Abijah (Abijam) had been in charge of Judea's army while his father was king. His excellent leadership had held off the continual attacks of the neighboring countries, especially those of the kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam. Finally, after Abijah had succeeded his father to the throne of Judea, the hostility between the two brother-kingdoms culminated in a decisive battle. Jeroboam had a huge army, considerably outnumbering that of Abijah. However, the king of Judea based all his hope and confidence on G‑d's assurance that the kingdom would continue and remain under the rule of a descendant of the House of David. When the two armies met, Abijah addressed Jeroboam and his army, and chided them for fighting against G‑d and for serving idols. But he did not impress Jeroboam, who felt strong in the face of his vastly superior army. Abijah, however, prayed to G‑d for help, and the giant pincer movement Jeroboam had developed against the troops of Judea failed dismally. Israel's army was severely beaten and they left the battlefield in disorder.

Thus Abijah once and for all destroyed all Jeroboam's hopes to incorporate the remnant of the former kingdom of Solomon into his own empire. For some time Jeroboam had lost even Bethel to Judea. But not for long did Abijah enjoy the fruits of this decisive victory. Although he himself had chided Jeroboam for the service to the calves at Bethel and Dan, he was not averse to idol worship himself, and was no better than his father. Abijah died in the third year of his reign, shortly after his victory over Jeroboam.