Thursday, January 12, 2017

Abijah - Wicked or Righteous?

“The righteous one has perished, but no one takes it to heart. Loyal men are taken away, with no one discerning that the righteous one has been taken away because of the calamity. He enters into peace. They rest on their beds [that is, the Grave], all who walk uprightly.” – Isaiah 57:1,2

“When your [the wife of Jeroboam’s] feet come into the city the child [Abijah] will certainly die. And all Israel will indeed bewail him and bury him, because this one alone of Jeroboam’s will come into a burial place; for the reason that something good toward Jehovah the God of Israel has been found in him in the house of Jeroboam.” – 1 Kings 14:12,13

I have long assumed that Abijah was a wicked person, though, one’s whose wickedness wasn’t great enough to warrant the dishonor of not being mourned for or buried. Now, though, I’m inclined to think that he was righteous, after having recently reading that passage in Isaiah.
A Watchtower comments: “Did this [that he was buried and mourned] mean that Abijah was a faithful worshiper of Jehovah? Not necessarily, since he died, as did the rest of his wicked household.” This observation is correct. However, it seems more likely than not that he was righteous. True, he died, but it was before the others in Jeroboam’s house on the apostate household, which happened in the second year of the reign of Jeroboam’s other son, Nadab. He wasn’t killed when Baasha brought the calamity on Jeroboam’s house, because he was already dead.  This fits Isaiah’s description of the righteous who are spared the calamity of the wicked by death.
It is also worth noting that his death, having occurred before the execution of Jeroboam’s house by Baasha, allowed him to be buried for with honor and mourned. If he died later (by Baasha’s hand), when Baasha revolted, it is not likely that Baasha would have let him been buried; the lack of a burial and mourning was part of the calamity Ahijah spoke against Jeroboam’s house.

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