2 Chronicles 15

Abijah Reigns in Judah

13 zIn the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, yAbijah began to reign over Judah. 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. 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. Then Abijah stood up on Mount dZemaraim that is in ethe hill country of Ephraim and said, Hear me, O Jeroboam and all Israel! 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? Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon the son of David, rose up hand rebelled against his lord, 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.

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. 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 1gAbijah 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 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He took away the foreign altars hand the high places and broke down ithe pillars and cut down the jAsherim and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. He also took out of all the cities of Judah hthe high places and the kincense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him. He built lfortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, mfor the Lord gave him peace. 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. 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.

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 Judah3 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, 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. cFor a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, dbut when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 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. They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. fBut you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, gfor your work shall be rewarded.

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 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.

Asa's Last Years

16 vIn the wthirty-sixth year of the reign of Asa, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, xthat he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king's house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, There is a covenant1 between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me. And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel, and they conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and all the ystore cities of Naphtali. And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah and let his work cease. Then King Asa took all Judah, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them he built Geba and Mizpah.

At that time zHanani athe seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, bBecause you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not cthe Ethiopians and dthe Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet ebecause you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. fFor the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those gwhose heart is blameless2 toward him. hYou have done foolishly in this, for from now on iyou will have wars. 10 Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him jin the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.

11 kThe acts of Asa, from first to last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe. Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians. 13 And Asa slept with his fathers, dying in the forty-first year of his reign. 14 They buried him in the tomb that he had cut for himself in the city of David. They laid him on a bier lthat had been filled with various kinds of spices prepared by the perfumer's art, mand they made a very great fire in his honor.

Jehoshaphat Reigns in Judah

17 Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place and strengthened himself against Israel. He placed forces in all the nfortified cities of Judah and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim othat Asa his father had captured. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, pand not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah qbrought tribute to Jehoshaphat, rand he had great riches and honor. His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, she took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, tto teach in the cities of Judah; uand with them the Levites, Shemaiah, Nethaniah, Zebadiah, Asahel, Shemiramoth, Jehonathan, Adonijah, Tobijah, and Tobadonijah; and with these Levites, the priests Elishama and Jehoram. And tthey taught in Judah, having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went about through all the cities of Judah and taught among the people.

10 vAnd the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat. 11 Some of the Philistines wbrought Jehoshaphat presents and silver for tribute, and the Arabians also brought him 7,700 rams and 7,700 goats. 12 And Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store cities, 13 and he had large supplies in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem. 14 This was the muster of them by fathers' houses: Of Judah, the commanders of thousands: Adnah the commander, with 300,000 mighty men of valor; 15 and next to him Jehohanan the commander, with 280,000; 16 and next to him Amasiah the son of Zichri, xa volunteer for the service of the Lord, with 200,000 mighty men of valor. 17 Of Benjamin: Eliada, a mighty man of valor, with 200,000 men yarmed with bow and shield; 18 and next to him Jehozabad with 180,000 armed for war. 19 These were in the service of the king, besides zthose whom the king had placed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah.