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Allow me to explain (5 of 439)

December 10, 2010

Explanation is here. They’re all being collected here.

5. Who was Abijam’s mother? 1 Ki 15:1-2, 2 Chron 13:1-2

This one requires a little study, which is refreshing.

1 Kings 15:1-2//
In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. 2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom.

2 Chronicles 13:1-2//
Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.

First, we need to notice and accept that there are small variances in the spelling of names. Remember, they were originally written in Hebrew, which is not a Roman language, then translated into Greek. With no direct character-to-character parallel, you’re basically making up names in one language that sound like the name in it’s original language. Case in point: The above scriptures call the same king “Abijam” and “Abijah,” but even the contradictions poster doesn’t consider it odd.

Further, if you’ve ever read through the Old Testament, you’ve noticed how people tend to be named after their role or the circumstance of their birth. As such, people sometimes change their names when those titles no longer apply to them.

In 2 Chronicles 13, Abijam’s mother is called Michaiah.

In 1 Kings 15, she is called Maachah. 

She is also called Maachah three times in 2 Chronicles 11:

20 After her he took Maacah the daughter of Absalom, and she bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza and Shelomith.21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. … 22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah the son of Maacah as head and leader among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.

She is also called Maachah later, in 2 Chronicles 15 (Asa was Abijam’s brother who succeeded him as king):

16 He also removed Maacah, the mother of King Asa, from the position of queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah, and Asa cut down her horrid image, crushed it and burned it at the brook Kidron.

Maachah comes from a Hebrew root word that means “bruised” or “pressed.” Michaiah is a Hebrew word that means, “Who is like Jehovah?”

Why translate her name differently one time in 2 Chronicles 13? I don’t know. Does it matter?

Uriel of Gibeah is not mentioned any other time in scripture. We can assume, by comparing the first two verses, that he is the son of Abishalom (a variation of Absalom). If that doesn’t satisfy you, check with Flavius Josephus. Josephus was a secular Jewish historian. In volume eight of his Antiquities of the Jews, chapter 10, he records that Abishalom’s daughter Tamar married Uriel of Gibeah, and Tamar was the mother of Maachah. Secular history, then, makes Maachah the daughter of Uriel, and granddaughter of Abishalom.

Short answer: Maachah, who is – one time – called Michaiah.

Why? I dunno, but given that the record of her heritage and family are consistent, and that it’s difficult to translate names between languages that don’t share characters, and that changing names in Hebrew culture at the time was not uncommon … who cares?

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