Abijam in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
a-bi'-jam ('abhiyam, "father of sea," or, "father of west").
The name given in Kings (1 Ki 14:31; 15:1,7,8) to the son of
Rehoboam who succeeded him as king of Judah.
The name has puzzled scholars. Some have proposed, by adding
one letter, to change it into "father of his people." Others
have observed that the Greek rendering in Kings is Abeiou.
Either the Hebrew copy used by the Greek translator read
'abhiyahu, Abijah, or else the translator substituted the
form of the name which was to him more familiar. A few
existing copies of the Hebrew have the reading Abijah, and
Mt 1:7 presupposes that as the Old Testament reading. So
they infer that Abijam in Ki is an erroneous reading for
Abijah. This seems at present to be the prevailing view, and
it is plausible. It would be more convincing, however, if
the name occurred but once in the passage in Kings, instead
of occurring five times. It is improbable that a scribe
would repeat the same error five times within a few
sentences, while a translator, if he changed the name once,
would of course change it the other four times.
Exploration has revealed the fact that the whole region near
the eastern end of the Mediterranean was known as "the
west." "Father of the west" is not an inapt name for
Rehoboam to give to the boy who, he expects, will inherit
the kingdom of Solomon and David. The effect of the
secession of the ten tribes was to make that name a
burlesque, and one does not wonder that it was superseded by
Abijah, "My father is Yahweh."
Willis J. Beecher