Rehoboam Secures His Kingdom
11 kWhen Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled the house of Judah and Benjamin, 180,000 chosen warriors, to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2 But the word of the Lord came to lShemaiah the man of God: 3 “Say to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, 4 ‘Thus says the Lord, You shall not go up or fight against myour relatives. Return every man to his home, for this thing is from me.’” So they listened to the word of the Lord and returned and did not go against Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem, and he built ncities for defense in Judah. 6 He built Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, oMareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin. 11 He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12 And he put shields and spears in all the cities and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.
Priests and Levites Come to Jerusalem
13 And the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all places where they lived. 14 For the Levites left ptheir common lands and their holdings and came to Judah and Jerusalem, qbecause Jeroboam and his sons cast them out from serving as priests of the Lord, 15 and he appointed his own rpriests for the high places and for the goat idols and for sthe calves that he had made. 16 tAnd those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their fathers. 17 uThey strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam the son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.
18 Rehoboam took as wife Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David, and of Abihail the daughter of vEliab the son of Jesse, 19 and she bore him sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 After her he took wMaacah the daughter of Absalom, who bore him xAbijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and fathered twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). 22 yAnd Rehoboam appointed xAbijah the son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23 And he dealt wisely and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities, and he gave them abundant provisions and procured wives for them.1
Egypt Plunders Jerusalem
12 zWhen the rule of Rehoboam was established aand he was strong, bhe abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him. 2 cIn the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, dShishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—eLibyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. 4 And he took fthe fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5 Then gShemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord, h‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” 6 Then the princes of iIsrael and the king humbled themselves and said, j“The Lord is righteous.” 7 When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: k“They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, land my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, mthat they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”
9 nSo Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away othe shields of gold that Solomon had made, 10 and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 11 And as often as the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard came and carried them and brought them back to the guardroom. 12 And when phe humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, qconditions were good1 in Judah.
13 rSo King Rehoboam grew strong in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 14 And he did evil, sfor he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
15 tNow the acts of Rehoboam, ufrom first to last, are they not written in the chronicles of vShemaiah the prophet and of wIddo xthe seer?2 There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David, and yAbijah3 his son reigned in his place.
Abijah Reigns in Judah
13 zIn the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, yAbijah began to reign over Judah. 2 He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was aMicaiah1 the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
bNow there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3 Abijah went out to battle, having an army of valiant men of war, 400,000 chosen men. And Jeroboam cdrew up his line of battle against him with 800,000 chosen mighty warriors. 4 Then Abijah stood up on Mount dZemaraim that is in ethe hill country of Ephraim and said, “Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! 5 Ought you not to know that the Lord God of Israel fgave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by ga covenant of salt? 6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up hand rebelled against his lord, 7 and certain iworthless scoundrels2 gathered about him and defied Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was jyoung and irresolute3 and could not withstand them.
8 “And now you think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you kthe golden calves that Jeroboam made you for gods. 9 lHave you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes mfor ordination4 with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are nnot gods. 10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are sons of Aaron, and Levites for their service. 11 They offer to the Lord oevery morning and every evening burnt offerings and incense of sweet spices, set out pthe showbread on the table of pure gold, qand care for the golden lampstand that its lamps may rburn every evening. For we skeep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him. 12 Behold, God is with us at our head, and his priests twith their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O sons of Israel, udo not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed.”
13 Jeroboam had sent van ambush around to come upon them from behind. Thus his troops5 were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. 14 And when Judah looked, behold, the battle was in front of and behind them. wAnd they cried to the Lord, and the priests tblew the trumpets. 15 Then the men of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the men of Judah shouted, xGod defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. 16 The men of Israel fled before Judah, yand God gave them into their hand. 17 Abijah and his people struck them with great force, so there fell slain of Israel 500,000 chosen men. 18 Thus the men of Israel were subdued at that time, and the men of Judah prevailed, zbecause they relied on the Lord, the God of their fathers. 19 And Abijah pursued Jeroboam aand took cities from him, Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and bEphron6 with its villages. 20 Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah. cAnd the Lord struck him down, dand he died. 21 But Abijah grew mighty. And he took fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters. 22 The rest of the acts of Abijah, his ways and his sayings, are written in the estory of the prophet fIddo.
Asa Reigns in Judah
14 gAbijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David. And Asa his son reigned in his place. In his days the land had rest for ten years. 2 1 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He took away the foreign altars hand the high places and broke down ithe pillars and cut down the jAsherim 4 and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. 5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah hthe high places and the kincense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. 6 He built lfortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, mfor the Lord gave him peace. 7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with nwalls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, mand he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. 8 And Asa had an army of o300,000 from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin that carried shields and drew bows. All these were mighty men of valor.
9 Zerah pthe Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as qMareshah. 10 And Asa went out to meet him, and rthey drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at qMareshah. 11 And Asa scried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, tfor we rely on you, uand in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” 12 vSo the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 Asa and the people who were with him pursued them as far as wGerar, and the Ethiopians fell until none remained alive, for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The men of Judah2 carried away very much spoil. 14 And they attacked all the cities around wGerar, xfor the fear of the Lord was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them. 15 And they struck down the tents of those who had livestock and carried away sheep in abundance and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
Asa’s Religious Reforms
15 yThe Spirit of God came1 upon Azariah the son of Oded, 2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: zThe Lord is with you while you are with him. aIf you seek him, he will be found by you, bbut if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 cFor a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4 dbut when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 5 In those times there was no peace eto him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. 7 fBut you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, gfor your work shall be rewarded.”
8 As soon as Asa heard these words, hthe prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from ithe cities that he had taken in jthe hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord kthat was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.2 9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, land those from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon who were residing with them, for great numbers had deserted to him from Israel when they saw that the Lord his God was with him. 10 They were gathered at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa. 11 They sacrificed to the Lord on that day mfrom the spoil that they had brought 700 oxen and 7,000 sheep. 12 nAnd they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, 13 but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, oshould be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman. 14 They swore an oath to the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets and with horns. 15 And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, pand the Lord gave them rest all around.
16 qEven Maacah, rhis mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image sfor Asherah. Asa cut down her image, tcrushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron. 17 uBut the high places were not taken out of Israel. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days. 18 And he brought into the house of God the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. 19 And there was no more war until the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Asa.