1 Kings 15


‘In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom. He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the LORD his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam throughout Abijah’s lifetime. As for the other events of Abijah’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. And Abijah rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. And Asa his son succeeded him as king.’ 1 Kings 15:1-8

Abijah King Of Judah

Abijah reigned over Judah in the south from 913-911 B.C., 2 Chronicles 13:1-2 / 2 Chronicles 1:22-14. Some translations have his name as Abijam. He just like Rehoboam, continued to lead God’s people in idolatry and it’s clear that he simply wanted to please the people around him because his heart wasn’t devoted to God.

For David’s sake, 1 Samuel 13:14 / Acts 13:22, Abijah’s son, Asa was given the right to rule as king in Jerusalem by God. God did this in order that the seed promise of the Messiah would be fulfilled, Genesis 12:3.

Once again we read about war, this war was between the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom, this is brother against brother. Here again we find a reference to the book of annals of the kings of Judah which have a record of Abijah’s reign and everything he did. Abijah dies and his son Asa now becomes king of Judah.

Asa King of Judah

‘In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maakah daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life. He brought into the temple of the LORD the silver and gold and the articles that he and his father had dedicated.’ 1 Kings 15:9-15

Asa reigned as king of Judah from 911-870 B.C., 2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14. Maakah was the grandmother of Asa and she was the favourite wife of Rehoboam, and, as may be inferred from the statement here, she held the important post of queen-mother, a very distinctive office in Jewish government. It’s important to note that the Jews called any female ancestor mother and any male ancestor father.

The name Abishalom, is the same as the name Absalom, but as Absalom only had one daughter, Tamar, 2 Samuel 14:27, Maacah was probably his granddaughter.

Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, he was obedient to God because he rejected the idolatrous practices and everything related to those practices. He removed his mother from her political position because she had the audacity of making an image to the Canaanite goddess Asherah and placing it in the Kidron Valley near Jerusalem.

Abijah had made dedications to the Lord, because God had given him a victory over Jeroboam, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15. Asa’s dedications were probably those which he pledged following his victory over the Cushites in the eleventh year of his reign. Sadly, because Judah felt politically insecure, he made an unwise coalition with Syria, 2 Chronicles 16:7-12.

‘There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns. Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah. Asa then took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace. He entrusted it to his officials and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, the king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. ‘Let there be a treaty between me and you,’ he said, ‘as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.’ Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maakah and all Kinnereth in addition to Naphtali. When Baasha heard this, he stopped building Ramah and withdrew to Tirzah. Then King Asa issued an order to all Judah—no one was exempt—and they carried away from Ramah the stones and timber Baasha had been using there. With them King Asa built up Geba in Benjamin, and also Mizpah.’ 1 Kings 15:16-22

The United Kingdom Of Israel has truly become the Divided Kingdoms of Israel. Here we read about the continued hostility between the two kingdoms, 2 Chronicles 14:2-3 / 2 Chronicles 15:16-16:6. The only person that could unite them again was God, but sadly that wasn’t going to happen until after the captivity.

Ramah wasn’t very far very far from Jerusalem and in the heart of Benjamin. This shows us just how aggressive Baasha was. He wanted to trap Asa and take the southern kingdom Judah. When the Cushites had invaded Judah, Asa asked God for help and guidance, 2 Chronicles 14:9-15, but now, he asked for help from the king of Syria in Damascus.

The prophet Hanani condemned Asa for this lack of faith in God and severely rebuked him and Asa responded by placing the prophet in prison, 2 Chronicles 16:7-10.

Ben-Hadad was the son of Hezion, or Rezon, who was an enemy of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:23-25. In order to break the treaty between Baasha and Syria, Asa sacrificed the remainder of the riches of the temple in order to establish an alliance with Ben-Hadad of Syria. Ben Hadad accepted the payment and then broke his alliance with Israel, 2 Chronicles 13:17-20.

Because the alliance with Israel was now broken, Baasha focused on defending his northern borders, which actually brought about some relief from the aggression of the northern kingdom. It’s at this point that Asa tears down Ramah and used the materials to construct other cities. Asa’s big mistake in all of this, was he didn’t put his faith in God to help him, he put his faith in a foreign king.

‘As for all the other events of Asa’s reign, all his achievements, all he did and the cities he built, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? In his old age, however, his feet became diseased. Then Asa rested with his ancestors and was buried with them in the city of his father David. And Jehoshaphat his son succeeded him as king.’ 1 Kings 15:23-24

Asa’s reign lasted longer than the reign of Nadab, who was the king of Israel, the northern kingdom, 2 Chronicles 16:11-17:1. In his old age Asa had some kind of foot disease, which actually begun in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, 2 Chronicles 16:12. Whilst he had this foot disease, he once again didn’t ask God for help, but asked the local doctors to help him.

Nadab King Of Israel

‘Nadab son of Jeroboam became king of Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of his father and committing the same sin his father had caused Israel to commit. Baasha son of Ahijah from the tribe of Issachar plotted against him, and he struck him down at Gibbethon, a Philistine town, while Nadab and all Israel were besieging it. Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and succeeded him as king. As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the LORD given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel. As for the other events of Nadab’s reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? There was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel throughout their reigns.’ 1 Kings 15:25-32

In these verses we have an account of Nadab’s reign and history of the northern kingdom of Israel. It’s very clear that he continued in the sins his father, Jeroboam was involved in. Baasha killed Nadab and so Nadab only reign from 910-909 B.C., which is a relatively short period of time.

Gibbethon is believed to be around 16 miles southeast of Joppa, but at this point in time it belonged to the Philistines. During the days of Joshua, Gibbethon was given to the Levites, Joshua 21:23.

Notice that Baasha ‘killed Jeroboam’s whole family’, this was fulfilment of the prophecy given by the Ahijah, 1 Kings 14:10. Nadab’s reign, and all he did, is written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel and once again the war continued between the two kingdoms.

Baasha King Of Israel

‘In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king of all Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned twenty-four years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.’ 1 Kings 15:33-34

Baasha reigned from 909-886 B.C. and to begin with, things were looking promising for him as king but as time went on, he too, just like Jeroboam started listening to the people and gave in to their idolatrous behaviour and worship.

We will read more about Baasha in the next chapter.

Go To 1 Kings 16


"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted."

Isaiah 53:4