So King Rehoboam made bronze shields to replace them and assigned these to the commanders of the guard on duty at the entrance to the royal palace.
Whenever the king went to the LORD's temple, the guards went with him, bearing the shields, and afterward they returned them to the guardroom.
Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the LORD's anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed. Indeed, there was some good in Judah.
King Rehoboam established himself firmly in Jerusalem and continued as king. He was forty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the LORD had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his Name. His mother's name was Naamah; she was an Ammonite.
He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.
As for the events of Rehoboam's reign, from beginning to end, are they not written in the records of Shemaiah the prophet and of Iddo the seer that deal with genealogies? There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam.
Rehoboam rested with his fathers and was buried in the City of David. And Abijah his son succeeded him as king.
In the eighteenth year of the reign of Jeroboam, Abijah became king of Judah,
and he reigned in Jerusalem three years. His mother's name was Maacah, a daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. There was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
Abijah went into battle with a force of four hundred thousand able fighting men, and Jeroboam drew up a battle line against him with eight hundred thousand able troops.
Abijah stood on Mount Zemaraim, in the hill country of Ephraim, and said, "Jeroboam and all Israel, listen to me!
Don't you know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given the kingship of Israel to David and his descendants forever by a covenant of salt?
Yet Jeroboam son of Nebat, an official of Solomon son of David, rebelled against his master.
Some worthless scoundrels gathered around him and opposed Rehoboam son of Solomon when he was young and indecisive and not strong enough to resist them.
"And now you plan to resist the kingdom of the LORD, which is in the hands of David's descendants. You are indeed a vast army and have with you the golden calves that Jeroboam made to be your gods.
But didn't you drive out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and make priests of your own as the peoples of other lands do? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may become a priest of what are not gods.
"As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken him. The priests who serve the LORD are sons of Aaron, and the Levites assist them.
Every morning and evening they present burnt offerings and fragrant incense to the LORD. They set out the bread on the ceremonially clean table and light the lamps on the gold lampstand every evening. We are observing the requirements of the LORD our God. But you have forsaken him.
God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed."
Now Jeroboam had sent troops around to the rear, so that while he was in front of Judah the ambush was behind them.
Judah turned and saw that they were being attacked at both front and rear. Then they cried out to the LORD. The priests blew their trumpets
and the men of Judah raised the battle cry. At the sound of their battle cry, God routed Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
The Israelites fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hands.
Abijah and his men inflicted heavy losses on them, so that there were five hundred thousand casualties among Israel's able men.
The men of Israel were subdued on that occasion, and the men of Judah were victorious because they relied on the LORD, the God of their fathers.
Abijah pursued Jeroboam and took from him the towns of Bethel, Jeshanah and Ephron, with their surrounding villages.
Jeroboam did not regain power during the time of Abijah. And the LORD struck him down and he died.
But Abijah grew in strength. He married fourteen wives and had twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters.
The other events of Abijah's reign, what he did and what he said, are written in the annotations of the prophet Iddo.
Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.
He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles.
He commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands.
He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him.
He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the land was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for the LORD gave him rest.
"Let us build up these towns," he said to Judah, "and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side." So they built and prospered.
Asa had an army of three hundred thousand men from Judah, equipped with large shields and with spears, and two hundred and eighty thousand from Benjamin, armed with small shields and with bows. All these were brave fighting men.
Zerah the Cushite marched out against them with a vast army and three hundred chariots, and came as far as Mareshah.
Asa went out to meet him, and they took up battle positions in the Valley of Zephathah near Mareshah.
Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one like you to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, you are our God; do not let man prevail against you."
The LORD struck down the Cushites before Asa and Judah. The Cushites fled,
and Asa and his army pursued them as far as Gerar. Such a great number of Cushites fell that they could not recover; they were crushed before the LORD and his forces. The men of Judah carried off a large amount of plunder.
They destroyed all the villages around Gerar, for the terror of the LORD had fallen upon them. They plundered all these villages, since there was much booty there.
They also attacked the camps of the herdsmen and carried off droves of sheep and goats and camels. Then they returned to Jerusalem.
The Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded.
He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.
But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them.
In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil.
One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded."
When Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Azariah son of Oded the prophet, he took courage. He removed the detestable idols from the whole land of Judah and Benjamin and from the towns he had captured in the hills of Ephraim. He repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the portico of the LORD's temple.
Then he assembled all Judah and Benjamin and the people from Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon who had settled among them, for large numbers had come over to him from Israel when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.
They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa's reign.
At that time they sacrificed to the LORD seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back.
They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul.