ABIJAH (Heb. Abiyyah and Abiyyahu, “Yah is father”), a name borne by nine different persons mentioned in the Old Testament, of whom the most noteworthy are the following. (i) The son and successor of Rehoboam, king of Judah (2 Chron. xii. 16--xiii.), reigned about two years (918-915 B.C.). The accounts of him in the books of Kings and Chronicles are very conflicting (compare 1 Kings xv. 2 and 2 Chron. xi.20 with 2 Chron. xiii.2). The Chronicler tells us that he has drawn his facts from the Midrash (commentary) of the prophet Iddo This is perhaps sufficient to explain the character of the narrative. (2) The second son of Samuel (1 Sam. viii. 2; 1 Chron. vi. 28 [13j). He and his brother Joel judged at Beersheba. Their misconduct was made by the elders of Israel a pretext for demanding a king (1 Sam. viii. 4). (3) A son of Jeroboam I., king of Israel; he died young (1 Kings xiv. 1 ff., 17). (4) Head of the eighth order of priests (1 Chron. xxiv. 10), the order to which Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, belonged (Luke i. 5).
The alternative form Abijam is probably a mistake, though it is upheld by M. Jastrow.
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