Page images

LORD to forsake idolatry, and return to their duty, he spake agreeably to the will of GOD, and as became the descendant of David: Jeroboam, on the contrary, presumptuously opposed the LORD, and, depending on his superior army, he resolved to attempt the destruction of Judah, though he had formerly been forbidden by a divine command to lift up his hand against the race of David; the LORD, therefore not only delivered Judah, but enabled Abijam, by His Almighty power, to obtain a wonderful victory over the Israelites; and we are taught to regard the DIVINE interposition, on this occasion, as a proof of GoD's remembrance of David, to whom he had promised, that his fidelity should be finally rewarded by blessings on his posterity, though for reasons, which must appear just, they would be af flicted for a time.

If Abijam and the people of Judah had continued stedfast in the principles which seemed to have actuated them on this occasion, the favour of the LORD would have remained with them for their own sakes; but we are told, that this king walked in all the sins of his father, for he removed not the high places, neither did he destroy idolatry, as he might have done, when he had Beth-el in his power; and he found by experience, that not only his people would stand by him in the attempt, but that he had the greatest reason to expect that the LORD would Himself assist him in the vindication of his honour: for this neglect, it is likely, that the LORD shortened the days of Abijam.




From 1 Kings, Chap. xv. xvi.

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.

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 Issa. char, conspired against him; and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belongeth to the Philistines, (for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon).

And Baasha 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.

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.

Because the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel to sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD GOD of Israel to anger.

And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu the son of Hanani, against Baasha, saying, Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel, and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins.

Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house: and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Him that dieth of Baasha in the city, shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth of his in the fields, shall the fowls of the air eat.


So Baasha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah, and Elah his son reigned in his stead.

And also by the hand of the prophet Jehu the son of Hanani, came the word of the LORD against Baasha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam, and because he killed Nadah.


Nadab's wicked reign was of short duration, for he shut himself totally out from the LORD's favour by idolatrous practices and hardened obduracy: therefore the treachery of Baasha was suffered to succeed against him. The cruelty of this ambitious man in destroying so many of his predecessor's relations proceeded from his own bad heart, and was therefore reckoned amongst the crimes for which he was cut off. Baasha did not, in this matter, act in consequence of any express command from God to destroy the posterity of Jeroboam, but in order to usurp the throne: he was therefore guilty of murder. We must not suppose, therefore, that he was instigated by GoD, but only that he was not restrained, as he would have been, if Jeroboam and his family had endeavoured to secure the Divine protection. We have already met with instances, in the course of this history, of the LORD's taking compassion on repentant sinners, and withholding that destruction which would have fallen on them if they had persisted in their sin, particularly in the case of David. Jeroboam and his race would have been preserved in like manner if they had imitated David's example: so that the LORD might justly say to Baasha, by the mouth of his prophet, Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee

prince over my people Israel, &c. because it would have been impossible for Baasha to have exalted himself, contrary to the DIVINE WILL.

We have cause to admire the goodness and justice of Goo in every instance, for they were both displayed, even in his dispensations towards those bad kings, who resisted his authority and despised his power.


From 1 Kings, Chap. xvi.-2 Chron. Chap. xiv, xv, xvi.

So Abijam slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.

And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his GOD.

For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:

And commanded Judah to seek the LORD GOD of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandments.

Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.

And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the LORD had given him rest.

Therefore he said unto Judah, let us build these cities; and make about them walls and towers, gates and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the LORD our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.


And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand, and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows two hun. dred and fourscore thousand; all these were mighty men of valour.

And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots and he came to Mareshah.

Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.

And Asa cried unto the LORD his GOD, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our GOD; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude: O LORD, thou art our GOD; let not man prevail against thee.

So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.

And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves: for they were destroyed before the LORD and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.

And they smote all the cities round about Gerar, for the fear of the LORD came upon them; and they spoiled all the cities, for there was exceeding much spoil in them.

They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.

And the Spirit of GoD came upon Azariah the son of Oded.

And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek


« PreviousContinue »