When Rehoboam arrived in Jerusalem,1 he mustered the house of Judah and Benjamin--a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men--to make war against Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam.
But this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah2 the man of God:
"Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of Judah and to all the Israelites in Judah and Benjamin,
'This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers.3 Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing.' " So they obeyed the words of the LORD and turned back from marching against Jeroboam.
Rehoboam lived in Jerusalem and built up towns for defense in Judah:
Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa,
Beth Zur, Soco, Adullam,
Gath, Mareshah, Ziph,
Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah,
Zorah, Aijalon and Hebron. These were fortified cities4 in Judah and Benjamin.
He strengthened their defenses and put commanders in them, with supplies of food, olive oil and wine.
He put shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So Judah and Benjamin were his.
The priests and Levites from all their districts throughout Israel sided with him.
The Levites5 even abandoned their pasturelands and property,6 and came to Judah and Jerusalem because Jeroboam and his sons had rejected them as priests of the LORD.
And he appointed7 his own priests8 for the high places and for the goat9 and calf10 idols he had made.
Those from every tribe of Israel11 who set their hearts on seeking the LORD, the God of Israel, followed the Levites to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices to the LORD, the God of their fathers.
They strengthened12 the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam son of Solomon three years, walking in the ways of David and Solomon during this time.