1When King Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem, he called together 180,000 of the best soldiers from the tribes of Benjamin and Judah. He intended to go to war and restore his control over the northern tribes of Israel. 2But the LORD told the prophet Shemaiah 3to give this message to King Rehoboam and to all the people of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin: 4“Do not attack your fellow-Israelites. Go home, all of you. What has happened is my will.” They obeyed the LORD's command and did not go to fight Jeroboam.
Rehoboam Fortifies the Cities
5Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem and had fortifications built for the following cities of Judah and Benjamin: 6Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7Bethzur, Soco, Adullam, 8Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron. 11He had them strongly fortified and appointed a commander for each of them, and in each one he placed supplies of food, olive oil, and wine, 12and also shields and spears. In this way he kept Judah and Benjamin under his control.
Priests and Levites Come to Judah
13From all the territory of Israel priests and Levites came south to Judah. 14The Levites abandoned their pastures and other land and moved to Judah and Jerusalem, because King Jeroboam of Israel and his successors would not let them serve as priests of the LORD. 15Jeroboam appointed priests of his own to serve at the pagan places of worship and to worship demons and the idols he made in the form of bull calves. 16From all the tribes of Israel people who sincerely wanted to worship the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem, so that they could offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their ancestors. 17This strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they supported Rehoboam son of Solomon and lived as they had under the rule of King David and King Solomon.
18Rehoboam married Mahalath, whose father was Jerimoth son of David, and whose mother was Abihail, the daughter of Eliab and granddaughter of Jesse. 19They had three sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20Later he married Maacah, the daughter of Absalom, and they had four sons: Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21In all, Rehoboam had eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and he fathered 28 sons and sixty daughters. Of all his wives and concubines he loved Maacah best, 22and he favoured her son Abijah over all his other children, choosing him as the one to succeed him as king. 23Rehoboam wisely assigned responsibilities to his sons, and stationed them throughout Judah and Benjamin in the fortified cities. He provided generously for them and also secured many wives for them.
1As soon as Rehoboam had established his authority as king, he and all his people abandoned the Law of the LORD. 2In the fifth year of Rehoboam's reign their disloyalty to the LORD was punished. King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem 3with an army of 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and more soldiers than could be counted, including Libyan, Sukkite, and Ethiopian troops. 4He captured the fortified cities of Judah and advanced as far as Jerusalem.
5Shemaiah the prophet went to King Rehoboam and the Judean leaders who had gathered in Jerusalem to escape Shishak. He said to them, “This is the LORD's message to you: ‘You have abandoned me, so now I have abandoned you to Shishak.’ ”
6The king and the leaders admitted that they had sinned, and they said, “What the LORD is doing is just.”
7When the LORD saw this, he spoke again to Shemaiah and said to him, “Because they admit their sin, I will not destroy them. But when Shishak attacks, they will barely survive. Jerusalem will not feel the full force of my anger, 8but Shishak will conquer them, and they will learn the difference between serving me and serving earthly rulers.”
9King Shishak came to Jerusalem and took the treasures from the Temple and from the palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that King Solomon had made. 10To replace them, Rehoboam made bronze shields and entrusted them to the officers responsible for guarding the palace gates. 11Every time the king went to the Temple, the guards carried the shields and then returned them to the guardroom. 12Because he submitted to the LORD, the LORD's anger did not completely destroy him, and things went well for Judah.
Summary of Rehoboam's Reign
13Rehoboam ruled in Jerusalem and increased his power as king. He was 41 years old when he became king, and he ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD had chosen from all the territory of Israel as the place where he was to be worshipped. Rehoboam's mother was Naamah, from the land of Ammon. 14He did what was evil, because he did not try to find the LORD's will.
15Rehoboam's acts from beginning to end and his family records are found in The History of Shemaiah the Prophet and The History of Iddo the Prophet. Rehoboam and Jeroboam were constantly at war with each other. 16Rehoboam died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City and his son Abijah succeeded him as king.
1In the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel, Abijah became king of Judah, 2and he ruled for three years in Jerusalem. His mother was Micaiah daughter of Uriel, from the city of Gibeah.
War broke out between Abijah and Jeroboam. 3Abijah raised an army of 400,000 soldiers, and Jeroboam opposed him with an army of 800,000.
4The armies met in the hill country of Ephraim. King Abijah went up Mount Zemaraim and called out to Jeroboam and the Israelites: “Listen to me!” he said. 5“Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, made an unbreakable covenant with David, giving him and his descendants kingship over Israel for ever? 6Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against Solomon, his king. 7Later he gathered together a group of worthless scoundrels, and they forced their will on Rehoboam son of Solomon, who was too young and inexperienced to resist them. 8Now you propose to fight against the royal authority that the LORD gave to David's descendants. You have a huge army and have with you the gold bull calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods. 9You drove out the LORD's priests, the descendants of Aaron, and you drove out the Levites. In their place you appointed priests in the same way that other nations do. Anybody who comes along with a bull or seven sheep can get himself consecrated as a priest of those so-called gods of yours.
10“But we still serve the LORD our God and have not abandoned him. Priests descended from Aaron perform their duties, and Levites assist them. 11Every morning and every evening they offer him incense and animal sacrifices burnt whole. They present the offerings of bread on a table that is ritually clean, and every evening they light the lamps on the gold lampstand. We do what the LORD has commanded, but you have abandoned him. 12God himself is our leader and his priests are here with trumpets, ready to blow them and call us to battle against you. People of Israel, don't fight against the LORD, the God of your ancestors! You can't win!”
13Meanwhile Jeroboam had sent some of his troops to ambush the Judean army from the rear, while the rest faced them from the front. 14The Judeans looked round and saw that they were surrounded. They cried to the LORD for help, and the priests blew the trumpets. 15The Judeans gave a loud shout, and led by Abijah, they attacked; God defeated Jeroboam and the Israelite army. 16The Israelites fled from the Judeans, and God let the Judeans overpower them. 17Abijah and his army dealt the Israelites a crushing defeat — half a million of Israel's best soldiers were killed. 18And so the people of Judah were victorious over Israel, because they relied on the LORD, the God of their ancestors.
19Abijah pursued Jeroboam's army and occupied some of his cities: Bethel, Jeshanah, and Ephron, and the villages near each of these cities. 20Jeroboam never regained his power during Abijah's reign. Finally the LORD struck him down, and he died.
21Abijah, however, grew more powerful. He had fourteen wives and fathered 22 sons and sixteen daughters. 22The rest of the history of Abijah, what he said and what he did, is written in The History of Iddo the Prophet.
1King Abijah died and was buried in the royal tombs in David's City. His son Asa succeeded him as king, and under Asa the land enjoyed peace for ten years. 2Asa pleased the LORD, his God, by doing what was right and good. 3He removed the foreign altars and the pagan places of worship, broke down the sacred stone columns, and cut down the symbols of the goddess Asherah. 4He commanded the people of Judah to do the will of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and to obey his teachings and commands. 5Because he abolished the pagan places of worship and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, the kingdom was at peace under his rule. 6He built fortifications for the cities of Judah during this time, and for several years there was no war, because the LORD gave him peace. 7He said to the people of Judah, “Let us fortify the cities by building walls and towers, and gates that can be shut and barred. We have control of the land because we have done the will of the LORD our God. He has protected us and given us security on every side.” And so they built and prospered. 8King Asa had an army of 300,000 men from Judah, armed with shields and spears, and 280,000 men from Benjamin, armed with shields and bows. All of them were brave, well-trained men.
9An Ethiopian named Zerah invaded Judah with an army of a million men and 300 chariots and advanced as far as Mareshah. 10Asa went out to fight him, and both sides took up their positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah. 11Asa prayed to the LORD his God, “O LORD, you can help a weak army as easily as a powerful one. Help us now, O LORD our God, because we are relying on you, and in your name we have come out to fight against this huge army. LORD, you are our God; no one can hope to defeat you.”
12The LORD defeated the Ethiopian army when Asa and the Judean army attacked them. They fled, 13and Asa and his troops pursued them as far as Gerar. So many of the Ethiopians were killed that the army was unable to rally and fight. They were overpowered by the LORD and his army, and the army took large amounts of loot. 14Then they were able to destroy the cities in the area around Gerar, because the people there were terrified of the LORD. The army plundered all those cities and captured large amounts of loot. 15They also attacked the camps of some shepherds, capturing large numbers of sheep and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
1The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2and he went to meet King Asa. He called out, “Listen to me, King Asa, and all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD is with you as long as you are with him. If you look for him, he will let you find him, but if you turn away, he will abandon you. 3For a long time Israel lived without the true God, without priests to teach them, and without a law. 4But when trouble came, they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel. They searched for him and found him. 5In those days no one could come and go in safety, because there was trouble and disorder in every land. 6One nation oppressed another nation, and one city oppressed another city, because God was bringing trouble and distress on them. 7But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded.”
8When Asa heard the prophecy that Azariah son of Oded had spoken, he was encouraged. He did away with all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and all the idols in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of the LORD that stood in the temple courtyard.
9Many people had come over to Asa's side from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and were living in his kingdom, because they had seen that the LORD was with him. Asa summoned all of them and the people of Judah and Benjamin. 10They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year that Asa was king. 11On that day they offered sacrifices to the LORD from the loot they had brought back: 700 head of cattle and 7,000 sheep. 12They made a covenant in which they agreed to worship the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. 13Anyone, young or old, male or female, who did not worship him was to be put to death. 14In a loud voice they took an oath in the LORD's name that they would keep the covenant, and then they shouted and blew trumpets. 15All the people of Judah were happy because they had made this covenant with all their heart. They took delight in worshipping the LORD, and he accepted them and gave them peace on every side.
16King Asa removed his grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother, because she had made an obscene idol of the fertility goddess Asherah. Asa cut down the idol, chopped it up, and burnt the pieces in the valley of the Kidron. 17Even though Asa did not destroy all the pagan places of worship in the land, he remained faithful to the LORD all his life. 18He placed in the Temple all the objects his father Abijah had dedicated to God, as well as the gold and silver objects that he himself dedicated. 19There was no more war until the 35th year of his reign.
1In the 36th year of the reign of King Asa of Judah, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and started to fortify Ramah in order to cut off all traffic in and out of Judah. 2So Asa took silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple and the palace and sent it to Damascus, to King Benhadad of Syria, with this message: 3“Let us be allies, as our fathers were. This silver and gold is a present for you. Now break your alliance with King Baasha of Israel so that he will have to pull his troops out of my territory.”
4Benhadad agreed to Asa's proposal and sent his commanding officers and their armies to attack the cities of Israel. They captured Ijon, Dan, Abel Beth Maacah, and all the cities of Naphtali where supplies were stored. 5When King Baasha heard what was happening, he stopped fortifying Ramah and abandoned the work. 6Then King Asa gathered men from throughout Judah and ordered them to carry off the stones and timber that Baasha had been using at Ramah, and they used them to fortify the cities of Geba and Mizpah.
The Prophet Hanani
7At that time the prophet Hanani went to King Asa and said, “Because you relied on the king of Syria instead of relying on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Israel has escaped from you. 8Didn't the Ethiopians and the Libyans have large armies with many chariots and horsemen? But because you relied on the LORD, he gave you victory over them. 9The LORD keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him. You have acted foolishly, and so from now on you will always be at war.” 10This made Asa so angry with the prophet that he had him put in chains. It was at this same time that Asa began treating some of the people cruelly.
11All the events of Asa's reign from beginning to end are recorded in The History of the Kings of Judah and Israel. 12In the 39th year that Asa was king, he was crippled by a severe foot disease; but even then he did not turn to the LORD for help, but to doctors. 13Two years later he died 14and was buried in the rock tomb which he had carved out for himself in David's City. They used spices and perfumed oils to prepare his body for burial, and they built a huge bonfire to mourn his death.