Israel has a series of unrighteous kings after David and Solomon. This mirrors their cycle of falling prey to idolatry then repenting. The history of these kings doesn't always seem important, but each of these kings sets up the problems for the next and eventually bring about the scattering of the nation per God's curse. Not only that, they remind us of how easy it is to fall from grace. When Israel's leadership faltered, the whole nation faltered. This is still true of our world today, both in secular government and in the body of Christ. Our leaders can drive our nation to sinful behavior, just as these kings did. Similarly, when we fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ, as Israel and Judah fought, we often lose sight of God in the process.
1 Kings 15 talks about the next two rulers of Judah and Israel: Abjiam and Asa (Judah) versus Nadab and Baasha (Israel).
After Rehoboam, the king of Judah was Abijam. Abijam takes the throne 18 years after Jeroboam becomes king of the northern kingdom (Israel). Abijam reigns for 3 years in Jerusalem. Like Rehoboam, he was a sinful king and his heart was not with God. Abijam is granted the throne solely due to David's faith, just as the Israelites as a whole were granted chosen status simple because of Abraham's faith.
Abijam continued the war that began with Jeroboam and Rehoboam, but dies in the process. After his death, Abijam's son Asa takes his places as king. Possibly due to his sinfulness, Abijam only reigns for 3 years (compared to Solomon and David's 40).
Abijam is actually a descendant of Absalom, spelled Abishalom in 1 Kings 15:2. Scholars confirm that this is merely a variant spelling of Absalom.
Asa takes the throne of Judah during the 20th year of Jeroboam's reign. 1 Kings 15:10 reminds us that Asa is the grandson of Absalom's daughter Maachah; the phrase mother (or father) was often used to mean a direct ancestor and not a literal mother (or father). Unlike Abijam and Rehoboam, Asa follows God. He reigns for 41 years. Asa must have spent one year reigning jointly with his father since Abijam ruled for 3 years starting in Jeroboam's 18th year. If Asa didn't take over until after Abijam died, he would have started his reign during Jeroboam's 21st year. It is also possible that 3 is a rounded figure. If Abijam ruled for 2.5 years, Asa may have taken over in the middle of Jeroboam's 20th year.
Asa does right by God's Word. The first thing he accomplishes is to remove sodomites (male prostitutes) and idols from the city. Asa even has his grandmother removed from her position because she had made an idol. Only the altars remained from Abijam and Rehoboam's idolatry, and God was pleased with Asa.
After Jeroboam dies, Asa continues to fight a war with the northern kingdom's new king (Baasha). Notice that now instead of fighting the Canaanites as God had instructed, the Israelites were busy fighting themselves. A house divided can't stand. Unfortunately the same thing happened in our churches today. We have split into many denominations and often spend more time "warring" with each other than fighting the enemy (Satan).
Baasha captures the city of Ramah which causes problems for Asa. Asa has to take gold and silver from the Temple to pay the Syrians for an alliance. In turn the Syrians destroy many cities from the northern kingdom. It is interesting to note that despite Asa righteous heart, he does not call on God to deliver them from Israel. Perhaps he felt God would not fight His own people.
When Asa grows old, he gets a disease in his feet. I wonder if this was diabetes, since it is know to affect circulation in the foot. In any case, his son Jehosephat becomes Judah's new king.
Nadab and Baasha
In Asa's 2nd year as king, Jeroboam's son Nadab takes the throne. Nadab is also a corrupt king. He is assassinated by a man named Baasha the next year, who takes the throne of Isreal in Nadab's stead. Baasha has all of Jeroboam's descendants killed so that they cannot oppose his leadership. Baasha's 24 year reign was full of evil.
References and Footnotes
- "1 Kings 15:2 Commentary". BibleHub.com; visited January 2017
- "Foot Complications". American Diabetes Association. February 5, 2016
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