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IN the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam, Abia reigned over Juda.


2 Three years he reigned in Jerusalem, and his mother's name was Michaia, the daughter of Uriel of Gabaa: and there was war between Abia and Jeroboam.

Ver. 2.  Michaia, alias Maacha.  Her father had also two names; viz. Absalom or Abessalom, and Uriel.  Ch.

 

--- Many had two names.  T.

 

--- Of Gabaa, may refer to the women.



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3 And when Abia had begun battle, and had with him four hundred thousand most valiant and chosen men, Jeroboam put his army in array against him, eight hundred thousand men, who were also chosen and most valiant for war.

Ver. 3.  War.  The author of the new edition of S. Jerom mentions two MSS. and there are several printed editions, which reduce these numbers to one half.  Castalio adopts this correction, asserting that the Greek and Josephus are on his side, which is not true.  C.

 

--- We must however observe, that there is some doubt with respect to Josephus, (H.) as some of the oldest Latin editions acknowledge the smaller numbers; and Vignoles (i. 29.) conjectures, that the Greek copies did the same formerly, since Aborbanel "accuses Josephus of having made Jeroboam's loss no more than 50,000, contrary to the Hebrew text," v. 17.  This learned author is of opinion, that the Jews sometimes expressed their numbers by figures, (Kennic.) analogous to those which the later Arabs borrowed from the Indians; though, in more ancient times, the letters of the alphabet had been used.  Both customs seem to have prevailed; (Erpenius) and this may account for many variations, as the omission of a single cypher, resembling our period (.), might easily occasion much confusion.  Kennicott (Diss. i. and ii.) seems to suspect, that the ancient versions have been made to agree with the corrupted Heb. no less than Josephus; and that many of the large numbers, recorded in Scripture, (which  might countenance what we here read) are incorrect.  See C. xvii. 13. 19. and xiv. 8. comp. with xvi. 1. and xxv. 6. comp. with 4 K. xiii. 7.  It is certain (H.) many Latin MSS. confirm the edition of Sixtus V. which has the smaller numbers; and this is the case with most of the older MSS. and editions.  How S. Jerom expressed it, we cannot easily determine.  The editor of his works has been guided chiefly by the Memmian canon.  See 2 K. xv. 7.  Lyran quotes S. Jerom, as reading 50,000; (v. 7) and it is so expressed in the Paris editions of 1534 and (H.) 1546, of the Heb. questions on Paral.  But Erasmus doubts whether this be the genuine work of S. Jerom, (Ken.) or in the state in which he left it.  If we consult the more ancient MSS. and editions, prior to that of Clement VIII. we shall allow that they are more favourable to the smaller numbers, on this occasion; and are more likely to exhibit the pure version of the holy doctor, (H.) as the later editions have had "the Heb. fountains" also in view.  Kennicott

 

--- If however we adhere to the received numbers, (H.) we must remember that kings, at that time, led forth to battle all their subjects who were able to bear arms.  Under Moses there were 600,000.  David found 1,100,000 in Israel, and 470,000 in Juda, exclusive of Levi and Benjamin; (C. xxi. 5.) or, at least, as it is expressed 2 K. xxiv. 9. in all, 1,300,000.  Asa was at the head of 580,000.  C. xiv. 8. &c.



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4 And Abia stood upon mount Semeron, which was in Ephraim, and said: Hear me, O Jeroboam, and all Israel:

Ver. 4.  Semeron, on which Samaria was afterwards built.  Heb. reads, "Mount Tsemaraim."  There was a city of this name in Benjamin.  C.

 

--- But this was a mount.  Heb. "in Mount Ephraim."  H.




5 Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave to David the kingdom over Israel for ever, to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

Ver. 5.  A covenant of salt.  That is, a firm and perpetual covenant.  See Num. xviii. 19.  Ch.  W.

 

--- It seems this covenant was to be inviolable; and it had its effect, notwithstanding the crimes of many of the kings.  The Arabs still regard the partaking of bread and salt as the most sacred covenant.  C.

 

--- "The ancients prayed when they placed salt before their guests, that, as salt partook of two natures, so they might be cemented together in concord."  Tzetzez on Lycoph.  H.

 

--- Abia speaks with much prudence, and with an air of piety, though his heart was corrupt.  3 K. xv. 3.  That of his adversary was still more so; and God granted victory to the former, to reward even the appearance of virtue in the king, and the sincere piety of some of his followers.


6 And Jeroboam the son of Nabat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up: and rebelled against his lord.

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7 And there were gathered to him vain men, and children of Belial: and they prevailed against Roboam the son of Solomon: for Roboam was unexperienced, and of a fearful heart, and could not resist them.

Ver. 7.  Vain.  The saem term is used as in Matt. v. 22.  C.

 

--- Rekim, "stupid men."  H.

 

--- Sept. "pestiferous."  Syr. "impious."

 

--- Heart.  Prot. "young and tender-hearted."  H.

 

--- But Roboam was not very young; (3 K. xiv. 21.) and we may adhere to the Vulg.  C.

 

--- Sept. "he was a youth, and timid."  H.

 

--- Abia speaks of his father with little respect, and seems to have forgotten that he had laid down his arms in obedience to God's order.  C.


8 And now you say that you are able to withstand the kingdom of the Lord, which he possesseth by the sons of David, and you have a great multitude of people, and golden calves, which Jeroboam hath made you for gods.

Ver. 8.  And golden.  These idols will enervate and render your great numbers useless.  H.

 

--- We have a just cause and religion is on our side.  C.


9 And you have cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites: and you have made you priests, like all the nations of the earth: whosoever cometh and consecrateth his hand with a bullock of the herd, and with seven rams, is made a priest of those who are no gods.

Ver. 9.  Rams.  These were sacrificed by the false priests, who acted in a very different manner from those of the Lord.  Lev. viii. and ix.  C.



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10 But the Lord is our God, whom we forsake not, and the priests who minister to the Lord are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites are in their order. 11 And they offer holocausts to the Lord, every day, morning and evening, and incense made according to the ordinance of the law, and the leaves are set forth on a most clean table, and there is with us the golden candlestick, and the lamps thereof, to be lighted always in the evening: for we keep the precepts of the Lord our God, whom you have forsaken.

Ver. 11.  Table.  It is hence inferred, that Sesac had only left one: (Lyran.  Torniel.) but this does not follow.  C.  Salien.


12 Therefore God is the leader in our army, and his priests who sound with trumpets, and resound against you: O children of Israel, fight not against the Lord the God of your fathers, for it is not good for you.
13 While he spoke these things, Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind him. And while he stood facing the enemies, he encompassed Juda. who perceived it not, with his army.


14 And when Juda looked back, they saw the battle coming upon them both before and behind, and they cried to the Lord: and the priests began to sound with the trumpets.

Ver. 14.  Trumpets, to invoke God's aid.  Num. x. 9.  M.



15 And all the men of Juda shouted: and behold when they shouted, God terrified Jeroboam, and all Israel that stood against Abia and Juda.

Ver. 15.  Terrified.  Sept. "struck;" God caused the victory to declare in favour of those who were only half the number.  H.




16 And the children of Israel fled before Juda, and the Lord delivered them into their hand.


17 And Abia and his people slew them with a great slaughter, and there fell wounded of Israel five hundred thousand valiant men.

Ver. 17.  Five.  Some Latin editions have 50,000, (C.) which number is found in some MSS. of Epiphanius.  Hudson's Josephus.

 

--- Hentenius has the same, and only remarks five MSS. which had the greater number.  See v. 3.  H.

 

--- We do not read of such a slaughter in any one battle.  But Israel made no resistance, and God assisted the four hundred thousand.  M.

 

--- Valiant.  Prot. "chosen."  See C. xiv. 13.  H.

 

--- So many were either slain or wounded.  D.

 

--- Prot. intimate all were "slain."  H.


18 And the children of Israel were brought down, at that time, and the children of Juda were exceedingly strengthened, because they had trusted in the Lord the God of their fathers.


19 And Abia pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel and her daughters, and Jesana with her daughters, Ephron also and her daughters.

Ver. 19.  Bethel, the head of the calf worship; though Abulensis thinks it was another city, otherwise it would not have been spared.  The calf continued there till the reign of Jehu.  4 K. x. 29.  M.

 

--- Jesana; perhaps Senna, (Num. xxxiv. 4.  C.) seven miles north of Jericho.  Eus.

 

--- The versions read differently.

 

--- Ephron.  The Masorets have Ephraim.  C.

 

--- Prot. "Ephraim, with the towns thereof."  H.

 

--- Josue (xv. 9.) places Mount Ephron between Juda and Ephraim; and we find a town of the name, (1 Mac. v. 46.) but on the other side of the Jordan.



Bethel

Bethel, 1 see s.v. — 2 (Josh 12:16; Simeon) another name for Bethul. --- Bethel, as it was called in the days of Moses, being the ancient Luza. C. --- Bethel signifies the house of God, being honoured with two altars. H.

20 And Jeroboam was not able to resist any more, in the days of Abia: and the Lord struck him, and he died.

Ver. 20.  Him.  Some think Abia, as Jeroboam survived him two years: but others, (C.) with greater probability, (D.) suppose that the latter is here specified, and that he fell a victim to the divine wrath, as the prophet Ahias had foretold.  C.

 

--- Salien, A. 3081.


21 But Abia, being strengthened in his kingdom, took fourteen wives: and begot two and twenty sons, and sixteen daughters. 22 And the rest of the acts of Abia, and of his ways and works, are written diligently in the book of Addo the prophet.

Ver. 22.  Works.  Prot. "sayings are written in the story of the prophets Iddo."  H.

 

--- Modross properly means "researches," and was the title of the genealogical work of this prophet, from which this account is probably taken.  C. xii. 15.  C.

 

--- The entire work is not extant.  M.


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