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Was Abijah a wicked or a righteous king? 1 Kings 15:3 and 2 Chronicles 13:4-22

Question
1 Kings 15:3 says Abijah was a wicked king, but in 2 Chronicles 13 he gives a speech against idolatry and in defense of God's priests.
Answer
1 Kings 15:3 He 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.

2 Chronicles 13:4-22 Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me! Dont 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 Davids descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. But didnt 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. 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. 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. God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed. Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them. 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 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. The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands. Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israels able men. The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages. Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the LORD struck him down and he died. But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. The other events of Abijahs reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Kings (and politicians) and can do and say some good things; however, it is not necessarily for the glory of God alone (which makes them sinful) but to serve their own ends. Politicians may give some good speeches, but they do not always live up them. A person's words and deeds are not always consistent with one another.

Abijah was an evil king (1 Kings 15:3).

Related Answer:

Did David only sin once?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).