A character from the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. Abijah was the wife of Hezron and bore him the son Ashhur.

(ah bi' jah) HEBREW: ABIYAH
"Yahweh is my father"

As the son of Rehoboam and grandson of Solomon, Abijah inherited a kingdom ruined by the foolishness of his father. From about 915 to 913 B.C. he ruled Judah, a small remnant of the substantial empire built by David but by then squandered. He was continually in conflict with the northern kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam. Though not the eldest of Rehoboam's 28 sons, Abijah was the first son of Rehoboam's favorite wife, Maacah, who perhaps was the daughter of King David's rebellious son Absalom. To show his favor, Rehoboam designated Abijah as his crown prince, while other sons were put in charge of various cities throughout the kingdom. Before he gained the throne of Judah, Abijah had dozens of sons and daughters by his 14 wives. In 1 Kings 14-15, he is called Abijam.

The biblical narrative gives Abijah two contrasting personalities. In 1 Kings 15:3, he is condemned because he "walked in all the sins which his father did before him." The narrative in 2 Chronicles 13, however, presents Abijah as a forceful defender of the Lord and of the temple worship in Jerusalem. In a speech he gave before a battle against Jeroboam, whose army outnumbered his own two to one, Abijah shouted, "God is with us at out head" and warned the northern army not to fight against the Lord "for you cannot succeed" (2 Chr. 13:12). Despite the odds, Abijah won the battle and captured three cities from the north but could not overthrow Jeroboam. Abijah's reign lasted only three years; the cause of his death in unknown. His son Asa succeeded him.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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