Abijah, the King of Judah, who was not………
Paulose C John
Was there a king named Abijah in the kingdom of Judah?
1. 2nd Chronicles Chapter 13, verse 1 opens “In the eighteenth year of the King Jeroboam (of Israel ) Abijah became king over Judah.“ Verse 2 “He reigned three years in Jerusalem and there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.”A look at the chart given above shows some discrepancy in the matter.
2. As per 1st Kings Chapter 12 verse 20 read with verse 26 of chapter 11, after the death of King Solomon the kingdom of Israel divided into two. All the tribes of Israel s except the tribe of Judah constituted the kingdom of Israel and King Solomon’s servant Nebat’s son Jeroboam became the King of Israel.
3. As per 1st Kings chapter 12 verse 17,King Solomon’s son Rehoboam became the king of Judah comprising of the “ Children of Israel” who dwelt in the cities of Judah ; the Tribe of Judah. Just like the similarities of the names of the two kings, the names of their sons also have some similarities.We can see the name of the son of Jeroboam as ABIJAH (1 Kings Chapter 14, verse 1). It is mentioned therein n that ABIJAH became sick. Verse 17 of the same chapter mentions ABIJAH died at childhood.
4. 1st Kings Chapter 14, verse 31 says that ABIJAM, son of Rehoboam became king of Judah on the death of Rehoboam. The similarity in the name ABIJAH and ABIJAM is noteworthy at this instance. 1 Kings Chapter 15, verse 1mentions that in the 18th year of King Jeroboam’s reign (in Israel), ABIJAM became king over Judah. Verse 2 of the same chapter tells us that ABIJAM reigned 3 years in Jerusalem. And there was war between ABIJAM and JEROBOAM all the days of his life. 1 Kings Chapter 15 , verse 7 further mentions that the rest of the acts of ABIJAM and all that he did ,are written in the Book of Chronicles of the Kings of Judah.
5. Now let us look into the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. In 2 Chronicles Chapter 13, verse 1 the opening verses are like this. “In the eighteenth year of the King Jeroboam (of Israel) ABIJAH became king over Judah. Verse 2 of the same chapter mentions that he reigned 3 years in Jerusalem and there was war between ABIJAH and Jeroboam.
6. Para 4 an 5 above shows the contradiction. The same mistake is seen repeated ten times in chapter13 of 2 Chronicles at verses 1,2,3,4,15,17,19,20,21,and 22.At 2 Chronicles verse1 of chapter 14 says “So ABIJAH rested with his fathers and they buried him in the City David, then Asa, his son reigned in his place”.
7. Now that we may return to 1.Kings Chapter 15, verse 8 wherein it is seen stated that ABIJAM rested with his fathers and they buried him in “The City of David”, then Asa his son reigned in his place.
8. As per Para.3 above we know that ABIJAH is the son of Jeroboam and that ABIJAH died at childhood. It is very clear that the name mentioned at Para 6 actually refers to ABIJAM the grandson of King Solomon. This mistake is seen occurred in various versions of the BIBLE including Malayalam and Tamil versions. It is presumed that the mistake is not originated from any mistake in translation but from the origin when the Chronicler wrote the history of the kings of Judah. This needs further detailed study.
How can this Historical error be corrected?