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Abijam (Hebrew, "father of the sea" or "seaman") or Abijah (Hebrew, "my father is Jehovah") (958-56 BC according to Ussher,[1] or 913-910 BC according to Thiele[2]), was the second king of the Southern Kingdom and immediate successor of Rehoboam. Both I Kings[3] and II Chronicles[4] give the length of his reign as three years. Ussher's dates depend on explicit synchronies with the reign of Jeroboam I of the Northern Kingdom.


Abijam was the son of Rehoboam and Rehoboam's favorite wife Maachah. The precise identity and lineage of Maachah is confusing, in that she is either the daughter or the granddaughter of Absalom.[5]

Abijam had a total of fourteen wives, and with them sired twenty-two sons, including his eventual successor Asa, and sixteen daughters.

Description of reign

The Bible nowhere gives a hint as to the year of the birth of Abijam—unusual in the annals of the kings of the Southern Kingdom. Both Bible sources describe Abijam's reign as "evil-doing in the sight of the Lord." The one major exception to this is the Battle of Zemaraim, in which he faced off against an army twice as large as his own and inflicted an incredible 62.5 percent casualties on it. The Chronicler tells us that Abijam won the day at Zemaraim because for once in his reign he trusted in God and exhorted his forces to do the same. After that battle, Jeroboam was never again able to pose a credible threat to his kingdom.[5][6]

Unhappily, Abijam failed to dismantle the golden calf at Bethel after capturing it. That task would fall to King Josiah, more than three hundred years later.[6]

Death and Succession

Abijam died in the third year of his reign, and his son Asa succeeded him.

Related References

  1. James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 487-489
  2. Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), p. 289
  3. I_Kings 15:1-8
  4. II_Chronicles 13
  5. 5.0 5.1 Authors unknown. "Entry for Abijah." WebBible Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 22, 2007.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Authors unknown. "King Abijam - Biography." The Kings of Israel, hosted at http://www.geocities.com/ Retrieved June 22, 2007.

See also