1 Kings 15:1-8
Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.…
to the throne of Judah appears to have had one limiting principle, viz., that the successor should be of the house and lineage of David (see 2 Chronicles 13:8). Within this limit it seems -
I. IT WAS DETERMINED BY THE WILL OF THE REIGNING KING.
1. The principle of primogeniture was not considered.
(1) Else Abijam could not have ascended the throne: for he had elder brothers, sons of Mahalath and Abihail, and we know not how many besides (see 2 Chronicles 11:18-21).
(2) These were deliberately set aside by the choice of the king. The reason given for that choice is arbitrary. Rehoboam "loved Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, above all his wives," and therefore he "made Abijah, the son of Maachah, the chief ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king" (2 Chronicles 11:22, 23).
(3) For this he had precedent. We have no proof that Rehoboam was not the only son of Solomon; but Solomon was a younger son of David (see 2 Samuel 3:2-5; 2 Samuel 13:13, 14), and was preferred before his elder brethren upon the designation of his father (see 2 Chronicles 1:13, 32-35).
2. Abijam represented Rehoboam by walking in his sins.
(1) He recognized the God of Israel. This he did formally in his address to Jeroboam before engaging him in battle (see 2 Chronicles 13:4-12). So did Rehoboam recognize the God of Israel (see 2 Chronicles 12:10-12.
(2) "But his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father." David never followed idols; but Rehoboam forsook not the sins of Solomon, and Abijam forsook not the sins of Rehoboam.
(3) Their mixed worship was like that of the Samaritans of later times, who "feared the Lord and served their own gods" (2 Kings 17:32). If this was not worshipping other gods "before the Lord," it was worshipping them "beside Him" (see 2 Corinthians 6:16). Yet -
II. THE CHOICE OF REHOBOAM HAD THE DIVINE SANCTION (ver. 4).
1. Primogeniture, therefore, cannot plead Divine right.
(1) Else would not God have set aside the choice of Rehoboam in favour of his elder son, or rather, of the representative of the elder son of David?
(2) David himself was a younger son in the family of Jesse. And if we go back to earlier times, Judah, a younger son, was preferred before Reuben, in the family of Jacob. Jacob himself was chosen to the prejudice of Esau, and Isaac before him to the prejudice of Ishmael.
(3) God had His own reasons for confirming the election of Rehoboam, which, however, were different from those which moved the king.
3. God had respect to His servant David.
(1) "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord." He had no complicity with idolatry, but worshipped the one true God with pure delight. When away from the courts of the Lord he longed for them with vehement desire. What a worthy example! How it rebukes the half day worshippers of modern times!
(2) He failed only "in the matter of Uriah." That was a foul blot. How sad so grand a life should have been so darkly blurred!
(3) Yet "his heart was perfect with the Lord his God." For he heartily repented of that sin, and was forgiven (see 2 Samuel 12:18; Psalm 32:1-5; Psalm 51.) God giveth liberally and upbraideth not.
3. Therefore for David's sake Abijam reigned.
(1) "That he might always have a lamp" - a man of his line. Abijam was a son of David by an unbroken male descent, and also by a female descent. "His mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom." Abishalom is written "Absalom" in 2 Chronicles 11:21. Maachah was the daughter of Absalom as Abijam was the son of David, viz., as being descended from him. Her father's name was "Uriel of Gibeah," who appeared to have married a daughter of Absalom, who left no son (2 Chronicles 13:2). She bore the name of her grandmother, who was" Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur" (2 Samuel 3:3).
(2) Christ is the true lamp of David (see Psalm 132:17). For His sake the line of David must be preserved.
(3) The lamp, too, must shine in Jerusalem. "God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up a son after him, and to establish Jerusalem." The Redeemer must come to Zion, there to turn away iniquity from Jacob. So before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, and the family of David had lost their genealogies, Jesus came and became an expiatory sacrifice for sin. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah.