1 Kings 15

Abijah, king of Judah

1 Abijah became king of Judah after Nebat's son Jeroboam had been king of Israel for 18 years. 2 Abijah ruled in Jerusalem as king for three years. His mother's name was Maakah. She was the daughter of Abishalom. 3 Abijah did the same bad things that his father had done before him. He did not serve the Lord his God faithfully, as his ancestor King David had done. 4 But the Lord his God gave Abijah a son to rule after him in Jerusalem. He also made Jerusalem a strong city. The Lord did that because of his promise to David. 5 David had always done things that pleased the Lord. David had obeyed the Lord's commands in his whole life, except what he did to Uriah, the Hittite man.

15:2Abishalom may be another way to write Absalom, who was King David's son. So maybe Maakah was the granddaughter of King David.
15:5David sent Uriah to his death, so that he could marry Uriah's wife, Bathsheba. See 2 Samuel 11.

6 In Abijah's whole life, there was a war between the armies of Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

7 The other things that happened while Abijah was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The History of Judah's Kings’. It tells about all the things that Abijah did. While Abijah was king, there was war between his army and Jeroboam's army.

8 Abijah died and they buried him beside his ancestors in the City of David. Abijah's son Asa became king after him.

Asa, king of Judah

9 Asa became king of Judah when Jeroboam had been king of Israel for 20 years. 10 Asa ruled in Jerusalem as king for 41 years. His grandmother was Maakah. She was the daughter of Abishalom. 11 Asa did things that pleased the Lord, as his ancestor King David had done. 12 He removed the male prostitutes from the altars on the hills. He sent them out of Judah. He removed all the useless idols that his ancestors had made. 13 He also told his grandmother Maakah that she could no longer have authority as the Queen Mother. This was because she had made an Asherah pole to worship. Asa cut down the Asherah pole and he burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Asa did not remove the altars on all the hills, but he served the Lord faithfully for his whole life. 15 He brought into the Lord's temple the things that he and his father had made as gifts to the Lord. They used silver and gold to make some of these things.

15:13Queen Mother was the wife of a king that had now died. She had authority to make important decisions.
15:13The Kidron Valley was outside Jerusalem.

16 There was always a war between King Asa of Judah and King Baasha of Israel while they ruled. 17 One time, Baasha attacked Judah. He put a group of his soldiers in Ramah and he made it a strong town. As a result, nobody could travel into Judah or out of Judah, where King Asa ruled. 18 So Asa took all the silver and the gold that they stored in his palace and in the Lord's temple. He gave it to his servants. He told them to take it to Ben-Hadad in Damascus. He was the king who ruled Syria. Ben-Hadad's father was Tabrimmon and his grandfather was Hezion. 19 Asa sent this message to Ben-Hadad: ‘We should make an agreement to be friends, as our fathers did. I am sending you this gift of silver and gold. Please stop being friends with Baasha, king of Israel. If you no longer help him, he will have to take his soldiers out of my country.’ 20 Ben-Hadad agreed to do what King Asa asked him to do. He sent his army with its leaders to attack towns in Israel. He won the fights against the towns of Ijon, Dan, Abel-Beth-Maakah, as well as the region of Kinnereth and the land of Naphtali. 21 When King Baasha heard this news, he stopped the work in Ramah. He left there and he went to live in Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa told all the men in Judah to do some hard work. Everyone had to do this: They must carry away all the big stones and the wood that Baasha had been using to build with in Ramah. Then King Asa used them to build again Geba (in Benjamin's land) and Mizpah to make them strong towns.

15:17Ramah was near to Jerusalem, in Benjamin's land. It was part of King Asa's kingdom.

23 The other things that happened while Asa was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The History of Judah's Kings’. It tells about Asa's power and all the great things that he did. It also tells about the cities that he built. When Asa became an old man he had an illness in his feet.

24 Asa died and they buried him beside his ancestors in the City of David, his ancestor. Asa's son Jehoshaphat became king after him.

Nadab, king of Israel

25 When Asa had been king of Judah for two years, Jeroboam's son became king of Israel. Nadab ruled Israel as king for two years. 26 He did things that the Lord said were evil. He did the same bad things that his father had done. He also caused the Israelites to do bad things.

27 Baasha decided to kill King Nadab. Baasha was Ahijah's son and he belonged to Issachar's tribe. This happened while Nadab and Israel's army were attacking Gibbethon, a town of the Philistines. 28 Baasha killed King Nadab in the third year that Asa was king of Judah. Baasha became king of Israel instead of Nadab.

29 When Baasha became king, he killed all Jeroboam's descendants. He did not leave anybody in Jeroboam's family alive. He killed them all. The Lord had already said that this would happen. He had given the message to his servant Ahijah, who was from Shiloh. 30 This happened because of Jeroboam's sins, and the sins which he caused the Israelites to do. These sins had made the Lord, Israel's God, very angry.

15:29Ahijah's message to Jeroboam is in 1 Kings 14:10-11.

31 The other things that happened while Nadab was king are written in a book. The book is called ‘The History of Israel's Kings’. It tells about all the things that Nadab did. 32 There was always a war between the armies of King Asa and King Nadab.

Baasha, king of Israel

33 In the third year that Asa was king of Judah, Ahijah's son Baasha became the king of all Israel. He was living in Tirzah. Baasha ruled as king for 24 years. 34 Baasha did things that the Lord said were evil. He did the same sins that Jeroboam had done. He also caused the Israelites to do those bad things.

15:33Tirzah was a beautiful place (Song of Songs 6:4). Perhaps that is why Israel's kings went there instead of to Shechem.