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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 13

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.

Now in the eighteenth year. — See 1 Kings 15:1-2 .

Verse 2

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

His mother’s name was Michaiah.Alias Maachah. See on 2 Chronicles 11:21-22 .

And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. — Like as there had been between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. So the dissension betwixt England and Scotland, which consumed more Christian blood, wrought more spoil and destruction, and continued longer, than ever quarrel we read of did between any two people in the world.

Verse 3

And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, [even] four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, [being] mighty men of valour.

And Abijah set the battle in array. — Josephus saith, that Jeroboam began the war, in hope to vanquish young Abijah; but Sethus Calvisius saith, that Abijah, rashly offering war to Jeroboam, yet obtained the victory, when he called upon God.

Even four hundred thousand, … — Yet was this great army out numbered by Jeroboam’s; so was Asa’s six hundred thousand by Zera’s million. Huge were the armies of the Jews, that small people in comparison: five hundred thousand - not fifty thousand only, as Ruffinus ill translateth Josephus - were slain on one side; the greatest number that ever we read of slain in any battle.

Verse 4

And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which [is] in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel;

And Abijah stood upon mount Zemaraim. — As Jotham likewise had done upon mount Gerizim. Judges 9:7 It is probable that Abijah had, by his heralds or messengers, desired a parley: else he could not have delivered himself without danger.

Verse 5

Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, [even] to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?

Ought ye not to know?q.d., How can ye be ignorant? and how dare you go against your knowledge? Is it not a grievous sin so to do

By a covenant of salt,i.e., Perpetual and inviolable, solemn - as with sacrifice - and sure. See on Numbers 18:19 . That exposition of Sanchez is somewhat strange and far fetched: that God’s covenant with the house of David was conditional, and therefore to be taken with a grain of salt; viz., that they should have the kingdom for ever, if they kept touch with him, …

Verse 6

Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord.

Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon. — But such a servant, as being delicately brought up by him, and courteously dealt with, would needsly become his son at length, as Proverbs 29:21 , rising up and rebelling against his lord, as he is justly charged, though God foretold that he should be king. 1 Kings 11:35

Verse 7

And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.

And there are gathered unto him vain men.Rachas brainless fellows, light and empty; yokeless also and masterless; men of no piety or common honesty. Such also were Catiline’s comrades among the Romans.

When Rehoboam was young. — Not in age, but in experience, policy, and valour; he was imbellis et metculosus, hen-hearted, as we say, and - as a young plant, not yet rooted - easily shaken and swayed by the insolencies of his rebellious subjects.

And could not withstand them. — Thus he layeth the fault - like a good child - wholly upon his father; with whom, it is like, he was displeased for obeying the prophet Shemaiah, 2 Chronicles 11:4 and not reducing his rebels at first, as he might have done, but for his folly and faint-heartedness, saith Abijah.

Verse 8

And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the LORD in the hand of the sons of David; and ye [be] a great multitude, and [there are] with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.

To withstand the kingdom of the Lord. — And so, giant-like, to fight against God. Is that ever like to do well? "Do ye provoke the Lord to anger? are ye stronger than he?"

And there are with you golden calves. — In the camp perhaps, as 1 Chronicles 14:12 .

Verse 9

Have ye not cast out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of [other] lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, [the same] may be a priest of [them that are] no gods.

Have you not cast out the priests of the Lord? — Who should pray for you, and make atonement.

So that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself. — Heb., To fill his hand, sc., with sacrifices; or haply with bribes.

Verse 10

But as for us, the LORD [is] our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the LORD, [are] the sons of Aaron, and the Levites [wait] upon [their] business:

But as for us, the Lord is our God, …Summa ratio est quae pro religione facit, saith Papinian. Abijah was none of the best, and yet pretendeth to a great deal of religion, and pleadeth hard for it; though he "walked in all the sins of his father" Rehoboam. 1 Kings 15:3 Hypocrites want for no fair words. Some think that Abijah, when he went forth to battle, was indifferent good; but puffed up with his great victory, he fell away. Pellican holdeth that he was ever naught: only the worship of God was by him externally maintained and magnified; wherewith because God was well pleased, it being of his own ordaining, he now took part with him.

Verse 11

And they burn unto the LORD every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also [set they in order] upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the LORD our God; but ye have forsaken him.

Upon the pure table and the candlestick of gold. — Either it is table, for tables, as 1 Kings 7:48 ; or else this king, who little minded such matters, thought there had been but one such table and candlestick in the temple, as of old in the tabernacle. Lavat.

Verse 12

And, behold, God himself [is] with us for [our] captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the LORD God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.

And, behold, God himself is with us. — Eπιφορα , qua praecipua argumenta repetit: he is speaking his last to them, and therefore speaks thick.

For our captain.Deus est dux; he is in the head of us, who is himself a whole army.

Fight ye not against the Lord. — A good motion, had it come from a better mouth.

Verse 13

But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment [was] behind them.

But Jeroboam caused an ambushment. — While Abijah was thus haranguing and persuading the people to lay down their arms, and to return to their obedience, Jeroboam closely divided his army, causing one part to wheel about, and to come upon their backs, and the other to set upon them before, thinking so to surprise them unawares.

Verse 14

And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle [was] before and behind: and they cried unto the LORD, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.

And when Judah looked back. — For till then, they suspected not any such treachery.

And they cried unto the Lord.Inter arma silent leges: preces non sileant. Prayers are the soldier’s surest great ordnance.

Verse 15

Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.

Then the men of Judah gave a shout.Initio pugnae, de more antiquorum. Together with their loud outcries - first for fear perhaps, afterwards to affright their enemies - prayers went up to God. And see the happy effect thereof.

God smote Jeroboam. — With a panic terror, with furies in his own conscience, and with some grievous disease, whereof, Nabal-like, at length he died. 2 Chronicles 13:20

Verse 17

And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.

So there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand. — A monstrous and matchless slaughter, far beyond that of Tamerlane when he took Bajazet, or Aetius, the Roman prefect, when he fought with Attilas and his Huns in the fields of Catalaunia, where were slain on both sides one hundred and sixty-five thousand. See on 2 Chronicles 13:3 .

Verse 18

Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the LORD God of their fathers.

Because they relied upon the Lord.Deo confisi nunquam confusi. Trust in God never miscarrieth.

Verse 19

And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Bethel with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof.

And took cities from him, Bethel. — Where stood one of the golden calves, secured, haply, by the inhabitants before the enemy came, as idolaters’ main care is for their idols.

Verse 20

Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the LORD struck him, and he died.

And the Lord struck him. — That is, Jeroboam (see on 2 Chronicles 13:15 ); not Abijah, as the Hebrews sense the text, saying that God therefore struck him, because, when he took Bethel, he destroyed not the idol there, but kept it and worshipped it. A fable.

Verse 21

But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.

And married fourteen wives. — Some of them before he came to the kingdom. Junius well readeth it, He had married fourteen wives. This was against an express law, Deuteronomy 17:17 besides the utter unlawfulness of polygamy, whereof before. But many great men make little of laws; it is plea sufficient for their offence that it is -

facinus maioris abollae.

Verse 22

And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, [are] written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

And his ways. — Which were not good. Prodit se libidinosum fuisse; by his many wives he appeareth to have been libidinous, as was also his father.

And his sayings. — His oration, 2 Chronicles 13:5 , … which is very artificial, and other apophthegms, as being Solomon’s grandchild, …

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 13". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/2-chronicles-13.html. 1865-1868.
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