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2 Chronicles Chapter Thirteen


2 Chronicles 13 Outline of Contents

Abijah Reigns in Judah (v.1~22)

New King James Version (NKJV)



This chapter begins with the reign of Abijah, 2 Chronicles 13:1, gives an account of a battle between him and Jeroboam, previous to which Abijah made a speech to Jeroboam and his army, to vindicate his own cause, encourage his own soldiers, and intimidate the enemy, and dissuade them from fighting, 2 Chronicles 13:3 and in the mean while Jeroboam laid an ambush for him, which greatly distressed him, 2 Chronicles 13:13, nevertheless he obtained a complete victory over him, 2 Chronicles 13:15, and the chapter is concluded with some account of his family and reign, 2 Chronicles 13:21.


2 Chronicles 13:1  In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah became king over Judah.

   YLT  1In the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam -- Abijah reigneth over Judah;

Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.; see Gill on 1 Kings 15:1.


2 Chronicles 13:2  2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Michaiah[a] the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

   YLT  2three years he hath reigned in Jerusalem, (and the name of his mother [is] Michaiah daughter of Uriel, from Gibeah,) and war hath been between Abijah and Jeroboam.

He reigned three years in Jerusalem,.... See Gill on 1 Kings 15:2,

his mother's name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah; see 2 Chronicles 11:20; see Gill on 1 Kings 15:2.

and there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam; and in this chapter is an account of a battle fought between them, not recorded in the book of Kings.


2 Chronicles 13:3  3 Abijah set the battle in order with an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand choice men. Jeroboam also drew up in battle formation against him with eight hundred thousand choice men, mighty men of valor.

   YLT  3And Abijah directeth the war with a force of mighty men of war, four hundred thousand chosen men, and Jeroboam hath set in array with him battle, with eight hundred thousand chosen men, mighty of valour.

And Abijah set the battle in array, with an army of valiant man of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men,.... Collected such an army of select men, led them into his enemy's country, and set them in order of battle:

and Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him, with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour; double the number of Abijah s army, he having ten tribes to collect out of, and Abijah but two.


2 Chronicles 13:4  4 Then Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, which is in the mountains of Ephraim, and said, “Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel:

   YLT  4And Abijah riseth up on the hill of Zemaraim that [is] in the hill-country of Ephraim, and saith, `Hear me, Jeroboam and all Israel!

And Abijah stood upon Mount Zemaraim, which is in Mount Ephraim,.... Which might have its name from a city of Benjamin of this name, to which it was near, though within the borders of Ephraim, Joshua 18:22 formerly inhabited by the Zemarites, from whence it might have its name, Genesis 10:18 here Abijah stood, that he might be the better heard by the armies pitched in the valley; and very probably he desired a parley, and it was granted, otherwise he would not have been safe in the position in which he was:

and said, hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel; as many as were now gathered together, and which were a great number.


2 Chronicles 13:5  5 Should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?

   YLT  5Is it not for you to know that Jehovah, God of Israel, hath given the kingdom to David over Israel to the age, to him and to his sons -- a covenant of salt?

Ought you not to know,.... They did know what he afterwards says, but he would have them consider and acknowledge it:

that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever; to him and his seed, particularly to the Messiah, that should spring from him; but whether Abijah had this in view is a question, see 2 Samuel 7:13.

even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? that is, a perpetual one, which was inviolable, and never to be made void; called so, because salt preserves from corruption and putrefaction, and because made use of in sacrifices offered when covenants were made; the Targum is,"as salt waters, which never lose their saltness.'


2 Chronicles 13:6  6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord.

   YLT  6and rise up doth Jeroboam, son of Nebat, servant of Solomon son of David, and rebelleth against his lord!

Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up,.... Notwithstanding it was well known the kingdom was entailed on the posterity of David by an everlasting covenant; Abijah calls Jeroboam Solomon's servant, by way of great contempt, as Jarchi observes, he being the general receiver of his tax in the tribe of Ephraim, 1 Kings 11:28.

and hath rebelled against his lord; his rightful king and sovereign; the charge is no less than high treason.


2 Chronicles 13:7  7 Then worthless rogues gathered to him, and strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and inexperienced and could not withstand them.

   YLT  7`And there are gathered unto him vain men, sons of worthlessness, and they strengthen themselves against Rehoboam son of Solomon, and Rehoboam was a youth, and tender of heart, and hath not strengthened himself against them.

And there are gathered unto him vain men,.... Void of the fear of God, and all that is good:

the children of Belial: men unprofitable, good for nothing, or that had cast off the yoke of the law of God, were lawless and abandoned persons:

And have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon: rejected his government of them; went into a strong opposition to him, and set up another king over them:

when Rehoboam was young and tender hearted, and could not withstand them; not that he was young in years, for he was forty one years of age when he began to reign; though Joshua is called a young man when he is supposed to be between fifty and sixty years of age Exodus 33:11, and though "adolescentia" and "juventus" are both used in Latin writers for "youth", yet VarroF17Apud Stockim in voce נער, p. 688. distinguishes them, and makes the former to begin at the year fifteen, and continue to the year thirty, and the latter to begin at thirty, and end at forty five; so that, according to this, Rehoboam was then in his stage of youth; but perhaps the meaning here is, that he was young in the kingdom, scarcely settled on his throne, and the advantage of that was taken; not was he cowardly and fearful; and if Abijah meant that by "tender heartedness", he not only reproached but belied his father; for he would have fought with Israel in order to have reduced them to obedience, but was forbidden by the Lord; if by "tender hearted", he means that he had a tender regard to the command of God, it is true; but that seems not to be his sense, but the former.


2 Chronicles 13:8  8 And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hand of the sons of David; and you are a great multitude, and with you are the gold calves which Jeroboam made for you as gods.

   YLT  8`And now, ye are saying to strengthen yourselves before the kingdom of Jehovah in the hand of the sons of David, and ye [are] a numerous multitude, and with you calves of gold that Jeroboam hath made to you for gods.

And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David,.... To oppose them, prevail over them, and get it out of their hands, which is delivered to them by the Lord, as the Targum:

and ye be a great multitude; of which they boasted, and in which they trusted, being ten tribes to two, and in this army two to one:

and there are with you golden calves which Jeroboam made you for gods; or, "butF18So Grotious, Schnidt, and others. there are with you", &c. which Abijah suggests would be so far from helping them, that they would be their ruin, they having, by the worship of them, provoked the Lord against them.


2 Chronicles 13:9  9 Have you not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests, like the peoples of other lands, so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest of things that are not gods?

   YLT  9`Have ye not cast out the priests of Jehovah, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make to you priests like the peoples of the lands? every one who hath come to fill his hand with a bullock, a son of the herd, and seven rams, even he hath been a priest to No-gods!

Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord the sons of Aaron, and the Levites,.... Because they would not sacrifice to his idols, and that they might not instruct the people in the pure worship of God, and that he and his people might be free from the payment of tithes, firstfruits, &c. and their cities fall into his hands:

and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? after the manner of the Gentiles, without any regard to any particular tribe, which God had appointed those to be taken from:

so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams; which were five more than what were required by the law of Moses for the consecration of a priest, Exodus 29:1, the same

may be a priest of them that are no gods; by nature, only nominal and fictitious deities, as the calves were, which had no divinity in them, see 1 Kings 13:31.


2 Chronicles 13:10  10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken Him; and the priests who minister to the Lord are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites attend to their duties.

   YLT  10`As for us, Jehovah [is] our God, and we have not forsaken Him, and priests are ministering to Jehovah, sons of Aaron and the Levites, in the work,

But as for us, the Lord is our God,.... The Word of the Lord, as the Targum; we know and acknowledge no other; not the calves at Dan and Bethel, nor any other idols, only the one living and true God:

and we have not forsaken him; his laws, statutes, ordinances, and worship; for though Abijah was not a religious man, yet it seems the form of religion was kept up, and temple service was observed, in his days:

and the priests which minister unto the Lord; by offering sacrifices, and burning incense:

are the sons of Aaron; and they only:

and the Levites wait upon their business; some in singing songs of praise, vocally and instrumentally, others in keeping the doors of the temple and the treasures of the house of God, and others in assisting the priests at the altar.


2 Chronicles 13:11  11 And they burn to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense; they also set the showbread in order on the pure gold table, and the lampstand of gold with its lamps to burn every evening; for we keep the command of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken Him.

   YLT  11and are making perfume to Jehovah, burnt-offerings morning by morning, and evening by evening, and perfume of spices, and the arrangement of bread [is] on the pure table, and the candlestick of gold, and its lamps, to burn evening by evening, for we are keeping the charge of Jehovah our God, and ye -- ye have forsaken Him.

And they burn unto the Lord, every morning and every evening, burnt sacrifices and sweet incense,.... That is, the priests; the one they did on the altar of burnt offering, and the other on the altar of incense, and both every day, morning and evening:

the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; the shewbread table, every sabbath day, when they took the old bread off, which had stood there a week:

and the candlestick of gold, with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening; these were lighted every evening, and dressed every morning; and though there were ten tables and ten candlesticks in Solomon's temple, yet only one of each was used at a time; and therefore from hence it is not to be concluded that all the rest were taken away by Shishak:

for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; observe all the rites and ceremonies, laws, and ordinances enjoined by him; the Targum is,"the charge of the Word of the Lord our God:"

but ye have forsaken him; his fear or worship, as the same paraphrase.


2 Chronicles 13:12  12 Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!”

   YLT  12`And lo, with us -- at [our] head -- [is] God, and His priests and trumpets of shouting to shout against you; O sons of Israel, do not fight with Jehovah, God of your fathers, for ye do not prosper.'

And, behold, God himself is with us for our Captain,.... To go before our armies, and fight our battles for us:

and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you; which was one use of the trumpets, that the people might be remembered by the Lord, and saved from their enemies, Numbers 10:9, so that this circumstance was against Jeroboam and his army, and for Abijah and his:

O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for fighting against his people, that retained the pure worship of him, was fighting against him:

for you shall not prosper; he seems to be assured of victory.


2 Chronicles 13:13  13 But Jeroboam caused an ambush to go around behind them; so they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them.

   YLT  13And Jeroboam hath brought round the ambush to come in from behind them, and they are before Judah, and the ambush [is] behind them.

But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them,.... While Abijah was making his oration, he detached a party from his army, which got about, and lay in ambush, behind the army of Abijah:

so they were before Judah; Jeroboam and the greater part of his army:

and the ambushment was behind them; which Jeroboam had sent thither.


2 Chronicles 13:14  14 And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets.

   YLT  14And Judah turneth, and lo, against them [is] the battle, before and behind, and they cry to Jehovah, and the priests are blowing with trumpets,

And when Judah looked back,.... On hearing a noise behind them:

behold, the battle was before and behind; men were set in battle array, and the battle was begun, and an attack made upon them both ways:

and they cried unto the Lord; for help against their enemies, and to deliver them out of their hands:

and the priests sounded with the trumpets; to inspire them with cheerfulness, and to suggest to them that God was with them and they need not be afraid.


2 Chronicles 13:15  15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.

   YLT  15and the men of Judah shout -- and it cometh to pass, at the shouting of the men of Judah, that God hath smitten Jeroboam, and all Israel, before Abijah and Judah.

Then the men of Judah gave a shout,.... Taking heart at the sound of the trumpets, and in order to encourage one another, and intimidate the enemy; See Gill on 1 Samuel 17:20,

and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah; possessed them with a panic, so that they fled at once, as follows.


2 Chronicles 13:16  16 And the children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand.

   YLT  16And the sons of Israel flee from the face of Judah, and God giveth them into their hand,

And the children of Israel fled before Judah,.... Were in such a fright and consternation, that they could not stand their ground, or engage at all; but took to flight immediately:

and God delivered them into their hand; to be taken and slain by them.


2 Chronicles 13:17  17 Then Abijah and his people struck them with a great slaughter; so five hundred thousand choice men of Israel fell slain.

   YLT  17and Abijah and his people smite among them a great smiting, and there fall wounded of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.

And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter,.... As they fled, pursuing them:

so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men; such a slaughter as is not to be met with in any history, as JosephusF19Antiqu. l. 8. c. 11. sect. 3. observes; though Abarbinel wonders he should say so, and affirms that he had read of larger numbers slain at once; but he is the only man that ever pretended to it; JeromF20Trad. Heb. fol. 84. M. makes the number but 50,000, and some copies of the Vulgate LatinF21So that of Sixtus V. in James's Corruption of the Fathers, p. 294. , and Josephus Ben Gorion, as AbarbinelF23Comment in 1. Reg. xv. 6. fol. 250. 3. relates; but the true Josephus, the Targum, and all the ancient versions, agree with the Hebrew text; more than half Jeroboam's army was cut off, and 100,000 more than Abijah had in his.


2 Chronicles 13:18  18 Thus the children of Israel were subdued at that time; and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord God of their fathers.

   YLT  18And the sons of Israel are humbled at that time, and the sons of Judah are strong, for they have leant on Jehovah, God of their fathers.

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time,.... Humbled and weakened, but not reduced to the government of the house of David:

and the children of Judah prevailed; or grew strong:

because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers; trusted in him, and not in an arm of flesh; the Targum is,"in the Word of the Lord God of their fathers.'


2 Chronicles 13:19  19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages, Jeshanah with its villages, and Ephrain[b] with its villages.

   YLT  19And Abijah pursueth after Jeroboam, and captureth from him cities, Beth-El and its small towns, and Jeshanah and its small towns, and Ephraim and its small towns.

And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam,.... As he and his army fled:

and took cities from him; the following ones:

Bethel with the towns thereof; the villages adjoining to it; here one of the calves was set up, which either Jeroboam took care to remove before this place fell into the hands of Abijah, or Abijah let it remain, and did not destroy it:

and Jeshanah with the towns thereof; which RelandF24Palestin. Illustrat. p. 861. thinks is the same that is called by JeromF25De loc. Heb. fol. 92. L. Jethaba:

and Ephraim with the towns thereof; a city so called, thought to be the same that is mentioned in the passage; see Gill on John 11:54; it is here called, in the Targum, Ephron; so JeromF26Trad. Heb. fol. 85. A. calls it, and says it was Sichem.


2 Chronicles 13:20  20 So Jeroboam did not recover strength again in the days of Abijah; and the Lord struck him, and he died.

  YLT  20And Jeroboam hath not retained power any more in the days of Abijah, and Jehovah smiteth him, and he dieth.

Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah,.... So as to bring an army into the field against him, and fight him:

and the Lord struck him; by some Jewish writersF1Bereshit Rabba, sect. 65. fol. 58. 8. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 16. , this is interpreted of Abijah; and the reason of his being stricken, they say, was because he did not destroy the calf when he took Bethel; but it is best to understand it of Jeroboam, since Abijah is afterwards said to wax mighty:

and he died; not immediately, for he lived two years after Abijah, 1 Kings 14:20, but continued under a lingering disease he was smitten with, and which issued in his death.


2 Chronicles 13:21  21 But Abijah grew mighty, married fourteen wives, and begot twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

   YLT  21And Abijah strengtheneth himself, and taketh to him fourteen wives, and begetteth twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters,

But Abijah waxed mighty,.... In his kingdom, increasing in riches and numbers, power and authority, and in his family:

and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons and sixteen daughters; not after the above battle, nor since he began to reign; for he reigned but three years; but he, no doubt, married wives and had children before he came to the throne, as he might have others after.


2 Chronicles 13:22  22 Now the rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways, and his sayings are written in the annals of the prophet Iddo.

   YLT  22and the rest of the matters of Abijah, and his ways, and his words, are written in the `Inquiry' of the prophet Iddo.

And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings,.... Not only his warlike actions, and his course of life, but some remarkable sayings of his, he being a man of wisdom and eloquence, as his above speech shows:

are written in the story of the prophet Iddo; who might write the history of his own times; see 1 Kings 15:7.


──John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible


New King James Version (NKJV)


  1. 2 Chronicles 13:2 Spelled Maachah in 11:20, 21 and 1 Kings 15:2
  2. 2 Chronicles 13:19 Or Ephron