Read the Passage (NRSV)    Find more resources related to this passage  Print

1 Kings 14:21-15:24 – Early Kings of Judah

Summary

From this point on, the books of Kings present evaluations of the kings of Judah and Israel. First we hear about the early kings of Judah: Rehoboam (924-907), Abijam (907-906), and Asa (905-874).

Analysis

The early kings of Judah provide a convenient grouping of monarchs evaluated by the Deuteronomistic editors. Abijam and Asa will become patterns for the subsequent Judean kings.

Rehoboam, Solomon's son whose foolish decisions had triggered the secession of the north, reappears in the text (14:21-31). He is negatively evaluated for cultic sins:
•    Judah (only here is Judah, rather than the king, the subject) constructs high places, pillars, and sacred poles throughout the land ("on every high hill and under every green tree" [vv. 22-23]).
•    The Egyptian invasion under Shishak resulted in the loss of the shields of gold that Solomon had made (1 Kings 10:17); Rehoboam replaced the golden shields with bronze ones (vv. 25-28).
•    Side references to warfare with the north despite the warning of Shemaiah (12:22-24) and aspersions cast upon Rehoboam's Ammonite mother (vv. 21, 30-31) frame the account.

Rehoboam's son, Abijam (15:1-8), becomes the prototypical "bad" Judean king, falling into the apostasy of his father and grandfather. His name in Kings probably means "My father is Yamm" (the Canaanite sea god); in Chronicles, it is Abijah, "My father is the LORD." Ironically, this stereotypically bad king in Kings is evaluated as one of the good kings in Chronicles (2 Chronicles 13).

Asa (1 Kings 15:9-24), on the other hand, is the first of the Judean kings involved in cultic reform, including removal of his own mother (possibly "grandmother" as in NAB, NIV) for her idolatrous practices. He receives qualified approval from the editors for his reforming work, though they would have preferred him to go farther and remove the high places and avoid foreign alliances. Between them, Abijam and Asa will set the pattern for all the following kings of Judah. Those who are "like David" (for example, Asa) will be positively evaluated, while those who are not (for example, Abijam) will be denounced.

1 Kings 14:21-15:24

Rehoboam Reigns over Judah

21 Now Rehoboam son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 22Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they provoked him to jealousy with their sins that they committed, more than all that their ancestors had done. 23For they also built for themselves high places, pillars, and sacred poles* on every high hill and under every green tree; 24there were also male temple prostitutes in the land. They committed all the abominations of the nations that the Lord drove out before the people of Israel.

25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; 26he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made; 27so King Rehoboam made shields of bronze instead, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 28As often as the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard carried them and brought them back to the guardroom.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 30There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually. 31Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried with his ancestors in the city of David. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. His son Abijam succeeded him.

Abijam Reigns over Judah: Idolatry and War

15Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. 2He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 3He committed all the sins that his father did before him; his heart was not true to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. 4Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing Jerusalem; 5because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and did not turn aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6The war begun between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continued all the days of his life. 7The rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8Abijam slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. Then his son Asa succeeded him.

Asa Reigns over Judah

9 In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah; 10he reigned for forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. 11Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his father David had done. 12He put away the male temple prostitutes out of the land, and removed all the idols that his ancestors had made. 13He also removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image for Asherah; Asa cut down her image and burned it at the Wadi Kidron. 14But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was true to the Lord all his days. 15He brought into the house of the Lord the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts—silver, gold, and utensils.

Alliance with Aram against Israel

16 There was war between Asa and King Baasha of Israel all their days. 17King Baasha of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah, to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to King Asa of Judah. 18Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house, and gave them into the hands of his servants. King Asa sent them to King Ben-hadad son of Tabrimmon son of Hezion of Aram, who resided in Damascus, saying, 19‘Let there be an alliance between me and you, like that between my father and your father: I am sending you a present of silver and gold; go, break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel, so that he may withdraw from me.’ 20Ben-hadad listened to King Asa, and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel. He conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 21When Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and lived in Tirzah. 22Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah; none was exempt: they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building; with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. 23Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his power, all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24Then Asa slept with his ancestors, and was buried with his ancestors in the city of his father David; his son Jehoshaphat succeeded him.

oremus Bible Browser
biblemail@oremus.org
v 2.2.7
10 February 2011

Related Passages