2 Chronicles 13

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Read 2 Chronicles 13

Abijah King of Judah

13 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah, and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother’s name was Maakah, a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.

There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. Abijah went into battle with an army of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.

Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! Don’t you know that the Lord, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt? Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master. Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.

“And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of David’s descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didn’t you drive out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.

10 “As for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the Lord are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them. 11 Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the Lord. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the Lord our God. But you have forsaken him. 12 God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed.”

13 Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them. 14 Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the Lord. The priests blew their trumpets 15 and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. 17 Abijah and his troops inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel’s able men. 18 The Israelites were subdued on that occasion, and the people of Judah were victorious because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.

19 Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. 20 Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the Lord struck him down and he died.

21 But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.

22 The other events of Abijah’s reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.

Go Deeper

At this point in the story, the nation of Israel is split into two different kingdoms. We have the Northern Kingdom, who retains the name Israel, and the Southern Kingdom who is also referred to as Judah. The Northern Kingdom struggles with leadership and faithfulness to God. In their history, they never once have a righteous king to rule them. Judah on the other hand has a few faithful and righteous rulers (along with some other unrighteous ones along the way). Here in 2 Chronicles 13, we get a glimpse into the reign of Abijah, who, although a wicked king and not fully devoted to the Lord, has a shining moment of reliance on the Lord that leads to victory for the people of Judah. 

In this battle against King Jeroboam, Abijah and his men are greatly outnumbered. Israel has twice as many soldiers as Judah, but Judah has the upperhand in that the Lord is on their side. And with great confidence, Abijah declares to the enemy “And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hands of David’s descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.” (v. 8) and “God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. People of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors, for you will not succeed” (v. 12).

Abijah knows that it’s not in the strength of his army that he will see victory, but in the strength and power of the almighty God. We serve the same God and can walk in the same confidence. The Lord is on our side. He defeated death itself and He is for you! Reflect on these verses from Psalm 27:1-3 and be reminded of who God is and what that means for us as His followers:

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall. 

Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.


  1. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Are you able to approach God’s throne with confidence?
  2. What are you asking God for deliverance from in your life?
  3. Who is God to you? Is He powerful and mighty? Is He able to deliver His people? Take a few minutes to praise God for who He is.

Keep Digging

Check out this article from GotQuestions.org for some more context on the character of King Abijah in the Scriptures. 

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4 thoughts on “2 Chronicles 13”

  1. God can use all types of people for something He needs done in this world. All are in His hands. Due to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ, we have something extra than these guys did. We have Holy Spirit, a direct line to God, open communication, if we choose. What blows my mind is that I do not do what I ought to do!! I am not perfect but I am perfectly loved and I desire to put my life into the hands of His love. These dudes in here in chapter 13 have God showing up using all types of people to execute His plan .God had in mind long term plans. I just want the long term rewards. I desire to be with God for all eternity. I want to obey always even if it means losing the life I have, to gain what He has, needs and wants me to do. Am I there yet? By no means but I am striving minutely!! If He ask me to give up my life that is swirling around me at this moment, could I?, would I?

    God thank You for the strength and the mega fear to desire to obey You ALWAYS!!!! I do want to hear and obey. Give me the courage to do so. God thank You for opportunities to love on Your people, to speak about You to them. I am grateful for that perfect love that You so gave, in Jesus name amen.

  2. Ella Snodgrass

    Have you noticed that the length of a king’s reign somehow indicated how committed they were to following God? As I saw that King Abijah reigned for 3 years and then read his story, he seemed to be the exception. Cross referencing 2 Kings 15:3 I discovered more of Abijah’s story, “He committed the same sins as his father before him, and his heart was as not right with the Lord, as the heart of his ancestor David had been.” Why the seeming disconnect in 2 Chronicles 13? Scripture records both good and evil deeds were committed by Abijah, however, today’s passage highlighted the good he did. My assumption is that God was keeping the covenant promise to David of allowing his dynasty to continue to reign over Judah. My greatest takeaway today at this time in my life is that establishing a godly, obedient life can have eternal benefits long after I am gone. Seeds of the gospel planted, prayers prayed, faith firmly established in Jesus and lived out can resonate into eternity. Live well!

  3. “But just look at what you’ve done—you threw out the priests of God, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests to suit yourselves, priests just like the pagans have. Anyone who shows up with enough money to pay for it can be a priest! A priest of No-God! [These so-called gods of yours; priests of what are not gods].”
    ‭-‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭13‬:‭9‬ ‭MSG‬‬

    This verse practically jumped off the page at me.

    Just yesterday JP preached, “who you turn to in times of trouble says a lot about what you believe.“

    It’s been a long time coming for me to admit those things I turn to in times of trouble … for relief, for peace, for comfort, for momentary deliverance. It’s been a hard truth learned how quickly such things become my “‘little g’ gods!“ How ironic that it’s SO easy to set up such false gods… yet so very difficult to take them down. Idols are designed to be idolized, after all….

    Verse 9 reminds me how prone we are in our human weakness to idol-worship – to “make our own priests like pagan nations do” and allow practically anyone to lead us in worship. If they can pay up, they can “priest in!“

    How careless I can be (promiscuous, even!) when it comes to letting “servants of the world” take a place in my life. They show up with “all the right trappings” and call me to worship the gods of the world. How easily I follow them … and wander far from God!

    If I mean to be on the right side of this fight – and experience God’s victory on the other side of it – I must live by King Abijah’s words:

    “But as for me, the Lord is my God. I am sticking with him. I refuse to trade him in for ‘the latest model.’ I will continue to do what GOD told me to do, the way HE told me to do it.

    GOD is with me; GOD is on my side.

    GOD is my leader.

    Those who come against God will not succeed!”

    (From 2 Chronicles 13:10-12, emphasis added mine)

  4. Diane Frances Rogers

    In 1Kings 15:3 He, (Abijah) committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. In 2 Chronicles, Abijah is showing what little good he did to remain under God’s covenant promise to David and he was spared the immediate consequences of his sin.
    I pray that I do not make anything more valuable than God. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for quick correction when my actions are not pleasing to God. I choose to strive towards God’s standards. Thank you, Jesus. All Glory to God! Amen!

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