Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned Abijam over Judah. Three years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.
–1 Kings 15:1-2
Why not start this with Scripture? Abijam, son of Rehoboam king of Israel came to power upon the death of his father, who reigned 17 years. At this time Rehoboam was king of Judah and Jeroboam was king of Israel due to the division caused by Solomon.
We often overlook this fact, but Solomon was the cause of the division of Israel into two kingdoms: Judah and Israel. A rift that would not be fully reconciled until hundreds of years later. However, even though Solomon is responsible for the rift by bringing foreign gods to Jerusalem and erecting temples of worship to them, David is responsible for ensuring there would be a rift. If Solomon was not David’s son al of Israel would’ve been handed to Jeroboam; but for the love of David, God spared his descendants the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to rule over. Had it not been for David’s obedience and Solomon’s disobedience, who knows how the history of Israel as a nation would’ve turned out?
Back to Abijam who is king of Judah at this time:
And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father.
Nevertheless for David’s sake did the LORD his God give him a lamp in Jerusalem, to set up his son after him, and to establish Jerusalem:
–1 Kings 15:4
Note: this king is 2 generations after David. The promise of children (Solomon) and children’s children (Jeroboam/Rehoboam) doesn’t even apply.
David’s obedience had multigenerational blessings.
Because of David was so beloved of God, for his sake he gave David’s descendants a nation and forgave and prospered them continually! Even David’s great grandchildren benefited from his obedience to God. Abijam, who did evil in the sight of the Lord, God, (for David’s sake), allowed his legacy to endure and his son took the throne.
Solomon’s disobedience had multigenerational consequences.
However, the sins of the father often are imputed to the cause of the son. Jeroboam and Rehoboam waged war against each other their entire lives. This feudal warring even involved other nations and empires who began taking sides. Egypt sided with Israel and warred against the house of Rehoboam. Syria sided with Judah and waged war against the house of Baasha in Israel. Solomon’s disobedience incurred repercussions to his progeny and the world.
The sins of the father:
The kings of Israel were many, evil, and short lived. If you read 1 Kings looking specifically at the nation of Israel, you will notice how kingship changes hands frequently, and not just father to son, but in diverse and undignified ways.
After the death of Jeroboam, Nadab his son reigned over Israel for 2 years. 2 years! And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, so Baasha, the son of Ahijah the prophet killed Nadab and took his crown. But he didn’t stop there, for righteousness, revenge, or fear, Baasha purged the entire line of Jeroboam from existence to ensure that seed never arose again. Now, all of this sounds good, Baasha is draining the swamp, cleaning out the palace. The son of a prophet is in power so maybe God will return to Israel, right? Wrong.
Baasha also did evil in the sight of the Lord, as did his son, Elah, who reigned after him. Elah reigned over Israel 2 years before he was killed by the captain of his army, Zimri, who began to rule. And, in turn, Zimri slew all the house of Baasha, and consequently Elah also. The kingdom passed from father to son to prophet/murderer to son to captain/murderer.
But, Zimri’s reign was short lived, quite literally so. He was in power seven days, which is apparently as long as it takes for Israel to hear the news of him murdering their king who was in a drunken stupor, and then gather an army under Zimri’s fellow caption Omri and overtake the palace. Upon seeing the city under siege, Zimri promptly committed a rather brutal suicide.
During Omri’s days as king, the kingdom of Israel split for a time until he conquered the uprising and reunited the nation. And after Omri died his son Ahab reigned in his place. Thus ends the days and times of the kings of Israel. It’s a sad story with a tragic ending, but the nation of Israel beginning at Jeroboam inherited the sins of their fathers passed down from generation to generation. Not a single king of Israel during this time did what was right in the eyes of God.
The blessings of the father:
In the kingdom of Judah, after Rehoboam and his son Abijam reigned, doing evil in the sight of the Lord, Maachah, Abijam’s wife took up sergeant leadership of Judah. Asa the son of Abijam and Maachah came into power, removing his mother from the throne and exiling her. Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord and reigned 41 years. From Jeroboam to Ahab.
The story of the kingdom of Judah is a much shorter story. Why? Because the blessing of David were upon his decedents. Because David was righteous before the Lord, the kingdom of Judah did not suffer as much inner turmoil and strife as did the nation of Israel. I say this ends the accounts of the two nation, but I’m only referencing the conflict between them initially set about by their ancestors. The nations’ histories continue and more kings arise to lead them, but in the days of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, son of Asa, there was peace between Israel and Judah. Jehoshaphat and Ahab were able to resolve their differences with each other.
The world doesn’t forget:
Even if we can square things away with the person we initially had issues with, we forgot about the splash damage. Other nations became involved in the early days of this feud and they did not forget. Judah had kings killed in battle against Egypt because the Egyptians sided first with Israel. Israel was continuously getting into conflicts with Syria because Syria sided first with Judah. Solomon thought to kill Jeroboam and he escaped to Egypt. Baasha waged war on Asa and he called in a favor from the king of Syria. Your conflicts aren’t just about you and the person with whom you’re fighting. Everyone the conflict touches becomes involved in some way. So much so that the damage is often irreparable. Do you know how God brought His people back together again?
Captivity resolves conflict:
Israel was led away by, of all people, the Assyrians under Shalmanesar king of Syria, (now called Assyria). Judah was threatened by Assyria also, under Sennacherib but God delivered them. They later suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, and were defeated and led captive by Nebuchadnezzar into Persian lands for many years.
When we realize there is a conflict, (and it doesn’t take long to find out), we need to allow ourselves to be led captive to Christ and captive to the needs of each other. This resolves conflict. Captivity is an absolute way to resolve conflict, but if it is not your choice, the captivity will be a prison. Captivity is not your prison, captivity is your freedom. Don’t let your children inherit your conflicts. Don’t let your legacy be a rift, a separation, an oposition with anyone. Be captive to God and follow after Him.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist