1 Kings 15


Abijah’s Reign in Judah (15:1-8)

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible explains, “The author of 1 & 2 Kings describes the reign of each king of Judah in a typical pattern: the date of his accession in chronological relationship to the current king of the other kingdom (15:1), the length of his reign, the name of his mother (15:2), a spiritual evaluation of his character (15:3-5), details of his reign (15:6-7), sources where further data about him could be found (15:7), where he was buried, and his successor’s name (15:8).”

      • Also note, most Hebrew MSS read “Abijam.” However, as the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible footnotes explains, “Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Chron 12:16)” read “Abijah.” So, for clarity and continuity, I have opted for this spelling.

    • In the 18th year of Jeroboam’s (who was Nebat’s son) reign, Abijah became king of Judah. He ruled for 3 years in Jerusalem. His mother was Maacah, who was Absalom’s daughter.

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible clarifies, “There were two kings in Israelite history known by this name [Jeroboam]. Jeroboam I, mentioned here, was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel, reigning from c. 930 to 910 BC…”

      • Again, I have opted for clarity and continuity in spelling in the case of Absalom, where MT reads Abishalom. NET Bible explains, “Abishalom (also in v. 10) is a variant of the name Absalom (cf. 2 Chr 11:20). The more common form is used by TEV, NLT.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Abijam…reigned from 913 to 910 BC…Abijam’s mother was Maacah, Rehoboam’s favorite of his eighteen wives. She was the granddaughter of Absalom. Presumably this Absalom is David’s son. Maacah, an idol worshiper, was an evil spiritual influence in Judah (15:13).”

    • Abijah followed all the sinful practices that his father had done before him. His heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh his God like his ancestor David’s heart had been. Nevertheless, for David’s sake, Yahweh his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by protecting Jerusalem. He did this because David had done what was right in Yahweh’s eyes and had not turned aside from anything He had commanded him his entire life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Despite Abijam’s unfaithfulness, God remained faithful to his covenant with David (2 Sam 7:12-16; Ps 89:19-29) and preserved David’s line on Judah’s throne. Each king that followed David was to be a lamp, dispensing the light of God’s grace (1 Kgs 11:36).”

    • The war begun between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued throughout Abijah’s lifetime. The rest of the events of Abijah’s reign, including his accomplishments, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Judah.” There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him as king.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Abijam inherited the hostility between the northern and southern kingdoms. Like Rehoboam (14:30), he faced war with Jeroboam…”

Asa’s Reign in Judah (15:9-24)

    • In the 20th year of Jeroboam’s reign over Israel, Asa became the king of Judah. He reigned 41 years in Jerusalem. His grandmother was Maacah, who was Absalom’s daughter.

      • HCSB clarifies, “The ‘twentieth year’ was 910 BC. Asa reigned for 41 years until 869 BC.”

    • Asa did what was right in Yahweh’s eyes, as his ancestor David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols his ancestors had made. He even removed his grandmother, Maacah, from being queen mother because she had made a repulsive image of Asherah. Asa cut down her repulsive image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. He didn’t remove the high places, but Asa’s heart was fully devoted to Yahweh for his entire life. He brought the holy items that he and his father had made- silver, gold, and other articles- into Yahweh’s house.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “The first ten years of Asa’s long reign were peaceful (2 Chr 14:1-7), perhaps due to his father’s decisive victory over Jeroboam…Asa’s effort to restrict idolatry and pagan fertility rites even extended to Maacah, deposing her from her influential role as queen mother (15:13; 2 Chr 15:16). The Kidron Valley became a place for reforming kings of Judah to destroy pagan idols (2 Kgs 23:4-15; 2 Chr 29:16; 30:14).”

      • Guzik notes, “2 Chronicles 14:3 says that Asa did remove the high places, but it mentions these high places in connection with altars of the foreign gods. Therefore, Asa removed the high places that were dedicated to idols, but not the ones that were dedicated to the LORD.”

    • Now Asa and King Baasha of Israel were continually at war with each other throughout their reigns. Israel’s King Baasha attacked Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Judah’s King Asa.

      • ESV Study Bible explains, “Asa’s reign in Judah was a long one, and he saw five Israelite kings rise and fall before the infamous Ahab began his rule (16:29). Baasha is the second of these (15:33-16:7), and he finds Asa’s military position so precarious that he is able to push into Benjamin and fortify (build up) Ramah, only a few miles north of Jerusalem.”

    • Asa took all the gold and silver that was left in the treasuries of Yahweh’s house and the royal house and gave it to his servants. Then he told them to deliver it to Ben Hadad, who was Tabrimmon’s son, who was Hezion’s son, the king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, along with this message: “Let’s make a covenant together, like the one between my father and your father. Look, I’ve sent you a gift of silver and gold. Break your covenant with King Baasha of Israel so that he will withdraw from my land.”

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible notes, “Asa was forced to send a substantial bribe to Damascus in an attempt to buy a new friend, reviving the treaty between his father, Abijah, and the previous Syrian king, Tabrimmon.”

    • Ben Hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies to attack the cities of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the territory of Naphtali, including Kinnereth. When Baasha heard about this, he stopped fortifying Ramah and lived in Tirzah. Then King Asa commanded everyone in Judah, with no exceptions, to carry away the stones and wood that Baasha had used to build Ramah. Then King Asa used those materials to build up Geba, in Benjamin, and Mizpah.

Image via ESV Study Bible p. 630

      • ESV Archaeology Study Bible says, “Geba (modern Jeba) is located about 11 miles northeast of Jerusalem, just south of the Michmash Pass. To the west, Mizpah (Tell en-Nasbeh) lies 8 miles northwest of Jerusalem, about halfway between Ramah and Bethel. Both sites were strategically located on the north-south routes in and out of Judah, but only Mizpah has been excavated. At Mizpah archaeologists discovered a massive stone wall measuring 2,165 feet long, 39-46 feet high, and 13 feet thick. Incorporated into the wall were 11 stone towers and a monumental gate complex…These fortifications are likely those built by Asa in the ninth century BC.”

    • The rest of the events of Asa’s reign, including all of his successes and accomplishments, and the cities he built are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Judah.” In his old age he developed a disease in his feet. Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his ancestor David. His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him as king.

      • Guzik comments, citing Wiseman, “Some think that Asa’s foot ailment was gout, ‘but gout was uncommon in Palestine and ancient Egypt and it is more likely, in view of Asa’s age, the severity of the disease and death within two years, to have been a peripheral obstructive vascular disease with ensuing gangrene’ (Wiseman).”

Nadab’s Reign in Israel (15:25-32)

      • HCSB writes, “The focus of the narrative shifts to Israel, the northern kingdom, until the final verses of the book.”

    • In the 2nd year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king over Israel. He ruled over Israel for 2 years. He did evil in Yahweh’s eyes, following in his father’s footsteps and in his sin that he caused Israel to commit.

    • Baasha, Ahijah’s son, from the tribe of Issachar, conspired against Nadab and assassinated him while he and the Israelite army were laying seige to the Philistine city of Gibbethon. Baasha killed Nadab in the 3rd year of King Asa’s reign over Judah, and replaced him as king. When Baasha became king, he executed Jeroboam’s entire family. He wiped out everyone who breathed in accordance with the word of Yahweh that He spoke through His servant Ahijah from Shiloh. This happened because of the sins Jeroboam committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because of the anger to which he had provoked Yahweh, the God of Israel.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Baasha…assassinated…Nadab and slaughtered all the descendants of…Jeroboam, thus terminating Israel’s first dynasty. Baasha’s father was named Ahijah, who is not to be confused with the prophet who predicted the demise of Jeroboam’s dynasty…”

      • ESV Study Bible says, “Baasha fulfills the prophecy of 14:10-11.”

    • The rest of the events of Nadab’s reign, including all of his accomplishments, are written in the book, “Annals of the Kings of Israel.” Throughout their reigns, Asa and King Baasha of Israel were at war with each other.

Baasha’s Reign in Israel (15:33-16:7)

    • In the 3rd year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Ahijah’s son Baasha became king over Israel at Tirzah. He reigned for 24 years. He did what is evil in Yahweh’s eyes, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin that Jeroboam caused Israel to commit.

      • HCSB notes, “Asa’s ‘third year’ was 908 BC… Baasha reigned 24 years, until 886 BC.”

Click here to go to chapter 16