Judah and Benjamin Fortified
1When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops of the house of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam.2But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God:3Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin,4“Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred. Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the Lord and turned back from the expedition against Jeroboam.5Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defense in Judah.6He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,7Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam,8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin.11He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine.12He also put large shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.Priests and Levites Support Rehoboam
13The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all their territories.14The Levites had left their common lands and their holdings and had come to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had prevented them from serving as priests of the Lord,15and had appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat-demons, and for the calves that he had made.16Those 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 ancestors.17They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.Rehoboam's Marriages
18Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse.19She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham.20After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.21Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters).22Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.23He dealt wisely, and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities; he gave them abundant provisions, and found many wives for them.Chapter 12Egypt Attacks Judah
1When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he grew strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, he and all Israel with him.2In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem3with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians.4He took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.5Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.”6Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is in the right.”7When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.8Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”9So King Shishak 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 everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made;10but King Rehoboam made in place of them shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house.11Whenever the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard would come along bearing them, and would then bring them back to the guardroom.12Because he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy them completely; moreover, conditions were good in Judah.Death of Rehoboam
13So King Rehoboam established himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign; 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.14He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.15Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.16Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah succeeded him.Chapter 13Abijah Reigns over Judah
1In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Abijah began to reign over Judah.2He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Micaiah daughter of Uriel of Gibeah.
Now there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.3Abijah engaged in battle, having an army of valiant warriors, four hundred thousand picked men; and Jeroboam drew up his line of battle against him with eight hundred thousand picked mighty warriors.4Then Abijah stood on the slope of Mount Zemaraim that is in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, “Listen to me, Jeroboam and all Israel!5Do you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingship over Israel forever to David and his sons by a covenant of salt?6Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, a servant of Solomon son of David, rose up and rebelled against his lord;7and certain worthless scoundrels gathered around him and defied Rehoboam son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and irresolute and could not withstand them.8“And now you think that you can withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David, because you are a great multitude and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made as gods for you.9Have you not driven out the priests of the Lord, the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, and made priests for yourselves like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to be consecrated with a young bull or seven rams becomes a priest of what are no gods.10But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not abandoned him. We have priests ministering to the Lord who are descendants of Aaron, and Levites for their service.11They offer to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt offerings and fragrant incense, set out the rows of bread on the table of pure gold, and care for the golden lampstand so that its lamps may burn every evening; for we keep the charge of the Lord our God, but you have abandoned him.12See, God is with us at our head, and his priests have their battle trumpets to sound the call to battle against you. O Israelites, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your ancestors; for you cannot succeed.”13Jeroboam had sent an ambush around to come on them from behind; thus his troops were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them.14When Judah turned, the battle was in front of them and behind them. They cried out to the Lord, and the priests blew the trumpets.15Then the people of Judah raised the battle shout. And when the people of Judah shouted, God defeated Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.16The Israelites fled before Judah, and God gave them into their hands.17Abijah and his army defeated them with great slaughter; five hundred thousand picked men of Israel fell slain.18Thus the Israelites were subdued at that time, and the people of Judah prevailed, because they relied on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.19Abijah pursued Jeroboam, and took cities from him: Bethel with its villages and Jeshanah with its villages and Ephron with its villages.20Jeroboam did not recover his power in the days of Abijah; the Lord struck him down, and he died.21But Abijah grew strong. He took fourteen wives, and became the father of twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.22The rest of the acts of Abijah, his behavior and his deeds, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.Chapter 14Asa Reigns
1 So Abijah slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in the city of David. His son Asa succeeded him. In his days the land had rest for ten years.2 Asa did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God.3He took away the foreign altars and the high places, broke down the pillars, hewed down the sacred poles,4and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, and to keep the law and the commandment.5He also removed from all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.6He built fortified cities in Judah while the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the Lord gave him peace.7He said to Judah, “Let us build these cities, and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars; the land is still ours because we have sought the Lord our God; we have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.8Asa had an army of three hundred thousand from Judah, armed with large shields and spears, and two hundred eighty thousand troops from Benjamin who carried shields and drew bows; all these were mighty warriors.Ethiopian Invasion Repulsed
9Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.10Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.11Asa cried to the Lord his God, “O Lord, there is no difference for you between helping the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let no mortal prevail against you.”12So the Lord defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.13Asa and the army with him pursued them as far as Gerar, and the Ethiopians fell until no one remained alive; for they were broken before the Lord and his army. The people of Judah carried away a great quantity of booty.14They defeated all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the Lord was on them. They plundered all the cities; for there was much plunder in them.15They also attacked the tents of those who had livestock, and carried away sheep and goats in abundance, and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.Chapter 151The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.2He went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you, while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you abandon him, he will abandon you.3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law;4but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.5In those times it was not safe for anyone to go or come, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands.6They were broken in pieces, nation against nation and city against city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.