1 Kings 14:21-31
Rehoboam son of Solomon was king in Judah. He was forty-one years old when he took the throne and was king for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city God selected from all the tribes of Israel for the worship of his Name. Rehoboam’s mother was Naamah, an Ammonite. Judah was openly wicked before God, making him very angry. They set new records in sin, surpassing anything their ancestors had done. They built Asherah sex-and-religion shrines and set up sacred stones all over the place—on hills, under trees, wherever you looked. Worse, they had male sacred prostitutes, polluting the country outrageously—all the stuff that God had gotten rid of when he brought Israel into the land.
In the fifth year of King Rehoboam’s rule, Shishak king of Egypt made war against Jerusalem. He plundered The Temple of God and the royal palace of their treasures, cleaned them out—even the gold shields that Solomon had made. King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields and outfitted the royal palace guards with them. Whenever the king went to God’s Temple, the guards carried the shields but always returned them to the guardroom.
The rest of Rehoboam’s life, what he said and did, is all written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam the whole time. Rehoboam died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His mother was Naamah, an Ammonite. His son Abijah ruled after him.
1 Kings 15
Abijah of Judah
In the eighteenth year of the rule of Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijah took over the throne of Judah. He ruled in Jerusalem three years. His mother was Maacah daughter of Absalom. He continued to sin just like his father before him. He was not truehearted to God as his great-grandfather David had been. But despite that, out of respect for David, his God graciously gave him a lamp, a son to follow him and keep Jerusalem secure. For David had lived an exemplary life before God all his days, not going off on his own in willful defiance of God’s clear directions (except for that time with Uriah the Hittite). But war continued between Abijah and Jeroboam the whole time.
The rest of Abijah’s life, everything he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. But the war with Jeroboam was the dominant theme. Abijah died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Asa was king after him.
Asa of Judah
In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began his rule over Judah. He ruled for forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s name was Maacah.
Asa conducted himself well before God, reviving the ways of his ancestor David. He cleaned house: He got rid of the sacred prostitutes and threw out all the idols his predecessors had made. Asa spared nothing and no one; he went so far as to remove Queen Maacah from her position because she had built a shockingly obscene memorial to the whore goddess Asherah. Asa tore it down and burned it up in the Kidron Valley. Unfortunately, he didn’t get rid of the local sex-and-religion shrines. But he was well-intentioned—his heart was in the right place, in tune with God. All the gold and silver vessels and artifacts that he and his father had consecrated for holy use he installed in The Temple.
But through much of his reign there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel. Baasha king of Israel started it by building a fort at Ramah and closing the border between Israel and Judah so no one could enter or leave Judah.
Asa took all the silver and gold that was left in the treasuries of The Temple of God and the royal palace, gave it to his servants, and sent them to Ben-Hadad son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, with this message: “Let’s make a treaty like the one between our fathers. I’m showing my good faith with this gift of silver and gold. Break your deal with Baasha king of Israel so he’ll quit fighting against me.”
Ben-Hadad went along with King Asa and sent out his troops against the towns of Israel. He attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and the entire region of Kinnereth, including Naphtali. When Baasha got the report he quit fortifying Ramah and pulled back to Tirzah.
Then King Asa issued orders to everyone in Judah—no exemptions—to haul away the logs and stones Baasha had used in the fortification of Ramah and use them to fortify Geba in Benjamin and Mizpah.
A full account of Asa’s life, all the great things he did and the fortifications he constructed, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. In his old age he developed severe gout. Then Asa died and was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. His son Jehoshaphat became king after him.
Nadab of Israel
Nadab son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa’s rule in Judah. He was king of Israel two years. He was openly evil before God—he followed in the footsteps of his father who both sinned and made Israel sin.
Baasha son of Ahijah of the tribe of Issachar ganged up on him and attacked him at the Philistine town of Gibbethon while Nadab and the Israelites were doing battle there. Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Asa king of Judah and became Israel’s next king.
As soon as he was king he killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family. There wasn’t a living soul left to the name of Jeroboam; Baasha wiped them out totally, just as God’s servant Ahijah of Shiloh had prophesied—punishment for Jeroboam’s sins and for making Israel sin, for making the God of Israel thoroughly angry.
The rest of Nadab’s life, everything else he did, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. There was continuous war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel.
Baasha of Israel
In the third year of Asa king of Judah, Baasha son of Ahijah became king in Tirzah over all Israel. He ruled twenty-four years. He was openly evil before God, walking in the footsteps of Jeroboam, who both sinned and made Israel sin.
1 Kings 16:1-7
The word of God came to Jehu son of Hanani with this message for Baasha: “I took you from nothing—a complete nobody—and set you up as the leader of my people Israel, but you plodded along in the rut of Jeroboam, making my people Israel sin and making me seethe over their sin. And now the consequences—I will burn Baasha and his regime to cinders, the identical fate of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Baasha’s people who die in the city will be eaten by scavenger dogs; carrion crows will eat the ones who die in the country.”
The rest of Baasha’s life, the record of his regime, is written in The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Baasha died and was buried with his ancestors in Tirzah. His son Elah was king after him.
That’s the way it was with Baasha: Through the prophet Jehu son of Hanani, God’s word came to him and his regime because of his life of open evil before God and his making God so angry—a chip off the block of Jeroboam, even though God had destroyed him.