A STUDY OF 1 KINGS: Conflict and Damage Control is no Way to Live Your Life 1 Kings 15

Dr. Jerry A. Collins


Having documented the establishment of idolatry in both Israel and Judah (12:1-14:31), the text moves to a quick survey of the kings of Judah and Israel from 913 to 885 B.C. The author notes that the high places remained in Judah (15:14), and the sins of Jeroboam continued in Israel (15:26, 34; 16:13, 19).



Remember the words of Jesus, if anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26). Within the context of 1 Kings 15, we see just such a danger from right inside the royal palace. Three times we read that either the mother or grandmother was Maacah, the daughter of Abishalom (v 2, 10 and 13). It’s difficult to piece together her origin other than to say she had some type of official influence in the royal court that allowed her to have a presence before her son and grandson as they ruled in the land.

Verses 1-2: Abijah begins his for three years in Jerusalem. This son of Rehoboam only reigned three years, showing that God did not bless his reign. That reign included his mother being in place in court. His mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 

Verse 3: Abijam continued to tolerate the pagan worship reintroduced to Judah during his father’s reign. He walked in all the sins of his father which he had committed before him. This was the real problem with Abijam’s reign—his lack of a genuine personal relationship with God. And when compared to King David God said his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God, like the heart of his father David. David was his great-grandfather. David had sin in his life, but he was not an idolater. In the sight of God, David was right, because he was faithful to the Lord. His heart was stayed upon God. David worshipped the One True God.

PT: From the discipleship of the Kings of Israel we observe the following.

1. Every time a good king has a good father, or a good mentor, as in the case of Josiah, the Bible says he followed that good father or mentor.

2. Every good king who had a bad father followed his great grandfather David (Asa, Hezekiah, Josiah). By the way, the bad kings sometimes followed their bad father or mentor, a bad forefather, the other bad king of Israel or a bad mother or a bad wife, but the Bible always says they followed someone bad.

3. Many good kings who were discipled by a good father or mentor had bad sons because they did not disciple their sons as they were discipled by their fathers or mentors (Jehoshaphat, Jothiam, Josiah).

An Application:

·      Almost everyone who has had a good disciple turns out to be a good man or woman as God defines that.

·      Good people will not pass on their goodness to others unless they specifically disciple them.

·      If believers do not disciple people who are close to them like their children, but anyone, these people will most likely follow bad people o the bad influences and examples of the society in general.

Verses 4-8: There are three things to take note about Abijams Reign in these verses. The first is that for David's sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem. God preserved the dynasty of David in Jerusalem for the sake of David, not because of the character or quality of his descendants. We know that the love of the Lord for David is what actually caused God to keep Judah for the descendants of David. The Light of the world would come through this tribe to the earth.

The second was to raise up his son after him and to establish Jerusalem. Ultimately, Jesus, the Light of the World, would be born into the tribe of Judah. The everlasting kingship promised to David will culminate in Christ. God also wanted to establish Jerusalem as the city of God. In the meantime, God assured that a dynasty was maintained through which Jesus would inherit and claim right to both royalty and the throne to globally rule in Jerusalem the city which the Lord had chosen from all the tribes of Israel to put His name there (1 Kings 14:21).

Third, all of this would became a reality because David did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite v 5. We would have to say that David did sin, when he had Uriah killed to get his wife, Bathsheba, for his wife. There were other things like the numbering of the people, but David loved the Lord with all his heart. He truly wanted to please the Lord. His heart was pure from his youth to death.

An Application: God does not overlook our sin. He does not accommodate our sin. He acknowledges it within the context in which it happened. So, too, we must acknowledge our sinful acts. We do this by confession and then repentance. We must turn away from it. When your sin is forgiven, it will be remembered no more.

—Unfortunately, there was perpetual war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life v 6. Not the days of Rehoboam, though that was true, and is observed (1 Kings 14:30), but all the days of Abijam, before he came to the throne, and in which, when a young man, he was concerned, and which still continued between him and Jeroboam. This is not speaking of full scale war, because the Lord had stopped that at the very beginning of their separation. There were, from time to time, border problems. Rehoboam was disturbed that the ten tribes had separated from Judah and Benjamin. The section ends with a somewhat positive note that Abijam was given a burial with honor near his father's tomb. His son, Asa, began to reign in his stead. Asa did right in the sight of the Lord v 8.

Verses 9-11: In the meantime, back at the ranch, Asa began to reign as king of Judah. He reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem v 9. This great-grandson of Solomon took the throne of Judah at the end of Jeroboam’s reign in Israel, after his father’s brief reign. Once again we are told that his mother's name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. She is called his mother, not because she brought him forth, but because she brought him up. And this is observed to his commendation, that though he was educated by an idolatrous woman, yet was not corrupted by her as his father was. Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father. This is very interesting that Asa was a follower of God, since his father was an evil king, and his mother was an idolater. Notice that he was right in the eyes of the Lord. He was not perfect, but his heart was stayed on God.

PT: During the reign of Asa, eight different kings would be on the throne of the ten tribes; Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, Omri, and Ahab. The sad thing is that the Israelites (the ten tribes), had no kings that followed God. Judah had a few good kings, like Asa. Asa’s reign was characterized by four reforms:

·      He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land v 12. These state-sanctioned homosexual idol-temple prostitutes were introduced into Judah during the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:24).

·      He removed all the idols which his fathers had made v 12. Asa’s father Abijam didn’t remove these perversions and idols, but King Asa did.

·      He also removed Maacah his grand-mother from being queen mother. This demonstrates the thoroughness of Asa’s reforms. He was able to act righteously even when his family was wrong, in particular his own grandmother. The reason for such drastic action was because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron v 13. Made a horrid image is a term derived from the verb “to shudder” (Job 9:6). She had made a “Horrible, repulsive thing” suggesting a shocking, perhaps even a sexually explicit, idol.

—Asa removed Maacha, the official queen mother, because of her association with this idol. The high places in v 14 refer to such as had been used for the worship of God, before the temple was built, which yet now should have been removed, since sacrifice was only to be offered in the Temple. But he might think they were still lawful, or the people had such an opinion of them, that it was difficult and dangerous to attempt to remove them. Otherwise high places for idolatry were removed by him for he removed the foreign altars and high places, for he tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, (2 Chronicles 14:3). Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days. Somehow he overcame the sinful influence of his relatives.

·      He brought into the house of the Lord the dedicated things of his father and his own dedicated things:

    silver and gold and utensils. This is a re-gathering of the things of the temple. These precious things

from his father were things he had brought home, as spoil from his battles. The spoils he had taken in    war from Jeroboam, and which he had devoted to religious uses.

An Application: Sin can be overcome even if it is ingrained within by close family or associates. But one thing we should never do is to allow them to advocate for that sin. A determined follower of Jesus must never accommodate the sin of those who want to make a case for it to you or your disciples or extended family especially from family or close associates.



Verses 16-17: We learn that Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from going out or coming in to Asa king of Judah. This continues the struggle for dominance between the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Baasha gained the upper hand in the days of Asa because he effectively blocked a main route into Judah at the city of Ramah. He hoped this military and economic pressure on Judah would force Asa into significant concessions.

Verses 18-21: Then Asa took all the silver and the gold which were left in the treasuries of the house of the Lord v 18. Asa used this treasure to buy the favor of Ben-Hadad of Syria, so that he would withdraw support from Israel. Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel v 20. Apparently, Baasha of Israel could not stand against Judah by himself – he needed the backing of Syria. When Baasha heard of it, he ceased fortifying Ramah and remained in Tirzah v 21. When Ben-hadad made league with Asa, it frightened Baasha and he stopped building on Ramah. Here we can see Baasha intrigue and willingness to wage war. Tirzah would be safer for him than Ramah. The taking of the cities, Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maachah and Cinneroth by Ben-Hadad army was a warning to Baasha v 20.

Verse 22-24: Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah-none was exempt—and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber with which Baasha had built. It seems from this that Asa used the material Baasha had intended for Ramah, and built up Geba and Mizpah. Geba would have been the furthest extremity of the southern kingdom. This would be like the fort at Ramah, but would belong to Asa. Geba would protect the pass. Mizpah means watch tower, so there is no question what this was used for. All Judah had to help with the tearing down of Ramah, and the building of Geba and Mizpah. —This needed to be done quickly, so everyone was required to help. This section then ends with Asa slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father; and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place. Asa had an honorable burial. He was righteous in the sight of the Lord. He was buried near David. Jehoshaphat, we will find, was like his father. He did right in the sight of the Lord.

Verses 25-26: We are introduced to Nadab the son of Jeroboam became king over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and he reigned over Israel two years’ v 25. Unfortunately, during his reign He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father and in his sin which he made Israel sin v 26. Nadab, this son of Jeroboam, did as his father did continuing in his idolatry and hardness towards God. He was an evil, idolatrous king. The worst sin of all is when you cause others to sin.

Verses 27-30: Notice the chaos and damage control that ensues due to Baashas impulsive behavior and self centered actions that rippled throughout the lives of others. Then Baasha the son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar conspired against him v 27. Baasha made secret plans to do something that would be catastrophic. Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah and reigned in his place v 28. Baasha was so evil, that he killed Nadab to get his throne. Which seems to be his only or chief reason for slaying him—to gain possession of his kingdom. He struck down all the household of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam any persons alive, until he had destroyed them v 29.

Baasha, the northern king, annihilated all of Jeroboam’s family. This act fulfilled Ahijah’s prophecy against Jeroboam Which He spoke by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite (14:9 11). However, Baasha went beyond the words of the prophecy (since 14:10 specified judgment only on every male), while Baasha killed all men, women and children. Baasha had no intention of fulfilling prophecy however. He did it out of greed, not to please God, or anyone other than himself. The prophecy was pertaining to Jeroboam. This epitaph for wicked Jeroboam of Israel follows through the history of the northern kingdom relentlessly as the standard of sin by which judgment fell on the successive kings (see 15:34; 16:2, 19, 31; 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29, 31; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28). Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, because of his provocation with which he provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger v 30.

PT: People we know like Baasha seem to thrive on creating problems for people. Motivated by greed or rage or jealousy they rampage through people’s lives creating chaotic circumstances that at best can only be contained or controlled so the damage does not spill over any further. The Bible calls this the life of the flesh where the mind set on the flesh is death… because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8).

—Even James warns that God will intervene in a believer’s life to prematurely take them to heaven if a sinning believer does not repent. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins (James 5:19-20). Sin is a serious error with dire consequences for unbeliever and believer.

Verses 31-34: conclude there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days v 32. For being a wicked man, and an idolater, Asa had no respect for him, though he had slain the family of Jeroboam. Or had Baasha any regard to Judah, nor to the worship of God at Jerusalem. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam and in his sin which he made Israel sin v 34. The summary puts it simply. Though Baasha was not a genetic descendent of Jeroboam (having murdered his family), he was certainly a spiritual descendent of Jeroboam. This makes it evident that Baasha did not cut off Jeroboam’s family because they were idolaters, but because he aspired to the throne. Eventually, the only way to rid society of this menace was for God to intervene and kill him. It seems that even left with damage control as the only option, God may step in to stop the carnage.



·      Sin is anything contrary to the character of God. When you are aware of sin in your life deal with it. Manage it. do something about it. Address it. Handle it. Don’t just pray about it. Your life is in peril if you do. James says therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin (James 4:17).

PT: We are sinful in three ways: 1. We have imputed sin by virtue of being related to Adam. It’s guilt by association. 2. We have natural sin which is our sin nature, bent or capacity inherited from our physical parents. Both our physical and spiritual DNA come from them. 3. We have personal sin we actually commit—violations of God’s character of which we are personally guilty.

·      We never want to settle for damage control. That’s because we then admit that chaos is a viable option and it is not. Damage control is to contain chaos, but chaos is the fruit of sin not righteousness. So, always make damage control your last option even though you may only be left with that option.