King Jeroboam was an evil man. He brought idol worship to a new level. He made priests out of every class of people. Whoever wanted to be a priest, he consecrated, and he became one of the priests of the high places where they worshipped their idols. Then his son Abijah got sick.
Since Jeroboam wasn’t exactly on the best of terms with God’s prophets, he told his wife to disguise herself and go to Shiloh to seek advice from the prophet Ahijah.
Jeroboam’s wife did as instructed, but God spoke to Ahijah and let him know that she was coming. As soon as she entered his house, he let her know he knew who she was, so why was she pretending to be someone else?
Ahijah gave her a message to deliver to Jeroboam. He shared that God had given him the kingdom from the house of David, but he’d been more evil than any who went before him. Because of his evil worship, God was cutting off from Jeroboam every male in Israel, bond and free. The dogs would eat the bodies of those who died in the cities. The birds would eat the bodies of those who died in the fields.
Ahijah told Jeroboam’s wife to return home, and when she entered the city gates, her son would die. And that’s what happened.
While that seems harsh, we’re told all of Israel mourned the death of Abijah because there was in him some good toward the Lord. God allowed him a dignified death to remove him from the evil that surrounded him in his family.