenth year, continued till the nineteenth, and ended in the course of the twentieth.
his mother's name was Maachah—or Michaiah (2Ch 13:2), probably altered from the one to the other on her becoming queen, as was very common under a change of circumstances. She is called the daughter of Abishalom, or Absalom (2Ch 11:21), of Uriel (2Ch 13:2). Hence, it has been thought probable that Tamar, the daughter of Absalom (2Sa 14:27; 18:18), had been married to Uriel, and that Maachah was their daughter.
And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
3. his heart was not perfect with the Lord … , as the heart of David his father—(Compare 1Ki 11:4; 14:22). He was not positively bad at first, for it appears that he had done something to restore the pillaged treasures of the temple (1Ki 15:15). This phrase contains a comparative reference to David's heart. His doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord (1Ki 15:5) is frequently used in speaking of the kings of Judah, and means only that they did or did not do that which, in the general course and tendency of their government, was acceptable to God. It furnishes no evidence as to the lawfulness or piety of one specific act.
Nevertheless for David's sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
4. for David's sake did the Lord his God give him a lamp—"A lamp" in one's house is an Oriental phrase for continuance of family name and prosperity. Abijam was not rejected only in consequence of the divine promise to David (see on 1Ki 11:13-36).
Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.
Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.
And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.
And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.
1Ki 15:9-22. Asa's Good Reign.
And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
10-13. his mother's name was Maachah—She was properly his grandmother, and she is here called "the king's mother," from the post of dignity which at the beginning of his reign she possessed. Asa, as a constitutional monarch, acted like the pious David, laboring to abolish the traces and polluting practices of idolatry, and in pursuance of his impartial conduct, he did not spare delinquents even of the highest rank.
And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.
And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.
And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.
13. also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen—The sultana, or queen dowager, was not necessarily the king's natural mother (see 1Ki 2:19), nor was Maachah. Her title, and the privileges connected with that honor and dignity which gave her precedency among the ladies of the royal family, and great influence in the kingdom, were taken away. She was degraded for her idolatry.
because she had made an idol in a grove—A very obscene figure, and the grove was devoted to the grossest licentiousness. His plans of religious reformation, however, were not completely carried through, "the high places were not removed" (see 1Ki 3:2). The suppression of this private worship on natural or artificial hills, though a forbidden service after the temple had been declared the exclusive place of worship, the most pious king's laws were not able to accomplish.
But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.
And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels.
15. he brought in the things which his father had dedicated—Probably the spoils which Abijam had taken from the vanquished army of Jeroboam (see 2Ch 13:16).
and the things which himself had dedicated—after his own victory over the Cushites (2Ch 14:12).
And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
16, 17. there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days—Asa enjoyed a ten years' peace after Jeroboam's defeat by Abijam, and this interval was wisely and energetically spent in making internal reforms, as well as increasing the means of national defense (2Ch 14:1-7). In the fifteenth year of his reign, however, the king of Israel commenced hostilities against him, and, invading his kingdom, erected a strong fortress at Ramah, which was near Gibeah, and only six Roman miles from Jerusalem. Afraid lest his subjects might quit his kingdom and return to the worship of their fathers, he wished to cut off all intercourse between the two nations. Ramah stood on an eminence overhanging a narrow ravine which separated Israel from Judah, and therefore he took up a hostile position in that place.
And Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, that he might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Benhadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
18-20. Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the … house of the Lord—Asa's religious character is now seen to decline. He trusted not in the Lord (2Ch 16:7). In this emergency Asa solicited the powerful aid of the king of Damascene-Syria; and to bribe him to break off his alliance with Baasha, he transmitted to him the treasure lying in the temple and palace. The Syrian mercenaries were gained. Instances are to be found, both in the ancient and modern history of the East, of the violation of treaties equally sudden and unscrupulous, through the presentation of some tempting bribe. Ben-hadad poured an army into the northern provinces of Israel, and having captured some cities in Galilee, on the borders of Syria, compelled Baasha to withdraw from Ramah back within his own territories.
Ben-hadad—(See on 1Ki 11:14).
There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.
And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.
Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.
22. Then king Asa made a proclamation—The fortifications which Baasha had erected at Ramah were demolished, and with the materials were built other defenses, where Asa thought they were needed—at Geba (now Jeba) and Mizpeh (now Neby Samuil), about two hours' travelling north of Jerusalem.
The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet.
23. in the time of his old age he was diseased in his feet—(See on 2Ch 16:12, where an additional proof is given of his religious degeneracy.)
And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead.
And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.
1Ki 15:25-34. Nadab's Wicked Reign.
25. Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign—No record is given of him, except his close adherence to the bad policy of his father.
And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon.
27. Baasha smote him at Gibbethon—This town, within the tribe of Dan, was given to the Levites (Jos 19:44). It lay on the Philistine borders, and having been seized by that people, Nadab laid siege to recover it.
Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.
And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:
29. when he reigned, he smote all the house of Jeroboam—It was according to a barbarous practice too common in the East, for a usurper to extirpate all rival candidates for the throne; but it was an accomplishment of Ahijah's prophecy concerning Jeroboam (1Ki 14:10, 11).
Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger.
Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.
In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years.
And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.